Monday, December 22, 2008

Thunderbolts: Dark Reign.

There's really good interview with Andy Diggle about the new direction of the Thunderbolts book. Having recently read the entire Thunderbolts series, it's not surprising that the book is getting rebooted with a new roster, it seemed to happen once every two years during the life of the series. The idea behind the series kind of lends itself to happening, but it also makes it for a tough read all the way through, because it has been rebooted or re-rostered about 20 times already. With that being said, I like the way the last couple of issues have gone (even though you can see the storyline coming from a mile away) and the new roster/story looks pretty interesting.

One thing that I can't wait for, which is mentioned in the interview, is the Deadpool crossover. Yeah, that is going to be pretty awesome, because the two characters that I love the way they've been written lately are Norman Osborn and Wade Wilson. So it will be pretty interesting to see them in a cross-over together (although they probably won't be together in the same panel, well, maybe at the end Wade will finally get to Norman) and you throw in the bunch of misfits that make up the Thunderbolts, and I think it will be a pretty entertaining couple of issues.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hulk Vs. Update 12/10/08

Marvel released a new trailer for the Hulk Vs. DVD and it's pretty impressive. Sabretooth, Deadpool and Omega Red make appearances.

The Wolverine part looks like it has a pretty decent story to it, whereas the Thor part looks like it's going to be 45 minutes of the Hulk and Thor kicking the crap out of each other. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, but I am drawn to the Wolverine story more and more each time they reveal more of the story.

I highly suggest viewing the trailer, it's starting to look very promising.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Speaking of an Identity Crisis...

I've mentioned a time or two on here that I'm much much much more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan. I think my main gripe is I have no clue who the main characters are. When I was collecting comics in the '90s, everyone was shaking things up with their storylines and characters. But even now, 10+ years later, I still have no clue who the Flash's alter-ego is. I haven't checked Wikipedia yet, but I think it's Wally West. If it's not him, it's Barry Allen. Other possible candidates are the kid that was Impulse and for some reason, the name Jay Garrick is popping into my head. Let's find out.

Okay, it turns out the most recent Flash was Bart Allen / Impulse, but he's dead so it was then Wally West. But at Comic Con this year, they announced that Barry Allen is coming back in the lead role as The Flash. Huh? How is a casual fan supposed to keep up with that?

The current Green Lantern could be Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner, but Alan Scott, Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Jade have also been GL. Batman was replaced by Azrael for a bit, Superman died and was replaced by four different people claiming to be him. There have been five Robins, and six characters named Nightwing.

I was thinking about the same situation in terms of Marvel Comics. I think Thor has probably had the most alter-egos but he's still Thor. Those are just his human form. There were two Spider-Mans, two Captain Americas...and I'm struggling to think of more. How many Wolverines, Hulks and Iron Mans have there been? Just one of each, to the best of my knowledge.

My other minor complaint against DC is their use of fictional cities like Metropolis and Gotham City. When I heard the X-Men set up shop in San Francisco, I know where that is. I'm still not sure where Keystone City is.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dark Reign Update 12.9.08

Because the cat is out of the bag, it's full-on "Dark Reign Mode" over at right now. They released a whole bunch of articles on the upcoming event. I'm just going to list them here:

Mega Preview - Almost 40 comic books coming out in the next two or three months that are tie-ins. I am glad that Deadpool will continue to be involved, people really need to go out and buy that book.

Dark Reign-Makers: Jeff Parker - An interview with Jeff Parker about Agents of Atlas, which I think ties in the Marvel Apes series into the Marvel Universe.

Dark Reign Trailer.

My Cup O Joe: The Secret Invasion/Dark Reign Edition.

Dark Reign-Makers: Brian Michael Bendis. An interview with the guy responsible for this mess.

Here's an interview with Danny Way about Deadpool and Wolverine's involvement in the whole Dark Reign crossover.

Monday, December 8, 2008

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Photos.

They had some problems with the pictures last week, but Marvel released an article with new pictures of the Wolverine movie. It is starting to look pretty decent.

There are only two problems I see so far, but they already see to have built-in solutions.

1. Gambit it in the movie. BUT, apparently, he's not in it for very long.
2. Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool. BUT, he'll probably be wearing a mask for most of his appearances in the movie, so at least there's that to look forward to. He will probably get some facetime when he's brought to the Weapon X facility though. I really wish they could have offered the role to another actor.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Secret Invasion: Review.

