The 6 Best Films of Summer 2015: PART I – No. 6, 5 & 4


We did it! We survived one of the highest grossing summers on record due mostly to Universal Studios hits like Jurassic World, Minions, and Straight Outta Compton. Not that Disney doesn’t deserve credit for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Inside Out, and Ant-Man.

But this list isn’t about the money grossed, it’s about the quality of films we watched. What were the 6 best films of Summer 2015? According to me…T-Rex Roars Over Jurassic World

Let’s start with my predictions for the whole year. View that article in its entirety or just read this list of my anticipation levels from least excited to complete obsession. Again, there were my predictions based more on enjoyment level, not a list predicting which films would necessarily be best this summer.

7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

6. Ant-Man

5. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

4. Mad Max: Fury Road

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron

2. SPECTRE

1. Jurassic World

Mad Max Sticks Attack The RigSince this new List only covers Summer 2015 and not the Fall, we can knock Star Wars and SPECTRE off my possibility of choices.

The original list are the titles I thought would be most enjoyable. To be transparent, this new list of the “Best” Movies of Summer 2015 takes into account enjoyably AND quality. If this list were purely based on how much I enjoyed a film, the list would look slightly different.

Let’s start work from sixth favorite to my number one; this post just containing Sixth through Third favorite.

WARNING: SPOILERS Follow for each Film. Skip one if you haven’t seen it and don’t want it spoiled.

 

6. MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.The Man From UNCLE 60s Heroes

Not a great Guy Ritchie, nor Spy Film, but I had to include it rather because it still deserves a spot on this list, even if it was my 6th favorite movie of the summer and most lists are traditionally out of five.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E film is classy as hell, with tons of Guy Ritchie style more apparent than his more tightly controlled bigger studio franchise, Sherlock Holmes. The “buddy” dynamic between US Agent Solo (Our current Superman,Henry Cavill) and USSR Agent Illya (Armie Hammer!) brings most the humor that is not limited to dialog exchanges, but also humorous action scenes involving the competitive nature or two Spies from different sides of the Cold War.

HIGHLIGHTS: Henry Cavill  continues to nail the role as an American (again, see Man of Steel) with all the added almost overabundance of charm required to be a fantastic play on Sean Connery’s or Roger Moore’s version of James Bond.

Likewise, though they have a Brit playing an American and Armie Hammer playing Russian, Hammer also nails the role, with his aforementioned antics with Cavill’s Solo providing most of the film’s enjoyment.

Just like Kingsman back in February, Man From U.N.C.L.E. also has great classic 60’s 007 references in its locations and over-the-top not-so-secret Spy work of suave Solo.

Man from UNCLE 2WEAKNESSES: The action just isn’t there compared to other 2015 spy films like Kingsman: The Secret Service and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. There’s a decent chase at the end, some fun silly action sequences like the opening car chase, but the action just isn’t as abundant as in a 007 picture, for example.

Likewise, the “turncoat” scene where Gaby (Alicia Vikander) gives up Solo and Illya only to be reveled as a questionable British Agent, is very reminiscent of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

That’s just bad (unlucky) timing for Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The film really feels like a set-up for a wonderful franchise we will never see as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a flop.

 

5. ANT-MANAnt-Man Vs Yellowjacket Chinese PosterLook, Ant-Man is neither my favorite Marvel movie, nor my least favorite. In an age when Ant-Man is Marvel’s 12th(?… Maybe 11th) movie, that is not a bad thing what-so-ever.

For me, Ant-Man falls in the middle of the pack, higher than The Incredible Hulk, both Thor movies, Iron Man 2, and Captain America: The First Avenger, but lower than movies Iron Man 1 & 3, Captain America: Winter Solider, Guardians of the Galaxy, and both Avengers films.

Highlights:   The cast, to start! Paul Rudd as Scott Lang gives us our most grounded Avenger yet; a father who is kept from his daughter because of a criminal past. Marvel as a Universe is known for down-to-Earth heroes, but Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, and Capt. are not mortals like Ant-Man (Iron Man technically is mortal, but he has none of the angst that comes with fatherhood). Rudd is one of the most likable Avengers, with his character’s weaknesses yet strength of charm, empathy and comedy.

