Saturday, July 25, 2015

How Does Ant-man Measure Up?

Marvel is aware that despite being one of the founding Avengers they now Ant-man is about as well known to the general public who doesn't read the comics as Rocket Racoon and the concept is just a s willy to some people, so they tried to take a similar tone as Guardians  of the Galaxy. One of the things Marvel is doing since they are also aware if they approach the basic origin superhero formula in the same say it will accelerate the fatigue of the trend they are riding so they have tried to make each film fit a different mold, the first Capt America really stated this as that was their war film, Thor their epic Fantasy, the second Captain America, was their espionage movie, Guardians there space opera, with some of the other movies in-between those being allowed to be more comic centric. One can assume Dr. Strange with also be set aside in that way , but after that they might be in trouble. So Ant-man is their heist film. This Ocean 11 type element injected into the movie takes itself pretty seriously and the supposed humor that apologizes for being about a man makes himself the size of an ant is often counter balanced by this.

The humor really isn't that funny, I don't think I laughed the entire film, granted I generally did like comedies because much like Ant-man they try to hard to make you like and it ends up feeling very contrived.The huge Thomas the Tank Engine or the pet ant, seem to be a bit of a reach. For me where the film works is they allow Lang to keep his mask on. They do acknowledge that Hank Pym was originally Ant-man and they even show Wasp for about ten seconds as a flash back sequence. I am not sure why they didn't allow Hank Pym to be Ant-man rather than going with Scott Lang. Its another way Marvel has screwed themselves from being able to connect the dots with their own mythos. How can Wonder Man ever show up ?

Paul Rudd gets the job done. Douglas is also pretty decent as the aged Pym. Every one else is a little stiff. It takes thirty minutes before he gets the costume on, and while I like how that comes about , I think all origins should take place in the first ten minutes and then it's go time. I liked how it connected to Avengers two, Falcon's appearance was cool, and was it me of did his costume look a little red white and blue, which could lead to one of my fears about the prophetic tone the comics could be taking in order to work around actors contractual obligations and give Marvel a loop hole out of the Disney deal.

In the new politically correct world of geekdom, there have been questions about how Wasp was sidelined, how black and Hispanics are portrayed and I think if any stereotypes were played into it was done so with a reason that made sense for the story and you have to remember stereotypes get played into because there have been enough examples to justify them.  Hollywood works off archetypes, Yellow Jackets plays into some of the most run of the mill villain cliches.  He just hops into his suit and they  are at it , so I am not sure why Rudd had to train to used his and Yellow Jacket was able to pop it on and go. I am not sure why Marvel didn't show Pym as Giant Man  rather using the particles to make inanimate things bigger.

Quality wise some of the cgi did't hold up to the other movies when they are small everything is not as blended. They have elluded to the fact that the astral world of Dr strange is going to be like sub atomic world, which I hope is not the cas as it looks like a darker version of the dreamier Fortress of Solitude sequences from the Reeve era Super-man films.The ants at times were a little suspect and I was surprised that that element of his powers took so much focus , so I give them props for at least not downplaying that.

Was it fun? Sure and it didn't come across to much like "Honey I Shrunk the Avenger".  It was a pretty mixed bag and I am glad I didn't throw down the twelve bucks to see it in the theater and you should only do that if you have nothing better to do and too much money or a bug Scott Lang fan. As Superhero movies go I think it's better than Spider-man 3, Iron Man 2, Daredevil, the first Punisher, Catwoman, Dark Knight Rises, Electra, most of the Blade Sequels and Fantastic Four so use that as your barometer , after Dr. Strange it's only going to get worse from here as Captain Marvel comes across like My Super Ex Girl Friend and Black Panther the Captain Africa.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Pros and Cons of Avengers Age of Ultron

There might be some spoilers head as we look at the pros and cons of the Avengers sequel. I am not sure what movie some of the people who reviewed this movie as claims that Hawkeye is the hero of the movie and it's centered around him and Black Widow are pretty off base.

The Pros

1- Origin aside the Vision was well handled and the best new character that was introduced.

2-The depiction of how powerful Thor is was handled better than it has been even in the Thor movies.

3-The first woman super-hero with real powers hit the big screen and Scarlet Witch is allowed to kiss ass.

4- Quicksliver is well played and Aaron Taylor Johnson does a better job at playing him than Evan Peters.

5-The interpersonal relationship between Rogers and Stark is developed in a way that will easily lead to Civil War with out making one a good guy or bad guy.

6-The movie is well paced and never drags.

