captain america

Reviewing The New Super Hero Trailers

Sometimes I get more pleasure from a trailer than I do watching the finished movie! One example for me (this is just my personal experience) was Man of Steel. I must have watched that trailer 100 times and was blown away by how inspiring it was. It was full of hope and power and succeed on every level to get me excited for the Superman movie I was about to go to. Suffice to say, to me…the movie didn’t live up to the literal promise made in the trailer but I’ve spoken enough on that (here’s a whole podcast on the topic). Let’s get to it:

Captain America 2: Winter Soldier

Here are my thoughts as I watch this:

  • The no parachute thing is great. I’m getting bored with heroes who hate what they have to do. Cap is proving he is in his element and loves what he does.
  • Robert Redford brings a lot of gravitas to this story. His lines have a lot of impact because of who he is.
  • Seems like this is another “Is S.H.I.E.L.D.going too far” story. I feel like this is well worn territory in the Marvel movies and now Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Teasing Winter Solder bit by bit.
  • SHEILD has changed since “The Battle of New York”. Looks like they aren’t messing around anymore.
  • The fight in the elevator reminded me of Cap in Civil War when he fights his way out of the Helicarrier.
  • Fury looks mad
  • Falcon looks so cool! I can’t wait to see him in this. It looks like his Ultimate costume but stealthier.
  • The scale with the Helicarriers is as huge as the scale in Avengers.
  • The last bit with Winter Soldier…wow. It’s like stepping on Superman’s cape…you don’t touch Cap’s shield!

While I’m not exactly sure what the greater threat (besides Winter Soldier) is, the tone of this movie seems just right. My problem is with the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. being in questions AGAIN. We’ll see.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Overall:

This is not an uplifting trailer to say the least. The X-Men are at their lowest two points in both the past and the future and this desperate act of sending Wolverine back to the past doesn’t have much hope attached to it. That’s where the X-Men live, though. The odds are always stacked against them from all angles and unlike traditional super heroes, they are chiefly concerned with their own survival before they can worry about saving anyone else. The score really sets the tone of this trailer  by using John Murphy’s Adagio in D Minor (from the movie Sunshine). The premise seems right on with the source material of Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142 with only the players shifting around. Let’s get into what we see:

  • The original cast is back! Sure you may or may not have seen the post credits scene in The Wolverine but this is the X-Men movie franchise back in the hands of Bryan Singer and he’s brought back the Cerebro, the school, and all the faces you haven’t seen this X-Men 3.
  • Teaming up with Magneto is proof that this story is bigger than any threat thus far.
  • New mutants join the X-Men you remember including: Bishop, Sunspot, Warpath, and Blink (all looking remarkably good!).
  • The premise is set. The “war” in the future must be stopped before it begins by sending Wolverine’s mind into his body in the past. This is what Kitty Pryde was sent to do in the original story.
  • Seeing Bryan Singer’s name in these credits is really all I need to see. He knows how to handle this franchise and it’s a crime they didn’t wait for him so he could have directed X-Men 3.
  • Now we see that this movie is bridging X-Men First Class with the first three movies. I remember all the talk of First Class being a reboot but this should end that debate once and for all.
  • Xavier was a “very different man” in the 70s. Without knowing more than what I saw in X-Men First Class, I’m guessing this is due to him being paralyzed by Magneto? He looks haunted and angry in the 70s, which is a very different place for the character.
  • Wolverine being told by a future Xavier that it’s up to him to change the future from the past reminds me a lot of the premise of the cartoon “Wolverine and the X-Men”. I wish that had a chance to continue longer…
  • The threat to the White House reminds me of Singer’s previous X-Men movies and seeing Nixon reminds me of Watchmen.
  • Peter Dinklage HAS to be an amazing Trask. He’s going to bring so much to it because he’s at the top of his game.
  • Young Xavier is going to be the emotional center that this movie’s arch is going to have to be about. He is resistant to the plan and has the biggest journey to go on.
  • What’s going on between Magneto and Mystique in the 70s? They seemed on the same page at the end of First Class and were thick as thieves at the beginning of the first X-Men movie. I wonder if Wolverine has messed with their relationship for some reason?
  • The light that future Xavier sees coming through the windows of the school and the image of future Magneto pushing with his powers…that’s because of Sentinels, right? They aren’t in the trailer probably because they are being put together in post production but…I kind of hope they save them for the movie. We’ve been waiting a long time to see them done right.
  • That line! “Please….we need you to hope again.” When it comes from Xavier to his younger self…it’s the type of line that only Patrick Stewart can pull off in a way that makes you shiver.

