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Comics TV

The First Legend of Korra Comic, “Turf Wars”, Starts June 2017!

It was first announced that Korra’s adventures would continue in comics (much like Aang’s) last New York Comic-Con, but it’s taken until this one to get an update.  The new comic, titled “Turf Wars”, begins June of 2017.  The details:

This three-part graphic novel series is written by Nickelodeon TV series co-creator and executive producer Michael Dante DiMartino, drawn by Irene Koh (Batgirl, 1602, TMNT), with covers by Heather Campbell (Free Comic Book Day 2016: The Legend of Korra), and consultation by TV series co-creator and executive producer Bryan Konietzko.

Turf Wars begins with Korra and Asami leaving the spirit world and returning to Republic City only to find political hijinks and human vs. spirit conflict, as a pompous developer plans to turn the new spirit portal into an amusement park, potentially severing an already tumultuous connection with the spirits. In addition, the triads have realigned and are in a brutal brawl at the city’s borders where hundreds of evacuees have relocated.  In order to get through it all, Korra and Asami vow to look out for each other—but first, they’ve got to get better at being a team.
No information as to why Brittney Williams (who’s been great on Hellcat) isn’t the artist but Koh does great work.  I’m very curious to see if they will be showing more of the Korra/Asami relationship, which would be great to show some LGBTQ representation to younger readers.  The story sounds like classic Avatar, with a mix of serious and fun.  Can’t wait!  I’ll update the post when pre-orders show up at Amazon, or head to your local comics shop and pre-order there!
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Comics TV

Help Me Fix Agents of SHIELD

This is mostly in response to the article over at Heroic Hollywood, Is Marvel’s ‘Agents of SHIELD’ Really Any Good? so maybe check that first.

There was no one more excited by the concept of Agents of SHIELD than me, when it was first announced.  A Whedon-adjacent look at the more mundane aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, led by everyone’s favorite dead SHIELD agent?  Let’s roll!  The reality of the show has been, at times, middling however.  As Jon Negroni points out in the article above, rather than the show being must-see TV for Marvel movie fans, it’s mostly an afterthought.  The episode that tied in to Thor: The Dark World is the perfect metaphor for AoS, as the team were literally picking up the scraps left behind by one of the MCU’s movies.

Not that there hasn’t been some great stuff to enjoy along the way, but beyond the direct link to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, all that’s great about Agents of SHIELD is of their own making.  Brett Dalton’s Grant Ward bored us all to tears as generic SHIELD agent guy…until the HYDRA twist turned our understanding of him on it’s head.  The action directing has been a highlight also.  Really, the only thing that holds AoS back from being spoken of in the same breath as The Flash is the MCU.  The focus (more from the fans than anyone at ABC/Disney/Marvel) is on just how the show will tie-in to the upcoming movies.  “Hey look, Inhumans!” which is particularly rough since the Inhumans movie is now off the schedule, or Lorelei/Sif which is fun but not exactly something that’s going to grab the attention of the movie-goers or the casual TV viewer who sees the promos.

No, the biggest thing Agents of SHIELD could do to increase its quality is…stop worrying about the MCU!  There are signs of that this year, with the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider being a focus, but they need to really lean in to it.  There are plenty of characters that will never get a movie or a TV show, and you already HAVE a show that needs to fill 20+ hours a year.  And has a tendency to have some filler episodes of questionable quality.  Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of sifting through the rubble of the next MCU movie, Coulson and May went on an adventure with Jimmy Woo and Ken Hale?  Or, instead of holding out hope we see another Kree, we see Fitz and Simmons have to figure out how to help defeat the Wrecking Crew?  The Hood.  Shang-Chi.  Moon Knight.  Tombstone.  The Grim Reaper.  Taskmaster.  Most of these characters wouldn’t carry a series on their own (okay, maaaybe Moon Knight) but would work great as a 3-8 episode arc on AoS.

