Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Movie Review: Captain America: the Winter Soldier

Thor 2 aside , Marvel keeps getting closer to getting it right and the sequel to Captain America comes the closest yet. I liked the first movie and in someways think it stands out from this one in the way it juxtaposed the two time period where this movie comes across like a straight up action flick, a more over the top version of one of the Bourne films. This over the top element it what a comic book movie needs. A good question to ask is if this was in the pages of the book would it be a good read? This felt closer to the comic book than previous marvel films, with the first Iron Man, right behind it in this regard.

It is placed firmly in the Marvel Movieverse and is not unlike the Agents of Shield show it was good to see the characters from that show cross over into this and word is the movie is cross back over into the show. Right off the bat they were throwing in more characters from the comics with Batroc the Leaper the first threat. Arnim Zola turned out to be one of the masterminds behind the whole thing and Baron Von Strucker marches his way into the lead in they provide to Avengers 2 ...and then there was my favorite moment the appearance of Quicksliver and Scarlet Witch. Is it me or did Scarlet Witch come across a lot like Drusilla?

I thought Sam Wilson was handled well. I have little emotional attachment to the character and was much more excited to hear Stephen Strange's name mentioned, in the discussion of possible threats. There was a lot more of Black Widow in the film than I expected, her combat moves stay the same as they did in Iron Man and Avengers, and to be honest, I would not mind her getting phased out of Avengers 2  to make more room for Wanda and Captain Marvel, since we won't get Wasp until after Ant-man.

As for Bucky Barnes, it was funny how much of the audience was shocked to find he was the Winter Soldier, I would have expected more comic book readers in the theater , but when a movie is raking it in like this one is I guess realistically it makes sense. But this goes to show a movie can do well while sticking to the source material. Chris Evans is well settled into the role and with this films success it lives no doubt that there will be a third film. Maybe the Serpent Society or Modok for the next one, though Baron Zemo needs to show up at some point to prep for the Masters of Evil, which would be good for Avengers 3.

Overall I am pleased with this one, it kept me entertained and gave me enough easter eggs to keep me satisfied. I can't say Cap is in even my top twenty heroes, but I respect him and value his place in the Avengers and the Marvel U.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Catching Up With Marvel

Unfortunately , The big bang lately hasn't been on the shelves, but on-line with the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer springing up and  the dishearteningly underwhelming Fantastic Four re-boot, which does a race flip with Johnny Storm, for no good reason. Guardians is going to be strong and prove sticking more closely to the source material works every time, while Fantasitc Four will flop, much like the impending Amazing Spider-man sequel.

Last week nothing really wowed me,  the high point has been a Thor story that is bringing him back to earth. this week is getting better

Avenger's World issue 3  has Shang -chi, who has no business being an Avenger, getting his butt kicked by Gorgon. When this character was created as the Master of Kung-fu it was an attempt for Marvel to have their own Bruce Lee, so I am surprised they still have him going. ...Note to my self as a Marvel writer... Kill him off,.

Captain America number 17 sees the series taking a turn into...shaky ground as this Dr. Mind Bubble arc begins. Superior Spider-man team , has some great art, and t he sotry worked with the main title, so I can't complain much about it.

Amazing X-men 4 was a lot of fun recaptured more of an old 80's  X-men feel. I think this is my favorite line-up currently in print. The worst continues to be the X-men book. Enchantress is not enough to keep my interest.  The Mean while.. story in the back of the book was better than the main story in every respect.

Daredevil 36 closes out a fairly iconic run, the book continues to impress despite my rather lackluster attitude toward the character. Murdock outs himself in court and the next series is going to pick up in San Francisco. Speaking of characters that once underwhelmed me the first issue of New Warriors was pretty impressive, it's a book that I want to see where it's going and hope New Salem , remains a fixture.

Punisher issue two had a weird feel, the art work tried to be overtly stylistic and felt like the writer had been watching too much Breaking Band and Sons of Anarchy. Electro is showing up in the next issue so it should keep the book more grounded in the Marvel u.    

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Marvel Now Phase 1

We are now entering phase one of the 2014 Marvel Now. All New Invaders lives up to it's hype with the second issue, the artwork is the best the company has going. For fans of this Sliver age team, this book is a must, they don't cut corner, even the original Vision makes and appearance of sorts when they are recalling the old days, the next issue should have more Namor, in it who only comes up in conversation this issue.

The first issue of Loki Agent of Shield... err Asgard , seems interesting. I like the art work, the Avengers make an appearance as he sneaks into Avengers tower to purge Thor of some corruption left in him that in turn seems to have become the original or more traditional depiction of Loki in the marvelverse, Leaving the question well now with two Lokis?

New Avenger's 14- seems to be lost the way many D/Ctitles are with too much dimensional jumble as other earth's collide. The Dr. Strange arc is worth following as Stephen sells his soul for more power.

Iron Man 21... was a decent superhero comic , the Mandrains' power ringer's continue to plague Toney, the art work is crisp like something from a D/C book, very Super-man in the scope of it's action.

