X-Men Gold #30: Why the Wedding issue was a DISASTER

X-Men Gold #30: Why the Wedding issue was a DISASTER

Posted by on Jun 24, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

X-Men marriages always have a certain air of skepticism when they are announced. For a group of people who are constantly battling all sorts of forces that are opposed to their very existence, you don’t really expect them to get many happy endings.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of three marriages involving members of the X-Men that looked promising but usually ended eventually. Most of their relationships in general are pushed to the extreme limits by the very nature of the X-Men but few have stood the test of time like Kitty and Piotr. Already off to a controversial start due to Kitty being a teenager compared to Piotr’s adult status, the mutant couple has watched their relationship been tested again and again and they know it. They talk about watching one another die, getting stuck on magic metal space bullets, getting stranded in time or mentioning their on again/off again status. So, when  Kitty asked Colossus to marry her, it got the usual announcements and variant covers. Legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont came back to write a small story within the event and for the most part, a lot of people would say its about time. While I wanted to be happy for the couple as the big issue approached, my skepticism remained but I’m always open to be proven wrong. However, upon reading X-Men: Gold #30 by Kelly Thompson and Oscar Balzulda, that wasn’t the case and I found myself both disappointed and annoyed at Marvel for such a missed opportunity.

First to their credit, Kelly and Oscar did a marvelous job with the issue itself. I’m not familiar with Kelly Thompson’s work but she did a great job of moving the story along at a good pace and with honest depictions of the X-Men assembled for the big day. She balances the traditional wedding stereotypes with the eccentric X-Men lifestyle well and I did chuckle at Nightcrawler’s realization that he forgot the rings to only teleport and back with them just in time. I remember Balzulda’s work from (Ultimate) Spider-Man and everything looked amazing. Whether the characters are drinking on top roofs, reflecting amongst the stars, or sitting in proper attire waiting for the ceremony to start, his style is detailed but also pleasant and helps to convey the emotion in the moment. His drawing of Kitty coming down the aisle is beautiful to view but all these positives are for naught when the ending of the issue is revealed. All this build up is for nothing because during the ceremony when Colossus is about to put the ring on Kitty’s finger, her hand phases right through his. She reveals she can’t marry him and phases through the ground in front of their wedding party and all the guests present. Colossus asks Kurt to teleport him away shortly after and the readers are left like the audience present, shocked and wondering what the hell just happened.

Now this unexpected twist didn’t come out of nowhere. Within the issue, Kitty and Piotr’s sister and fellow X-Men Ilyana are drinking on the roof where the guests are celebrating and Ilyana states her feelings on the matter as the girls are passing a bottle back and forth. She is happy for the couple and wants nothing but the best, but she wonders why now? After everything they’ve been through as a couple, why didn’t Kitty and Piotr get married much earlier? Overlooking obvious points in the couple’s relationships where they couldn’t commit to such a union, that is a good point and you can almost hear that idea start to sink in both Kitty and your mind. Why the big wait, are the lives of the X-Men really that crazy that they don’t allow marriage? Honestly when you consider the X-Men’s history, how could you not want to plan a wedding or a family when Sentinels, Purifiers, Mr. Sinister or a dozen other threats could decide today is the day they try to kill you and everything you love. While you could debate either side of this argument, why propose in the first place if you weren’t ready? The fact it took Kitty that long to realize she couldn’t do it as she was at the altar and the ring was hovering inches from her finger just seems out of character. But then again currently where more marriages end in divorce and the idea of matrimony seems more and more old fashioned, you can somewhat understand her reasons as she explains it to Piotr shortly after but that’s not the part that frustrated me and other fans. While the guests contemplate what to do next,  Gambit and Rogue attempt to salvage the situation and get married in their place.

Here we have another X-couple who may have a e chaotic and temperamental relationship than Piotr and Kitty decide to not waste the gorgeous set up and food and get hitched. This moment which does its best to be sweet and honest is nothing more but the set up for an upcoming series Mr. and Mrs. X which will be Gambit and Rogue together balancing lives as a couple and as X-Men. In the end, what should be an authentic and sentimental moment for all of these fan favorite characters feels like a rushed conclusion under the guise of being spontaneous and romantic;  an ending that was also spoiled online way before the issue was even in stores.

