Tag Archives: Civil War

Marvel Studios Phase Three: Civil War, Black Panther, Captain Marvel & More!

A number of the press were recently invited to a special Marvel Studios event, with very little details to go on. Today the crowd gathered in anticipation, with rumors and speculation running rampant, especially considering the recent news that Benedict Cumberbatch may take on the role of Doctor Strange. Kevin Feige took to the stage to show the new trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, which has been seen by over 70 million people. He was also there to make a few announcements, which he called “Comic-Con level news.” And he did not disappoint.

Following in the footsteps of the recent Warner Bros. film slate announcement, Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon announced the next 8 films from Marvel Studios, revealing titles for upcoming sequels, as well as introducing some new faces for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After a brief recap of the first 10 films of the MCU by Joss Whedon, which made over $7 billion, the first sequel title was announced. We’re going to move pretty fast through these announcements today, with a more in-depth examination to follow.

Continue reading Marvel Studios Phase Three: Civil War, Black Panther, Captain Marvel & More!

Lincoln Logs In: Last Trailer Before Friday…

Daniel Day Lewis plays the namesake in Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s latest theatrical release, which seemingly has Oscar written all over it. [checklist]

  • Legendary director? Check.
  • Epic period piece? Check.
  • Daniel Day Lewis being Daniel Day Lewis? Check.
  • A ridiculously talented supporting cast? Check.
  • Sappy American back story that everyone thinks they are familiar with? Check.

[/checklist] If only there were some hookers or handicaps to round out the story you could guarantee the film would sweep the Oscars this year…

Let’s face it Daniel Day Lewis is awesome, and you know he is going to hit it out of the park when it comes to his portrayal of Lincoln, but it almost seems too easy. Lincoln is one of the most beloved and revered historical figures in American history so hopefully this film will not simply be a further exploration of what we already know, but instead a glimpse into the darker sides of the President’s life. Early indications from the trailer are that we will see Lincoln’s struggle to lead a nation through its greatest conflict and moral dilemma but you have to wonder if that is enough of a challenge for the great Daniel Day. He is at his best when portraying flawed characters and I’m not sure if Spielberg’s Lincoln will be more than a Patriotic shadow of the towering icon, but you might not imagine that Lewis would sign on for that kind of project.

This particular trailer is light on the battle action but it seems like there will be some spectacular recreations of the Civil War in a Saving Private Ryan-esque style. Lincoln clocks in at 149 minutes which is less than you might expect from a movie of this scope but does indicate that there will probably be some long boring court scenes to balance out the battlefields. As far as I can tell there will be no zombie killing in this retelling of the Lincoln story, but Spoiler Alert: Lincoln dies in the end!

Superman & Spider-Man Getting Costume Changes: Creative Decision, or Marketing Scheme?

Recently it’s come to my attention that both Spider-Man and Superman have gotten new costumes. Regardless of their semi-permanence or not, the first thing that comes to my mind is always: Why? For Spider-Man, dude has had probably an entire closet full of costume changes, anything from the infamous (and creatively sound) Black Suit, to the stunningly forced and ugly Iron Spider suit from Civil War. You know, the one that was somehow bulletproof yet could be torn by glass. Superman on the other hand, seems to get a suit change every once in a while, until the editor who approved it realizes how stupid they were being and switches back to the iconic, perfect original suit.

Well anyhow, they’re at it again, this time Spider-Man gets a new suit for his debut in the brand new Spider-Man title, The Superior Spider-Man.

Picture via [Newsarama]

Spider-Man is pretty much the poster boy for superfluous suit changes. Every couple of years he seems to get a new suit change so I’m not surprised really. It’s no secret here at GB that I’m not the biggest Spider-Man fan, but even so I still have to say this new suit is just kinda weaksauce. It more or less seems the same, with the exception of a color palette swap, and maybe a few more minor changes that either aren’t visible or I haven’t noticed. At least with the Black Suit that was noticeably different, and worked on its own terms. On top of that, it had a good creative argument behind it. Spider-Man is inherently kind of stealthy character, and why would a guy like him wear such bright colors? Follow it up with the suits excellent reveal of actually being the living Symbiote that would create Venom, and you’ve got more than enough justification for a suit change. In that case, a writer had an idea that made sense, was new and interesting, and helped tell a good story. Time will tell as far as for the storyline implications of this new suit, but I don’t think it’d take much to successfully predict it’s not a fully creative decision. The new suit, the cancellation of Amazing Spider-Man and launch of this “Superior” Spider-Man, reeks of executive business decision. It looks and feels like something that was decided solely to try to get more readers and/or mainstream press about this sudden “new” suit change.

