jump to navigation

Casual Saturdays: Where Things Stand… September 27, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Comic Book Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow, three months goes by fast! Let’s once again take a look at where things stand in the Marvel Universe.

Secret Invasion – It’s rapidly approaching its end, and six issues, three big Skrull reveals, and countless tie-ins later, it is a great story, while at the same time being a little unsatisfying. For the most part, I have enjoyed the goings-on in the main series, but many of the tie-ins have been disappointing. While this has almost as many tie-ins as Civil War did, Civil War was much better at being able to carry the story of each particular character or group of characters coping with the SHRA. In this case, most tie-ins simply feature a character or group of characters participating in an issues-long brawl with the Skrulls. As epic as this story has been, I will be happy when it is over.

Fantastic Four – I’ve loved Millar’s take on the FF, even if it is a little slow at times, but it seems that many do not share my enthusiasm. Sure, his take on the individual members may not be completely orthodox, but this departure from the norm has been what has made most of it fun. So while I’ll enjoy his sixteen issue run, I wouldn’t want him to take the helm for the next several years. (And I do hope they find someone great to do so, FF really does need a shot in the arm that will carry it forward.) In the meantime, regardless whether or not you are a fan of Millar’s handling of the team, you should definitely check out the Fantastic Four: True Story mini-series that is going on. The story might be slightly absurd, but I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve reviewed the first two issues of it at WCBR here and here, and I’ll soon post the link here to my review of the third.

Silver Surfer – We haven’t seen hide nor hair (that is, if he had hair) of him since Nova 15, and as far as I know, it looks to stay that way. I really wish Marvel would do another mini. 😦 (Or, heck, even an ongoing!) But, with the “War of Kings” that’s supposed to tear through Marvel’s cosmic line next year, maybe they’ll find a place to tell a story about good old Norrin. Until then, I plan to write a review of one of my favorite Surfer tales, Silver Surfer: Requiem for WCBR sometime this week, and I’ll post a link here when it is available.

Amazing Spider-Man – It sure has come a long way from the atrocious One More Day fiasco. New Ways to Die has been every bit the fantastic story we were promised it would be and while I’m still upset with the dissolution of the marriage, I won’t lie that I’m looking forward to what the “Braintrust” will bring us next. Especially the courtroom story hinted at in the “Extra!” one shot a while back. Also, the first issue of ASM Family was decent, and I was disappointed at first when it sounded as though they wouldn’t be including further “Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man” stories, but the solicits for future issues makes it appear they will. Expect reactions to issue two in two weeks.

New Avengers – This title is severely lacking from its title characters, namely the Avengers. I’ve not hidden my dislike for the fact that Bendis is using these two books he’s in charge of to write Secret Invasion back-up tales (some of which haven’t even been that important) despite the fact that they rarely involve the Avengers. I really wish he’d done a Secret Invasion: Origins mini-series for these stories, or something of the like, and just given us more Avengers adventures. Though I won’t lie, rumors running around of the possible upcoming fourth Avengers ongoing (Dark Avengers) has me excited.

Mighty Avengers – See above.

Avengers: The Initiative – Where its two “Avengers brethren” have suffered from “Secret Invasion overdose,” Avengers: The Initiative has flourished. Dan Slott and Christos Gage continue to put out spectacular, character driven stories proving that you can pull characters from the “nobody’s ever heard of these random Marvel superheroes” list, and still have one of the best comic books on the market. Yes, I still miss Cloud 9, my favorite character to come out of this series, but team Slott and Gage haven’t steered us wrong yet, and I’m sure we’ll see her before too long.

Captain America – With Ed Brubaker’s long awaited conclusion to the “Death of the Dream” “mega-arc” that came out this week, Brubaker proves that he can leave you satisfied and begging for more at the same time. With almost complete resolution on the good guy side of the equation, and almost none on the bad guy side, Brubaker has made me a permanent fan of Captain America. Don’t expect to see this series leaving my must-read list anytime soon.

Thor – This, in my opinion, is still probably the best comic book series on the market. J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel continue to give us this slow-churning epic infused with humor and suspense. What is Loki’s true plan? What does it have to do with Dr. Doom? How does she intend to gain the allegiance of Balder, one of Thor’s longest friends? How will her actions affect Midgard? When JMS’ run on Thor is finally over (which I hope never happens), this will likely be one of my favorite graphic format stories told. (This honor currently belongs to Bone by Jeff Smith, and yes, I have read Watchmen, I still think Bone is better.)

Invincible Iron Man – One year ago, I never would have guessed that I’d be reading an Iron Man series. I loathed him for his actions during Civil War and, along with many fans and much of the actual Marvel Universe, blamed him for Captain America’s death. My appreciation for him, unknowingly, actually began when I started reading Avengers: The Initiative. As I began to see more and more the benefits of the SHRA, I began to understand Tony’s actions. I didn’t necessarily like him, but I no longer hated him. Then, of course, the Iron Man movie came out. I was completely blown away. I needed more Tony Stark, and I needed it IMMEDIATELY. Luckily, Marvel was wise enough to start a new Invincible Iron Man ongoing series just days after the release of the movie. And, luckier still, the series has maintained much of the flavor of the movie. IIM has become one of my favorite monthly reads, and one that I recommend to everyone I talk to who loved the movie (especially non-comic book readers, what better way to introduce them to the medium?)