One could suggest the idea was to capitalize on the attention and praise DC Comics has been recieving from the upcoming Batman and Catwoman marriage in Batman #50.  While the timing is suspiciously coincidental, comic books are often planned months or even years ahead of time so it’s less of a trying to one up the competition and more of poor choices regarding the direction of these characters. The life of a superhero does not always need to be tragic and full of obstacles to be realistic but even the most gruesome story is allowed some happiness occasionally. In the case of Katherine Pryde and Piotr Rasputin, their special day ended up being for somebody else. While Gambit and Rogue fans can rejoice for a new chapter in their characters lives, Kitty and Colossus’ fans deserved better. Hopefully things will improve in the near future but as the newly resurrected Logan said:

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Jared Leto and director Daniel Espinosa sign on for Morbius The Living Vampire movie

Jared Leto and director Daniel Espinosa sign on for Morbius The Living Vampire movie

Posted by on Jun 10, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Source Material, Uncategorized

VAMPIRES. It has been announced that Oscar award winning actor Jared Leto has signed on to play Michael Morbius in a solo film with Sony. This will be the second comic book character Leto has portrayed since infamously portraying the Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad. The film will be directed by Daniel Espinosa, the Scandinavian filmmaker responsible for 2012’s spy action thriller Safe House and last years sci-fi horror Life, with a script penned by Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama who created the Netflix remake of Lost in Space together. The movie is intended to be part of a separate Marvel universe with Sony (the Sonyverse shall we call it?) shared with the upcoming Venom movie and the unconfirmed Silver and Black movie starring Marvel characters Black Cat and the Silver Sable.


Previously I wrote an article stating that Michael Morbius would be an excellent villain from Spider-Man’s rogues gallery to star in a possible MCU sequel and that Homecoming director Jon Watts was interested in working on a project involving the famous Marvel vampire. With this new announcement, this movie could be a great combination of comics and horror if done correctly. Created in the 1960s by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane, scientist Michael Morbius attempted to use science to cure him of a rare blood disease that was slowly killing him. His experiments involving vampire bat DNA took a horrible turn when he was transformed into a creature similar to the traditional vampire. Although the procedure granted him superhuman powers and  immunity from most vulnerabilities known to vampires, he was still cursed with a weakness to sunlight and a strong blood lust.

He would frequently clash with Spider-Man upon discovering that Spider-Man’s irradiated blood could cause his vampirism to go into remission. Guilty over the constant need to feed on people, Morbius’ repeated appearance and success earned him a solo series in the 1990s where he turned his curse into a crusade as he became a vigilante who fed on criminals, predators, and the guilty alike. Although his bite rarely turned his victims into vampires themselves, Morbius would himself clashing with all manner of mystical opponents and allies including Blade, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, Ghost Rider and was a member of the Midnight Sons who were a team of mystical creatures acting as Earth’s last defense against the occult.

  

He also had a reoccurring role in the Spider-Man animated series where his origins were adjusted to become an ambitious ESU student and rival with Peter for Felicia Hardy’s affection. The more memorable aspect of his character was how the series altered his vampire condition due to the censor restrictions at the time. Morbius was unable to bite or even reference blood so Fox had Marvel give Morbius a pair of blood draining suckers on his palms and replaced blood with plasma which in Morbius’ accent sounded more funny instead of terrifying.


Morbius’ pseudo-vampire status plus his vigilante status could make for an interesting movie if a proper balance of comics and horror is maintained. I also believe the vampire genre could use a little reviving (pun intended) after being over exhausted by tiresome stories and bastardized reimaging’s over the last decade or so. Will Morbius clash with Blade? Will he eventually confront Spider-Man? Could Morbius and Black Cat be a thing? I don’t know but the possibilities if they decide to move forward are quite exciting. Until then, sleep well creatures of the night!