Punisher and Wolvering both kicked off this week with new number one titles and truth be told neither was that gripping, the art work in Wolverine was good , which is much more than can be said of the Punisher, who appears to be drawn rather scrawny, sure a new version of the Howling Commandos are going to be popping up, but the appearance of the Superior Spider-man in the new Wolverine book is much more likely to give me reason to check it out. The Wolverine book also seems much more firmly rooted in canon.    

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another Week of Marvel Now

Well it was a disappointing week for... Indestructible Hulk 18 I read the issue , a deceptive cover is one thing, but I even read solicits that promised in black and white a Hulk/Iron-man fight, I read re-red it to make sure I didn't skip over it , when it just didn't happen.

Let's do the time warp again. getting things mucked up like D/C and all their varied numbered Earths , Avengers 25 brings the original Avengers back from another time, setting them up to fight the current Avengers, yes it feel like we have been here before in All New X-men. Speaking of which this weeks issue, works beyond "the some where in time" gimmick and is a lot of fun leading into the Guardians of the Galaxy cross over.

Mighty Avengers continues to lack focus. Spider-man gets punched by Jessica Jones but talkes about suing them more than whipping her ass, which doesn't seem likea Doc Ock thing to do . She-hulk shows up and that's the issue's best moment the Inhumanity cross over seems forced and only gives more clues to the thing most people know , that Ronin is Blade.Forced  Inhumanity cross-overs continued in Iron Man 20, which wasn't a bad issue, as it served mainly for the origin of the new villain the Exile. who is also one of the ring bearers for the Mandarin, whose rings are finding wearers like the Green Lantern Corps.

 The second issue of Avengers World is rather plodding, nothing sets it apart from the Avengers book, it focuses on Smasher, who is not really an Avenger in the first place. The art is pretty killer and makes it worth skimming through. X-factor did much better with it's second issue, not sure how consistent the art is an the three person team needs more than the mix of powers it currently has .

Captain America 15 was helping to get things back on track until Dr.Mind Bubble the psychedelic super- soldier shows up, and thats not a joke. Though I wish it was. All New Invaders looks to have some promise the first issue had great artwork and was full of action, even if it mainly focused on the Original Torch. The Johnny Storm Torch was largely absent from FF 16, which thankfully came to its final issue. The Scott Lang figures out how to use Pym Particles , Ret-con was cool and smart enough for me to accept it. Though it seemed like it was written in so he could school Doom.

Cable and the X-force is gaining momentum, though one X-force book is enough. With the all female X-men book,.the Enchantress is really the only interesting element when she hands a beat down to Monet. Wolverine and the X-men has made it to issue 40, this one is a scattered mess of chaos but they manage to throw in a pretty worthwhile scene with Cyclops having a drink with Logan.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Marvel What Now?

It would be nice to stop renumbering and revamping and re-branding , because the Marvel Now launched last year is already being re-branding with another Now label and new set of books, It's tiring really and the 2nd time around losses it's significance. They announced the return of Peter Parker which I commented on when the original Superior thing came about is that it would never stick when the movie came around and I was proved right.

Superior Spider-man was a great read,  the art was a little iffy at time and there is no way Thor should not have wiped the floor with him by himself, the ghost of Peter shows up and we see the beginning of the end for the Ock Spider.

Iron-man 20 proved to be a much improved read on every front. The art work was much better, the story less convoluted it felt like a classic comic, as they squared off against Red Peril, who is like th Chelsea Handler of super villains if she was a flaming ginger.

Thor 17 was an improvement from the blasted god-slayer arc, the art work is not as good as it was when the book was first called god of thunder and I would like to seem more action on Midgard or at least a balance.

Savage Wolverine, number one needed to be renumbered only because of the different the book has taken, which is under whelming though  I  can see where someone might like the art work but it really isn't my thing. Wolverine 13 was ok not great , it looks to be the last issue before the relaunch and the new Wolverine 1.

Leading the X-pack hands down is All New X-men, issue 21 keeps up the good work and works them into the bigger picture of the Marvel universe with out being too heavy handed.Otherwise As far as obtuse X-titles go Cable and the X-force was pretty decent. The Bishop/Hope fight was nothing special, but there's a better fight they followed it up with in the ever confusingly titled Uncanny X-force, yes there's two X-force titles now.

The words final issue on the cover of Fantastic Four only means the final issue of this numbering, or like on t.v, the final episode of this season, next season they will be back with a new number one. The mash up with the Doom, Kang Annihilus was a little silly ,as the merging of the Fantastic Fours, but the art was decent.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Comics For Dummies?

Either you are part of the problem or part of the solution when it comes to comics these days. It's bad enough they have become marketing fodder for the movies they not promote or they are stories spread too thin by arcs like Infinity, which would have been wrapped up in a couple issue back in the glory days of comics in the 70's and 80's . But now you have idiots like blogger Doug Zawisza of Comic Book Resources who encourages the dummy down for the audience tact that Marvel has taken trying to lure in new readers by numbering comics with a one.