Uncanny X-Men – With the authors of the already legendary Captain America series and the breakaway Invincible Iron Man ongoing at the helm of the world’s best selling super-team, this should have been an easy success. Unfortunately, something has gone wrong. Ever since Messiah Complex, Uncanny has taken a turn for the mediocre. Luckily, it had the beautiful artwork of Mike Choi to make us survive through the awful hippie story. Now we’re just getting an ever-increasing focus on the ever-increasingly annoying character Pixie, as rendered by the horrible artist Greg Land. I don’t know what needs to happen to fix this title, but Brubaker and Fraction but figure it out fast. (And firing Greg Land from the comic book medium would be a good start, especially when he pulls off crap like this.)

Astonishing X-Men – Who’d’ve guessed that this series would still be plagued with delays after the departure of Whedon and Cassaday? I dunno, but with the upcoming Ender’s Game comic book adaptation (discussed below), I’ve decided to drop this in favor of that. Don’t get me wrong, the story seems interesting enough, and the artwork is wonderful, but I feel this isn’t really an essential part of my reading list. I will, however, still review issues of this from time to time on WCBR.

Ender’s Game – Finally. One of my all-time-favorite novels is getting the comic book treatment. I’ve never looked forward to the release of a comic book as much as I am Ender’s Game #1 on October 8th. If you’ve never read the book, first off, shame on you! But secondly, you definitely better read the comic, because it’s gonna be epic! In fact, next week, Casual Saturdays will be all about why you should read it, so if you aren’t planning to, you better check back then!

So what do you guys think of the Marvel Universe as it is now? Share your thoughts if you feel like it.



Review of Invincible Iron Man 5 (4.5 stars) September 3, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Well, we finally got it, the epic battle between Iron Man and Iron Man 2.0 occurs within these pages, and to those who complained about the Iron Man/Iron Monger fight in the movie, this is definitely more satisfying. But I’m jumping ahead of myself, the beginning gives us a nice refresher on Iron Man history, by telling us the history of Stark Industries via a tour that Zeke is taking (along with other civilians). This serves as just another example of Fraction’s ability to integrate movie fans smoothly by telling them how Stark Industries has evolved from the weapons manufacturer displayed in the film, while remaining relevant to the story and not seeming like a rehash.

In the midst of this tour, the focus jumps to Tony who begins an evacuation of the four Stark facilities where Zeke’s tech was detected last issue. Tony, who has gone to the Long Island location, hopes he has picked the right one and goes on the hunt for Zeke. Meanwhile in Valencia, Spain, the evacuation is not quick enough, and the bombers there detonate themselves, taking some fifty remaining civilians and workers with them.

MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH: As the tables turn and Zeke finds Tony, the earlier mentioned brawl begins. Larroca and D’Armata deliver some of their best artwork yet as the two high tech enemies display the full extent of their power. This isn’t the “Tony still getting used to the armor and Obadiah’s trial run” battle of the movie. This is two experienced fighters with some of the highest evolved tech fighting to the death. And death seemingly comes for Tony. Given, this is obviously a trick, because I don’t think Marvel is going to kill off one of their major superheroes so soon after a) they’re still working on Captain America’s Death storyline and b) Iron Man just became one of America’s favorite superheroes after his highly successful movie. But exactly how Iron Man has eluded death is something I can’t wait to discover next issue.

THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH IS SPOILER-FREE: There is still time to jump on this series! If you loved the movie, and are looking to start reading comics: this series is the perfect place to start (hey, it’s working for my nephew!) Despite being in the middle of an arc, this issue still serves fairly well for jumping on, though picking up the first four issues is recommended, if possible. I’ve said it at least a dozen times, and I’ll say it again: if you enjoyed the movie or comics in general: you need to be reading this. If you enjoy both, there is something seriously wrong with you if you aren’t reading this already! If IIM can keep this up, it might just take Avengers: The Initiative’s spot in my monthly top three!


Casual Saturdays: Why I Think Iron Man Is Better Than The Dark Knight August 23, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Other Random Stuff.
Tags: , , , , ,

A few days back, I posted this as a note on Facebook. It lead to a rather good discussion. The transcript is being posted here:

LOTRKing: Tired of justifying this on several occasions to several people, I’ve decided to put this here for all to see. Yes, I liked Iron Man better than The Dark Knight. I typed the following justification for the Iron Man vs. Dark Knight discussion board here on facebook:

Personally, I find it fairly easy to gauge which was a more enjoyable film to me. As several posters have stated, Dark Knight was surrounded by tons of hype and was about Batman, one of the most well known superheroes on the planet. Iron Man, however, was a lesser known superhero, and while people were expecting an enjoyable show, they weren’t expecting to be as blown away as everyone was. Add this to the fact that many kids (including my nephew) who had never even heard of Iron Man are now ranking him as one of, if not their top most, favorite superhero, and you can see which one was more of the “runaway hit.” On a personal level, I already read comics, and while both Iron Man and Batman are both interesting characters, I never before had the desire to read either of their comics. As soon as I saw Iron Man, I wanted more. Now, the new Invincible Iron Man is one of my favorite monthly comics. As entertaining as Dark Knight was, I still have no desire to actually start reading Batman comics. If a movie can get you that interested in a character, what does it say about the movie? Sure, Dark Knight was awesome, but it was largely because of the story line, I didn’t care too much about the characters. With Iron Man however, I think Tony Stark may have become of my favorite fictional characters of all time, and for a guy who loves reading books and watching movies as much as I do, that’s saying something.