Let’s not stop there! Of course Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Evangeline Lily as eventual Wasp, Hope van Dyne, don’t disappoint. But, besides Rudd, Ant-Man’s Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket and Michael Pena as Lang’s best friend Luis steal the show.

Michael Douglas as Hank Pym with Corey Stoll as Darren Cross
Michael Douglas as Hank Pym with Corey Stoll as Darren Cross

Stoll combines the classic elements of Norman Osborne’s madness in the original Spider-Man and Obadiah Stane’s suit-envy in Iron Man. Meanwhile, hilarious Michael Pena brings more humor to the film than even funny-man Paul Rudd, reminding me of his favorite role as Seth Rogen’s right-hand security guard in Observe and Report.

Which brings me to Ant-Man‘s next strength… the genre. Lately, Marvel movies have played with mixing different genres with the classic Super Hero story to give their origin stories and the like more originality. Winter Soldier was a 70’s Thriller, Guardians was a Star Wars-esque Space Opera, and Ant-Man is a heist film… complete with a full team… including Michael Pena! (BOOM! Brought it all the way ’round.)

Yet, the tie-ins to Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War are the movies greatest strengths. Nothing like Ant-Man fighting Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and the mention of someone who “can climb walls.”

Humor is the final piece of Ant-Man‘s successful puzzle. My father had no interest in Ant-Man, but I dragged him along and he was shocked by how funny the film is! Like The Guardians of the Galaxy, humor was the only way to make Ant-Man mainstream.

Weaknesses:  Some of Ant-Man is very cookie-cutter Marvel. Sometimes it does feel too much like the 1st Iron Man from the idea of a “suit” as his superpower to the notion that the villain just wants the same tech. In it’s least interesting moments, Ant-Man can feel like an Iron Man clone.

 

4. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRONAvengers: Age of Ultron Roster

It’s The Avengers Assembled! Again! This time fighting a creation of almost villainous Tony Stark (who does risk the team’s life with the best intentions), Ultron, an artificial intelligence who cannot be destroyed until he is locked out of the net and every drone is blown to bits.

Highlights: A lot of people love to hate this film, but I still think Avengers: Age of Ultron is Marvel Top Five; even better than the 1st film.

Why? Because The Avengers was mainly awesome because of the “Holy Shit! Bruce Banner just met Steve Rogers!” That single shot in the 1st film that flies around New York City, catching every Avenger in action was mind-blowing.

And this film opens with a scene just like that!

Age of Ultron is the stronger film as the plot is more important and fleshed out than the 1st Avengers. Think about it; the 1st film was mainly on the Helicarrier and dealt with simply following Loki around, knowing exactly what he was up to. Age of Ultron doesn’t just offer a more fluid and varied plot crafted for amazing action sequences, but a more personal story that brings out every Avenger’s (except Hawkeye) greatest fears.

Tony Stark’s scene of fear is the most poignant; an alien invasion heading toward Earth while his friends die a rocky-planet with Capt. accusing Stark of not being there to save them. This is an excellent plot device to drive Stark into horrible decisions… like creating artificial intelligence using Loki’s staff… which was also handled by Hydra. It also sets the stage for Avengers: Infinity War where our heroes could very well end up dead on an Alien planet after a failed defense against Thanos.

Finally, we get a lot of Captain America! he has most the screen-time and why not? He’s team leader and his fight with Ultron is Seoul may be a mismatch, but it’s Capt. at his best! Captain America Run Avengers Age of Ultron

Weaknesses: I may like Age of Ultron better than Ant-Man, but it sure has more faults.

Too many characters! You can’t just add three Avengers in the 3rd Act (even though we knew you would…)! One can only hope that the super talented Russo Brothers can balance the sheer amount of Avengers that will exist by the time Avengers: Infinity War comes out.