I think the problem with Spider-Man, in my opinion is that he’s a character ruled and governed with such executive care. Everything about him seems so obviously handled by a suit, making sure their cash cow isn’t somehow accidentally caught doing something original or daring. It’s the main reason why we keep getting endless origin stories of him, and sensationalist gimmick stories that don’t really do anything interesting. One More Day, his identity reveal/pro-reg siding in Civil War, and of course that most recent terrible movie, are all plagued by this. It’s one of the main reasons I hate costume changes in general, because it actively reminds me that the guys running these businesses, (and that’s what they are) are just trying to maintain IP security. Make sure people are talking about our character, no matter what! Any press is good press! Who cares if we color him in terrible red and gold and give him lots of useless extra limbs!

It’s like staring into a giant dumb lens flare. Or a J.J Abrams film. HEYOOOO.

But as much as I’d love to keep hating on Spider-Man all day, DC is also to blame for this same stupid tactic. In a lot of ways, Superman is victim to the same company paradigm that Spider-Man has. Protect the IP, raise character awareness, etc. The difference is, he generally gets far fewer costume changes, and due to his ironic modern lack of popularity, ends up with better stories. The people who writer Superman generally get to tell the stories they want to tell, and don’t have to follow any company mandates TOO hard, although occasionally you’ll end up with some real stinkers like the Superman Red/Blue outfits from years back. Of course, we’re talking about Superman’s most recent costume change, and really, it’s literally nothing we haven’t seen before.

Picture via [Newsarama]

Compare it the old black suit he wore from Return Of Superman, and a bunch of other things, and you’ll see it’s not a new design at all. They just added the red cape to it.

DC has always had trouble with Superman’s outfit in one way or another. It seems like every once in a while some idiot comes along and thinks they can improve it, or give him an outfit that will supersede the original in some way. As I mentioned earlier, the most egregious example of this is the Blue/Red suits, which were an embarrassment that DC and nearly all Superman fans would like to forget. So understand it brings me no pleasure to re-live this horrible outfit again by showing them here.

My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

Those costumes were from a TERRIBLE old storyline that involved Superman going into the sun, getting supercharged (whatever that means), and then needing the new suit to “contain” his powers. Then he split into two for… reasons. One was evil or something, and that’s about all I can remember before blood starts to violently leak from my nose and I pass out.

This isn’t the first time DC has made superfluous and needless costume changes. They did it very recently pre-New 52 with Wonder Woman, and gave her an idiotic, tacky 90’s jacket and some pants:

Damn the man!

Or the time they did that whole Azrael/Batman thing, after Knightfall happened:

But the thing is, we’ll keep getting new costume changes, because people will still buy the comics to see them, if only out of curiosity. We’ll have to deal with all of the slutty Invisible Women:

Stupid mohawk Storms: [Editor’s Note – Mohawk Storm was badass!]

And asinine Mr. Fixits:

Seriously, this happened. Hulk in a suit and fedora. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Because it’s a tactic that works. Very rarely is there ever any true creative incentive to actually change a long-established character’s costume, and when there is, it’ll still be met with controversy, and likely sales no matter what. In terms of a gamble, it’s kind of no brainer, because if it’s good, it’ll sell and fans will like it. A good example is Carol Danvers AKA Ms. Marvel, who’s had plenty of costume changes as written about here on GB. She ended up with a new costume that fared far better than her original costume, and is now arguably more iconic and representative of her than the one she started with. However, if the costume is bad, you’ll end up with a Superman situation, where the book sells but it ends up damaging the character, and the whole thing is looked back on as a huge mistake. In the short-term though, it all generates sales, and this is the main problem with the whole costume changing concept. Executives will just demand a costume change any time they see sagging numbers, and short of actually trying to tell a good story, will simple implement a costume change to see those numbers go up. It doesn’t always have to be a costume change, sometimes it’s a gimmicky story element, but more often than not it is.

It’s easier to get an artist to draw up a new suit, print a couple thousand comics with him on the cover, animate the tv show with him in it, license the look to an action figure company, and switch back later when the heat dies down. For every Ms. Marvel, we’re gonna get 10 other totally craptastic costume changes we’ll have to live through. Such is the life of being a comics fan.

Comic Rack: New DCu Unites Animal Man & Swamp Thing, New Green Lantern’s Name, & Jonathan Luna’s Solo Project!