Guardians of the Galaxy Teaser

Comic-Con Footage

Click Here for the Teaser <

When I first heard Marvel was going to make a Guardians of the Galaxy Movie I thought that it was an excellent idea of an animated movie and I was excited to see it. I even mentioned that to someone and they told me I was mistaken and that it was going to be live action. I was confused. How would this property translate to live action and would the regular movie going public ridicule this? Keep in mind, this team has no properties on it that the uneducated has heard of and boasts team members who are a talking raccoon and a tree that repeats his name. It’s…not the most obvious choice. In fact, neither was the choice of Chris Pratt as the star.

guardians concept art

A year later, I’ve come around the other side of this. Pratt has range and he has built himself up in ways that have surprised everyone. James Gunn as the director was a real coup. The rest of the cast just kept getting better with the likes of Bradely Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close as Nova Prime! On top of all that, Marvel is hitting all on cylinders these days. They are so careful and through of their properties that I have to give them my trust on this. Above all, I want this to succeed because it’s something different. I want this super hero movie in space to be everything Green Lantern wasn’t. I want a new tone and some new characters so Marvel can continue to try new properties on the big screen. That all said, we don’t have much to go on right now other than this clip from comic-con. It’s just showing off the character designs and that it’s going to be a ton of action with a bit of a more comedic tone (perfect line by John C. Reilly). I can not wait for a full trailer to this!

Justice League: War

 

Fitting that the last DC animated feature was Flashpoint because this is where the DC Universe goes next in the comics. It’s the debut of the New 52 in animated form (not counting the last scene in The Flashpoint Paradox). This story covers Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s first story for the JLA called “Origins” which introduces the JLA members to each other as well as their first team-up against Darkseid. This story is only two years old and hasn’t had the chance to be seen as a classic story but is certainly a benchmark in the history of the DCU. Let’s check out what this trailer offers:

  • Right off the bat, it starts with Darkseid who looks tough but Steve Blum’s voice isn’t selling an evil god to me. 
  • Jason O’Mara as the voice of Batman is yet another new comer to a DC stalwart in this movie. I guess a New 52 story is as good as any to start fresh.
  • Fine with Wonder Woman and Flash’s voice.
  • I wonder why Wonder Woman has this new costume? It’s not even her New 52 costume (it is the colors, though). Either way, she looks hardcore!
  • I HATE when it says “Based on the GRAPHIC NOVEL….”. This wasn’t a graphic novel. This was issues of a comic book that were later reprinted. DC is just reinforcing the negativity of the words comic book by avoiding them out of some type of fear.
  • Cyborg gets his origin from this story just like the source material. I am fine with it. I really like Cyborg’s elevated status in the DCU.
  • Justin Kirk’s voice as Green Lantern has him sounding pretty young. I guess this is early in his career.
  • Superman’s fat neck looks hysterical in his Jim Lee mandarin collar.
  • Alan Tudyk sounds GREAT as Superman. Always liked him in everything he’s done too.
  • Shazam instead of Aquaman feels wrong to me. I know they want to invest more in the Shazam property now but Aquaman is a really interesting character in this story and a classic JLA founder.
  • Best line in this trailer: “You’re not just a guy in a bat costume, are you?”
  • The extra weird New 52 lines in Green Lantern’s costume look unnecessary and just dumb to me.
  • Jim Lee’s redesign of the Parademons works really well in this.
  • Darkseid can make his arms glow? Who knew?

Uninspired music and not much of a plot. This doesn’t have me very excited. Looks like a pretty basic story – invasion + everyone meeting for the first time. Maybe it will offer more but this does not have me that hopeful.

Panels That Stuck In My Head

Many of the best panels of the month came from the Batman family books. (check those out here), but there were others that were full of bad-assery. Check out some of my recent favorites here:

marvel comics david aja

Kate Bishop steals every panel of Marvel’s Hawkeye. This is one of the best comics I’ve read in years.

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Panel composition alone should have you picking up Hawkeye.

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I didn’t see this coming! The ending of Uncanny Avengers #4 was a jaw dropper.

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Luke lets him know how hardcore Leia is.

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When Buddy Baker’s daughter got turned by The Rot in Animal Man it was shocking.

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Is killing killers “superior” behavior? What do you think?