Hopefully, this clears stuff up. Leave comments and/or arguments (of which I’m sure there will be many) below.

Tim: The concept behind Iron Man is one that you expect to be blown away, and from all the other hype about the movie that I heard from those who saw it, it didn’t blow me away like Dark Knight did. Two words: THE JOKER. You can’t compare any other villain to him. I don’t care much for Batman, he has no powers, only gadgets and limited martial arts, but the Joker made what I thought was gonna be another disappointment to the Batman movies an absolutely awesome flick. Granted, I haven’t seen the full of Iron Man, but at the same time, the Joker holds a special place in my heart, and that for me is enough. And are you really cheating on Marvel like that? I don’t read comics, I don’t have the time or energy, but a good movie is a good movie, and movies rarely reflect the book associated with it. That’s my opinion, the Joker rules and could totally pwn Iron Man.

p.s. Who else would like to see a movie just about the Joker?

LOTRKing: The Joker was certainly a an interesting character, but he was a disturbed, deranged. homicidal maniac. There are times when a villain is cool, and there are times when a villain is disturbing and scary. The Joker is certainly the latter. A good villain doesn’t think he is a villain, in his mind, he is doing what is right. The Joker just says “screw good, I wanna do evil for the fun of it!” While this lead to a darkly entertaining movie, I’ll take a noble villain over a blatantly evil one any day. Now, if you are tying to compare villains in movies, yes, The Joker was certainly a more interesting villain than Iron Monger, but Iron Man wasn’t about Iron Monger, it was about Iron Man, which is what made it so entertaining. Dark Knight, on the other hand, was more about the Joker than Batman. You say you want to see a movie about the Joker? You just got one. Jack Naper was the star of Dark Knight, not Bruce Wayne. So, while I don’t doubt Dark Knight’s high level of entertainment, (and it was certainly more artistic than Iron Man), I still found the greater level of entertainment to come from Iron Man.

Tim: That’s what makes him a great, possibly the greatest villain. Pure evil.

Shaun: You have some good points, Mr. Staples, [note: that’s me – LOTRKing] but I think that in order for the Joker’s character to justify his actions, he would have to be “blatantly Evil” instead of a Noble Villan.

Remember the talk Bruce had with Alfred when he wanted to quit? Alfred was talking (and a neat insight to HIS past as well) about when he was hunting thieves in the jungles of Burma. Remember the line “and some people just want to watch the world burn” kinda tied in the whole “Blatantly Evil” concept into understanding the Joker to some degree.
The Joker WAS more of a ‘traditional villan’ in more of a sense of his ego was more out of control than his actions. Think Al Capone. The Joker had to be the ‘best’, he had to one-up every other gang in his own twisted way, and throughout the entire movie he created power vacuumes and then filled them. I think his character is more believeable than most realize…

Evan: I definitely agree with you on Iron Man being a less known hero than Bat Man. You had to be burn around the right time to have any exposure to Iron Man at all. Iron Man definitely paved the way for the Dark Knight becaue Iron Man revived our faith in comic book movies.

Tim: i reread that, and noticed something. The Joker is doing what he thinks to be right, by creating anarchy. He loves chaos, and that, to him, is right. His law is that there is no law, and he dedicates himself to that cause. Just because he thinks outside the normal realms doesn’t mean he doesn’t do what he does for a cause. the trick is being able to empathize with him. The only flaw i found in the movie is that we know nothing of his background in it. i would love to see more of his back story.

Tommy: Ok good points all around but the simple matter of the fact is a man likes what he likes. Both movies in their own right raised the bar of the comic book movie forever. Batman gets the point for the movie aspect for the simple fact that not onlydid it set the new record for openning weekend sales but it also set a NEW standered for the ganera. It was not the carbin basied copy that Iron man was( by this I am refering to the same old story line that Good comic book movies have. You know hero has power(Such as spidermans bite giving him his powers, or in this case toney starks knowledge for wepons) and finds out something bad has come foruth from using this power(obvious). And than takes it upon himself to set things right and in doing so than incounters a villan which genraly is someone he already knows personaly in some way and has to defeat him.) Think about it that just Discribed Spiderman 1, The Incredible hulk(2008), Iorn man, and the fantastic four. Now i will give Iorn man the prize for best film visualy and in referancing to the later sequal. However Batman was not the typical movie. It was dark and scary and in all matters of the form not sutible for Children. But it also should us the intesity that the first batman (Batman begins) should us with a Realistic Forum of Batman.As for the villian, A villian in litterature is generally of a mission to prove, change, or in other terms disturb the balance of reality so that it benifits him. Which insadently describes Batman from Batman Begins. Which is why the Joker was in any sence of the word Perfect. The balance had already become disturbed in Gotham and he only wanted to push it Further( the unstopable force meets the unmoveable object). He is the ultimate villan because you don’t know what he going to do next. he has no visible weakness, he (as staited before) just wants to watch the world burn.