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

New DCu Event Unites Animal Man & Swamp Thing

In case you didn’t know, Animal Man and Swamp Thing are two of the best new books out in the New 52. Arguably, for a while at the beginning, Animal Man was by far the best, but things have certainly balanced out a bit by now. As it would progress however, both Swamp Thing and Animal Man began to slowly seed connections to each other, and the new DCu as a whole, by mentioning the vaguely defined threat of The Rot. As the books continued, we found out more about The Rot, its counterpart The Red and The Green, and the very important impact they’d have on the status quo of the DCu. Now that both books have taken time to explore those respective places/ideas, its culminating in an event that I’m actually looking forward to, called Rotworld. Scott Snyder, the writer of Swamp thing had this to say about Rotworld and its prelude:

Via [The Source]

To say this is the culmination of our year-long stories on these books would be an understatement. This moment is the culmination – the Rot, Arcane, The Hunters Three all have led us here – but it’s also the start of something even bigger. Because in Rotworld, you’ll get to see the DCu completely transformed by the Rot. You’ll see which of your favorite heroes and villains survived the Rot’s invasion (not many, we’re afraid). And you’ll get to see which have been overtaken and transformed by the Rot. You’ll get to see Gotham, Metropolis – this is the whole  DCu, but rotten.

The whole “dark reflection of the universe” story trope has been done before plenty of times, but the uniqueness of The Rot, and the talent of both Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder, (seriously, go read ANYTHING they’ve written, it’s amazing), has me optimistic and downright anxious to read this crossover event. Animal Man has been one of my favorite books for a long time, even back when Grant Morrison wrote his seminal run on the character, so getting to see his newfound unique world come into play in a major way is really exciting.

New Green Lantern’s Name Is Revealed!

In Green Lantern’s Annual #1, we learned a bunch of details, but one of the more puzzling ones was that there is a new Green Lantern for Earth, only he’s masked, and his identity, at the time anyway, was a mystery. Well coming soon with Green Lantern #0 and #13 (numbering in DC is weird), we’re going to find out some more info about him, but a solicitation of #13 from Diamond Comics Distributors, has revealed his name is Baz. Yup. BAZ.

via [Newsarama]

Here is how the copy originally appeared in DC’s October solicitations released to the pubic and currently on their own website:

“• Earth’s new Green Lantern battles The Justice League!”

And here is how it now appears on the Diamond retailer site according to a retailer:

“• Baz, Earth’s new Green Lantern battles The Justice League!”

It’s funny, I know an artist named Gaz. While I don’t think he’s a HUGE Green Lantern fan, I’d like to think that somehow, he put his influence out there into the Mind-Ether, and willed his name into the collective consciousness of Geoff Johns, in a roundabout way to eventually seduce Johns into hiring him as the new artist for that book, thus leading him into a new plateau of success in the comics industry. If you knew Gaz, you’d probably agree with me. Then again, I have been re-reading The Invisibles and a lot of Grant Morrison comics in general, so maybe my whole tertiary-world/psychedelic mind melding/spirit consciousness obsession is getting a bit out of hand. But hey, Baz! That’s fun to say right! BAZ!

Marvel’s Civil War Adapted Into An Audiobook.

First off, I didn’t even know Civil War was adapted into a prose novel, that was a surprise on its own, but then to find out it’s gonna be an audiobook? Well that’s just damn wacky if you ask me. Not to say it’ll be bad because of being an audiobook, it’ll just be bad because it’s an adaptation of Civil War. Oh snap!

Via [Newsarama]

Marvel Comics’ new prose novel, CIVIL WAR, will be adapted to GraphicAudio®…A Movie in Your Mind® audio productions.  The Cutting Corporation and Marvel Entertainment have entered into a licensing agreement where four of Marvel’s prose novels will be released in the GraphicAudio®…A Movie in Your Mind® unique audiobook format.  GraphicAudio® audio productions are six hours on average of action packed audio entertainment with sound effects, cinematic music, narration and a full cast.

So poor source material aside, this does sounds kind of cool. It sounds more like an old timey radio play than a boring old audiobook read by Stan Lee huffing and puffing his way through each paragraph. Presumably, they’re even going to get voice actors, and hearing, oh I don’t know, Clone Thor will be interesting.

On a side note, I thought this would be a good moment to mention WHY I have my particular… let’s call it… Avoidance, of Marvel comics. It all started with Civil War. For a while, I had been out of the loop in the comics industry, the 90’s boom had past, and I had closed my pull list for a solid half a decade, until Sin City came out, and reinvigorated my interest in being up to date again. A year or so later, Civil War came out, with its fascinating concept. A Civil War between some of my favorite superheroes? It’s like the Keene Act from Watchmen! How brilliant!