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This is the Miles Morales Spider-Man movie we deserve!

This is the Miles Morales Spider-Man movie we deserve!

Posted by on Jun 6, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

Back in 2011 when the Ultimate Marvel Universe was still a thing, writer Brian Michael Bendis made a bold decision and decided to kill that version of Peter Parker. Instead of continuing on a world without the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Bendis alongside artist Sara Pichelli introduced a new and original Spider-Man in the form of Afro-latino teenager Miles Morales. With a completely different backstory, similar but different powers, and an inherited rogues gallery, Miles struggled not only with the balance act of real life with superhero problems but he also did his best to carry on Peter’s legacy. Miles would work alongside all sorts of Marvel characters and when the Ultimate Universe ended in 2015’s Secret Wars, Miles and most of his supporting cast were among the handful of Ultimate characters to be incorporated into the mainstream Marvel Universe. Since his initial debut, Miles Morales has been one of the more successful fan favorite Marvel characters and has been a member of the New Ultimates, the Avengers, and currently the Champions. He previously was featured in the Ultimate Spider-Man series, later renamed as Spider-Man: Web Warriors voiced by actor Donald Glover who had been among one of the inspirations for the character. When Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was announced in 2017, its teaser trailer was enough to really excite fans of all genres with its story and colorful animation. A second and more detailed trailer debuted today and after watching it, I have to say without a doubt THAT I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT FOR THIS FILM TO DEBUT IN DECEMBER 2018.

First and foremost, the style for this movie looks absolutely amazing. Splattered with comic book style thought bubbles, periods, and sound effects that bring memories of the Sixties Batman and the Golden Age of Comics, producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller wanted to balance the comic book style with the realistic artwork of Miles’ co-creator Sara Pichelli. Not only are they producing the film but Phil Lord also wrote the screenplay so the duo’s previous success with The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs only adds to the excitement for their brand of silly but grounded humor and what they can bring to the story of Miles Morales. Speaking of worlds, we get to see a Spider-Man who is not Caucasian but a bi-racial child on the big screen. With that new identity, the movie could touch on subjects of race, identity, prejudice, and other sensitive issues that Peter Parker can’t address but that the comics had no problem addressing during its publication. Miles isn’t Peter Parker and with his father a police officer and his uncle Aaron Davis, a skilled thief known also as the Prowler, you can guarantee there will be the kind of inner turmoil and struggle we know all too well from anybody wearing a web themed costume. When worlds collide, we also see a version of Spider-Man that we’ve yet to see but is hilariously realistic. Peter Parker voiced actor and comedian Jake Johnson is an older and slightly less put together Spider-Man who can impart words of wisdom but has problem paying for the check when it comes. This relationship clearly is inspired by the 2012 mini-series Spider-Men where Miles met the mainstream Peter Parker and the older Spider-Man hilarious became a sort of mentor to the young webslinger, even imparting his own web wisdom whenever he deemed necessary even when Miles didn’t get the reference. Chris Lord has shown he clearly did his homework for there are so many references to pick up on in the trailer alone whether it’s the store bought Spider-Man outfit Miles trains in, the Ultimate Universe inspired Green Goblin, or even the reference that Miles is from a world where Peter Parker’s Spider-Man is dead do exactly what Easter eggs should do: they excite you enough to go see the movie when it debuts.

But the really exciting thing is something the title suggests. Edge of the Spider-Verse was a small mini-series tied into the 2012  Spider-Verse story-line which introduced Spider-Men (and Women, anthromorphic animals, and other similarly powered individuals) who would have a role to play in the Spider’s united battle against the Inheritors, a family of powerful creatures who survive by feeding on people who carried “the Spider-Totem”. It was in this series that Spider-Gwen, a Spider-Woman from an Earth where Gwen Stacey had inherited the Spider mantle, was introduced so it’s fitting that Gwen make a cameo at the end of this trailer voiced by Pitch Perfect’s Hailee Steinfeld.