Ultron is not as cool as he could have been. Right James Spader?

Hawkeye needs some screen-time to make up for The Avengers, and it’s awesome he actually has a family (like Scott Lang), but too much time spent on his farm regardless.

 

That’s it for Today, folks.

My favorite Summer Movies #3 – #1 is HERE

 

 

 

Marvel Announces Complete Slate of Titles Leading Into ‘Avengers: Infinity War Part I & 2’


Let me start by saying, “I was wrong.” I didn’t think Marvel could or would do it, but Avengers 3 has become ‘Avengers: Infinity War Part I’ in May 4th, 2018 with ‘Part II’ following on May 3, 2019.

I (we as the internet) was also right… Steve Rogers’ next adventure, shared with Tony Stark, will be titled ‘Captain America: Civil War.’

Marvel Studios LogoThat’s just the tip of the iceberg as we now have titles for all those dates Marvel blocked off at Comic Con this year, including ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Dr. Strange,’ ‘Captain Marvel,’ and ‘The Inhumans,’ as well as ‘Thor 3’s telling subtitle. Official logos too!

Without further ado, here’s Marvel’s ‘Phase 3’ slate; all the titles we will see before ‘The Avengers: Infinity War Part II’ in 2019.

The new 'Age of Ultron' teaser poster.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – May 1st, 2015

Not technically ‘Phase 3…’ at all. But we’ve seen the trailer and I’ve proposed different ways the film may play out based on said trailer and previous knowledge of the Avengers next adventure which has them facing off against the villainous Ultron.

Ant-Man – July 17th, 2015

Though slated after ‘Age of Ultron,’ Marvel Studios is calling ‘Ant-Man’ the last film in their ‘Phase 2.’

Perhaps this is because it all ties back to ‘Age of Ultron’ and the planned TV show ‘Agent Carter;’ the latter about the adventures of Steve Rogers’ 40’s fling, Agent Peggy Carter. You know, his lady to whom he promised that dance before nosediving into the arctic.

Ant-Man has John Slattery back as as older Howard Stark, reprising his role as Tony’s father from the archive footage in ‘Iron Man 2.’

Ant-Man Comic Con PosterSo, ‘Ant-Man’ does seem to have ties to the past involving a still living Howard Stark with a younger Hank Pym, creator of Ant-Man (and Ultron in the comics…)

‘Age of Ultron’s teaser also gave us small glimpses of Captain America in the 1940s, either in flashback form or some sort of Scarlet Witch mind fuck.

‘Ant-Man’ stars Michael Douglas as inventor Hank Pym with Paul Rudd playing his protege Scott Lang. Evangeline Lilly plays eventual ‘Wasp’ Hop Van Dyne, while Corey Stoll plays the antagonist, Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket.

Official synopsis from IMDB:

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

So ‘Phase 3’ really begins with:

'Captain America: Civil War' Logo‘Captain America: Civil War’ – May 6th, 2016

Captain America’s third solo adventure isn’t a solo-adventure at all (even less so than the incredible ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’), it’s ‘Captain America: Civil War!’ (As previously covered.)

'Civil War' means mano a mano for Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.
‘Civil War’ means mano a mano for Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.

With Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark joining Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers for ‘Civil War’ has the makings of the biggest non-‘Avengers’ titles, seeing as how it features Marvel’s two most popular characters this side of the galaxy.

We don’t know all the other players, but the film will be used to introduce…

The Black Panther!

To read more about my hopes for ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ check out my article ‘Captain America 3 with Robert Downey Jr. – The Do’s and Don’ts’.

READ PART I

READ PART II

READ PART III

This title, along with the titles of other franchises and new solo-movies does lead me to believe ‘Civil War’ will play out in just ‘Captain America 3,’ not bleeding into other non-Capt. franchises.

Since I’ve covered ‘Civil War’ in length previously, let’s move onto Marvel’s next 2016 release…

'Dr. Strange' Logo‘Dr. Strange’ – November 4, 2016

What little we know about the ‘Dr. Strange’ movie was covered yesterday when the incredible actor Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Stephen Strange.