7- They introduced new characters without making the story feel overcrowded.

8-I liked the interaction Hawkeye had with the twins since they were on the team at the same time once the original lineup broke up.

9-I liked the set up for other movies like Black Panther and Infinity Wars. Klaw was a nice touch, particular what happen to him to further move his character forward. Who was this Cho woman, is she Amadeus' mother? I guess we also get a clear look at who is on Cap's team for Civil War if we are judging by the end.

10-It is also cooler if you catch this week's episode of Agents of Shield before seeing the movie because it sets you up for the first scene.

The Cons

1- I didn't like how the Hulk was handled in the movie, he seemed to take a back seat at time despite the spot light given in the fight between him and Iron-man, where the out come was questionable and not clearly explained, was he in mid transformation or not? I'm fine with the Hulk not being an Avenger, but if you are going to get my hopes up in the trailers and make it look like he is in the movie more than he is, some of this should have helped my con number four but it didn't.

2-Black Widow was given more to do but I am sure the feminists are going to cry out how  she is more focused on trying to hook up with Banner making her look like girl with daddy issues.

3-Scarlet Witch's mental state has always been fragile but making her her cowering after she had already handled the Avengers and knew how to use her powers why would she be afraid of robots? And her response to what happens to Quicksliver, should have really given you the chance to see how powerful she is ,  that should have been game over after she went almost berserk.

4-Number 7 of my pros I said the story did not feel over crowded, this is not true about what happened one screen. I think six Avengers at one time is enough. So when Quick Sliver and Scarlet witch showed up, Black Widow and I dunno Hawkeye, could have been captured or ko'ed or whatever.

5- The opening attack on the Hydra base looked and felt like a video game. The cgi did not help with this , I felt at times the Hulk had a more life like look on the first film.

6-Speaking of video games and over crowded fight scenes the combo moves they kept doing felt even more video game like and less like the comics. The interplay between Thor and Vision worked , but some of the other stuff with Thor and Cap or  Cap and pretty much anyone was silly.

7- In pro 9 I said I like how they set up the other movies, but why was Ant-man excluded from this? Also the credits scene is like one we saw in another movie, he just takes things into his own hands more here.

8-Where was Coulson?  I know he has other stuff going on and we saw Agents of Shield lead up to it but to have been instrumental in the first film he felt oddly absent.

9-The exception of pro number 7 was War-machine, he felt a little forced into things at time.

10-The running Captain America potty mouth joke got worn into the ground after the second time it came up, some of the humor didn't feel as natural as the first film.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Week In Marvel

Marvel is showing another week of improvements starting off with Superior Iron Man 7- I haven't hated the inverted Stark, now Pepper is doing something about it.  The sentient armor seems like what we saw in Hulk recently. Makes a little more sense. The art was on the better side of decent. The best drawn book with an "Avenger" in it was Thor # 7. Its no surprise that the Shield agent is Thor-girl. It was good seeing Thor-girl getting the crap beat out of her by the Destroyer. It was even better knowing that Odin was behind it and not happy about her having the hammer. Though this also leads itself into the biggest flaw in the story which is if Odin doesn't like it, he could just take her powers away. He even made Thor mortal once, so that would be like taking out the trash to de-power her if He wanted the hammer back. After all She did not earn it like Beta Ray Bill.

Ms. Marvel 14 seems like a rip off of the Agents of Shield story line. I am sure it was a meeting where every one was like"Ok, guys we have to start selling them on the fact mutant is a bad word since we don't own the screen rights to it and we are ret-conning Scarlet Witch and Quick Sliver so we need more Inhumans. In other little kid news ...Nova 29...Not a big fan a the little kid Nova, but the story was good enough to keep me reading, and the art is fun. In other cosmic messes caused by teen agers that weren't so fun Loki 13 was all-over the place. In keeping with the cosmic mess theme with children involved, Spider-man and the X-men 5 just had Venom's every where and little driving the ship.

Deathlok was the worst of the week 7 issues in and still nothing is happening? If you are stupid enough to waste your money on that book, then I can not feel sorry for you. Another book that was almost as bad but not quite is Captain America and the Mighty Avengers 7. I like Monica as a character would rather see her on a real Avenger's team. So any one who doesn't think I like diversity, put that in your pipe and smoke it. Avengers Vs 2 must be written for kids it was pretty silly and very cartoon like story line.