Tommy: Now for the BLOWING AWAY.
Iorn mans poularity was not as established as others did blow audencese away in the fact of , How come I didn’t know about this?
Ofwhich it is unfair to judge aganst the “blowing away” aspects of Batman because they were to different thigs. One established a Charecter while the other simply took things to a lvl we weren’t anticipating.
My Ending point being that as far as standereds go The Dark Knight not only pushed the envelope but it gave us a new view and stadistic view of a charecter that we all know.
While Iorn man did push the envelope as far a visualy, and givning us a look at the wise guy anti hero, alcholic, womanizer that is Toney Stark.
So in conclusion they Gave us the same things in different ways. It is up to the individual to decide who gets the prize.

Tim: ironically enough, batman disturbed the balance, the joker in such a sense is trying to push it back the other way. never thought about it that way. does that make him a little good, as far as social stability is concerned?

LOTRKing: As Tommy said, good points all around. In response to Tim: the Joker knew what he was doing was wrong, but he thought it was fun. He enjoyed playing with his “food,” this doesn’t mean he thought what he was doing was for the greater good. To Shaun: the Joker was certainly believable, many of his actions and statements reminded me of purely evil men such as Hitler and BTK. To Tommy: while the basic plot of Iron Man may have been somewhat generic it was still presented in a fresh way, and the characters (especially Tony) are what stole the show. The Dark Knight wasn’t one hundred percent original either. Villains making the heroes choose between two equally undesirable outcomes, and heroes making large sacrifices for the greater good are two elements that are used throughout the genre (not that they weren’t used extremely well here). Furthermore, you mentioned that Batman was already a well known character. This is true. But as I mentioned, Dark Knight didn’t make me want to go out and buy Batman comics ASAP like Iron Man did. Dark Knight had a great plot and was full of suspense and action. But Iron Man had much more entertaining characters. So as you mention, it really is a preference: which do you enjoy more from fiction, a great story, or great characters? For me, story is extremely important, but if you want me to love the piece, make me love the characters. As pulse-pounding and cinematic as Dark Knight was, I didn’t develop a “love” for any of the characters. It probably doesn’t help that Batman wasn’t even the main character, the Joker was, then probably followed by Harvey Dent. Batman comes in third. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the Dark Knight. But at the end of the day, Tony Stark, the star of Iron Man, is more awesome and likable than the Joker, the star of Dark Knight, and this is why Iron Man is 5 stars in my book, and Dark Knight is only 4.5.

All right dear readers, now it is your turn to join in on this discussion. Leave your agreements/disagreements below, and I’ll try to think of good responses. I’m also going to provide a link to this post on my Facebook, so if my friends want to continue this discussion, they can do it right here. Oh, and just for good measure: here is my Iron Man review, here is my Dark Knight review, and taking off the serious gloves (Why so serious?), here is a link to my post which jabbed some humor at both of them. Have fun!


Review of Invincible Iron Man 4 (4.5 stars) August 7, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My review can be found here.

Quick spoilers: Tony puts a tracking virus in components of his armor and then sells them to the black market, hoping Zeke will find them, and provide his location when he activates them. Pepper continues to recover, but wants the EM device out of her chest ASAP because she doesn’t want to be a “walking bomb.” Tony informs her that her device never contained weapon potential. Zeke plans to destroy Stark Industries’ four most crucial buildings.


Batmania: Batman Meets Marvel and Other Silliness July 19, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Yesterday’s release of The Dark Knight has inspired me to present the following material.

First off, a absolutely hilarious video examining all the hype surrounding the release of Dark Knight:

Second, a short story I posted a few months ago (the original post can be found here) starring Batman … in the Marvel Universe! And yes, it is humorous also (at least it made me laugh, but I’m easily amused, and my humor seems to impress me the most. Arrogant? Or Narcisisstic? You decide.)
Anywhooz, for those too lazy to click on the above link, here is the post in its entirety:

So the other day, I was bored, and I had some time on my hands. These two are never a good combination. I ended up writing a script whose main purpose was to make fun of Batman. Eventually it evolved to make fun of everyone featured. So, like any good blogger, I decided to post it here. To those who get angered easily, please keep in mind that I stereotyped EVERY character involved, in fact I stereotyped them on purpose. So yes, I realize these are not very good representations of the characters, so please don’t get mad at me if your favorite character was not represented well. That said, let’s have some fun, and dig into this thing.