Though I doubt the final name will keep the '2,' the scribbling on the logo fits the tone of the movies and the characters.
Though I doubt the final name will keep the ‘2,’ the scribbling on the logo fits the tone of the movies and the characters.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’ – May 5th, 2017

Like ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’ is a given for Marvel Studios, not a newbie with risks like ‘Ant-Man,’ Dr. Strange,’ and ‘Black Panther.’ If Marvel has it’s way, they will somehow spin these lesser-known characters into the cinematic gold they mined out of the completely unheard of Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Drax, and Gamora.

No way this film continues ‘Civil War.’ No way the Guardians defeat Thanos (though he may make his first major appearance in ‘Guardians 2’ or ‘Captain Marvel;’ the 2nd film we will discuss in a bit). The Guardians have other shit to deal with, like who is Peter Quill’s father? (Darth Vader?)

‘Infinity War’ will finally have Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet at the center of the Avengers 3rd adventure.

'Thor: Ragnarok' Logo ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ – July 28th, 2017

Tom Hiddleson as Loki at Comic ConLoki returns! After all, eventually Thor needs to pull Loki off the throne of Asgard to set things right on his home-world.

Though there is a character in the Marvel Universe named ‘Ragnarok,’ the title likely refers to Norse Mythology

Ragnarök is a series of future events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures including Odin, Thor, and Loki. ‘Thor 3’ will likely be a giant battle between the two brothers resulting in near-apocalypse at Asgard and perhaps around the nine-realms.

'Black Panther' LogoBlack Panther – November 3rd 2017

Black Panther Concept ArtThough he will be introduced in ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ Marvel is giving the Prince of Wakanda his own solo feature. Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in ’42’ and James Brown in ‘Get On Up,’ stars as the title character, who rules a fictional African nation rich in Vibranium, the invincible metal that makes up Captain America’s shield.

There is evidence that suggests the Avengers and/or Ultron will head to Wakanda to meet up with Ulysses Klaw in ‘Age of Ultron,’ but again, at this point, it’s all speculation. I doubt we will see Black Panther or his alter-ego until ‘Civil War.’

Avengers: Infinity War - Part I' logo‘Avengers Infinity War Part 1’ – May 4th 2018

The final battle begins! Thanos will have his Infinity Gauntlet, made up of the four Infinity Gems we’ve seen thus far (Loki’s mind gem, the aether, the tesseract, and “The Orb” from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’) and the two that Mavel Studios needs to introduce in Phase 3.

How it all plays out is a mystery, but once the Mad Titan Thanos gets his hands on all 6 Infinity Gems, it’s going to take more than the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy to defeat him.

Finally, that mid-credit sequence introducing Thanos at the end of ‘The Avengers’will be paid off! In full!

'Captain Marvel' Logo‘Captain Marvel’ – July 6th 2018

Captain Marvel & Spider-ManCarol Danvers is set to be our version of Captain Marvel (there have been male versions as well, but Danvers is the most recent Captain Marvel in the comics), the only female Marvel character to lead her own movie.

DC will beat Marvel to the punch by a year with their ‘Wonder Woman’ movie in 2017.

Captain Marvel is space-bound; a closer part of the larger Galaxy-spanning Marvel Universe to The Guardians and Thanos, than the Avengers. Between ‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘The Inhumans’ who are next up, it looks like Marvel Studios is building a bigger team than just the Guardians of the Galaxy from across the universe that will help the Avengers in their fight after their assumed failure in Part 1 of ‘Infinity Wars.’

'Inhumans' LogoInhumans – November 2nd, 2018

InhumansLike the Guardians, Avengers, and The Defenders (who are getting their solo-series on Netflix followed by a ‘Defenders’ show, also on Netflix), the Inhumans are another fascinating group of heroes. They have ties to alien mythology and the part of the universe that is home to the Guardians and Captain Marvel.