Kitty Pryde seems to be every where you look now Uncanny X-men 33, was full of her and Magick on Monster Island. The writer doesn't know Magik very well as all of a sudden she has super-strength to keep a thousand pounds of monster from pressing down on her.Kitty also shows up in Star Lord 11, her and Quill are a thing and that is as weird as Xander and Dawn. Quill is supposed to be a player, there are hotter X-Women he could have hooked up with. The art is not bad , but the Black Vortex "event" is another hyped event with no pay off. In other mutants Magneto 17, this book is hit or miss with me. I liked Nazi monster guy, hope they didn't kill him off already.Wolverines 14...This book keeps getting better the Blade cameo is a little forced, but the art was good. I am tired of Daken only having one arm and where did his tattoos go?

Another week closer to the flop waiting in the wings that will be known as Secret Wars.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Week in Marvel 4/8

The All new Hawkeye  issue 2  is much improved from some of the earlier Hawkeye comics the art was mixed with an oil painting like look on the flash back sequences with the Swordsman. Angels was also very much improved on every level. Like to see Thor wipe the floor with her, the Guardians appearance seemed forced aside from the fact it was in space. Speaking of Avengers in space Avengers World has been taking that and running with it but this week it was just Sunspot ironing out some difficulties with the Scientist Supreme since he acquired A.I.M and runs with it. This and the bulk of this weeks books are tying into Secret Wars some with a heavier hand than others. It was done in a very interesting manner in Winter Soldier. It felt like I was reading Heavy Metal more than a super-hero comic and done in much better taste than Deadpool, which if the movie is as dumb as the comic has been lately I think I'll pass.

Ant-man is on the better side of decent take it self seriously , but more so than Spider-woman six, which makes me realize how bad Jessica Drew's costume is since it does n't conceal her identity at all. S.H.I.E.L.D kept the tone of the show and Sue Storm was an alright guest. In other female themed books Captain Marvel 14 was better than most of Kelly Sue Decormick's hit or miss run with the character that might be a favorite with some fans misses more than she hits. Speaking of hit Carol finally got out of the space ships and acted like a super-hero. This issue got me thinking about how feminists want their women not sexualized and just like other super-heroes, and these two books are two of their favorites, but the incarnations of both Jessica Drew and Carol Danvers seem like they are written with barely any powers at all. Spider-woman seems like Hawkeye and Danvers Starlord, when they bot are supposed to have super-strength I don't see getting used I guess they wait for Hulk and Thor to do all the heavy lifting.

Even though Hulk14 is a well drawn thrown down between Rulk and Hulk, Hulk turning into Banner mid-air is just silly, I don't think Banner would force the change if it was going to put his life in jeopardy. Speaking of vs ...Avengers vs must be written for little kids , it felt like an episode of Scooby Doo. Guardians 3000...Vance Astro's team was pretty good this week they did meet up with Groot's Guardians which for some reason still have Capt. Marvel and Venom in tow, they fought a bunch of robots as the story is going to be a very direct tie in to the Korvac saga of Secret Wars. I did not hold back and made it a point to read every book so Ultimate Spider-man 12 was cracked open and boy was it underwhelming as always I'm not sure what the Miles Morales hype is about, but he character doesn't feel fleshed out at all, maybe thats the point since he is a kid and kids don't know much, but Power Pack has more personality.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

More Marvel April 1st 2015

Things got a little better  with Marvel this week so we will get the bulk of the bad news out of the way first  first which is I am not sure why i decided to read Operation S.i.N issue 4 as it was bad all the way around. Agent Carter bored me to tears I couldn't get through an entire episode which should make people scared for Captain Marvel if that is the best they can do with a female hero in a solo outing. I think Skye from Agents of Shield is way more interesting than Carter. Not sure why I bothered with Cyclops 12 the whole black vortex thing is what happens when comic book writers try to write the X-men into star wars , the idea sounds good sitting around the bong but put into motion no so much. The art is decent , but way too happy. Darker inking might have helped put lead into that pencil.Speaking of lead the Punisher has plenty of it, while the art is not my favorite it is drawn using some creative camera angles. The Punisher vs Sam Wilson fight was entertaining , but not as accurate as that might go down considering Wilson is not as experienced as Castle, I won't spoil the outcome, but it is resolved in the milk toast way most battles of this sort turn out... and no Doctor Octopus doesn't show up causing them to team up. The Punisher also popped up in Spider-Gwen 3  the first issue that was worth the paper it was printed on. I like the look of her costume, but can't stand how the book is drawn, the use of the gas in this issue seemed like it was creating a smoke screen for the bad art, story wise vast improvement, I'll keep reading and give it another chance...see I'm not so harsh after all. I love comics and want to like them, the quality has just slipped in recent years.