RP2: In the sky!
RP3: What the heck is it?
BATMAN: Why it’s the Bat Signal, of course!
RP1: The what?
BATMAN: The Bat Signal! It signals that Batman is needed to help fight crime!
RP2: Who the heck is Batman?
BATMAN: Why I am, of course!
RP3: Are you registered with the SHRA?
BATMAN: Holiday Hooby-Whatey?
*enter IRON MAN*
IRON MAN: Costumed vigilante! You are commanded to cease what you are doing and present proof of Initiative Membership!
*BATMAN reaches to Bat Belt*
BATMAN: All I have is this. *hands card to IRON MAN*
IRON MAN: What is this? This isn’t an Initiative license!
BATMAN: Why it’s the Bat Card of course!
IRON MAN: This isn’t Government Issue, where did you get it?
BATMAN: From my Bat Belt of course! The source of any item I ever need!
IRON MAN: I’m sorry, this won’t do, I’ll have to escort you to the 42 Negative Zone Prison!
*enter SPIDER-MAN*
SPIDER-MAN: Black Panther! Your skin! You’ve pulled a Michael Jackson! (At least you still have your nose!)
IRON MAN: This isn’t Black Panther, you idiot, it’s …. erm… Catman!
BATMAN: Batman!
IRON MAN: Whatever. Nonetheless, unless you sign the SHRA and submit to training, I will have no choice but to incarcerate you. Spidey, that goes for you to!
SPIDER-MAN: Not unless I take him with me to the secret hideout of the New Avengers!
IRON MAN: Dude, I read New Avengers Annual 2, you don’t have a secret hideout. It was destroyed when the Hood’s gang attacked, and Dr. Strange, your most powerful member, has quit, so unless you have an invisible army with you, I’m taking you both in.
SPIDER-MAN: Ha! You’ll never be able to take me and him at the same time! I’ll get away, and you’ll never find me, because you don’t know my secret identity anymore! So nyahh!
IRON MAN: Of course I do you’re ….. wait a minute, who are you? I know we used to be friends, but I suddenly can’t remember your name! It’s like someone retconned everything that has happened to you over the last several years!
SPIDER-MAN: Yup, it got retconned along with my marriage, my best friend’s death, and my sense of responsibility. Now I’m a jobless loser, who’s never been married, and still lives at home, while whining about how poor I am, and borrowing money from my dead best friend who isn’t dead any more!
BATMAN: I hate to interrupt, but that story sucks way too much to be believed. Are you sure you just didn’t have my pal Superman just use one of his infinite amount of powers, and erase his memory?
SPIDER-MAN: Of course not! The writers of my story are convinced that it was one of the best stories ever written!
BATMAN: *to himself* They must have somehow stolen some Bat Weed from my Bat Belt, to delude themselves like that!
IRON MAN: What was that?
BATMAN: Nothing.
IRON MAN: Whatever. Now I am taking you both in, you have two choices, you can come quietly or–
*DR STRANGE materializes out of nowhere*
DR STRANGE: Not so fast!
BATMAN: Who are you?
DR STRANGE: By the Vishanti! You know not who I am? I am Dr. Strange!
BATMAN: What a Strange name! *everyone groans at the horrible joke* And what can you do?
BATMAN: Oh! A magician, eh? I once played one of those. Except it wasn’t really me, rather the same actor who played me in a movie (did I mention I have 5 movies? How many do you losers have?) and was also in a movie called–
DR STRANGE: No, real magic.
BATMAN: There’s no such thing, it’s just your lame excuse for not wanting to explain how you –
DR STRANGE: By the Sons of Satannish, you shall become a goat! *BATMAN turns into a goat, then turns back* Not so lame now, am I?
BATMAN: *who still has a goatee* Ha! At least everything I can do is of my own creation!
IRON MAN: *silently* Computer, record the following discussion for records of SHRA identification. *out loud* And what can you do?
BATMAN: Why, I have no powers, but I can still kick your butts any day, with all of the handy dandy utilities on my Bat Belt!
IRON MAN: Ha, all I would need to do is fry you with my –
BATMAN: Before you could even finish, I would disable your armor with my Bat EMP Emitter.
IRON MAN: Ha! I can detect EMPs before they happen, and shut down my systems before they happen!
BATMAN: Then I would simply use it in conjunction with my Bat Block Iron Man’s EMP Detector Machine, also conveniently found on my Bat Belt! And I could take out your buddies here with my Bat Webbing Dissolver, and my Bat Magic Blocker! Then, if I got hungry, I could have some Bat Spam!
IRON MAN: How could you possibly have those items, especially since you didn’t believe in magic up until a few minutes ago?
BATMAN: My Bat Belt is equipped with everything I could possibly need (all of which I invented) and it is still extraordinarily light!
SPIDER-MAN: That’s impossible! And you think my story sounded stupid? At least I didn’t have Deluded Creators!
IRON MAN: I’ve had enough of this, I’m going to take you both in and get some help, and – wait a minute, Dr. Strange, what exactly are you doing here? I thought you took vacation time at a very inopportune moment in order meditate, and do other boring things, to fix you’re magic skills!
DR STRANGE: You’re right! I don’t know what I’m doing here. It must have just been one of those moments where I appear out of nowhere to fix a situation that I wasn’t even involved with in the first place! You’re on your own Spider-Man; I’ve got boring magic fixing stuff to do. *DR STRANGE vanishes into the air*
IRON MAN: Good, now that he’s gone, I’m calling in the reinforcements. Sentry! Your presence is required immediately!
*The SENTRY flies in*
SENTRY: Hi guys! I’m CRAZY!
BATMAN: That’sssss ……. nice.
SENTRY: How can I help you Iron Man? (I’m CRAZY!)
IRON MAN: Well, I need to arrest these two, but I can’t detain both at the same time, so I need you to –
SENTRY: No need to say more! (I’m CRAZY!) I’ll just fly this guy into the Sun, and you’ll have Spidey all to yourself! (I’m CRAZY!)
*SENTRY grabs BATMAN and flies off into space*
IRON MAN: No wait! *but it is too late* Alas poor Batman, we barely knew him! Batman has passed on! He is no more! He has ceased to be! He’s expired and gone to meet his maker! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If he wasn’t thrown into the Sun, he’d be pushing up daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He’s sleeping with the fishes and has gone to Davy Jones’ locker! He’s kicked the bucket, he’s shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the bleeding choir invisible! This is an ex-Batman!
*SENTRY comes zooming back into the atmosphere*
SENTRY: Well, that was easy! (I’m CRAZY!)
BATMAN: I’m not dead yet, I’m getting better!
BATMAN: Simple, once I heard he was going to fly me into the Sun, I simply pushed the Bat Cloning Button on my Bat Belt. He only flew my Bat Clone into the Sun.
SPIDER-MAN: I once had a clone, and then he thought he was me and I was him, and everybody hated it, and it has never been referred to since.
*awkward silence*
BATMAN: OK then.
IRON MAN: Batman, you could become a nuisance here really quick!
SPIDER-MAN: I’ve got an idea how to get rid of him! Oi! Mephisto!
*MEPHISTO appears*
SPIDER-MAN: I’m ready to make another deal; you wanna retcon this Batman guy out of existence for me?
MEPHISTO: Of course, but the price will be that all that has happened in the last few minutes will also be retconned away too.
IRON MAN: You mean anyone who read this will have wasted their precious time by reading something that never happened?
MEPHISTO: That is correct.
SPIDER-MAN: I can live with that! Do it!
MEPHISTO: OK, but before I do, I want to tell you something that will make a small part of your souls suffer, even if you won’t remember. I’m going to tell you something very important, that you will now never know because I will erase having told you. Iron Man: YOU are the Skrull!
MEPHISTO: *laughs evilly* HA HA HA HA HA! I love doing that. *MEPHISTO pulls off his face, which is revealed to only be a mask, JOE QUESADA is revealed to be underneath*
JOE QUESADA: Ah, nothing like the smell of a good retconning in the morning!