It looks like Marvel is building a team of non-Earthlings between their ‘Infinity War’ movies to provide back-up to the Avengers who know little of Thanos compared to the Guardians, Captain Marvel, and the Inhumans.

These two films following ‘Infinity Wars, Part I’ set a new precedent for Marvel, three movies in one year (2018) as opposed to the usual two!

Finally…

‘Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2’ – May 3rd, 2019

Thanos and the Infinity GauntletEverything comes to a head. Technically, you can trace this storyline back to the discovery of the Tesseract, but really, we’ve all been waiting for the arrivial of Thanos since we saw his smirking face at the end of ‘Avengers.’

It’s the payoff of 2o movies and 10 years. A final, climatic film with all players fighting the most powerful enemy introduced in the MCU (the comics have greater threats than Thanos; threats he has had to step in and help stop himself).

Rest assured, Disney & Marvel won’t let the MCU die there, but this round of Avengers movies will be over, with newer characters like Dr. Strange and Black Panther carrying the weight once actors like RDJ, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans are done with the super-franchise.

What About Hulk, Black Widow, and Loki?

All three characters have become fan favorites as a result of ‘The Avengers,’ yet none will see their own film in Phase 3.

Hulk in Age of UltronThough Hulk really shined in ‘Avengers,’ he’s had two flop solo-pictures between Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’ and the MCU’s ‘Incredible Hulk.’ But we’ll still see him, not only in ‘Avengers’ movies but also some solo movies as well. ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ perhaps?

Said Marvel Movie Mastermind Paul Feige:

“I wouldn’t say Hulk is absent from the timeline. I would say that Hulk is going to appear in many of those movies – particularly all of those Avengersmovies leading up to 2019. And Infinity War, Mark Ruffalo is on board for all those films, and we’re excited to bring him to all those films.”

As for Loki, it sounds like he’ll have his biggest role yet in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ which should please fans to end.

Black Widow in 'Age of Ultron'And for Black Widow… apparently Marvel Studios is more concerned with introducing new characters played by new actors who will work for cheap. It’s a lot cheaper to hire an actor to play ‘Captain Marvel’ than to pay Scarlett Johansson to continue her popular established Avenger into a solo move.

So, that’s Marvel’s plan for the next five years. I will be in my thirties by the time I see the end of Phase 3.

Now that’s scary.

Why ‘Avengers 3’ WON’T Be Split Into 2 Movies And Thanos Might Need His Own Film


There’s a rumor floating around the net that ‘Avengers 3’ may be split into two movies.

Part 1, mutha fuckas! Now wait for part 2, suckas!
Part 1, mutha fuckas! Now wait for part 2, suckas!

We have, of course, seen many films adapted from young-adult novels that split the final book into two movies. ‘Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 & 2,’ ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2’ and now ‘Hunger Games: Mocking Jay 1 & 2.’ Meanwhile Peter Jackson believes ‘The Hobbit’ is actually 3 super long movies; just as long as the non-extended versions of the entire ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.

Splitting a book in half is one thing, but splitting ‘Avengers 3’ in half actually creates ‘Avengers 3’ and ‘Avengers 4.’

The problem? If I am not mistaken, all the stars, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, and even Samuel L. Jackson are only under contract for 3 ‘Avengers’ films. And I know that Robert Downey Jr. only has 1 movie left on his contract; a single ‘Avengers’ movie, following ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’

I’m not sure how the contracts with franchises like ‘Harry Potter’ work when it comes to splitting the final book into two movies, creating eight films instead of seven. They may have had to renegotiate the actors’ contracts for ‘Deathly Hallows, Part 2,’ but I’m sure the original contracts for ‘Twilight’ and ‘Hunger Games’ included the extra fourth film (aka ‘Part 2’ of the finales), as was likely the plan from the beginning.

Which is where the problem for ‘Avengers 3, Part 1 & 2’ arises.

RDJ (Robert Downey Jr.) got the sweetest deal of all, as no one expected the first ‘Iron Man’ to spawn two sequels and three ‘Avengers’ films. He got to negotiate his pay for the sequels and three Avengers films AFTER Marvel made him a superstar in the first ‘Iron Man’ film.

