Monday, September 24, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Comic Review -- Avengers vs. X-Men #11 / Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, & Laura Martin

SPOILER WARNING!!  This review contains a BIG SPOILER about a character's fate in the Marvel Universe!  Please DON'T view if you don't know what it is and don't want it spoiled!

Overall, a good issue, though not without its flaws.  Still, it's heartening to see how this story has improved from its less than stellar beginning.  Hope you enjoy!

This video can also be found on my Youtube page!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Video Review Background

Wanted to add a quick picture of my video review background to this place, as it's one of the easier and more successful projects I've attempted this year.

If you saw my first video review for Hawkeye #2, I had a hastily draped sheet over a hinged set of wooden panels.  It didn't cover my viewing area nearly enough, but I figured it was better to do *something* immediately, with the resolution to work on it soon after, or I might have chickened out and not even started the reviews.  So, that's what I did.  The picture below represents the first such effort at making things a little more catchy while I talk about comics.

I'll be adding this one to my profile pic here.  And maybe on Facebook.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Comic Review -- Avenging Spider-Man #11

I think I look more pixelated in this review, and I can't figure out why.  :-/  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!  Enjoy!

This video review is also on my Youtube page!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Comic Review -- Hawkeye #2 / Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth

Quick note: I meant that Clint thinks of Kate as his protege, NOT his mentor, despite what I say towards the end of the review!  Stupid brainlock!

This video is also on my Youtube!  Thanks for viewing!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Marvel NOW! Marvel, What?

Okay, I gotta say: little raccoon with a
minigun is pretty sweet!
Over the summer, a lot happened while I wasn't writing.  Yesterday I mentioned the recent kiss between Superman and Wonder Woman.  Superhero films The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises came out and caused long lines at theaters (reviews in the near future).  Some big names at DC jumped ship from the New 52 titles.  Oh yeah, and Avengers vs. X-Men is still going on, though it's apparently due to wrap up soon (ish).

AvX has gotten better as it's gone along over the summer, and I'm both eager and apprehensive about its impending conclusion.  I want to see what comes out of such a vicious struggle between these two groups, as it at least in part stemmed from their relative insularity from one another.  Both Emma Frost and Cyclops have made comments that the Avengers have never bothered to help the X-Men with any of their major problems, and the X-Men have responded by often remaining neutral and getting minimally involved in events where the Avengers have had a large stake in matters, such as Marvel's Civil War from a few years ago.  After AvX, this appears to be getting addressed, and I'm interested to see what shape this takes and where it goes.

Yep.  "Nick Fury's" getting a "new
But what makes me more than a little nervous is the sheer number of canceled, new, and "revamped" titles coming out under this new marketing initiative, Marvel NOW!  Characterized as NOT a reboot, but instead a major shifting of the Marvel Universe due to the events from AvX, there will be new teams, new status quos, and new perspectives explored by Marvel's stalwart heroes.  Some of the noteworthy changes I've observed so far seem to be a new regular team that consists of both Avengers and X-Men; a new "version" of Nick Fury who closely resembles the Nick Fury from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (who, as it happens, resembled Ultimate Marvel's interpretation of the character); and the return of Jean Grey, who's deaths in comics have never been permanent, though often well-thought out.

It's all very exciting, but it's also confusing.  To cancel so many long-standing titles like The Fantastic Four and Invincible Iron Man and immediately do another volume of the same title certainly feels like a reboot, or at the very least an unnecessary change.  And you can't argue that this is "just another phase" Marvel's going through, like Civil War, then Secret Invasion, then Dark Reign, then Heroic Age.  To my knowledge, those arcs didn't have anywhere near this scale of canceled and new titles, nor the number of fundamental changes.  Something's going on that's clearly bigger than the storylines of previous years, but not quite as sweeping as an overall reboot like the New 52 was.

It feels like Marvel saw how successful New 52 was, and decided, "We need to do something big and sweeping!  But, er, not quite a 'reboot,' per se.  Let's see what we can come up with!"

