Tag Archives: Avenger

Comic Rack: Avengers Lineup Grows, Marvel NOW Teasers Baffle Me, & Superman’s H’el on Earth

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

DC New 52 Resets All First Appearances

For a while now, fans have been asking DC just exactly what the new timeline in the NewDCu is, and how it’ll directly unfold. This month, a bevy of “Zero” issues came out, all meant to explain, or give origins to the current DC lineup. Included in these issues is a series of “Who’s Who” listings, giving out character information, backstories, and of course, listing their first appearances. Way back when, for Superman, this would have said Action Comics #1, it now lists Justice League #1 (2011).

via [The Source]

[This] marks the release of the first week of DC Comics’ #0 issues. Each of these special issues is filled with everything from secrets to revelations to origin stories. These will both explain what happened before the launch of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 last summer, as well as plant seeds for future story arcs!

If you’ve already picked up your #0 issues today, you’ve probably noticed that in the back of each book (and now online!) is a Who’s Who entry on a major character in DC COMICS-THE NEW 52. These pages share information such as each character’s first appearance, base of operations, powers, history, and other appearances. Below, check out the list of which character is being spotlighted on each of this week’s releases and be sure to click on their names to read up on who they are!

via [Newsarama]

DC Comics has a new take on their classic “Who’s Who” listings, giving basic details on their characters, teams and concepts. Power Sets, basic origin stories, current affiliations and recent appearances are all included, as they were in the old “Who’s Who” sets. For example, Superman’s entry in Action Comics #0 looks like this:

First Appearance:

Justice League #1 (2011)

Base of Operations:

Metropolis

Powers:

Under a yellow sun Superman is extraordinarily strong in addition to being nearly invulnerable. He can run and fly at incredible speeds and possesses other abilities such as super-hearing, heat vision, x-ray vision, and much more!

Other Appearances:

Batman: The Dark Knight #5-7

Swamp Thing #1

Supergirl #1-3

O.M.A.C. #7

History:

As the planet Krypton exploded and a civilization died, baby Kal-El was rocketed to safety by his parents…

Well, at least they’re committed to going whole hog, and saying that yep, they’re all brand new, and their first appearances were in the books we labeled as #1. Deal with it. I know there’s probably still some old DC fans out there who are hurt, or feel betrayed, or just plain don’t like the New 52. Frankly, I think they ought just get used to it, or keep reading their old stuff. Clearly the New 52 is here to stay, and we just have to hope that everything can be as interesting and cool as Animal Man, Swamp Thing, or Batman.

New Avengers Lineup Grows In Numbers!

Marvel NOW! expands the roster of the Avengers, as lead scribe Jonathan Hickman teases Marvel fans with the full list of Avengers. When will they assemble? WHEN?

via [Newsarama]

Three interlocking covers for Avengers #1-#3 show all six of the movie Avengers — Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye — plus Brian Michael Bendis-era additions Spider-Man, Wolverine and Spider-Woman; along with frequent team members Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) and Falcon.

New to the squad is Cannonball of the New Mutants, along with two unconfirmed characters: One that looks Human Torch-esque (Johnny Storm? Jim Hammond? Or perhaps a slightly tweaked look for Cannonball’s New Mutant buddy Sunspot? [This has since been confirmed]) and a shadowed figure between Captain America and Captain Marvel likely intended to remain a mystery for now (though feel free to speculate — the chest symbols bring to mind Ikaris of the Eternals, maybe?)

In a July interview with Newsarama, Avengers editor Tom Brevoort said that by issue #12 of the relaunched Avengers, the team has an “an active roster of about 18,” indicating that there are around four more members to come not seen in this image. Upon the original announcement of Marvel NOW! two months ago, Entertainment Weekly reported that Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, would be on the team.

Dustin Weaver, who is scheduled to draw an upcoming Avengers arc, illustrated all three covers. Current Fantastic Four and FF writer Jonathan Hickman is launching the new twice-monthly Avengers series in December, and New Avengers with artist Steve Epting in January.

Update: Jonathan Hickman has commented on the covers on Twitter, writing, “Image released today is not the complete roster, we intentionally left off new characters for spoiler reasons.” and “And the roster starts at 18, grows to more.” In later tweets, he disclosed that there are eight more members still to come.