On the other hand, actors like Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth where hired on the cheap, pre-stardom, allowing Marvel to throw two sequels and three ‘Avengers’ movies on their contracts for a lot less cash than RDJ’s salary.

How much money will it take to get the two Chris's back for 'Avengers 4?'
How much money will it take to get the two Chris’s back for ‘Avengers 4?’

But making ‘Avengers 3’ into two films – creating ‘Avengers 3’ and ‘Avengers 4’ – would mean new negotiations with the entire cast of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Continue reading “Why ‘Avengers 3’ WON’T Be Split Into 2 Movies And Thanos Might Need His Own Film”

This Week In MARVEL NOW! – 2/6/13 Releases – With Nick


Marvel NOW!I don’t mean to step on Media Monster’s toes (he does Weekly Comic Picks… nearly weekly), but I am really into Marvel NOW! right… er… now.

So, I’ve decided to write a (perhaps) weekly column on all the Marvel NOW! comics I read each week because…

a) A second opinion never hurts.

b) I subscribe to a great deal of the Marvel NOW! titles, with some exceptions including X-MEN titles and FANTASTIC FOUR.

c) Did I mention I’m really into Marvel NOW!?

Sorry, Miles.
Sorry, Miles.

d) I’m not caught up on my IDW, DC, and non-Marvel NOW! Marvel titles.

While Media Monster simply picks his favorite titles each month, I’ll give you a run down of what happens each issue, following it up with a mini-review of my own. Like with my previous Marvel NOW! post, I will only be discussing titles that got rebooted along with Marvel NOW! Anything started prior to that, like AVENGING SPIDER-MAN, HAWKEYE, or AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, or any books in the Ultimate Universe like SPIDER-MAN starring Miles Morales, will not be discussed.

AVENGERS #5: SUPERGUARDIAN

Avengers Now #5Previously: AVENGERS is really confusing right NOW! (See what I did there?)

Following the first three-issue arc involving a creative/destructive force on Mars, Issue #4 focused a little on the aftermath; both villains and heroes racing to either quarantine or benefit from sectors of Earth hit with the evolution spawning virus from Mars. Hyperion was introduced, yet this week’s issue seems to relate little to the four that came before.

Synopsis: Like Issue #4, this issue focuses on the origin of a hero. Izzy finds a pair of glasses in a corn field in Iowa. Putting them on, she becomes a Smasher, the first human Subguardian in the history of the planet Chandilar. The story jumps around from Izzy’s first journey to Chandilar to the present where she has rallied the Avengers to help defend the planet.

Of course, the Avengers are successful and the planet is saved. Afterward, we learn (via flashback) that after she received her gift, Izzy was given an Avengers card by her grandfather who served with Captain America in his youth. Izzy is promoted to Superguardian, again, the first Earthling to ever achieve this rank. Meanwhile, the other Superguardians have come to a startling conclusion; the force they fought back was not attacking their planet, rather it was fleeing something far more terrifying and powerful.

Judgement: While AVENGERS issues 1-3 were fairly straightforward in their storytelling, issues 4 & 5 seem unnecessarily complex, almost like the writer is simply trying to imitate unconventional storytellers like Christopher Nolan or Quentin Tarantino. I don’t like how the previous storyline was all but dropped for the issue, with the exception of a nearly pointless page on which Tony Stark interacts with Blackveil, the next evolution of man whom was a result of the incident on Mars.

AVENGERS seems to be building up to something much bigger, setting up characters like Hyperion and Superguardian Smasher Izzy, but until the fruits of Marvel NOW!’s labor are evident, I label this book my least favorite out of the titles I currently read from Marvel NOW!

Rating – DON’T READ.

THE FEARLESS DEFENDERS #1

Fearless Defenders #1Synopsis: The era of a brand new Defenders team has begun. Though recently rebooted in 2012 with Dr. Strange, Red She-Hulk, Namor, Silver Surfer, and Iron Fist, NOW! brings a brand new version with completely different characters, starting with Valkyrie and Misty Knight.