Secret Invasion #8 came out yesterday, and that finally wrapped up an eight or nine month massive cross-over. Other people have talked about it, but I thought I'd chip in with my two cents about the series. There are spoilers ahoy, but just in-case, here's a friendly reminder:



I thought Secret Invasion started out pretty strong; it's a great idea, and the more the plot kept unraveling and you started to see how far back this thing went, the better it got. It did kind of start to lag a little in the middle; a lot of the minor cross-over books went back to their regularly scheduled programming, but then Secret Invasion #7 came out and I started to get really excited again.

Then Secret Invasion #8 hit the stands. Man, what a let-down. I read another person's view on the series, and I think there was a good point in there, that the series really ended in the seventh issue, this last one was just tying up loose ends. I personally thought it had a deus ex machina ending, and it felt very rushed, it felt like they had too many things going on at the same time. I thought issue seven was very good; it was well paced, there was lots of action, and the reveals and story in general was great. Issue Eight just fell on it's face in my opinion.

Another annoying thing it the repeating going on in other issues of the cross-over. This happened to me twice during the series; I read a cross-over issue right before the issue of Secret Invasion, and there were specific parts that were exactly the same. It happened in a Thunderbolts issue where Bullseye takes out a giant Skrull, and then it happened last night when I read New Avengers #47. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' baby got stolen by Skrull-Jarvis and they spent two to three pages where they fly back to their apartment and freak out. Then I started reading Secret Invasion #8, and near the end, there's two pages with almost the same exact panels, and it had the exact same dialogue. It's just annoying to pay $6.98 to have the same exact thing happen in two different books. I understand there should be a little overlap, but there should be a reference to it, not two to three pages of the exact same thing happening twice when the characters have the exact same dialogue line-for-line.

And the ending, what the hell Bendis? (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD) Thor kills a giant Wasp (Janet Pym) who is infected with a virus that is killing everyone, Iron Man shows up in some old armor, Norman Osbourne kills the Skrull Queen, then most of them fly into outer space to destroy Skrull spaceships, and Iron Man finds all of the heroes that were replaced as Skrulls in one of the spaceships and brings it back to New York. I think this all happens in like 5-7 pages, which is why I brought up the fact that it felt rushed. The heroes coming back really annoys the hell out of me. Really, there were no risks taken with the series. The Wasp was the only one that died, and they tried to make it a big deal because she was one of the "founding members" of the Avengers, but seriously, who really cares about her death? I sure don't. I thought that "killing" Henry Pym was a pretty bold move, but it turns out that he's alive now. I'm not arguing the details as to why they're still alive, I actually think it holds water, I'm arguing the reasoning and the choice to keep them alive.

The reason all of those Heroes are still alive is because the process that the Skrulls used to impersonate them depended them being alive, because it somehow accessed their memories, which couldn't be replicated if they were dead. Ok, I get it, and you kind of earned it in a way (a couple of crossover issues hinted at it), but I'm going to say this again; there were no risks taken. I would have liked to have seen some of those characters die. It's the same thing I've been complaining about for years; the constant return to the status quo. It's annoying. And Janet's death isn't risky, and it doesn't impact very much, they really weren't doing much with her character anyway.

One part that I thought was a good thing, but that also pissed me off, was Tony Stark getting his comeuppance. Basically, he totally screwed up and because of his involvement in Civil War, he has no friends. S.H.I.E.L.D. is mothballed by the President, which was more about damage control and getting Tony out of power than about anything else. What's disturbing, however, is his replacement. You could see it coming from a mile away, but Norman Osbourne in charge now. He's heading up the "Thunderbolts Initiative" and that's what leads into the "Dark Reign" crossover. More on that later. The thing that really pisses me off though, is that it's basically a giant middle finger to anyone who collected any Marvel comic from 2006-2007, because it basically negates EVERYTHING that happened as a result of the Civil War Crossover. Personally, I would really prefer if they would just cool it with the giant crossovers that are obviously all written to be packaged into a trade at a later day. We've gone from House of M, to Civil War, to World War Hulk, to Secret Invasion, and now we've got Dark Reign. Enough already.