I love Jonathan Hickman. He’s an amazing writer, and one of my favorites of all time. I think his work elevates the medium to heights it’s never been, and captures ideas, concepts and thoughts that utterly fascinate and baffle me in turn. So I’m very conflicted on his tenure at Marvel, because he IS writing great Superhero stories, man, I’d rather he work on his independent, original work. In my opinion it’s more important, in every sense. That’s not to say that his Marvel work isn’t important, I just really REALLY like his original work, and crave it day and night like heroin. Yummy heroin.

Marvel Releases A Series Of New Marvel NOW! Related Teasers

To promote new books, sometimes they’ll pop a teaser ad in the middle of a book that’s popular. It’s a quick way to get people talking and speculating, and it generally creates a buzz for the project, and what it could be. Go on and click each one of the teasers for links back to Newsarama, where people much more knowledgeable than I, give far better analysis and guesses as to their meaning.

Teasers via [Newsarama]

Holy crap there’s a writer whose pen name is HOPELESS? I don’t know if that’s foreboding, ominous, or just badass. Probably all three. Who do I think this teaser is for? I’ve no clue actually. I’ll take a guess and say… Ant-Man? Yep. Ant-Man. Ahem.

People think this one is Deadpool, from the red crosshairs, and they’d have a solid point. An astute reader connect Lightning>Thunder, and come up with Thunderbolts. Who may be persecuted, and thusly have a target on their heads? Since they’re villains? Maybe Deadpool is gonna fight them? In a cage? On fire? During a storm? Brb, writing awesome superhero cage match fanfic.

These two are allegedly linked to the same project, so they’re going together. On my gut instinct alone, this makes me think Punisher. I know folks think that the Lightning one is for Punisher [EDITORS NOTE: My thoughts are of the Thunderbolts for this one], but the words WANTED and KILLER(s) make me think of ol’ Frank. The only thing throwing me off is the plural of KILLERS, so chances are I’m probably wrong.

So while all of my speculation is probably wrong, I’m allowed to dammit. You should go check out each teaser’s article over at Newsarama, if you’re putting money down on this sort of thing. Also, go see someone for your gambling problem.

Geoff Johns Talks About New Arab-American Green Lantern’s Creation.

Considering today is a very important day, I found this interview enlightening and relevant. I think the choice made here to portray an Arab-American by Geoff Johns is gutsy, but bold. It’s also notable that we get just a quick snippet of background history for Baz, who so far we know very little about.

via [SpeakEasy]

Did 9/11 inspire you to introduce a Arab-Muslim character, considering that it plays an important part of Simon Baz’ life?

When we re-launched our universe last year, diversity was a very important of the thinking when introducing characters. When I thought of the story, I had to introduce a new character into the “Green Latern” Corps. There was a lot of thought about his background, and that’s when I came up with the Arab-American “Green Lantern.”

What parts of your own life did you use when creating Baz?

My father is Lebanese so I have some of the cultural experience. I also worked with the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn on the script to make sure it had the authenticity of an Arab-American.

An Arab protagonist seems timely since there is this swirl of social issues that Muslims in post 9/11 America have to deal with.

True. As fantastic as the concept of “Green Lantern” is of an intergalactic police force, the comic has had a history of grounding in the now and dealing with modern characters and concepts and Simon Baz is that. I wanted to create a character that everyday Americans have to deal with.

When 9/11 hit, he was 10-years-old. His family was devastated, just like every other American. He’s grown up in that world. It’s just part of the daily life, the new normal.

The fact that the color green has a historical connection with Islam is probably coincidental but will religion play any part in future stories?

The background is in the DNA of who he is but it doesn’t define who he is. It’s more about a compelling character than anything else.

Geoff Johns is a writer you either love or hate. I’ve heard plenty of hate for him from friends, in real life and on the internet. Fortunately, I love him, and his work. I think he makes great, fun to read, yet not retardedly simple popcorn comics. He’s exactly the kind of guy I think should be working on superhero titles, rather than the Hickman’s of the world. This character he’s created, is a potentially risky step in a good direction, and follows through with the theme of diversity that DC execs touted at the beginning of the reboot of the DCU. I look forward to seeing the new stories with Baz, and hope his lineage, faith, and back story are written respectfully and tastefully by Johns, and any other who will be handling this character. It’s a great opportunity to reach out to the large muslim comics audience that’s out there, who I’m sure are craving some representation on the page.