Review of Invincible Iron Man 3 (4.5 stars) July 16, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My review can be found here.

Quick spoilers: Following last issue’s explosion, Pepper is severely injured, taking a lot of shrapnel to the chest. She is implanted with a device, similar to what Tony used to wear, in order to save her life, thus implying she will “suit up” eventually (heck yeah!) Ezekiel, who survived the attack, designs his own armor suit to better help channel his overabundant power.


Casual Saturdays: Where Things Stand June 28, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Comic Book Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Well, the year’s (almost) half over, and seeing as how it’s been a few months since I did one of these posts, I thought I’d take the time to assess my current views on the Marvel Universe. Sometime this week (assuming I have time) I’m going to send an email to Marvel letting them know what I think, it will essentially say the same, or similar things in this post. (I will also ask for subscriptions to be available for Avengers: The Initiative!)

Secret Invasion: Three issues in, and we’ve had three big reveals: Spider-Woman, Yellowjacket, and Jarvis are all Skrulls! Bendis has been handling the story extremely well, and I can’t wait to see where he goes with it. Surprising to myself, I’ve also actually enjoyed Yu’s art in SI (though it still needs improvement). Who else might be a Skrull? Luke Cage, but I’m guessing he doesn’t know it, and will be heart broken when he finds out.

Fantastic Four: Millar/Hitch’s first arc was more than satisfying, and judging by the first issue of their second arc, it looks to be ten times more awesome! I love that Millar makes this series about the characters, not their adventures. And I love the way the Hitch draws Sue! What is there not to be happy about? 😉 Fantastic Four is one of favorite monthlies, and one of my three “must reads.” (In other words, if you’re not reading it, pick it up immediately!)

Silver Surfer/Nova: I’m reading the current arc of Nova, simply because is features ol’ Norrin Radd, and boy is it spectacular. (Reviews can be found here and here, the second review isn’t mine though.) I’m hoping what with the success of SS: Requiem and SS: In Thy Name, that if these three issues of Nova see a spike in readers, Marvel may consider giving Norrin his own ongoing again (finally!), or at least another mini-series (which could then lead to an ongoing). What with both Annihilation events, Nova, and Guardians of the Galaxy reinvigorating Marvel’s cosmic line, what better way to add to this corner of the MU by launching an ongoing for Marvel’s most famous Sentinel of the Spaceways?