There are signs that AoS may be going down this path this year, with Ghost Rider and some of the other mystical stuff.  The real trick is getting the audience back that may have lost interest.  Is there anyone you’d like to see on the show, or any TV-friendly storylines you’d like them to tackle?

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Books Comics Movies TV

Happy Birthday Star Trek

50 years ago today yesterday, the first episode of Star Trek (now known as ‘The Original Series’) aired.  Sci-fi fandom hasn’t been the same since.  Hundreds of episodes of TV across five decades, scores of books and comics, big budget movies, video games, copycats and parodies, Trek holds a special place in our pop culture.  Star Wars may have the cool laser swords and planet-exploding superweapons, Star Trek – for all the added fistfights – made you a better person.

The Original Series was the first show I ever watched that dealt with real social issues which despite the show’s 1960’s roots, were still relevant.  Star Trek made you think about the consequences of the action, even as they had to shoehorn in a ridiculous fight with papier-mâché rocks to try and stay on the air.  Sure, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” may have been heavy handed, but for ten year old me this was the first show that dealt with racism in a way I understood.  I came for the Frank Gorshin, but left asking my parents why those two men thought they were so different.

But the best part of Star Trek was how it brought my family together.  My dad, I think, was the driving force, he loved TOS due to the “Wagon Train to the stars” aspect.  I can still remember us gathering to watch Encounter at Farpoint together.  Looking back, it wasn’t the greatest premiere episode, but it still had a sense of wonder about it that captured my attention.  It didn’t hurt that it had John de Lancie mugging for the camera as Q.  Most likely I hit The Next Generation at exactly the right time – young enough to forgive the inconsistency of the first few seasons, but then maturing with the show as it truly hit its stride a few years in.  That led into Deep Space Nine, which remains one of my all-time favorite shows, and the one that best continued the Trek legacy of examining real-world issues through a sci-fi lens.

I am looking forward to the new Star Trek: Discovery show, as it looks like it may be a return to form for Star Trek after the uneven, action-oriented ‘Kelvin-verse’ movies.  And if it doesn’t, there’s always “The Squire of Gothos”, “The Trouble with Tribbles”, “Inner Light”, “The Visitor”, “In The Pale Moonlight”…

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Comics Review

Comic Book Review – The Ultimates: Omniversal Volume 1

Start with the Impossible

Creative Team:

  • Writer:  Al Ewing
  • Art:  Kenneth Rocafort
  • Colors:  Dan Brown
  • Letters:  Joe Sabino

The Ultimates had my attention from the start, by putting together a team starring heroes I love – Captain Marvel, Ms. America, Black Panther, and Monica Rambeau – and oh yeah, GALACTUS is on the cover.  Add in the Blue Marvel, and how could I not check it out?

The team assembles with one goal in mind – to deal proactively with the cosmic threats that always seem to end up threatening Earth.  And what better one to start with than Galactus, the hunger that does not cease?  And if you can cure big G of his hunger, should you?  That’s just the first impossible question the Ultimates tackle.

If there is one thing I wish were different on this, it’s that there’s a lot of set-up happening for future events, and not a ton of room for every character to shine.  But I get the feeling everyone will get a turn, and the stories in this volume focus quite a bit on Blue Marvel and his history, with a little bit of Ms. America in for good measure.  Add in an in-universe explanation for how time works in the Marvel universe, and a couch conversation between Owen Reece and Galactus, and you pretty much have me hooked.  Al Ewing does a solid job writing for all these big personalities, and the art from Rocafort and Brown is quite lovely.

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Comics Movies

Why Wolverine: Weapon X Makes More Sense Than Old Man Logan

For a long time, the rumors were persistent that Hugh Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine would be inspired by the Old Man Logan comics by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.  It never made a ton of sense to me, unless the only bit of inspiration taken from it was the name (similar to Age of Ultron).  Too many of the players in that comic are off the board due to rights issues (Hulks, Hawkeye, Abomination, Red Skull, and on and on) that to even try to make something off that, it would be in name only.