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I think this is Doc Ock’s biggest win. He figured out J. Jonah and tricked him to be on his side. Genius!

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It took the Superior Spider-Man to show Wolverine just how tough he is.

geoff johns dc comics

B’DG everybody!

thunderbolts marvel now

US Agent once again has arms and legs due to medical techniques in another dimension. Anyone else still reading Dark Avengers?

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Ever since the Marvel Now teaser came out, we wanted to know what this robot following Hulk was. Now we know.

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Cap is really in a bad place these days.

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Cyclops had to ask this before he blasted Wolverine. At least this younger version of him is polite.

infinity guantlet illuminati

Uh…things just got real!

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Kyle’s destiny is to be a White Lantern. I think they should keep him as one.

into the darkness animated series

My jaw dropped when I saw this panel in Star Trek Countdown to Darkness but…I doubt many others had the same reaction unless they are mega fans. My first though was…is he canon now??

I have tons more panels at ComicBookPanels.com

Comic to Big Screen in 2012

year end comic book boxies2012 had some big super hero movies in theaters. It didn’t have the volume of some year’s releases but the ones that did come out all had impact on the landscape of this genre. Each came with it’s fair share of baggage with some good and some bad. 2013 looks to be an even bigger year but potentially less controversial. Let’s get into what I mean now…

The Boxie goes to:

  • The Dark Knight Rises

The other nominees:

  • Amazing Spider-Man
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
  • Judge Dredd
  • Marvel’s The Avengers

The Dark Knight Rises

The first thing I thought when I left the theater at 3AM for the first showing was…”Wow, I just saw a real FILM”. Not a super hero movie but a film. Sure, Bruce Wayne dresses up like a bat in a costume and fight people but this felt different. It felt like a allegory with bigger themes going on. Soon after watching the movie, Adam and I recorded a podcast on the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy (one of our first podcasts) that you can check out here.

christopher nolan dc comics

This movie felt epic and not because of special effects. That’s a first for me in the modern age of super hero movies. Sure the inexplicable alien invasion in Avengers looked cool but it had no emotion behind the fight. Instead, watch the Batman and  Bane fight near the end of Dark Knight Rises. Bane’s army and the police square off in what looks like the end of a gladiator or war movie with the two generals cutting through the fight to go one on one with their enemies. The movie was shot beautifully especially in the scenes with the snow showing off Gotham.

batman bruce wayne podcast

The A to B super hero format was abandoned with this movie opting instead for a movie that made you feel the humanity of the hero instead of just his “super humanity”. The movie is no perfect but most of the major problems were due to time management of an already long movie (examples: fixing Bruce’s back, trips between Gotham and the pit, etc.). What made this the best super hero movie of the year was the exploration of the impact on a world to having a Batman in it. Often told from multiple perspectives of those affected the most by his war on crime, this movie was bigger than just Batman. Because of that we got the final installment in a world I’ll miss visiting. I feel bad for the team that has to reboot this franchise once again.

batman nolan review 2012

Marvel’s Avengers

I see Dark Knight Rises as a film with super heroes and Avengers as a super hero film. All the beats of a modern Super Hero film are in the Avengers just…better. It’s got the coolest looking heroes fighting hordes of villains with destruction and special effects with all the trimmings. The characters in this super hero team movie all get their moment to shine as well. The best thing this movie has going for it is that they finally created a shared universe that gels as well as the comic book Marvel Universe. This is no small feat. These characters are stars of their own movies but they came together in a true ensemble picture here.

iron man hulk thor

Aspects of the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America were all part of this script that used them all perfectly. Whedon should get a ton of credit for managing a colossal effort. With all the special effects and movie stars in this movie the toughest part was injecting heart. Whedon did that the way he knows best…a death of a loved character. Gregg Clark’s Agent Phil Coulson impact on this movie should not be forgotten. His role in this movie was enough to get him our choice for the hero of the year for 2012.

whedon marvel podcast

When everything is all said and done this movie will hold up for exactly what it is: escapism that puts smile on faces. The Hulk was the character that many said stole the show because of how they kept teasing his appearance before he showed up on screen. His second transformation scene would have been the most memorable scene if the movie if not for his later fight with the movie’s villain, Loki. This is the next level of super hero movie making. This game changer has both Fox Studios and Warner Brothers scratching their heads on how they can duplicate the effect of this movie. That’s pretty impressive.