Amazing Spider-Man: This is the most disappointing series that I am currently reading. Occasionally we get a glimpse of an issue that is wonderful, but it seems that the next is always a let down. Also, any regular readers know that I am very opposed to the dissolution of the marriage, and I still think that it can be reinstated, and we could still have spectacular Spidey stories. If Marvel has a greatest flaw right now, this is it. (Though I won’t lie, the upcoming “New Ways to Die” arc looks awesome.)

Mighty Avengers and New Avengers: This should be two groups, but seeing as how these two are simply telling back stories of Secret Invasion right now, these series serve the same purpose. While I enjoy the stories that have been presented thus far, I really wish Bendis would have made them a separate mini-series, like Secret Invasion: Origins, or something. One, that would let casual readers know that these stories are essential to Secret Invasion, and not “just another tie-in.” I mean, the Skrull queen posing as Spider-Woman was revealed in an issue of New Avengers, for goodness sake! These things are really too important to leave out of Secret Invasion. Likewise, I really want a good Avengers story fix. Mighty Avengers only gave us two quick arcs to meet the team, before diving straight into SI, and as enjoyable as SI is, I really want these series to get back to more adventures of their perspective teams ASAP.

Avengers: The Initiative: I think yesterday’s review of issue 14 sums up my feelings on this series. This is another one of my three must reads. Pick it up as soon as you get the chance (and ask Marvel to offer subscriptions to it!)

Captain America: Brubaker continues to weave a web of genius plot lines. With last month’s reveal of who the “Bad Cap” is and next month looking to have the “New Cap” vs. “Bad Cap” fight, along with the promise of a conclusion in September, this series continues to be an extremely entertaining read, and I can’t wait to see what Brubaker does with James after the conclusion of this monumental story line.

Thor: First, I have to admit to slight disappointment, as this series seems to have slipped onto a bimonthly schedule. Still, it is worth the wait. Thor is mythic stories infused with humor, and packed with a surprising amount of characterizations as only J. Michael Straczynski can do. Thor might just be Marvel’s best ongoing, and therefore is the final one of my three must reads. If you aren’t reading this, you are missing out, big time.

Invincible Iron Man: Two issues in, and I’m loving it! Matt Fraction is doing a brilliant job introducing new Iron Man fans to his current status quo, and keeping it plenty entertaining for regular comic book readers. My hope is that Fraction can reinvigorate this character like Brubaker with Cap or JMS with Thor, and if the first two issues are any indication, he just may succeed. If you loved the movie, you should probably be reading this.

Uncanny X-Men: Messiah Complex: Awesome. Divided We Stand: Mehh. Manifest Destiny: ??? While this last storyarc has been a bit underwhelming (note to future comic book writers: don’t use hippies), the dream team of Brubaker, Fraction, and Cary, along with the monumental issue 500 leaves me with high hopes for what is coming next.

Well, those are my current opinions, we’ll check back with another “Where Things Stand” in a few months! See you on Monday with a Flashback!


Review of Invincible Iron Man 2 (4 stars) June 10, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First off, this is definitely one of the coolest covers I’ve seen. Most definitely a candidate for 2008’s cover of the year! (And don’t forget to vote for 2007’s!)

So far, the second issue in this series continues to impress. Will Matt Fraction’s take on Iron Man be as already legendary as Brubaker’s on Captain America or JMS’ on Thor? It’s hard to say, so far his writing is impressive, but I’d say it still has a way to go before it reaches the earlier mentioned levels. Having said that, this series so far still seems to excel at its primary mission: introducing new movie fans into Iron Man’s current world while staying entertaining enough to impress seasoned readers.

The actual story begins right where last time left off: in the middle of Iron Man’s raid of an A.G.M. base. Tony takes out the remaining goons before stumbling on a new variation of an old villain: M.O.D.O.G. When I first heard that he would be appearing in this month’s issue I feared his goofiness (c’mon, you don’t get more goofy than a giant talking head with itty bitty limbs for an evil villain) would drive new readers away. Luckily, his presence is extremely short and consists of him ranting before Tony completely pwns him and literally throws him into the atmosphere. (I’m glad to see that Fraction wasn’t sensitive about showing Tony kill terrorists, especially annoying ones.) I also have to award coolness points to Fraction here because so much story was packed into this first part that I originally thought the issue was almost over already (sadly) before realizing I was only on page eight! Once again we have a writer who can keep a large amount of satisfying action and plot into a compressed space, unlike certain other writers who will have a fight scene fill half the issue; those types of issues can still be very enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but I always feel a little cheated when I can read a comic in five minutes.

From here the scene moves to the Philippines as a ceremony honoring the brave deeds of several Philippine super heroes is attacked by more of the “Suicide Iron Men.” After this, we see that Ezekiel has currently sold his services to a crazed zealot who seems to be on a crusade of his own. Unfortunately, we don’t see his motive for wanting to kill several Philippine citizens. I realize Fraction may be trying to “save some for later” in terms of story, but not knowing a motive seemed a little out of place. I really think learning his reasoning would have helped the story make more sense. But then, you can’t have everything, so hopefully we’ll learn more next time. The story progresses as Tony, Rhodes (as War Machine), and Pepper investigate the scene of the attack and realize it was the same technology from the earlier Tanzania attack.