The action starts with Misty Knight rescuing relics that belong in a museum, Indiana Jones style (her employer Dr. Annabelle Riggs “grew up watching a lot of Indiana Jones”) from a heavily guarded ship. She’s not the only one after ancient treasures, as the ship is destroyed by an attack helicopter, but not before she escapes with a miniature statue. The helicopter baddies are able to salvage an ancient skeleton, one which will somehow bring about a massacre.

Fearless Defenders 1 PageBack at the White Mountain National Forest, Annabelle Riggs (she watches Indiana Jones and shares a last name with my favorite buddy cop, I may be in love…) examines the statue at an Asgardian burial site, accidentally activating a song that awakens all the dead vikings. Misty Knight does her best to fight off the hoard but is only successful once Valkyrie arrives to help. Following their battle, Valkyrie leaves to consult the all-mother, with Misty Knight and Riggs tagging along.

Judgement: I’ve never heard of any of these characters, but so far I dig the book. Valkyrie is basically a female version of Thor; officially a Shieldmaiden, “gatherer of fallen warriors.” Misty Knight is a ninja with a bionic arm called Satan Claw, a “Stark Industries Cybernetic Replica.” And Dr. Annabelle Riggs is a lesbian, making out with Valkyrie after she is saved… so maybe she is not the girl for me after all. 😦Fearless Defenders Love

The action is solid, the characters interesting, and a threat looms large as the corpse secured by the villains is causing the Doommaidens to rise, which Valkyrie admits is her fault.

We’ll see where the book goes in coming months, who else joins the team, but for now my curiosity is peaked, even if I’m not one with a history for “girl power.”

Rating – MAYBE READ…

Iron Man 6IRON MAN # 6 : THE GODKILLER 1 of 3

Previously: Iron Man retrieved all five missing Extremis kits, creating new foes along the way. Seeing what types of enhancements the kits resulted in, Tony Stark decided to push himself farther, designing a suit for deep space travel. So Stark set out on his intergalactic adventure, all set with a new A.I. called P.E.P.P.E.R., with all the personality traits of Stark Industries CEO Pepper Potts.

Synopsis: After defending the Voldi Tear in deep space from a “predatory mechanoid pirate fleet” Tony flirts with a purple-skinned alien at the Voldi Citadel of Rapture. The two decide to retreat to her room, as it is Tony’s birthday, after all. Upon removing his armor,  miss Purple-Skin vomits; facial hair is apparently a disgusting taboo in this sector.

Booted out before he even has a chance to shave, Stark is quickly arrested by the authorities for Deicide. Labeled the Godkiller, Stark is being held for killing the Void Falcon… or as we know it on Earth… The Phoenix (Iron Man had to slay the nearly unstoppable force to save the Earth in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN).

Judgement: Not a lot happens this issue. Considering this is part one of a three issue arc, I expected more to happen to Stark than a three page space fight (two of which were a splash page), some flirting, and then arrest. In fact, this issue was mostly flirting.Iron Man 6 Splash Page

While it’s the 3rd worst title of the week (which also makes it the 4th best, I guess…), I still like the direction IRON MAN has taken with Marvel NOW! While still bogged down in AvX aftermath, it is interesting to see the great threat that was the Phoenix from an alien perspective. And there are some real fun moments including Tony’s STAR TREK reference where he exclaims that “the purple space girl thing has its appeal too.”

Rating – MAYBE READ…

Continue reading “This Week In MARVEL NOW! – 2/6/13 Releases – With Nick”

Breaking MARVEL NOW!… Now! – Where Best To Start Your MARVEL Adventure


Marvel presents... THE AVENGERS... NOW!
Marvel presents… THE AVENGERS… NOW!

If you’ve always wanted to read comics but never knew where to start, the time is NOW! Marvel NOW!