Gwen’s introduction in 2014 was so successful that she earned herself a solo series, appearances on Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man, and will be featured as “Ghost Spider” in the upcoming Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors. Her presence in the movie plus Peter’s appearance in Miles’ world suggests that there could be more Spider-people in this film and the possibilities for who we might see as well could be its own separate article. Personally I’m hoping to see two of my favorite Spider-Men, Miguel O’Hara from the year 2099 and Peter Parker from the Marvel Noir universe, make a cameo but honestly any webhead shown will get the same excitement I had when Spider-Man worked alongside his multiversal compatriots in the Animated Series finale back in the Nineties. For now some people would be hesitant putting their faith in a Spider-themed film coming from Sony but with the momentum this film has been building with its cast, publicity and people involved, I think this film will not only be a greater introduction of Miles Morales to the world but also push the boundaries of what Marvel could do with animated films based on their characters. I’m sure we’ll hear all about it at the next big Comic Con.

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My fellow Presidents: Significant POTUS cameos in modern comics

My fellow Presidents: Significant POTUS cameos in modern comics

Posted by on May 30, 2018 in Source Material, Uncategorized

The president of the United States may be a big deal in the real world but what position of power could they hold in a world that has the Justice League or The Avengers helping to protect and make the world a better place? To add a sense of realism to our extraordinary heroes, the President of the United States has been a constant presence in comics since the Golden Age. Obviously we could see popular presidents such as FDR, Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson featured talking to the Justice Society or Captain America but we’ll focus on our more contemporary presidents starting with Richard Nixon in 1969 and go all the way to Donald Trump in 2018 highlighting their “best” moments in comic book history.

RICHARD NIXON

Richard Nixon was doing pretty well as the President in the early 1970s. He had cameos in The Fantastic Four , the Incredible Hulk and one of the kids from DC Comics Newsboy Legion was modeled after him. But everything changed after the Watergate scandal and immediately Tricky Dick wasn’t the American golden boy anymore. Some of the criticisms were light, but the harshest was his role in the controversial Secret Empire story in Captain America #169-176. Although a mini series with the same name would also be controversial decades later, this series would not only parallel Watergate but also have a severe effect on Captain America himself. When Cap discovers an intricate conspiracy spearheaded by an organization called the Secret Empire, he follows the paper trail all the way to the White House. To his shock and amazement, he discovers that their leader is none other than President Richard Nixon.

Defeated and confronted with his crimes by Captain America, Nixon suddenly decides to confront suicide in front of the character. The size of this corruption and betrayal from within America combined with the sudden demise of “the President” resulted in Captain America questioning his country and his role within it. Disgusted with an organization he no longer believed in, Steve Rogers relinquished the title of Captain America. This not only began a new era of story telling and understanding for the classic Marvel character but it was also a strong criticism for what Watergate did to diminish the American public’s faith in the government and its leader.

The only other noteworthy cameo of Nixon is in the legendary Watchmen series where you can see him debating which portions of the country were acceptable losses should a nuclear war commense with the Soviet Union. Nixon changed the game for all the presidents who would succeed them regarding their portrayal in comics. They were no longer above criticism, they could be panned or ridiculed just like everybody else.

RONALD REAGAN

 

While he could be seen awarding or praising the superheroes of their respective universes, creators were not afraid to show a darker side of the actor-turned-president. His appearance in the iconic Frank Miller story The Dark Knight Returns referenced the president close relationship with Superman in other comics but suggested something clandestine and almost sinister.

While he’s portrayed in star spangled suits with that trademark senility gaining support for the military, Reagan’s giving orders to Superman to execute covert missions on the behalf of the American government. In Captain America #344 where Steve Rogers, now known as The Captain, has to deal with an agent of the Serpent Society known as Viper who has poisoned Washington’s water supply and turned many of the politicians including Reagan into mindless lizard men.