Later, Tony goes to the funeral of one of the fallen Philippine heroes as we get our first guest star of the issue (and my first complaint about the art!) Thor arrives at the services and we get to observe a rather awkward “non-interaction” between the two, this being (presumably) their first meeting since Thor #3. My art complaint comes from the first shot of Thor’s face. Not only does it look extremely two-dimensional, but the coloring makes it look like a bad computer animation (you know that moment in the movies when a character is replaced by a virtual stunt double and you can tell because he looks “fake,” that’s what Thor looked like here). Eventually the two share a few brief words, and we are left knowing there is still a great deal of animosity between the two (in a rather humorous way, no less!)

Lastly, Tony travels to a gala he his hosting in Taiwan and we get a bit more of the great character dynamic that exists between him and Pepper before the whole situation explodes (literally and figuratively). Another art complaint has to be thrown in here. I’m not sure whose idea it was to use a photographic background in a couple panels, but it looked tacky and clashed horribly with the rest of the “cartoon” art. Nonetheless, the “explosive” ending has me excited for next month’s installment, so I’m willing to overlook a little bit of bad art. I can’t stress enough how much fans of the movie need to pick up on this series! (That means you!)


Casual Saturdays: Superhero Films Ranked May 24, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Comic Book Stuff, Other Random Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Following yesterday’s trend of announcements, here is a new one for today: since next week will see the season finale of LOST, and therefore my weekly LOST comment column, I’m starting another new weekly column to replace it (in addition to the Flashback column already mentioned). It will take place on Saturdays starting this week and is entitled “Casual Saturdays.” Here I will make use of the “and Other Random Stuff” title of my blog to take off my comics reviewers gloves for a while and talk about, well, other random stuff. So yes, this blog may actually end up sounding like a blog! 😉

Today’s topic doesn’t stray too far from the world of comics, as it is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. You’ll recall that in my review of Iron Man I mentioned that it just may be the best superhero film I’ve yet seen, though I’d have to see it a few more times before I decided for sure. Well, now that I’ve seen it six times (long story short: I work at a movie theatre and get free movies if I accompany the guest, and I have several friends/relatives that wanted to see it) I think I can safely say that it is indeed my favorite superhero film yet, and just to give you a since of who it ranks with, I’ve decided to list my ten top favorite superhero films:

1. Iron Man
2. X2: X-Men United
3. Spider-Man 2
4. Spider-Man
5. Batman Begins
6. X-Men
7. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (it counts!)
8. X-Men 3: The Last Stand
9. Hellboy
10. Doctor Strange (yes, the animated one!)
With honorable mentions Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Daredevil and the absolute worst being Elektra and Hulk.

Of course, with three awesome superhero films yet to come out this summer, as well as Marvel’s astounding recent announcement, this list will likely look radically different in a few years. And if you want to spark an interesting discussion, leave a comment on what your top ten hero flicks are.

Next week: something having nothing to do with comics! I promise!


Review of Invincible Iron Man 1 (4 stars) May 17, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As I mentioned here (second one down), this series serves one purpose, to bring in all the new Iron Man fans from the movie and to keep them reading. And as I far as I am concerned, it worked perfectly. The story opens in Africa, maintaining the international feel of the movie, with a suicide bombing by three boys who appear to have biologically integrated Iron Man technology. Iron Man soon finds out about the attack (at a very “inopportune” time for himself and a lady) and puts S.H.I.E.L.D. into full investigation mode. He learns that A.G.M. (an A.I.M. splinter group) may have information and assembles a strike team.

Meanwhile, we see that Ezekiel Stane, son of Obadiah (another great nod to the movie), has “upgraded” his own body with cybernetic implants and that he has found a way decrease the amount of caloric energy that his body expends on basic functions. He uses this newfound power to slaughter a board of executives from a tobacco company and escapes by jumping out the window. Later, he meets up with his girlfriend and accomplice, named Sasha, and it is revealed that he was behind the attack in Africa. So far, he looks to be a very interesting villain: younger, more advanced, and possibly even smarter than Stark. This allows the issue to play perfectly as a companion to the movie and almost feels as though it could be the sequel (if not for the continuity differences between the two).

Finally, we see Stark contact Rhodes, who thinks the attack may have been armor-related. Tony, fearing the worst, is in denial and he examines his list of other “armored” people in the Marvel U and knows that none could have done this. We then get a quick and humorous scene between Pepper and Tony before Tony attacks the A.G.M. group and finally learns that the attack was indeed from an armor more powerful than his own. As I said, there are so many instances where Fraction remains conscious of the new readers from the movie while maintaining an extremely entertaining story, that it is impossible not to like this issue. Likewise, Larroca’s art is perfect for the story and maintains a very cinematic feel throughout. This was all around a spectacular issue, if you loved the movie, you should pick this up, no knowledge of Iron Man’s previous history required.