Or, if you already read comics and are looking for a few more good comics, I have sampled most the new Marvel books  and have recommendations for you, Now! Marvel NOW!

In 2011, DC Comics relaunched its entire universe, all 52 titles including Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, as well as all their friends & enemies, in a reboot fitted with the brand “The New 52.”

Batman New 52This semi-reboot – some universes were partially reset while others like Batman kept his complete continuity (according to current BATMAN scribe Scott Snyder on Smodcast’s FAT MAN ON BATMAN podcast) – while still incredibly confusing, served as the perfect starting point for me and my roommate to finally give into our prepubescent urges and become full on geeks, frequenting Mile High Comics every Wednesday at 11 am (right when it opens).

By the time Marvel launched MARVEL NOW! last December, its own version of THE NEW 52 (which it is still rolling out) designed to bring in new readers following AVENGERS becoming the biggest fucking movie off all time (okay, it isn’t officially, but it is a “game changer” in a way AVATAR never was), I was over a year into comics. I subscribe to all the NEW 52 titles with BATMAN in them (except BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED – I tried it, but it didn’t stick), my roommate covers SUPERMAN and his two friends (SUPERBOY & SUPERGIRL), while also spending the past year exploring Batman’s pre-NEW 52 greatest hits from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS to KNIGHTFALL to PREY to my personal favorite, LONG HALLOWEEN.

All this time, I also subscribed to many Marvel titles at Mile High Comics including nearly all AVENGERS (yes, including AVENGERS VS. X-MEN), and any title with Spider-Man (including the Ultimate Universe’s Miles Morales), Captain America, Deadpool, & countless other characters. (I also covered a little IDW with some STAR TREK & JUDGE DREDD).

Yet, while I feasted on Batman, I read almost none of my Marvel titles, as all carried too much baggage, too many years of backstory and strange twists that bogged me down as a noob comic reader.

But now, MARVEL NOW!

Though not an actual reboot, just like the NEW 52’s Batman line, Marvel NOW! introduces all the characters at a point where things are changing: at a new starting point, as it were. Though there is still 50 years of history behind characters like Spider-Man, Marvel NOW! introduces every team and character to us , not necessarily from their point of origin, but from a spot where no background is needed. Marvel knows there are noobs like me and have therefore made their labyrinth of a universe easy to digest.

Issue #1 of CAPTAIN AMERICA
Issue #1 of CAPTAIN AMERICA

Never understood the difference between NEW AVENGERS & regular AVENGERS? Marvel NOW quickly and simply differentiates the two teams’ roles. Characters like Captain America don’t have their origin repeated, but we do get flashes of Steve Roger’s childhood life along with a storyline with no prior Capt. knowledge required.

Marvel NOW! is simply the best way to get into comics, whether you haven’t read them for years, have never read them, or have left Marvel previously due to the universe’s extreme complexity.

I’ve listed the titles I’ve read thus far (I can’t afford to read them all, fwiend), following said list with my favorite five titles, so that you can get started on the road to Marvel NOW!

NOTE: I’m only including titles that started with Issue #1 for Marvel NOW! Any titles continuing their numbering system and not adding the “NOW!” of Marvel NOW!, like VENOM, AVENGING SPIDER-MAN, or AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, will not be considered on this list.

All New X-MenMARVEL NOW! issues I’ve Read…

A + X #1

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK Issue #1
INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK Issue #1

ALL NEW X-MEN 1-3

AVENGERS 1-4

CAPTAIN AMERICA 1-3

DEADPOOL 1-4

FANTASTIC FOUR #1

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK 1-3

IRON MAN 1-5

NEW AVENGERS 1-2

SAVAGE WOLVERINE #1

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN 1-2

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER 1-4

THUNDERBOLTS 1-3

UNCANNY AVENGERS 1-3

YOUNG AVENGERS #1

Find out which five you shouldn’t miss after the jump! Some of my choices may surprise you.

Continue reading “Breaking MARVEL NOW!… Now! – Where Best To Start Your MARVEL Adventure”