In the spirit of the Secret Empire storyline, writer Mark Gruenwald also used the story to criticize Reagan and his administration. When he’s not a raging lizard man capable of attacking the Captain, he’s an ignorant leader who not only is unaware of his administration’s legacy but also comfortable with being in the dark with absolute plausible deniability. Even after he sweats off the snake skin and Captain stops Viper, everything is swept under the rug just in time for the press conference afterwards.

BILL CLINTON

 

Already considered one of the best approved presidents since World War II, Bill Clinton had more than a few notable cameos in comics since his first appearances amongst the crowd at Superman’s funeral. In 1996, President Clinton appeared in the Captain America story arc “A Man Without a Country”. Writer Mark Waid and artist Ron Garney continued the theme of Captain America wrestling with his faith in the government and their power. Cap is framed for attacking a military base and is branded a traitor and exiled from the United States. Cap discovers the villain Machinesmith manipulated the whole thing and proves his innocence and saves the President in Captain America #453. Later Clinton apologizes for the mishap and reinstates Captain America by returning his shield to him.

In Supreme: The Return #1, an extraterrestrial despot named Korgo lands on Earth and challenges the head of the free world to a fight. Although the President is defeated, Korgo decides to leave the planet in fear of the First lady, Hillary Clinton. While writer Alan Moore is know for his darker approach to superheroes and comics, this lighthearted content is unexpected and rather entertaining. Bill Clinton also is one of the few, if not the only President to become a regular character in Marc Guggenheim’s post-apocalyptic Resurrection. In the series, he was the last President in Office before an alien invasion besieged the planet and occupied Earth for 10 years. When they mysteriously leave, Clinton is revealed to have survived the occupation and his position of power in this new world is explored.

But he would join ranks alongside Nixon and Reagan in the category of cameos that are meant to poke fun and/or criticize in Uncanny X-Men #401. This story took place during the ‘Nuff Said month which was a silent month were comics were printed without any sort of dialogue, thought bubble or communication in general. In this story, Wolverine searches for Stacy-X who has the mutant ability to secrete her own pheromones. During his search for Stacy, Logan discovers an the aftermath of an attack on a private government installation and finds our former Commander in Chief unconscious, half naked, blindfolded and… holding the American flag? We know it’s Clinton gathered from the references in the photographs and the landmark horndog status but apparently it wasn’t supposed to be him in that bed. Apparently the person was originally to be former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, an obvious reference to his highly publicized affair with Judith Nathan. But Giuliani at that time was busy helping with 9/11 references and Marvel probably didn’t want such a reference to come off in bad taste.

 

GEORGE W. BUSH

One can only imagine how George W. Bush felt coming off the heels of Clinton’s administration and trying to step out of his father’s shadow. In the beginning of his administration, 9/11 convinced the comic book publishers to rally behind the President to show support for him and the government by putting him in a more sympathetic light than previous presidents. One of my personal favorites was in Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Ultimates series seen below.

As more time passed and his actions became more and more divise, his depiction in comics changed drastically. Other companies were content with depicting him as a political supervillain eager to unleash war over weapons of mass destruction or even as a victim of assassination. The biggest criticism came from DC Comics who elected fictional character Lex Luthor as president instead of depicting Bush in office.

During Bush’s eight-year administration, Lex and his three successors were all fictional characters. Judged like all presidents by his policies and actions, Bush remained divided as man depicted by some as a leader and by others as a buffoon.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s administration was something of an enigma because he was the first president since FDR to be depicted in such quantity and in most cases positivity. His appearance in Amazing Spider-Man Issue #583 went through more than four printings alone.

He found himself the subject of parodies, cameos, and covers from people celebrating his presidency or simply looking to make a quick buck. He made the usual Presidential cameo as a member of the world’s leaders while Spider-Man and friends try to stop Doc Ock from taking over the world, addressing powerful government agents like Norman Osborn or Amanda Waller or talking strategy with Cyborg in DC Comics Flashpoint.

Obama was seen as both an American leader but also as a character who could support a short-lived miniseries or be paired up with other characters. He seemed to avoid the critical eye many of his predecessors endured while embracing his pop culture appeal and presence. Say what you will about his policies and decisions, but I don’t know if anybody else could have been Barack the Barbarian.