Amazing Spider-Man

I feel like Adam and I said all we could possibly say about this movie on our podcast episode dedicated to the movie (episode #28 available streaming and on iTunes!). That said, we found the movie more unnecessary than bad. It’s not that it was poorly written or acted in at all (well, Gwen Stacy was WAY too convenient) it just didn’t tell a unique Spider-Man story. If Dark Knight Rises or Avengers were comics, I’d would have found them to be good reads. If the story in Amazing Spider-Man was a comic, I would be pretty bored with it. Sure, it’s an origin story (and one that’s been told in the last 10 years) but it didn’t have enough uniqueness to it to warrant it existing. Except, we know why this movie was made. If Sony didn’t make this movie they would have lost the license so they have to keep making them indefinitely or it reverts back to the now very capable hands of Marvel.

marvel sony movie 2012

I’d like to see something different in the next movie. I think it all comes down to writing. The core group of actors are actually quite good. Andrew Garfield especially did a great job capturing the essence of both Peter and Spider-Man. What needs to happen is to take some chances. Tell a Spider-Man story that’s never been told before and you’ll win me back.

Judge Dredd

The bar couldn’t have been set lower! Comparisons to the Stallone 1995 movie have to be made and are very easy to shrug off. This movie has no insights, depth, compassion, or heart and yet…it’s Dredd. This is one of those movies that’s faithful to it’s source material to a fault! It’s a throwback to the 70s and 80s action movies where you lose track of the body count, can’t identify with the protagonist, and notice that your heart rate climbs as the bullets fly. Karl Urban shows a different side to himself in this pure genre film. With the helmet firmly on at all times, he really becomes Dredd.

comic book reviews podcast

You have to have the right expectations when you see an adapted movie. Mine were of a grim and gritty comic book character who takes no prisoners and is less personable than Batman. I got that in this movie. We were also treated to stylized violence that looked more real than I thought it would for a comic book movie set in the future. Maybe this movie will help take back the line “I am the law!” from the hammed up Stallone and bring it back to its violent cold roots.

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance

This movie makes it into the top 5 because there wasn’t a true 6th super hero movie release in 2012. Was there? I’m not counting Men in Black 3 (even though that was a comic book adaptation at one point). I am sure there were some indie super hero movies that were released (let me know about them in the comments section below) but I didn’t see them. If I did, then whatever they were they would have beaten this movie.

What can I say about this that I liked? Well…let me think about that. Hmmm…I’ve got nothing! It’s not even to bad that it’s good. My expectations were super low but were raised a bit by the inclusion of the directors of the Crank movies. I thought that if this movie managed to not take itself too seriously, it could have been fun. Turns out it didn’t have that right kind of magic that allows bad movies to work. 2013 has more super hero movie releases so I feel like I won’t have to include movies like this in next year’s list. I leave you with a video from Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance.

* If Thomas Jane’s awesome short Punisher Movie, Dirty Laundry counts as a movie than it’s AT LEAST number five on this list.

Marvel’s Newest Chapter

avengers arena hickman

Marvel Now keeps rolling out


Marvel Now started in October 2012 and looks to continue creating new titles through at least March 2013. Books are being re-touched, relaunched, and made more approachable.

Not a reboot, but a jumping on point for new and lapsed readers to pick up these books. New number one issues, new costumes, and new status quo these comics should be approachable and get you hooked.

When grading these books, I needed criteria. The best criteria would be Marve’s own, in my opinion. I’m using a 1 to 5 star rating with 5 being the best. Here is what I am looking for:

1. Approachable to a new reader. Could anyone who liked the recent Marvel Movies pick this book up as their first comic and enjoy it?

2. New status quo. Is this new enough to warrant this new labeling and reboot?

3. New cover designs. Covers will be less dogmatic (logos always on the top) and look more like movie posters.

4. New looks. We have been promised new costumes for established characters.

Round 3

Avengers #1

thor captain america

So this book is set up to be BIG. Which it should be. The tone of this book feels like Morrison’s JLA. Hickman is taking his time with this story for that “Epic” feel but it’s not a bunch of loose plot threats like his FF run.

The similarities to Morrison’s JLA run are in the the scale of the threat as well as the make-up of the team. After Morrison’s initial storyline on the book he went about growing the team’s ranks beyond the big seven with some unlikely members in order to take on threats Biblically big! This massive line-up feels like an assembly of the world’s greatest heroes. The lineup is diverse in every sense of the word. Men and women of difference races and creeds, established top-tier characters, B and C Level characters brought up from the “minor leagues”, and all-new characters in legacy roles…this is an impressive team.