New Writer For Superman, Introduces New Kryptonian Villain!

Even if it was hell for George Perez, his run on Superman was pretty goddamned boring. So boring, I stopped reading it. Being a big fan of Supes, I’ve been looking for a good point to jump back in, and start reading good Superman stories again. Hearing about a new Kryptonian villain, definitely sounds like the main foundation for the building blocks of a great Superman story.

via [Newsarama]

 Lobdell — already one of the most prolific writers at DC — will take over the Superman title, launching the second year of the iconic hero’s New 52 story with a new villainous threat.

Working with Kenneth Rocafort on art, Lobdell will start his run with this month’s Superman #0, then will take the title into November’s “H’el on Earth” event with Supergirl andSuperboy. The three “Super” characters will deal with a new Kryptonian supervillain named H’el, which Lobdell is introducing.

They then go on to conduct a LONG interview with Lobdell, who goes into detail about his plans, Superman, and what’s coming in store for him come issue #14, with the introduction of H’el. Here’s a choice snippet from the interview:

“Nrama: The “H’el on Earth” storyline that we’re seeing in the Super-books in November features what appears to be a new villain, but he’s got a Bizarro look about him. Is H’el a new take on Bizarro, or something new that you guys created for this story?

Lobdell: In my effort to re-imagine Superman’s villains, I went so far afield in re-imagining Bizarro with Kenneth, that editorial started saying “Um, Scott — this character is so not-Bizarro any more; he’s a whole new character, with new motivation, new history, new look, new origin.  You’re at the point where it doesn’t make any sense to call him Bizarro any more.”

And they were right.  

And for everyone who wonders about the “S” on his chest? It is so far removed from Bizarro or Prime or anyone else that you can relax: By the time this story is over, you’ll see that H’el and Bizarro can exist in the same world.”

You should go and read the whole thing over at Newsarama, because it’s fascinating, and worth the read.

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Grizzly Review: Marvel’s The Avengers

The “Dream Team” was thrown around a lot after the 1992 Olympic US Men’s Basketball team gathered Jordan, Magic, Bird and a gaggle of other superior stars to take on the world. These vastly superior athletes were able to put their egos aside for one goal: to conquer the world. It has come and gone throughout the last few decades ranging from the US Women’s World Cup team in 1999 to even the underwhelming 2011 Philadelphia Eagles when Vince Young destroyed his team’s hopes by raising the expectations. It can apply to movies too, like Christopher Nolan and his Batman team. Scorcese and DeNiro. Heck, Scorcese and Leo. It only seems fitting to talk about Marvel’s The Avengers in the dream team concept. However, in this awesomely epic buddy action film, I think the real Dream Team lies behind the scenes: Joss Whedon and Marvel.

This all started with the first Iron Man where RDJ took to the screen and carried the movie with his charisma and stage presence overcoming flaws, but it was an entertaining movie that set the stage for the Incredible Hulk, then the fart noise inducing Iron Man 2. What followed were vastly underrated Thor and a solid Captain America: The First Avenger last year, which set the stage for The Avengers movie. An artifact originating in Thor, called the Tesseract, has been taken by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and he is harnessing its enormous power to set the stage for the conquest of Earth. Giant wormhole portals ensue and that means the big guns must be called in. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) heads up S.H.I.E.L.D., a covert agency charged with taking back what may or may not be rightfully theirs and since puny humans failed to protect the artifact the first time around, it is time to call in the big guns. So Iron Man (RDJ), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must form the dream team and solve some issues. Did I forget to mention they really have a lot issues to be worked out internally too?

Turns out Iron Man is a narcissist non-follower, Cap has no team to follow his gung ho lead, Thor is just amused at these white boy problems, the Dr. Banner just wants some peace and quiet. But we all knew these things because of the previous movies. Director/Co-Writer Whedon does an amazing job in creating winks and nudges for the geeks that did watch the previous movies, yet remains accessible enough to where new people can follow the adventure. The danger here was incorporating several ideals from five different movies with seven different heroes to make them mesh as well as show off their individual spark that got them their own movies to begin with. Everyone gets their time in the spotlight, especially the Big Four (Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor) to establish their own paths and how they, for just this one movie and eventual sequels, have their paths intertwine into a solid team. The audience is treated to the banter and the battles with each other before they all come together with their common goal.