Now (pun intended), we're still a few weeks from this, and of course, I'm going to give it a shot.  Despite the reactionary feel to it, I know to give the minds at Marvel some leeway for the most part (except for Quesada.  I will never forgive One More Day.  You better not screw this up, man!).  And it does look interesting.  I'm just feeling a little unnerved by the scale and timing of this particular change.

Bring it, Marvel.  I'm apprehensive, but still eager to see what you do with this one.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Kiss That Sort of Shook the Comics World

Okay.  Back in earnest.  Here we go.

So by now you've probably at least heard the news that Superman and Wonder Woman share a passionate kiss at the end of Justice League #12.  It's certainly been making the rounds in comics circles, and major news outlets are at least taking note of the fact that Superman is kissing someone other than Lois Lane.  Images of Jim Lee's cover have flooded the Internet, and the hardcore fanboys and fangirls are lining up on both sides of the "Will it last?" question.

Regardless of how one may feel about this development--which, thus far, consists of a single kiss--I find it more than a little shocking that this is such a big deal.  It's not even like it's never happened before.  Since at least the 1980s, there have been stories and indications that show how Superman and Wonder Woman could be a good match.  In the alternate reality story Kingdom Come (which, by the way, is excellent, and I can't believe I haven't reviewed yet), Superman and Wonder Woman not only get together, but she is pregnant with Superman's child.

I suppose another factor in the shock and discomfiture of this pairing has a lot to do with the fact that this is NOT Lois Lane, who we are taught to think is "The One And Only True Love" Superman is supposed to be with.  This may be true in the movies--which, despite their popularity, are not real source material--but the comics tell a very different story.  Aside from Lois Lane, Superman has had other, admittedly more minor or less timely love interests--Lana Lang admittedly being the only one who jumps readily to my mind (my knowledge of Superman trivia is not as extensive as other areas).  Superman fans, feel free to help round out the list for me.

Our cultural obsession with the "one true love" thing is something I find off-putting, particularly in a necessarily timeless (and time-bending) medium such as comics.  I don't know how many articles I've already read where people are essentially saying, "Superman and Lois WILL get together eventually.  I know it will happen.  This is just a temporary thing."  It's like they can't stand the idea of ANY OTHER romance working, simply because the Lois Lane one worked so well, and nothing else will possibly compare.

Little question:  How do you know it won't compare as well if you don't explore the other possibilities?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: superheroes are one of our modern mythologies.  Mythologies are necessarily open to reinterpretation, revision, and re-telling.  Things should happen in a more or less organic way and be respectful of the audience, but aside from that, anything goes.

And a little thing about the New 52: it's a perfect point to reinterpret it characters' lives.  We've already seen quite a few controversial changes, such as Victor Fries's motivation for becoming Mr. Freeze, Bruce Wayne possibly having a sibling (!), and so forth.  If these things are fair game, then so are relationships and who loves who.

I've also personally felt superhero relationships with "civilians" were too contrived to work.  I've never been a huge fan of Spider-Man's marriage to Mary Jane, and have usually longed for him to have companionship who could survive on the same level as he could.  This is many times as true with Superman and Lois Lane.  I mean, Spider-Man's arch nemeses are supervillains, like the Green Goblin, Doc Ock and the Kingpin.  Superman's arch enemies include Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Darkseid, other pissed-off Kryptonians... basically cosmic-scale adversaries, for the most part.  How the hell is Lois supposed to be kept safe against them?  Wonder Woman is not only able to defend herself against these threats ably, but she has her own rogues gallery to contend with.  She'll be likely saving Superman's hide once in a while.

I've never been a huge fan of either of these heroes individually, but I find myself saluting Geoff Johns and Jim Lee for this development.  Only time will tell, of course, but I think there's the potential for a lot of awesome, creative, and fresh storytelling with these two as a potential couple.  They can play on each other's level, and they are both outsiders within the Justice League.  And in this new interpretation of the DC Universe, I think this is a promising glimpse of things to come.