Just look at Jerome Opena’s art! This book has the feel of an event story because of just how detailed and kinetic his art is in this series. This is very much a movie style story and the art is a big part of that. The two page spread for the title and credits really drives that movie feeling into my head. The story starts off with a premise similar to the team-building story of Giant Sized X-Men #1 and grows from there because this antagonist is more mysterious and interesting than an angry living island.

This team also seems to have more raw power than any line-up that comes to mind (with possible exception to the Initiative Era Mighty Avengers team with Ares and Sentry). Iron Man and Cap are the creators of this team with Iron Man as the visionary and Cap as the leader and inspiration to the team. That part came through and really worked for me.

This book is what I am looking for in a Marvel Now #1. It was approachable because it didn’t really get too into any of the new characters and instead spent it’s time defining the threat and need for this type of team. This is a book I think someone who saw The Avengers movie would appreciate as well as long-time Marvel fans. No easy task.

Approachable:

This book doesn’t give Captain America and Iron Man’s origin but…does it need to? You don’t need to read any specific storylines to understand this new status-que and that makes this very easy to pick up. You don’t need to know much about these characters (yet) to enjoy this story other than Cap and Iron Man. This feels like it was designed for the movie fan to pick up without being boring.

New Status-Que:

This is the next stage of evolution for the Avengers. Sure, it’s a traditional team building issue but with nontraditional choices for members. The diversity of the line-up again reminds me of how Giant Sized X-Men #1 changed the team forever.

New Cover Designs:

Dustin Weaver’s interlocking covers are a perfect way to define this series. A wide screen shot of this new team emerging from light lets you know that this is a massive team ready to take on anything. If Marvel now covers are trying to look like movie posters, they nailed it.

New Looks:

The last page has some, I suppose. This book takes characters from many other books and puts them together for threats deemed big enough to warrant Avenger involvement. I don’t think a uniform look that changes what they already have going would have made sense.

Avengers Arena #1

battle royale arena

This is probably the most drastic relaunch of any title Marvel now put together. Many of the characters from Avengers Academy appear in this book and it seems like this is the new teen hero book for Marvel. The comic borrow HEAVILY from the Japanese movie “Battle Royale” to the degree that it even pays homage to the films poster art with the cover. Making it more meta, the antagonist even admits to stealing the idea for this new status-que from the movie (in so many words). Let’s get into what this is about…

Heroes pitted against heroes? New characters with mysterious pasts? B Level characters thrust in the spotlight? Yes! This book has the make-up for a memorable series. The idea that classic X-Men villain, Arcade, has somehow REALLY upped his game to this level in order to prove that he’s a significant threat is very appealing to a fan who enjoys those types of stories. The premise is wonderfully simple. Like Battle Royale and The Hunger games, teens are put on an island where they are monitored and must kill all other contestants until there is only one remaining. Friendships are broken, alliances made, and even lovers are torn apart because of the game’s rules.

marvel now comics reviews

I have so many questions that have me eagerly awaiting the next issue. How did Arcade pull this off, obtain a new level of power, and access to these heroes? Have other heroes noticed theses teens are missing? Who are these new characters anyway? All of these and more are why this is possibly the best book for brand new readers to pick up. I haven’t even got into the point of view of the first issue that will have both new readers and (especially) Avengers Academy fans with jaws on the floor. The stakes are big and the story is in a bubble (not to be crossed over with other books) which are two criteria for a breakout hit.

Kev Walker really gets what makes young super heroes look cool for years and he adds a new level of darkness to that aesthetic this time around. It’s clean action-oriented art that also guts you at the right moments. These characters look like traditional Marvel super heroes but the setting is alien and that juxtaposition is great.

So far, this is the ONLY Marvel Now book I would really recommend first time comic readers to pick up. That’s impressive.

Approachable:

Everything you need to know is in this issue but long time fans will appreciate the impact of this book on another level (especially Avengers Academy fans…trust me). What it lacks in an original concept, it makes up for by being very easy to pick up.

New Status Quo:

This is a modern Secret War! Heroes against heroes for the amusement of a evil with god-like powers…it’s all there. These characters have not been through anything like this so this book is very different from others on the market right now. How long this can go for, however, is up for debate.