No, it’s clear that Weapon X HAS to be the end of Logan’s story.  Just like in the Death of Wolverine storyline from a couple of years back, it just feels right to end it back where it began.  Which is why I was confused when people seemed surprised or taken aback at the title.  I mean, it doesn’t seem like a huge stretch, after DOFP we’ve seen that despite their meddling in the past, Professor X and Logan are both alive and still doing the Xavier school thing in the future, so it’s not like anybody dies after X-Men: Apocalypse.  They could fit in part of OML here – Logan could’ve ‘put away’ his claws and started living a somewhat normal life when he and the Professor discover what I assume to be Weapon X cloning him (perhaps with Mister Sinister’s help).  Cue the ‘one last time!’ adventure where they rescue X-23 and conveniently set up a teen girl Wolverine to join the X-Men in the next team movie.

The Wolverine continuity *was* fixed, more or less, after Days of Future Past, so this all works.  Any continuity issues that remain in the X-Men movies (and boy do they still exist) are mostly the fault of Singer’s movies.  How are the same actors supposed to keep playing these characters if you keep jumping 10 years forward in time?  “Wow, Moira hasn’t aged a day!” only works for so long.  The strange age difference for Cyclops and Havok.  Teen Jean having a moment with Wolverine.  I know Wolverine may not remember, but should Xavier address Mystique abandoning Logan to Weapon X for what, ten years?  I thought she might be ruthless enough to let them take him and get the Adamantium bonded to his skeleton, but to leave him there?  That’s cold, considering she was rescuing mutants, just not him.

I’ll be looking forward to more Wolverine/Weapon X information as it comes.  My one nerdy hope is that he wears the suit at least once (that’s fan art above).

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Comics Review

Comic Book Review – The Vision #8

Creative Team:

  • Writer:  Tom King
  • Art:  Gabriel Hernandez Walta
  • Colors:  Jordie Bellaire
  • Letters:  Clayton Cowles

Last month, the cover shown for this issue (shown in part above) seemed to indicate the arrival of the Avengers and the beginning of the final battle.  Well, as usual expectations are twisted.  There IS a new arrival, but it’s Victor Mancha, Runaway, former Avengers AI member with the Vision when he was not exactly this version of the Vision (long story), fellow ‘son of Ultron’.  He’s got an internship on the Hill, you see, and he’ll be staying with the Visions for a while.

Taken at face value, the issue unfolds with little excitement.  Victor has a moment with each family member, getting to know them.  It’s gotta be weird for him, finding a whole set of new ‘family members’ created and living this seemingly normal life.  Even with only being shown short interactions with each of the Visions, Victor can’t help but see that something is off.

Vision8Int

The reveal in the final pages will have you going straight back to read the story again, viewing the conversations in a new light.

I find my self dreading the end, because I’m afraid something might happen to Viv.  She’s seemed the most like a normal teen throughout this whole story, and has gone through a lot…and I can’t see anyone in the family left unscathed, with what we have been told all of this is building up to.  Kudos all around, especially to Walta and Bellaire for art this week.  I love the little details, like you see above, Virginia’s hand passing through the vase, the way she’s standing inside the coffee table.  Or the face on one of the other diners as they ‘eat’ in a restaurant, nervously looking over his shoulder.  The tension just keeps building.

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Comics Review

Captain America’s “Hail Hydra” Is Not A Stunt But A Story

You may have heard a little something about the recent Steve Rogers: Captain America #1.  I’m assuming if you are reading this you aren’t worried about spoilers, by the way.  So yeah, Cap was hailing HYDRA.  As soon as I saw the panel, I (unlike a lot of people, apparently) thought back to what Steve just went through – getting zapped back to youth by a weird sentient cosmic cube (made from shards of who knows which cubes), the Red Skull and Sin both involved.  Plenty of reason to be suspicious and curious about it – Evan Narcisse at io9 has collected some of the internet evidence for what might be happening, it’s close to what I was thinking.

