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THE ULTIMATES, Vol. 1 | ‘New to Comics’ Review

This post was originally published on my now defunct site, New to Comics.

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic-books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is an reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.

This week, we’re looking at the modern retelling of the Avengers’ origin, and the first appearance of ‘Samuel L. Jackson’ Nick Fury.

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Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Mark Millar
Art by: Bryan Hitch
Year: 2002
Pages: 160

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

HulkTHE HULK

Real Name: Robert Bruce Banner
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962)

Dr. Robert Bruce Banner was one of the world’s foremost experts on nuclear physics, with his vast knowledge and prowess in his field taking him into the employ of the United States military, in the hopes he would gain funding for his other, more humanitarian projects, in turn. There, Banner was stationed under Airforce General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross, who had him work on an experimental Gamma Bomb. During this time, Bruce met and fell in love with Ross’ daughter, Betty Ross, starting a relationship that would endure despite Bruce’s dark future.
When the day came about to test his new bomb, Banner was horrified to see a young man, Rick Jones, had broken onto the testing grounds. Sacrificing himself to save Rick, Banner rushed onto the grounds and pushed Rick into cover, but was caught in the explosion. His cells irradiated by the Gamma radiation, Bruce was cursed with a monstrous, dim-witted alter-ego with God-like strength; becoming an anti-hero of sorts, ‘the strongest one there is’… the ‘Incredible’ Hulk!

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Posted by on September 5, 2018 in Marvel Comics

 

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Ranking all 20 MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE movies

Having seen and reviewed the most recent film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp, it’s time to do a ranking of all twenty MCU movies, from worst to best. I did a similar thing over at Cultured Vultures (my answers are actually a little different over there), picking out my top five at the time, but my editor thought doing all of them may be a bit much.

Luckily, no such rules exist on this blog! Let’s get into it:

20. THOR: THE DARK WORLD

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The reason writing a post like this can be fun is because between when I first watched the film and the present day, my opinions can change substantially, as you may notice further down the list. Unfortunately for Thor: The Dark World, no such change has happened. It’s still pretty bad.

Thor is one of my favourite Marvel characters, so after loving the first film and Avengers, I was very excited for his second solo outing. Needless to say, I was disappointed. While there are some touching emotional moments, the majority of this film is bland, messy and has perhaps the worst villain in the MCU. No offence Christopher Eccleston, I still love you.

19. IRON MAN 2

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Another strong contender for worst movie in the MCU. While not terrible, Iron Man 2, like Thor: The Dark World, is similar in that it tries to do too much (more, in fact, than Thor) and the end result is a bloated mess.

However, considering this is a film featuring the MCU’s original quipster and the character that launched the whole franchise, it’s main fault is that it’s actually quite boring. Sure, you have that big explosive fight at the end, but considering what this film is trying to achieve, it ironically ends up being all style, no substance.

18. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

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Harsh? Maybe. But Ant-Man and the Wasp just hasn’t clicked for me like it has other people. When I’m watching a superhero/comedy film (like Deadpool) and I can count the times I’d laughed throughout with minimal effort (like Deadpool 2) then that’s a pretty bad sign, and unfortunately that was also the case here.

Furthermore, the mass of writers who all seemingly wanted different things means that this film, despite having the chance to be the vision of one director, struggles to be one interesting and cohesive narrative.

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Posted by on August 27, 2018 in Marvel Studios

 

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THE INFINITY GAUNTLET | ‘New to Comics’ Breakdown

This post was originally published on my now defunct site, New to Comics.

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic-books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is an reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.


Avengers: Infinity War is in cinemas now. To celebrate this monumental occasion, New to Comics reaches the focus of it’s ‘Infinity Week’ by looking at the comic-book that inspired the colossal tale. Although we’re looking at the comic, rather than it’s adaptation, if you haven’t seen the film yet, I’d recommend avoiding this weeks ‘Breakdown’, as it may provide spoilers for the film.