New Cover Designs: 

This one is tough! Although this is only an homage, it tells you everything you need to know just by the cover! It’s Battle Royale with super heroes. Nailed it. The fact that it is patterned after an actual movie poster makes it easy to live up to the mandate set forth by Marvel to do just that.

New Looks:

Costumes aren’t a big part of this series because of the lack of any real super heroics taking place here. That said, there are some cool new character designs that premiere here.

comic book podcast

Episode 27 is everything AvX! 2012′s summer blockbuster is examined and discussed. This epic 12 part mini series crossed over to almost every X-Men and Avengers title and concluded with AvX Consequences.

Marvel promised that this would have a big impact on the Marvel Universe and it really did. We discuss the big death, what this means to the Marvel Universe, and where it looks like it will go from here.

Listen to the episode directly here.

Listen to the episode on iTunes.

Whose Side Was Right?

The dust has settled on AvX. Marvel Now has kicked off. Cyclops and Captain America have both made different moves after this battle. Cap has created the Uncanny Avengers while Cyclops’ Uncanny X-Men are looking to help new mutants regardless of who gets in the way.

Now what we have all the facts, who do you think was right? Comment below!

x-men cyclops captain america

President Captain America Chooses His Cabinet

By now many of you have heard that the Captain America of the Ultimate Universe is going to become President of the United States in his respective universe in Ultimates #15. If you don’t read any of Marvel’s Ultimate books I can tell you that…things got pretty bad for the United States. It’s post-war landscape that was decimated by Mutants and Sentinels. This United States has lost states to succession and things look pretty grim.

Click on any of these images to see how it goes down.

captain america president

Ultimates #15
(on sale 9/19)

marvel comics review short box

Cap takes the Oath of Office

Captain America president

Cap is a very different kind of President

My question to everyone is, if you could pick a super hero presidential cabinet dream team for Captain America…who would you pick? It can be any super hero (no villains…it’s America!) from any universe living or currently dead (who are American Citizens).

Here’s my picks

Secretary of State US Agent
Secretary of the Treasury Ozymandias
Secretary of Defense Red Hulk
Attorney General Daredevil
Secretary of the Interior Swamp Thing
Secretary of Agriculture Superman
Secretary of Commerce Booster Gold
Secretary of Labor Luke Cage
Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mid-Nite
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development John Stewart
Secretary of Transportation Cloak
Secretary of Energy Iron Man
Secretary of Education Professor X
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Punisher
Secretary of Homeland Security Batman
marvel comics reviews short box

Agree disagree? Who are some or all of YOUR picks! Let me know below!

Breakdowns – Avengers Vs. X-Men
Part 2: Rounds 1 and 2.

When I go to a comic shop or a con, people generally ask me if I keep up with normal weeklies.
My answer is usually that I try, but most of the time, that’s not really true.
Usually I shotgun through and paraphrase, so I have a concept of what happened to what character.

This is me basically doing that to large scale crossovers for you, this series in particular being the megaseries Avengers Vs. X-Men. I’ve broken up the ongoing by rounds, as to not make me write a huge, long terrifying thing about the series as a whole.

So, here’s Rounds One and Two, starting with Avengers Vs. X-Men #0.

We open on MODOK, hunting down a former A.I.M. scientist in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He attacks with a flurry of what can only be described as “Random animals that have rockets attached to them, cybernetically”, including a dinosaur head that is strapped to a booster rocket with its mouth wide open.

Who comes to the rescue? Scarlet Witch!
Remember Scarlet Witch?
You know, the one that basically cracked a universe in half and then wiped out the majority of the mutant population? Well, she’s back, I guess.
I realize that she didn’t do a lot of that on her own accord, but I can’t help stacking facts like that, because before that? She was only known for marrying The Vision and making our with Hawkeye.

Anyway, Scarlet Witch shows up, and dispatches (with the help of Carol Danvers and Jessica Drew) the utter insanity that MODOK has surrounded himself with, all the while MODOK kind of tries to talk trash. I say that he tries to talk trash, when really he’s just expressing our concern as readers that hey, Scarlet Witch may not be the best option for super heroism right now.

So, anyway, Jess and Carol figure that bygones are basically bygones with Scarlet Witch and the rest of the Avengers, which is a really dumb conclusion to come to, because guess who’s back and REALLY doesn’t want to see his ex-wife? The Vision, you guys.

Vision makes it a point that Scarlet Witch isn’t a part of the gang anymore, and really, it didn’t have the emotional impact anyone was going for, so let’s just move on.