The beginning of the movie does feel like exposition and even felt dangerously close to voiceover narrative territory in trying to set up the plot before the fun begins. The dialogue shines from the Zak Penn and Whedon script which feels like a love letter to Marvel fans as well as accessible to the every man with the humor and levity that spills out of the actors’ mouths. None of it feels forced or unoriginal and really shows off the chemistry between these superheroes that could just turned into a giant awful bomb of apathy. RDJ owns as Iron Man and really should because this is not at all possible without what he has brought to the table with the earlier movies and the personality that exudes confidence and sarcasm. Chris Evans conveys his sense of duty in what would be the corniest role this side of Cyclops but develops his want to belong yet remain strong and self-assured as the leader. Hemsworth continues to impress with his observations and sly humor as the demigod and as the third Hulk actor, Ruffalo just enjoys the moment to stay out of fire long enough to steal scenes as his CGI counterpart. Hiddleston continues his great work from Thor and makes his villain memorable. Plus he just loves to chew scenery and you can tell he is just having a blast going against his heroic counterparts. Nick Fury finally gets his time to shine a bit as the hardass leader that brings them all together. Johansson and Renner do not have the same screen time as their super counterparts and feel a bit shoved in there but that might have more to do with the byproduct of dealing with the Big Four as opposed to whether they belong or not because let us face it, they are equal part of this movie.

The last thirty minutes is a spectacular assault on the senses in visual effects. Nothing seems too terribly out of place and that is a testament to not only Whedon, but Marvel Studios themselves. They have carefully ushered these characters into this movie and making sure that every part meshes together to create a fantastic experience for the audience. Whedon had many critics going into this movie on whether he could handle the scope and vast enormity of the movie but he has proved he can handle this mega franchise. This is the perfect movie to start off the summer movie season with because it’s simply pure fun. No one expects a Dark Knight Rises social commentary, this is strictly a boys being boys type of movie where you want to bash Hulk Hands against the toy Captain America shield you bought at the toy store after leaving the movie theater.

It does not take itself too seriously and nor should it. You will walk out amazed and wonder how the almost two and a half hours went by so fast. Again, credit should go to the dream team of actors that had the right chemistry and ego to make this an enjoyable experience but it was Whedon and Marvel Studios that came in with the cape to save us from boredom.

“F–k You Boredom!”

‘The Avengers’ SuperBowl Trailer Is Online Now

The Avengers aired its SuperBowl spot earlier tonight, and chances are you are one of the many who saw it. But just in case you haven’t, I’ll give you a very brief summary: It features some of the best footage we’ve seen outside of Comic-Con so far, lending more camera time to Loki, his yet-unidentified alien army and The Hulk. The extended version of the trailer is up on the Avengers’ Facebook page now. Check it out below:

This looks fantastic. Can’t wait to see more.

The Aftermath of the Ocean Marketing Debacle

Before I begin, I’d like to mention that in my previous post I had confused some of the facts regarding the two companies involved in the Avenger controller situation. Paul Christoforo, the anthropomorphic human waste at the core of this whole thing, was running a one-man PR company, Ocean Marketing (Remember, that’s two T’s on Twitter!), which was handling the marketing of the Avenger controller, a device created by a separate identity, N-Control. The two businesses were otherwise unrelated. Apologies to N-Control for lumping you in with Christoforo.

I think I can clear things up more effectively with a visual aid. Starting at 1:12 in this clip of John Carpenter’s The Thing, Palmer (David Clennon, the “man” on the end of the bench) will represent  Paul Christoforo/Ocean Marketing. The innocent men struggling to get away from Palmer will symbolize N-Control, and Windows (Thomas G. Waites, the unfortunate man near the end) will represent the victimized customer, Dave. Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade will be played by Mac (Kurt Russell). Let’s watch:

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get to it. Things have been moving really quickly in the short time since Dave and Paul’s e-mail exchange went viral.

Kotaku contacted N-Control as well as the PR firm who were marketing the Avenger prior to Ocean Marketing, The Hand Media, to try to get their opinions on the story.