The Guardians of the Galaxy team up was cute, I love She-hulk, but she has become was too focused on her career and not busting out of her clothes enough. This issue was inconsistent in her size. She teamed up with Gamora of course. Vs Drax would have been more interesting.She-Hulk like punisher made multiple appearances this week as she was in Wolverines 13, the re-creation of Hulk 181 was pretty funny even if the fight with Deadpool as short lived...of course he didn't win. Avengers the Rage of Ultron assembled a jumbled mix or varied version of Avengers, but when a character slices off the Hulk's head with Captain America's shield then it was clear the writer had never cracked open and issue of Hulk or really researched the character since that would never happen. Of course there was no blood so it could be android, but despite decent art it was a flop went put against Uncanny Avengers or Avengers 43. Uncanny keeps it's High Evolutionary story line going and Avengers is just setting up Secret Wars, which I will give a run down of what looks to be the winners and losers of that debacle next week.

Book I avoided this week was Rocket Raccoon, since it's largely drawn like Calvin and Hobbs.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Can't Comics Just be Fun?

I have been reading comics for over thirty years it is one of my greatest pleasures or at least in once was, the big two are caught at a cross-roads now that comic book movies have opened the doors to readers they feel the need to placate to. When I was a kid in the 80s, I went to the comic book store bought my comics, never heard any complaints about what the publishers should or shouldn't be doing, people would get their panties bunched about their favorite hero getting busted by someone one, but thats about it. There was no internet to sway them. There are some issues I run across that do re-kindle the feeling I used to get out of reading comics as a kid, but the writing is not as true to who the characters I have grown up with. In fact super-heroes became the new mythology of the western culture. In some cases like Thor pulling from older myths of other cultures. But those guys and girls in spandex represent our higher selves. Now I seem to be deriving more enjoyment from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, than last weeks issue of the Hulk. This is a problem because all of those shows and movies we are enjoying are based on character established back in 1961. So for we'll say 50 years considering how bad the past year has been, these characters have stood the test of time. So why change them?

One reason is writers who are not well read in the source materials and do not know how to write Steve Rogers as Steve Rogers or Peter Parker as Peter Parker so they try to put a spin on it. But in forty years from now something like Thor being a girl will be taken as seriously as when he was a frog. And if we want to get into the real lore of the character, well Thor is a god. How about we make a comic where Jesus is a girl? Or the Buddha is a girl? How would that fly? How are those deities any more sacred than Norse gods, who are still worshipped by pagans today? But what this is really about is how to please everyone? How can we reach into the wallets of every demographic? Disney seems to have done a pretty good job of this and Mickey is the same mouse he has always been. I said it once and I'll say it a hundred times, if you want strong female characters why not give Valkyrie or Sif the spotlight? Thor is a name that sells. Why doesn't Sam Wilson get a Falcon comic? Captain America is a brand that sells. Another Thor is fine there the horse alien Thor Beta Ray Bill, who won a hammer of his own fair and square. The new Thor has not beaten Odinson.Even if your only knowledge of Scandinavian culture came from the show "Vikings" you would be aware there was a certain social order and no way Odin would just say,"Ok, Little girl you can be my son." Since gods might be depicted as having certain human characteristics , they can never be not worthy of being a god that what they are. Are they going to write a comic where they say to Jesus come down from that cross we need the wood to build this little girl her own manger? So why call her Thor? It's not to give female fans a strong woman, its because the name sells the comics.

All of this is beginning to take the fun out of comics , and is making the companies put out a lower quality of product. I look forward to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, if I was watching it an some one was sitting next to me in my living and saying things to me like "Why is Agent Coulson the star of the show. Why is he a man?" I would wait until the commercial and pick them up and toss them out the door with a swift kick to the teeth to thank them for ruining my enjoyment. So why do I continue to make the mistake of clicking on articles on Comic Book Resources written by some of their liberal attention seekers? It was an honest mistake this morning when I clicked on Joseph Illidge's the Mission column. I need to avoid it. It is like a lingering fart that makes me want to clear out the room.