Then, it turned out that every single month would bring new, stupider, lamer things to the table with each issue. First dumb things like Spiderman unmasking himself, then the previously mentioned Clone Thor (any comics fan from the 90’s will have a Pavlovian hatred of clones), then the ultimate retardation of making Tony Stark an Asshole Fascist Supreme™, and Captain America a die-hard liberal quitter. The fact that Captain America, you know, the guy who never quits, or gives up hope, GAVE up the war because of some destruction, really irked me as lame and a cop-out to a story that wasn’t thematically planned well, or executed with real love at its core. Unfortunately, this can all be attributed to Mark Millar, so I forgave it and followed on to the next Marvel event.

And the next. And the next. And as my dollars dwindled, and my stack of event books I really didn’t like grew larger, I found myself experiencing what many fans named as “Event Fatigue”. Add to that, Marvel’s editors and runners kept repeating this mantra of “This matters, this matters, nothing will be the same again”, and at the end of nearly every event, everything went the same again, It really seemed disingenuous. This attitude in general, along with the (IMO) the poor quality of the majority of their books, made it easier for me to take them all off my list, and be done with their universe for a long while. By no means am I done with Marvel forever, but my sabbatical from that universe is one I don’t see ending particularly soon.

But I probably will listen to that audiobook adaptation, because radio plays are pretty awesome.

Jonathan Luna Of Luna Bros Fame Working On Solo Project

For those of you who haven’t heard of The Luna Bros, I highly recommend you go out and pick up any of the 3 books they’ve done together. They’re a highly imaginative creative team who have taken conceptual comics and really run with them in amazing ways. Their first book, Ultra, is a really well done exploration of femininity and superheroes, that manages to balance a grounded, emotional,realistic story about relationships, with the fanciful nature of a superhero yarn. Their follow-up, Girls, turned the isolated zombie like horror story on its head, by making the looming threat a bunch of  identical, alien, beautiful, naked women, with violent homicidal tendencies towards the women in a small farm town. Their most recent project was The Sword, which was a fascinating blend of revenge story and fantasy, that ended perfectly or disappointingly depending on who you ask, but everyone will agree getting there was amazing.

So after The Sword, they’ve taken a break, but have now come back with each taking their shot at solo projects. This year we saw Joshua Luna with his EXCELLENT ‘Whispers’, which is a book that I don’t even want to tell you about, because half the fun is even finding out what it’s about, and now Jonathan Luna, is going to be releasing his own storybook. It’s a 72 page collection of his original story, combined with his own watercolor paintings accompany the narrative. [CBR] has a great interview with him, and you can read a neat excerpt here:

CBR News: How long have you been kicking around the idea of doing a storybook-type project like this?

Jonathan Luna: I kind of surprised myself with the decision to make a picture book. After “The Sword” ended, I took a two-year sabbatical, but I was still creating. I played with photography and film, and I learned how to paint with oil, acrylic and watercolor. For the past decade I’ve wanted to make an art book — which I still might do — but as I got into it, I questioned its meaningfulness. I realized it was missing the story element I was used to working with in comics. So I decided to do a fairy-tale picture book. I’ve been working on “Star Bright and the Looking Glass” since December 2011.

There’s definitely been a certain kind of imagery in my head I’ve been dying to put on paper. I’ve been into pop surrealism for many years, so I wanted to incorporate that kind of art into my new work. I wanted it to be ethereal and a little dark. That may not completely come across in the work, but it’s at least inspired by it. Also, the theme of beauty runs throughout my other works with Joshua, and it’s central in this book. But, ultimately, this is a story about friendship.

Also, I don’t think I’m going to call “Star Bright and the Looking Glass” a “storybook.” The term implies it’s more for children. I’m hoping anyone of any age will read it.

The whole interview is really worth a read. Head on over to [CBR] to read the entire thing.

Aurora, Colorado Comic Shop Schedules A Benefit Event.

I know this isn’t technically a comics story, but it’s something that I thought was important, as well as good gesture to share and express to others.

via [Newsarama]

All C’s Collectibles, the only comic book store in Aurora, has scheduled Aurora Rise for Aug. 25 and 26, with billed in-store appearances from creators Matt Fraction, Mike Mignola and Steve Niles.

Additionally, several items — including original art and signed merchandise — have been donated for a silent auction. Due to demand, the silent auction has been moved off-site to a nearby Embassy Suites. According to store manager Jason Farnsworth on  the event’s Facebook page, “All proceeds from the event will go directly to the victims, their families and/or designated charity or foundation.”