Anyways, back to the point about Tony Stark, he's pretty much decimated at the end of this whole thing. Stark Tech is basically dead technology now, no one is going to touch it because the Skrulls hacked it and inserted a virus. Since he insisted that S.H.I.E.L.D. he's basically screwed now because they're not a functioning entity anymore. And I guess Osborn has taken over StarkTech and has absorbed it into Oscorp. There is a panel at the end of the issue where he is pretty much catatonic. I think that the most interesting story to come out of this whole thing is going to be Tony's story and how he deals with his situation. He basically has nothing. Thor came as close as he could to telling him to lose his number. It could be pretty funny if he turns into a Moon Knight kind of a character, where he's reduced to an unauthorized, street-level crime-fighter.

So the ending revolves around the next giant cross-over, Dark Reign. There are major spoilers ahead, but it's not like I'm the first to talk about this. Basically, Norman Osborne is in control now. He assembles a kind of "Dark Illuminati" consisting of; himself, Dr.Doom, Namor, Loki, The Hood and Emma Frost. Ok, so, I get the rest; and I kind of understand Namor's role, even though he was in the original Illuminati, but I totally don't understand Emma Frost's role. Several people have stated that "she's not evil", but why is she there? From what I've read, it's supposed to "mirror" the original Illuminati, and they're not supposed to be evil per se, but when, Dr. Doom, Norman Osborn, Loki and the Hood are involved, I question anyone else's involvement.

They're supposed to form the Dark Avengers, who are supposed to go after the New Avengers. I personally hope that Tony Stark joins the New Avengers in hiding and he has to start all over again. I guess the more I start thinking about it, the less upset I become. I remember being really disgusted with the end of the series, but now, looking forward, it's kind of a means to an end.

One last thing that really annoyed me was Wolverine's involvement in this whole thing. He's supposed to be in San Francisco, but he's also in New York with the New Avengers, then he goes to the Savage Land with everyone, and then he's on the front line with the rest of the Super Heroes, but if I remember correctly, he's also in San Fran with the X-Men for their part in the cross-over. You can only use the he's best at what he does line so many times before you start to call B.S.

Overall, I would give Secret Invasion an average grade. There was a whole lot of hype and it lived up to it for awhile, but I was really turned off by the ending. AND, a lot of the cross-over issues were MUCH better than the actual series issues. Like there were issues of Hercules that were pretty amazing, and the first three issues of Deadpool were integral to the ending and weren't even branded as Secret Invasion cross-overs; then a lot of these story lines were pretty much dropped and it was back to normal programming. I don't think they co-ordinated this one as well as they have done in the past and a lot of series were over with their cross-over involvement before the regular series was half-way done. I am on the fence about Dark Reign. I am thinking about adding the Dark Avengers and the Dark Reign limited series if they have one, but I'm not going to go out and get issues of Ms. Marvel or most of the branded mini-series (I can't tell you how disappointed I was in Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four; I read someone describe it as a bait-and-switch and they are 100% correct; half of the team [Reed and Susan] aren't even in the book).

As I said, I would give the series a passing grade, I would try and pick it up in the trades if you missed it, it's probably easier to find and read that way, instead of hunting down all of those issues; and again, the cross-over issues are hit-and-miss; when they hit, they're really good, but when they miss, they can be pretty terrible.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Thanks to the library, I finished up reading Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis recently. Both were better than I expected. As I've said here, I'm not much of a DC fan but got drawn into both stories even though I didn't know who some characters at all.

Identity Crisis doesn't really tie in to the whole Crisis multi-verse storylines DC is known for. Identity is a tight murder mystery story written by novelist Brad Meltzer. The identity of the killer and their motivation was a little bit of a letdown, but I did enjoy the story. I especially liked how it focused more on characters like Green Arrow and Zatanna, and the villain Doctor Light, who comes off looking like a threat. Rags Morales does a great job on pencilling the series, too.

Infinite Crisis deals with the multiple Earth storyline, and Earth Two's Superman, Superboy, Alex Luthor and Lois Lane wanting to make their Earth the true one. They consider Earth Two to be a more perfect world, as Earth One's Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have all had their own individual meltdowns and struggles lately. JLA Watchtower has been destroyed and the entire DC Universe seems to be coming apart at the seems. Villains are uniting and all out chaos erupts. There are so many characters in this series it's hard to keep track of them all, especially to a casual DC fan like myself. Still, you can't help but get excited when the entire Green Lantern Corps races into space, Firestorm is taking care of business, and other characters are dying every few pages.

Infinite was a really thought out, well paced series. Since I'm always behind on comics, I'll have to wait until the trades come out for Final Crisis and/or the One Year Later storylines, but this series got me excited about the DCU.