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Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Jim Starlin
Art by: George Perez
Pages: 256

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

ThanosTHANOS

Real Name: Thanos
Affiliation: The Black Order
First Appearance: The Invincible Iron Man #55 (February 1973)

Born into the Eternals, Thanos was one of a race of Godlike beings that hailed from Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. However, unlike his godlike seeming brethren, Thanos was born with a deviant gene, giving him a look so monstrous that his own mother was driven insane at the sight of him. Alienated from his people, Thanos gave himself to the pursuit of knowledge and power, sharing his findings and psychopathic tendencies only with a mysterious young girl he had befriended. In time, Thanos would learn that that girl was the embodiment of Death, and became enamored with Death’s personification, devoting his extreme acts of violence to her, in the hopes that one day she would return his affections. Destroying the society from whence he came, Thanos has since set out into the stars in pursuit of artifacts like the Infinity Gauntlet and the Cosmic Cube, enacting slaughter on a universal scale all to please his one true love. Now known as the Mad Titan, Thanos is feared by every being in the cosmos that knows his name, and is considered one of the most dangerous beings in existence.

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Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Marvel Comics

 

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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR | Film Review

I haven’t quite finished reviewing all the older Marvel films yet, although I did finish watching them, so that’s half a victory. But having seen Infinity War, I’m not sure I can hold back my thoughts and feelings, so it’s review time! [Spoiler-free]

RELEASED: April 26th 2017
DIRECTED BY: The Russo Brothers
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, Don Cheadle, Zoe Saldana, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Benecio del Toro, Tom Hiddleston, Karen Gillen, Idris Elba, Benedict Wong, Sebastian Stan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Letitia Wainwright, William Hurt & Josh Brolin

Wow, just wow.

Back in 2012, the world watched in awe as Joss Whedon assembled the six Avengers. In 2016, the Russo Brothers brought together twelve heroes to throw down over the Sokovia Accords, and it was even more exciting. Two years on, and the Russo Brothers now have nineteen heroes under their command (and that’s not even including the various other side-characters like Wong, Okoye and so on) and would you believe, they’ve somehow managed to pull it off again. But this time, it’s even better.

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After his various lackeys fail to claim the Infinity Stones in Avengers Assemble and Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos leads his children on a cosmic rampage towards Earth to finally complete his spiritual journey to gain ultimate power. With the Avengers shattered after the events of Captain America: Civil War, what hope do the remaining heroes have against this threat of unspeakable proportions, even with the help of Star-Lord and his Guardians of the Galaxy?

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Posted by on April 25, 2018 in Marvel Studios, Movies

 

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THOR: RAGNAROK | Film Review

This post was originally published on 26/10/2017, but has been moved back to fit in with my MCU review series.

This is it. The end of the line. With one week left to go before Avengers: Infinity War hits, I’ve made it to the last Marvel Movie of the series (chronologically). Well, sort of; I already wrote this review a while ago, but the overall watching experience has been fun. Anyway, here we go; it’s Thor: Ragnarok!

RELEASED: October 27th 2017
DIRECTED BY: Taika Waititi
WRITTEN BY: Craig Kyle, Eric Pearson & Christopher Yost
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Mark Mothersbaugh
STARRING: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, Karl Urban & Anthony Hopkins

When I first heard that Taika Waititi had been brought on to lighten the tone of what was, at the time, a very dark script, I was worried. Not because I didn’t have faith in Waititi; What We Do In The Shadows is hilarious, and Hunt For The Wilderpeople has since become one of my favourite films. The problem was that with a title like ‘Ragnarok’, the usual, light-hearted, quippy Marvel style didn’t seem appropriate.

And when you start watching the film, you may think that Waititi has indeed sacrificed the true themes of the story in favour of directing yet another bubbly Marvel movie. The majority of elements from Thor‘s mythology are quickly sidelined and supporting characters are killed off with abandon, so that Thor and Loki can be carted off to Sakaar, where they can have a colourful Guardians of the Galaxy-esque adventure.