It’s no surprise that N-Control have decided to cease working with Ocean Marketing, opting instead to hand the job over to an internal marketing manager at their own company. The controller’s inventor and owner David Kotkin had this to say:

[quote]”We apologize for our poor representation from Ocean Marketing[…]We wanted to give Paul a chance. He was rough around the edges, but he had drive and enthusiasm. However his behavior was unprovoked, unnecessary, and unforgivable. We are no longer represented by Ocean Marketing.“[/quote]

However, Kotaku went on to quote The Hand Media inc.’s CEO Brandon Leidel, who was handling the Avenger controller job prior to Ocean Marketing’s involvement. He gave a less political statement regarding Christoforo’s work ethic:

[quote]

…[he] said ‘I know this guy at Gamestop. I know this guy at Best Buy,” Leidel said. “They saw dollar signs and decided to start working with him. We decided to walk away from this because it was a nightmare dealing with their problems and this guy Paul.”

Leidel describes Christoforo as a “rogue marketing guy” someone who operated without any rules and never checked in with The Hand Media about what he was doing.

“He was representing the company in a way I wasn’t comfortable with,” Leidel said. “I brought this up a few times and said I cant have this guy representing the company and not have any control.”

[/quote]

The poor man tasked with cleaning up the Avenger’s public image is the above-mentioned new marketing manager for N-Control, Eli Schwartz, who pointed out that Christoforo’s display has done substantial damage to customers’ opinion of the Avenger:

[quote]”At this point I’m just trying to point out that, what was said was someone who we hired, what he said should not reflect on the product itself,” he said. “So far the Amazon rating on the Avenger has gone from 4 and 1/2 to 1 star in around 8 hours. None of the reviews are true, they all just appeared today out of pure hate trolling.”[/quote]

Kotaku went on to mention, as Dave did in one of his e-mails to Christoforo, that this public recoil is an unfortunate thing, seeing as the controller does still work well, and provides much more control for disabled gamers who would find a standard controller unwieldy.

This is getting too serious. Did you know there’s already a Youtube video parodying Ocean Marketing? Yup. There is.

And finally, here’s the resolution to this whole fiasco. As you know, gamers and internet users are two groups which bear a reputation for being very vocal and opinionated. So it’s only logical that immediately after the story hit all four corners of the web, a riotous response from the internet community resulted in a massive flooding of Christoforo’s Twitter account and e-mail address. Well, Sir Paul of Ocean Marketing felt a little overwhelmed by this and went back to Mike Krahulik for help. Yesterday Mike (Or Gabe, rather) posted this in an update on Penny Arcade:

[box_dark]

“At 7:12am this morning I got another mail from Paul. It was one line and simply said:

“You have the power Mike Please make it stop”

[/box_dark]

An hour later, a more complete apology:

[box_light]

‘Hey Mike,

I just wanted to apologize for the way our emails progressed I didn’t know how big your site was and I really didn’t believe you ran Pax , So for what’s its worth I am very sorry. Your post has obviously made my life very difficult and I have not slept yet dealing with all the spam and personal information intrusion as well as my family being smeared on the internet. If you can please accept my apology and anything you can do to help if not me my son and wife please do. I have apologized to Dave and apologized to you what else can I do please tell me so I can make things good. I obviously care or I would not be emailing you.’

[ Gabe again] I think there is a big difference between being sorry and being sorry you got caught. I have a real problem with bullies. I spent my childhood moving from school to school and I got made fun of everyplace I landed. I feel like Paul is a bully and maybe that’s why I have no sympathy here. Someday every bully meets and even bigger bully and maybe that’s me in this case.  It’s the same thing that happened with Jack Thompson. It might not always make the most business sense and it is a policy that has caused us some legal problems, but I really don’t give a shit about that. When these assholes threaten me or Penny Arcade I just laugh. I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the f–king ground if I think I can catch them in the flames.

-Gabe out”

[/box_light]

Well said. I don’t want to leave this story on a sour note, so I want to point out that Mike and Jerry, the guys running Penny Arcade, have proven time and time again that there is nothing ‘isolating’ or ‘lonely’ about the business of video games, and have done great work to develop a sense of community among gamers. I want to congratulate them for that. Thanks Gabe, Tycho.