Here's the news... kids are introduced to comics though cartoons and mass media, then they buy the books, It does not matter what number is on the front. If you can not pick up a comic book and jump in at whatever point the story is at then you are either too dumb and need to go back to Curious George or it's bad writing.
When I was a kid, I grabbed whatever was on the spinning metal rack at the gas station and started reading from there. There were no special allowances made for children in the 80's and why should there be now.

A good story is going to be a good story no matter where it begins, Star Wars is a prime example, sure they gave you in the in a Galaxy Far Far Away in the opening sequence , but from there you jumped into the world and figured out who Darth Vader was and what the parameters for the Force were all without the benefit of a Wiki page. In fact that is what makes collecting comics so much fun is you get to dig back into the back issues and discover the history of canon all on your own. If that is not instant gratification for your tiny mind, you can go to the web and dive into a bottomless rabbit hole of links to catch up.

So to say a story needs to be more approachable to new comers means, dummy it down for stupid kids these day because they can't figure out a story as complex as the Avengers having a cook out on the top of the building. Sure it was not a big epic story, deptie catching a run away planet, but it was a lot of fun and if new readers could not catch on the problem is the lack of special education programs in American schools.

The best part of the story to me was the fact characters who should have never been Avengers in the first place like Wolverine and Spider-man are getting cut. Now if they can ditch Avengers A.I and get Pym and Vision back on board to replace the New Mutants and Hyperion we will be better off.    

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Week In Comics

I like X-23 on the All New X-men. In fact I like her more than Wolverine these days.

I am not sure why this Amazing Spider-man  point whatever is a thing. Where does this fall in cannon?

Avengers Assemble was fun up to a point, then the art work for the depiction of the Hulk was so bad it soured the book for me.

Daredevil 34 , was great , I liked the Dr Strange cameo...of course, Murdock, hasn't been a character I really care about but they continue to make this feel more and more like a super hero book.

Deadpool 21... There's a hit on Wade, the art was a little weak, but the story was fun, I might keep reading, the Deadpool fatigue has worn off.

FF 15 Continues the goofiness the book seems to use as it's calling card. Doom isn't even taken seriously , and the Baxter Building's day care center fighting the battle a s a video game , works in theory. I still hate the art this one was no exception.

Fantastic Four 15- There was still a mess of time traveling dimensional shifting jumble going on, with too many character from too many dimension, the book felt crowded ,but things came together. I liked the Doom/Kang/Annihilus combination. The art redeemed the books weak spots.

Indestructible Hulk 17 was a well written thrill ride. Banner at odds with Toney Stark never gets old. It looks like in the next issues it will be less of what McCoy called a hot potato game and more of a throw down. Curious as to what beasts current strength level is these days. Though Pym, Stark and Beast vs the Hulk, will still be a major beatdown  as the Hulk has taken on much more capable teams of Avengers.

Scarlet Spider-man 25 - They are really trying to make more distinction between Kaine and Parker, aside from clones  and things. The spider -monster freak out Kaine does is interesting , and I suppose turning into a big monster is not just a Banner thing.

Secret Avengers...is well, better written than in the past, Not sure what purpose Banner has on the team, think they should use another Hulk, why not A-Bomb or Skaar?  Betty Ross? Taskmaster takes a bullet to the head , how will they write themselves out of that corner.

Superior Spider-man 24- This book was getting good and now its getting better despite the very spider-man three dark turn. I look forward to the throw down with the Avenger in issue 25...Thor's on the team so it should be a quick fight even with Ock in the Venom suit. Superior Spider Man team up 8 which features Namor's war with the Black Panther spilling over into it's pages was an enjoyable read.

Thor - God of  Thunder- 16 The book was a much better read now they have gotten out of that cursed god-killer arc, it read more like a dungeons and dragons game.I think the book has wandered around of world for too long and think writers avoid being able to write a good Thor story on Earth, hel the last one was the Doom story leading into Siege. Thor drunk talking to his hammer was good stuff so it shows the most potential of getting better than it has in some time.

Thunderbolts Annual - I don't like getting ripped off when it comes to comics billed as a good old versus. In this case Dr.Strange vs the Thunderbolt, but it turned out to be a Cthulhu lite who took Dr. Strange's form. The first half ot the book is the team collecting majick weapons to fight strange with and it's more fun than the actual fight which is not much of a fight when it goes down.

Uncanny Avengers 15 continues to prove why this book is always duking it out with All New X-men and Superior Spider-man to best the cream of Marvel's crop. This book beats those tow. Sentry fights both Wasp and Thor. The verdict against Thor is still out as his power set has shifted here, but it looks like he can hand Thor a beating here. The Cap does his best against the Apocalypse kids.

Uncanny X-force - was just o.k good to see Puck around. X-men is not much better. I could have told you the all Female team would be boring as shit. Enchantress showing up is at least something to look forward to. The only reason I read Young Avengers, which I am writing about after these X-books is it feels like New Mutants to me, is for Skaar, and its a shame to see him wasted in a book about teen drama.  .