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My fears started to subside when it came to humour. While Thor: Ragnarok definitely has it’s fair share of jokes, the humour is done in a way that it actually fits the moment. The jokes are more sporadic than other Marvel movies, but when they come about, they’re better crafted than, say, hammering down the fact that ‘Taserface’ is stupid name over and over (looking at you Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2).

But that’s just one piece of the puzzle, and serves as one of many factors that make you realise that by the time you reach the film’s climax, Waititi was definitely the right man for the job.

The result is the best Thor movie so far, the best Hulk movie so far, and probably one of the best Marvel movies in the seventeen-film strong series.

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The film follows Thor as he seeks to hold off Ragnarok, the ‘end of all things’. During this quest, a string of encounters with Surtur, Doctor Strange, his brother Loki and his long-lost sister Hela sends the God of Thunder on a journey of self-discovery that leads him to the planet Sakaar. There, Thor is forced to become a gladiator, but finds unlikely allies in the form of a forgotten Valkyrie and the incredible Hulk.

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Posted by on April 16, 2018 in Marvel Studios, Movies

 

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THOR, Vol. 1 | ‘New to Comics’ Review

This post was originally published on my now defunct site, New to Comics.

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic-books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is an reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.


As we continue to look at the mythological figures that proliferate comic-books, this week, we’re back to Marvel for, what is essentially Thor: Rebirth. That’s right, it’s the return to form of everyone’s favourite God of Thunder (Sorry Zeus, you’ve had your time to shine) written by a writer whose run on The Amazing Spider-Man was one of my favourite early reads; J. Michael Straczynski!

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Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Art by: Olivier Coipel
Pages: 160

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

Thor1THOR

Real Name: Thor Odinson
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery #83 (August 1962)

Before Captain AmericaSpider-Man, or the Fantastic Four – the world had a different type of hero, the mighty Thor! Son of the almighty All-Father Odin and sworn enemy of his own half-brother, Loki, Thor – the Norse ‘God of Thunder’ – hailed from the Golden City of Asgard, and would often come to Earth seeking adventure and glorious combat. But when his arrogance proved too much, Thor was stripped of his power and his enchanted Uru hammer Mjölnir, and cast down to Earth under the mortal guise of the handicapped doctor, Donald Blake. There, he was forced to learn humility, which he did so with the help of his love Jane Foster, and in turn, reclaimed his Godhood and thunder-casting weapon, becoming one of the greatest and most powerful heroes in the universe.

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Posted by on April 4, 2018 in Marvel Comics

 

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Super-Heroes: The Modern Mythology

This post was originally published on my now defunct site, New to Comics.

When it comes to comic-book fans, there are certain things that many seem to have a shared interest in. The most prominent, obviously, is serialised fiction and anything superhero themed.

On top of that, there is usually an interest in science-fiction as a whole. Stories that explore the uncanny, the unexplainable and the endless possibilities of the future.

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A third potential interest, in my opinion, is mythology. This is highlighted by the fact that many superheroes have ties to myth. Marvel Comics Thor is a God adapted from Norse Mythology, and many of his supporting characters are themselves Gods (some authentic, such as Odin and Loki, others original such as Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg, more commonly known as the Warriors Three). On the DC side is Wonder Woman, a character who originated as a member of the Amazons, who are adapted from Greek mythology. Similarly, the character of Captain Marvel/Shazam is transformed by a wizard into ‘Earth’s Mightiest Mortal’, invoking various attributes of Greek mythological figures (the strength of Hercules, the wisdom of Solomon, etc.).

More enduring religions, such as Christianity, also hold sway in modern comic-book story-telling, with concepts like Heaven and Hell frequently appearing in stories featuring characters like Ghost Rider, who, as a ‘Spirit of Vengeance’ is, depending on the continuity, either an agent of Heaven or Hell.

But even ignoring the superheroes who are actual Gods, comic books relate to mythology on another level.

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Posted by on March 24, 2018 in Comic Books

 

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