Movies Review

Movie Review – Doctor Strange

I saw the Scott Derrickson-directed Doctor Strange over the weekend, and enjoyed it a lot.  It’s not going to unseat any of my favorite MCU movies (currently Iron Man, Winter Soldier, Guardians and Civil War) but it was a fun if familiar tale.  I’ll get all the non-spoiler notes out of the way first:  the effects are as amazing as advertised, and I can’t wait to go back and see it in 3D.  The cast (for all the difficulties with casting a movie from a source so steeped in racial stereotypes) are great as a Marvel movie’s cast usually is, with Benedict Cumberbatch filling Strange’s robes admirably as the arrogant surgeon/distracted driving consequences example.  I really liked Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, he’s got such a great delivery of his lines.  It’s no surprise why he got to say most of the artifact names.

The visuals are simply jaw-dropping.  For those who scoffed at the early clips and trailers that mostly showed the city bending as “psh, Inception” that barely scratches the surface.  Basically take the visuals of the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man, add a bunch of psychedelic color, and jam the accelerator to the floor.  So cool.

<spoilers from here on out>

Comics Review

What’s New on Marvel Unlimited – May 4, 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 Marvel Spotlight #6, which re-tells the origin of Star-Lord.  Peter was first seen in the black and white Marvel Premiere magazine in 1976, but if you missed those (and seriously you probably did) this gets you in with the basics of the Star-Lord’s original origin.  It’s fun to go back and see just how much things changed – so much that Marvel considers these stories to be separate from the mainline universe.

In more recent comics, the first two issues of Doctor Strange’s All-New, All-Different book are now on MU.  I really enjoyed Jason Aaron’s writing on Thor: God of Thunder, and Chris Bachalo (various X-Men titles) can bring the weird.

The last item I’d like to highlight is Hercules #1.  Herc has been a hero in the Marvel U a long time – and in myth and legend much longer.  As he himself would point out, Hercules (one of many names he goes by) was basically the world’s first superhero.  However, he never quite fit into the modern world, his drunken debauchery as legendary as his labors.  Dan Abnett and Luke Ross show us a more mature Herc here, and I’m liking it.  Instead of just assuming his strength and good looks can get him by, he’s grown up.  He’s learning about what the modern world has to offer and is trying to be a more…responsible hero.  And hey, Dan Abnett (half of the team that brought us the Guardians of the Galaxy that inspired the movie) is always a plus.

Other titles of note:

  • Two-Gun Kid #60 – Jack Kirby’s western hero.
  • Men’s Adventures #27-28 – Adventures of the original Human Torch and Toro.
  • Drax #1 – Cullen Bunn and CM Punk write solo adventures for everyone’s favorite Destroyer.
Comics Review

Do Your Homework – Doctor Strange: Season One

Marvel recently released the first teaser trailer for Doctor Strange, the movie which comes out this November.  Unlike Captain America: Civil War which is filled with recognizable characters for the most part, Doctor Strange is a relative unknown to the average movie-goer.  If you’ve watched the teaser, you’ll already know that things are…well, stranger than what you’ve seen in the MCU movies so far, even moreso than Guardians and Thor: The Dark World.  If you want to investigate further, Marvel’s made that easy with Doctor Strange: Season One.

The ‘Season One’ books were designed to tell updated origin stories to new readers, and are a bit more accessible to modern readers.  I love Lee and Ditko and Kirby as much as the next Marvel fan but there’s something to be said for a retelling with modern sensibilities.  All of the bases are covered here regarding Strange and the wider cast of characters you’ll encounter in the movie like the Ancient One, Baron Mordo, Wong, Dormammu, the Vishanti.  Greg Pak is a solid writer and Emma Rios is a wonderful artist who you should be seeking out elsewhere.

If you are curious about the character but don’t want to wade through a bunch of comics from the 60s and 70s this is a great choice to get acquainted with the good doctor.

Comics Review

Comic Book Review – Secret Wars 2015

Sometimes, the heroes can get a happy ending.

That’s my takeaway after reading Secret Wars #9.  Sure, they saved the multiverse, put things back the way they are supposed to be, but Secret Wars really felt like a love letter to Marvel’s first family.  At the end of all things, we get Reed and Doom fighting, and it’s not even about the stretchy punches and magic as it is the words.


Yes, and Doom knows it too.  Admitting this causes Owen Reece to decide to give the power of the Beyonders to Reed, who does what Victor couldn’t – be a creator without being God.  Remake the universe, fix things…and let go.  Reed, Sue and the Future Foundation kids are using Franklin’s ability to create new universes to remake the multiverse.  No more superheroes for now, but scientists and explorers.  Johnny and Ben are still kicking around, of course, but this feels like a fitting end (for now) for Reed and Sue.  They’ve been through so much in the past 10 years or so, I think it’s a good play to keep them sidelined for now until the perfect writer comes along who wants a crack at them.  And if that coincides with Marvel getting the rights back or making a deal for them, well, even better.

ReedFixesThingsAs for the rest of Secret Wars, I really enjoyed it.  Yes, the mainline book ended up a bit overstuffed.  A few too many characters got a look, but it’s easy to forgive as Hickman’s ideas and Ribic’s art worked so well together.  The other books range from so-so to amazingly fun, though I am a sucker for these re-imaginings and alternative takes on heroes, but honestly, just look for the ones you think are interesting and read ’em.  You can safely ignore the ones that don’t matter to you.  But really, Cap and Devil Dinosaur?  Weird-World?

At the end of the day, I feel like Secret Wars (2015) was worthwhile.  The first block of issues have hit Marvel Unlimited if you are a subscriber.  Otherwise, check out the hardcover when it hits.