But I’m not really writing about that, but the perplexing outcry over this being a ‘publicity stunt’.  Uh, yeah?  Ideally, don’t you publicize everything?  There are previews, solicits, interviews, teaser images but the best publicity is the kind we see here, that organically grows because a bit of media gets your attention and you just HAVE to talk about it.  The last page shocker to pull you in for the rest of the storyline is a classic of comics especially.  Why is it a ‘publicity stunt’ this time, just because you don’t like it?

“It’ll be undone in a few months!”  Yeah, again, comics.  There’s only so much that ever changes in the ongoing comics universes, and even when things DO change, they’ll only stay that way until someone comes up with a story to tell that requires it to go back the way it was.  Logan is still dead because Marvel has stories to tell with Laura Kinney and Old Man Logan, but if someone had a story they just HAD to get out there that required the original Wolverine back, he’d be here.  Bucky stayed dead, but as soon as a writer came up with a kick-ass storyline to bring him back, here he is.  These are ‘publicity stunts’ that have led us to great storytelling.  How can you know what’s coming after chapter 1 of 5 or 6?  It’s Cap’s 75th anniversary year, I’m sure Marvel wouldn’t let Nick Spencer drop this if there wasn’t some huge payoff.  Maybe you still won’t like it, but I’m all for some patience and perspective.

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Comics Review

What’s New on Marvel Unlimited – May 22 to May 28, 2016

Every week, Marvel adds new comics to their Marvel Unlimited service. Sometimes it’s new stuff – most series they publish get issues added about 6 months after they are released in shops – and others it’s older comics. But there’s always something interesting and I will point them out weekly.

Starting thing this week is the new Ms. Marvel #1.  Kamala has everything she ever wanted (mostly).  She’s an awesome superhero, an Avenger even, hanging with the likes of Tony Stark, Miles Morales, and Sam Alexander.  But Kamala learns that once you go public, you’re no longer in control of your image.  And sometimes that shady real estate developer using your face to pave over your neighborhood just might be hiding something more sinister.  G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Ian Herring are your creators.

Next up is Star Wars: Vader Down #1.  If the prequels’ take on Lord Vader depressed you, this should cheer you up.  THIS is the Darth Vader who stomps onto Rebel ships and chokes the life out of anyone in his way.  Just check this out.  Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato and Frank Martin Jr creating based on an overall story arc by Aaron and Kieron Gillen.

VaderDown1

Lastly, you have Spider-Woman #1, starring Jessica Drew…pregnant??  It’s a cliched twist I admit, but it’s handled in a fun way here.  I definitely want to see what’s coming next.  Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez.

Other comics of note:

  • Star-Lord #1 – go back and see how young Peter Quill lied, cheated, and stole his way into space.
  • This week’s 90s nostalgia is thanks to a bunch of X-Factor issues getting added.
  • The Astonishing Ant-Man #2 for more Scott Lang adventures
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Comics Review

What’s New on Marvel Unlimited – May 15 to May 21, 2016

Every week, Marvel adds new comics to their Marvel Unlimited service. Sometimes it’s new stuff – most series they publish get issues added about 6 months after they are released in shops – and others it’s older comics. But there’s always something interesting and I will point them out weekly.

First up is the Jason Aaron, Russel Dauterman, Matt Wilson Mighty Thor #1.  Despite the numbering, this is the continuing story of Jane Foster as Thor, both in her struggles in her mortal form versus cancer, and as the God of Thunder against Malekith the Accursed…and a few other classic Thor villains.  I’ll say no more than that.  Very solid stuff.

Next choice is Ultimates #1.  Al Ewing, Kenneth Rocafort and Dan Brown bring you the ‘Ultimate team, to solve the ultimate problems”.  Captain Marvel, Blue Marvel, Black Panther, Spectrum (Monica Rambeau), and Ms. America combine for a cosmic team dealing with the biggest threats in surprising ways.  I love these characters, and mashing them together is perfect.