In the last half of the book, Hope borrows a jetpack to fight crime in the city, fires an eye-laser at Cyclops, and then derails a bank robbery by the Serpent Society singlehandedly.
Nope, that’s about it.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1.

I don’t know who The Protector is, and I’m kind of fine with not really caring, so, I’m moving on from the typical Bendis banter on this one, and basically, the Phoenix force is destroying planets, and aliens are taking bets on that. Hopefully you like framing devices, because this one is actually recurring. We also get the new, younger, Nova, who basically takes off the wing of a jet aircraft while crashing into NYC informing us of the Phoenix force that’s coming.

Meanwhile, a Hope vignette where she’s fight training with Cyclops, wherein Cyclops is actually teaching her something about fighting. I question the validity of this, because Cyclops, on his best day, was not a great hand-to-hand combat guy, and Hope has been trained by Cable. I don’t understand Cyke’s aggression, or the fact that he’s actually teaching her anything, but that’s the premise of this scene and I’m not going to judge it anymore.

We get a bunch of bloobity blah blah about how The Avengers realize that the phoenix force is coming and it’s a viable threat to earth and oh, wait Cable was saying something about Hope having something to do with it and oh geez and gee willikers maybe we should have asked him for specifics.

Then, we get the money shot of Cyclops blasting at Cap with eye-beams because he doesn’t want to give Hope up to The Avengers, who want to get her off planet or something. The reasoning behind either side sin’t really clear, because it involves a LOT of assumed interest in the non-logic of keeping Hope on earth before it’s destroyed.

Maybe if she bonds with the Phoenix force which she has already shown to be capable of using, she’ll destroy the world? Probably.

TIE-IN: Wolverine And The X-Men #9

I actually want to get to reading this series at some point, but this is just a re-iteration of the events of AvX #1, with the actually pretty awesome students of Wolverine’s new Jean Grey School For Mutants reacting to.. well, everyday life. The Phoenix force is coming, and Wolverine is really conflicted about what team of the about 4 active teams he’s on that he stands with on this issue.

TIE-IN: New Avengers #24

People are protesting in front of the Avengers Mansion. I don’t know why.
Iron Fist goes out to talk to them, finds Luke Cage pretty deep in already talking to the media.
Luke is apparently just losing his mind trying to get his wife and kid to come back, and he’s yelling directly into a news camera to express his feelings.
Luke’s wife, Jessica Jones, shows up.
Things get awkward.
Storm leaves the fancy Avengers meeting in a huff, probably because she’s still wearing her X-Men uniform.
And then we have a scene of Everyone Jumping Out Of The Helicarrier Which We Were Promised Since This Series Began.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2

Fighting Happens.
Basically, we have the following:
Red Hulk Vs. Colossus
Namor Vs. Luke Cage
Magneto Vs. Iron Man
Dr. Strange Vs. Magick

Also, other things happen! The Avengers chuck an away team into space to deal with the Phoenix head on, and Hope takes out most of the teen-aged X-Men, as well as Wolverine.

TIE-IN: Avengers #25

I don’t know when this story actually takes place. I’m assuming it’s before the actual fighting, because we have Cap being introspective, and then Thor shows up and makes him feel better. Protector (Who I guess is a future version of Noh-Var) is explaining that A.I.M. is doing something. I pretty boldly don’t care what that is, suffice to say that A.I.M. gets defeated. The kicker for me is that Noh-Varr gets informed of the Phoenix force, which I assumed he already knew about, but apparently he didn’t.

I’m starting to notice a trend in these issues about people just straight up not knowing about the force that’s just gonna end up destroying the earth, possibly to nail down the fact that it’s the entire reason for this conflict. The mentions are getting annoying and convoluted.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1

I actually like this title a lot, because it essentially drops the ENTIRE PRETENSE of the tie-in, and goes about just showing fights and attempting to have some humor to an otherwise dull set-up. It’s actually a pretty decent fight book, but there’s no real bearing on anything, Phoenix-wise.

Your Takeaway: Iron Man beats Magneto, and Thing defeats Namor.

TIE-IN: Uncanny X-Men #11
This is basically a recap of everything that’s happened so far, with the added bonus of the “Juggernaut/Colossus” Vs. Red Hulk fight. We also get a smart little bit about Cyclops issuing a press release to make the Avengers look bad in the eyes of the public, which I don’t particularly understand the relevance of, but okay.

And that was Rounds One and Two, basically.
Tune in later for Round Three!