It’s comforting and rewarding to be reminded that comics fans aren’t all the crude, anti-social, jaded blowhards that they are sometimes stereotyped out to be, because a gesture like this is one that goes a long way towards making the world a better place. Again it’s easy to be cynical about something like this, but what has cynicism ever brought to a situation like this that was positive? I know if I was in Aurora right now, I’d be at that benefit, and I’d gladly help contribute donations and proceeds for the victims and their families, or whatever designated charity they wished to receive funds. I’d like to think that people who read comics, if anything, should have a good moral compass. That’s what superheroes are there for, to reminds us to be good people, and to take care of each other. What’s more heroic than helping another who is in need?

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Looks…Good?

It’s that time again where an old-yet-familiar intellectual property gets the time tested, sometimes proved, sometimes failed reboot. As many of you are assuredly aware, The Amazing Spider-Man gets brought to the silver screen, only now it’s more of an adaptation of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, in which he was younger, in high school, but still trying on the tights. This Spider-Man seems to be focused around getting us to watch this origin story yet again. This time they’re dangling the elusive prospect of “hidden secrets” about Spider-man we’ve never seen before. From what the preview material would have you believe, it has something to do with his parents and how they died, and implies they were murdered. Were his parents cruel Colombian drug lords? New Yorker mob hits? Genetic scientists experimenting on human/spider DNA fusion? Well, probably not that last one, I hope. Whatever the reason,  they’re deliberately trying to bring some freshness and possible subversion of expectations this go ’round.

This Spider-Man totally loves dubstep bro. WUB WUB WUB.

I have to admit, I’m still skeptical about the direction of the whole thing. For every moment or line that they get right, another rubs me the wrong way. I suppose it’s a feeling similar to the much ballyhooed “event fatigue” that many Marvel fans claimed to be suffering from, starting with 2006’s Civil War, continuing now with Avengers VS X-Men. I think we’ve had a lot of Spider-Man in our media, from that terrible third movie and it’s subsequent terrible third video game, to the main Marvel comic being published 3 times monthly, to the Ultimate comics where he “dies”, to the current Spider-man movie being a re-telling of a re-telling. They say you can only skin a cat so many ways, although why they say that I don’t know, because that’s a creepy idiom, but I believe it stands in this case. That’s not to say that I don’t find the interpretation of this actual Peter Parker and Spider-Man character welcome. The wisecracking Spider-Man/shy Peter Parker dynamic is kept, and done much better than it was. On the flip side, you’ve got things like the Lizard, who is a B-villain at best, who has been mentioned many times by the internet crowd out there, to look like a Ninja Turtle.

Pizza Power!

All that being said, the one thing I’m definitely looking forward to, is finally getting some good acting from a female lead in these movies. Kirsten Dunst could never hang, (oh god awful pun) but Emma Stone seems certainly more than capable of pulling off Gwen Stacy, which is a story I’m glad to see come to fruition, as the famous issue from the comics concerning her and Spidey is one of the best. I know spoilers are a big point of contention here on the internet, but when the story she’s famous for centers around and is literally titled “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”, I don’t think it’s too bad to say I’ll be looking forward to Andrew Garfield finding the right balance of pathos and energy to mourn his doomed new girlfriend. Check out an interview with both Peter and Gwen over on Splashpage. Spider-Man is British now. DEAL WITH IT.

Wot? Why, you Mewling Quim you.

The other good thing, that not many seem to be mentioning, is that Marc Webb is directing the movie, which may or may not excite and/or frustrate you, depending on what you thought of 500 Days Of Summer. I loved the movie, and thought it was a brilliant and accomplished directorial debut, although I admittedly really really love Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The guy has done a lot of music videos for… well terrible bands like P.O.D, My Chemical Romance, Jimmy Eat World and even Hoobastank. So I will be expecting a terrible soundtrack from the movie, if his work is any indication of his musical tastes. The amount of videos he’s directed indicates that he is capable of working with a broad spectrum of creative input and meshing it into a whole, which is something Spider-Man definitely needs. Fresh ideas like the creative depiction of POV aerial work as well as a more realistic approach to his web slinging will help keep it from the cheesy looking CG-fest every web slinging scene was in the previous three.

Check out 6 Minutes of footage, for as long as it stays up:

Despite the inherent tiredness of yet another Spider-Man movie, it definitely appears this one is shaping up to take back its source material and forge its own identity in our theaters. It could possibly pave the way for other, better films where we can see our favorite villains given a new life with their proper due, instead of being quick afterthoughts. *COUGH* VENOM *COUGH* I am cautiously optimistic about the movie, and initially I would have dismissed this, though the talent involved, and the direction it’s taking has proven to look interesting. The final verdict on it being Amazing however, will have to wait until it’s July 3 release.