Lastly, Captain America: Sam Wilson #3 has Sam turned into Cap-Wolf (a nod to one of the stranger classic Cap storylines) and teaming up with Misty Knight.  I believe it’s also the origin of the new Falcon (since Sam is staying as Captain America, even as Steve takes the name too).  By Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuña and Mike Choi.

Other comics of note:

  • More 90s X-Men comics for your nostalgia.
  • Kanan #8, for you Star Wars: Rebels fans.
  • Lots of newer Spider-Man stuff – Radioactive Spider-Gwen #2, Web-Warriors #1, Spider-Man 2099 #3.
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Comics Review

What’s New on Marvel Unlimited – May 11, 2016

Every week, Marvel adds new comics to their Marvel Unlimited service.  Sometimes it’s new stuff – most series they publish get issues added about 6 months after they are released in shops – and others it’s older comics.  But there’s always something interesting and I will point them out weekly.

First thing to check out is All-New Wolverine #1, starring Laura Kinney.  She’s rumored to be appearing soon in the movies, and she’s now got the Wolverine name all to herself.  This is a great set-up if you aren’t 100% up to speed on what’s up with Laura (formerly X-23), and involves a team-up with Angel.  Tom Taylor writes, with David Lopez and David Navarrot covering the art.  Nathan Fairbain (colors) and Corey Petit (letters) round out the team.

The Vision #1 is the next stop, and seriously, if you haven’t read my previous reviews, check yourself and read it.  Don’t wait.  Or just buy the trade already.

Other titles of note:

  • This appears to go back for a while, but Marvel is adding a ton of X-Men issues to Marvel Unlimited, mostly from their heyday in the 90s.  Lee, Kubert, Nicieza, that era.
  • All-New, All-Different Avengers #1
  • Carnage #1
  • Darth Vader #12, Chewbacca #3 – go back and read the rest if you haven’t.
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Comics Review

Comic Book Review – Black Panther #2

Creative Team:

  • Writer:  Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Art:  Brian Stelfreeze
  • Colors:  Laura Martin
  • Letters:  Joe Sabino

Black Panther #2 continues to juggle the various stories established in the first issue, and does it well.  We get a bit more information in each, developing the various threats facing T’Challa and Wakanda while deepening a few of the mysteries.  I’m particularly interested to see just what the two runaway Midnight Angels are up to, as their plan (after liberating a group of women who were being held by some evil men) hints at some classic Black Panther villains, including the Man-Ape.

Screenshot_20160520-131117-2Heh.  I like these ladies.  Coates has so far always worked in a few lines that bite and make you think, and the art by Brian Stelfreeze/Laura Martin continues to impress.  Black Panther has joined The Vision in the group of comics I am most looking forward to.

 

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Comics Review

Comic Book Review – The Vision #7

Creative Team:

  • Writer:  Tom King
  • Art:  Michael Walsh
  • Colors:  Jordie Bellaire
  • Letters:  Clayton Cowles

The Vision #7, as usual, plays with expectations.  You might think, considering the big tease at the end of the last issue, with Agatha Harkness warning a bunch of heroes about the Visions going off the rails, that you’d see some fallout from that.  Maybe Cap going to talk to Vision, or T’Challa or Tony.  Instead, we get taken back into the past, when Vision and the Scarlet Witch were together.  It’s skillfully used to inform on what’s happening today, the nightmare that the Vision has created.  It’s a great set-up if you are coming in to the comic without knowing the twisty, convoluted background of the whole Vision/Wanda/Wonder Man thing, and really illuminates the tragedy of it all.  All of the Vision’s history has brought him to this point.

Vision7notrealkids

Michael Walsh fills in admirably on art this week – an issue like that, almost all flashbacks, is a good one if you need to have a fill-in artist step up.  I run out of superlatives for the rest of the team but it’s all good here again, man.  Next week will bring in the Avengers…I hope they survive the experience.