He went above and beyond. Comparing Thor to Captain America, the current incarnations of the books mind you. He first went on to praise the female Thor, he was also under the delusion it was because He is now a she. Not the case, I read it because I know Odinson and the characters related to Odinson are going to be in the book, the female character is the weakest developed of the bunch, one reason being is she doesn't have decades of development behind her. However in his article Illidge stated that it took him 90 minutes to read six comic books, this seemed long to me so I went online and found six comics I had not read before and timed it. It took twenty minutes. So if it took him four times longer, then well... I guess that why Odin makes all kinds of people some are just better at something than others. This is a concept Illidge doesn't grasp as he complained Sam Wilson, was struggling to much to be Captain America. The reason for this Joseph is he is not cut out to be Captain America, Sam is much better at being Falcon. He can't hang gong toe to toe with some of the guys Cap fights. One reason for this is he is not even half as strong. This is canon, Wilson can only lift 480 lbs, Rogers can lift over twice that. He then goes onto say like most black people in real life Sam Wilson's book has little chance of success. The reason is the book has had it's moments, but the concept is dumb so it should fail, its a gimmick rather than just getting a writing to pen a good Steve Rogers story, when Captain America 3 comes out do you think Wilson would have still been in the red, white and blue? No, he'll be Falcon that what he is good at and succeeds at. Even Luke Cage is a better leader of the Avengers than Wilson. Cage is not struggling he sticks to what he's good at.

So before I let all of people personal issue bleed over into my enjoyment of comics, which are becoming the battleground for social debate, and what some people think social change, I think I'll stick to clicking only on what matters, super-heroes in the comic books, it's supposed to be fun not like watching CNN,it's always been about escape. If you don't find a character you relate to escape with then you are reading the wrong books. I'm an alcoholic but I would much rather read the Hulk than Iron-man.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Enough is Enough- More Violence in Comics

Enough has finally become enough when it comes to being politically correct in comic books. D/C Comics finally showed that they do not have the stones to stand up for their creative integrity by pulling a variant cover for an upcoming issue of Batgirl. The cover in question… see above is a tribute to one of the most iconic Batman stories ever Alan Moore’s “the Killing Joke”. The story won an Eisner Award was written in 1988 and went on to influence both Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan’s vision of the Joker. It was one of the first books to show that comic books could challenge you and held more depth and weight than men in tights playing cops and robbers. So for feminists to get out raged that some in comics would pay homage to a classic graphic novel like “the Killing Joke” well it really holds no weight and if that is all you have to get your panties into a wad about then go live in a third world country where people actual problems that go beyond getting upset about something they saw on the internet. Hell… there are people who have no internet at all, in fact they don’t know where there child’s next meal is going to come from, there is something that is upsetting not Bat-girl crying.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Rafael Albuquerque dropped his purse on his keyboard after requesting D/C pull the cover and said he understand it touched a nerve and didn’t want to make people hurt or upset. Grow some thicker skin pal. Art is supposed to touch nerves, especially when you are depicting villains, when you are dealing with the dark world of Gotham, the evil has so be horrendous worse stuff has happened on the show, and that ABC. Comics should be edgier than ABC. D/C attempted to placate the audience in question by saying “violence and harassment have no place in comics or society”…what? Now this can be taken two different ways one that people fighting on Twitter and making death threats is wrong. If you take anything anyone says to you from the safety of the anonymity the Internet provides then it’s time to go to Wal-Mart and buy your self a pair of big-boy panties.  But this could also be taken as violence and harassment don’t have a place in comics meaning Bat-man and the Joker really just need to sit down in group therapy and talk it out. There no need for Captain America and the Red Skull to keep punching each other. D/C if violence had no place comics would not exist; violence is always the means of resolution in comics, at least the good ones. An example of no violence in comics would be Super-man Returns. Kent didn’t throw a punch the whole movie and it sucked…end of story. In fact comics should have more violence, one of the best moments in comics was when Sentry ripped Ares in half during Siege. Give me more of that and if you don’t like go back to reading My Little Pony. You want peaceful inspiration where every one is respected, go talk to Rainbow Dash.

My five-year-old daughter loves Batgirl. If she saw that cover in the comic book store with me she might wonder what was going on and I would tell her some times the good guys win and some times they don’t, looks like Bat-girl is having one of those days. Once she is twelve she is welcome to read my copy of the Killing Joke and make her own judgment about it. Will it send a negative message about women’s place in the world? I don’t think so. Women get shot every day. Men get shot every day. People get shot, that’s the world we live in. Barbra Gordon got shot. Not because she was a woman, but because the Joker will shoot you, even if you are Booster Gold and try to go back in time to stop him from shooting Bat-girl. The Punisher will shoot you too and he’s a good guy. That’s the world we live in. Deal with it.