DONALD TRUMP

Now in 2018, we have come to our present Commander in Chief: Donald Trump. While he’s only been the President for a year, his less than stellar reception has trickled down into comics. The most notable appearance so far has been his cameo in the Spider-Gwen series. Noticing the political tension within Marvel, creators Jason LaTour and Robbi Rodriguez decided to address it out in a hilarious yet poignant fashion. In this alternate Universe, their Captain America discovers an entity known as M.O.D.A.K (Mental Organism Designed As America’s King) bossing around Mexican workers near the border. Three guesses who’s enlarged face his resembles and you’ll understand the joy on Cap’s face when she defeats him. Time and tweets will tell on what future cameo’s await for Trump.

Annnnd…

I would feel remiss if I didn’t include Deadpool Dead Presidents (2012) story arc written by Gerry Duggan and  Brian Posehn with art by Tony Moore.  Deadpool has to fight and kill all the reanimated U.S. Presidents brought to life by an rookie necromancer who seek to make America great again by any means necessary. You get to see all the presidents, even the ones you don’t remember, killed in often hilarious fashion by Marvel’s worst historical enforcer.


Go put down the history books and pick up some comic books when you have a minute. It’s a lighter read but just as heavy.

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Five recommended books to read before Avengers: Infinity War

Five recommended books to read before Avengers: Infinity War

Posted by on Apr 25, 2018 in Source Material, Uncategorized


It is here. We are mere hours away from the premiere of Avengers Infinity War. Now I’m sure some of you might have done your private Marvel movie marathon, some working on costumes to wear for the premiere or debating theories on who will die, who will win, etc. The point being there is a huge amount of hype riding for this film, possibly bigger than other major ensemble Marvel movies such as Avengers (2012) or Captain America: Civil War (2016). But these are still movies based on comic books and as such, there is source material available that may provide insight to the characters, the stories woven within the primary story as the Avengers prepare to face a force unlike anything they’ve ever seen: Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.

1. The Infinity Gauntlet (1991): Although the movie has the title of the sequel series, Infinity Gauntlet has been the primary inspiration for the film that Marvel has been building towards since 2012. Written by Thanos creator Jim Starlin and drawn by artists George Perez and Ron Lim in the 1990s, the series has the Mad Titan Thanos gather the Infinity Gems into the Infinity Gauntlet which makes him nigh-omnipotent. We see Thanos obliterate half the universe’s population, destroy the heroes assembled by his former ally now enemy Adam Warlock, and overthrow powerful cosmic entities who oppose his new rise to power all in a pursuit to prove himself worthy to his silent lover : Marvel’s embodiment of Death. This bestselling series would define Thanos as a threat never to underestimated for years to come and would be followed by two successful sequels Infinity War (1992) and Infinity Crusade (1993)


2. Infinity (2012): This 2012 story written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn artists Jim Cheung, Dustin Weaver and other artists began in Hickman’s New Avengers series and grew to involve the entire Marvel Universe. When most of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are called off planet, Thanos and his enforcers known as the Black Order see a perfect opportunity to invade and conquer Earth. While the remaining Earth heroes battle their invaders and attempt to notify their comrades-in-space, the invasion is revealed to be a cover for the real mission which may give the heroes a chance to defeat Thanos once and for all. This grandiose and intense series marked a significant change in the status quo of the Marvel Universe but also introduced the Black Order who will make their feature debut in Infinity War. Both Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity were used as inspiration by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for the script of Infinity War.


3. Thanos: Uprising: Sometimes the best part of a villain is learning how they came to become one. In this 2013 mini-series written by Jason Aaron with artwork by Simone Bianchi tells the origin of Thanos. From his mother attempting to kill him after birth, his childhood transitioning to adulthood was full of heartbreak, death, madness and the curious quest for knowledge and power that typically leads to infamy. Aaron tells a dark tale full of haunting artwork telling how a peaceful and isolated young man on the planet Titan would become Thanos, an infamous pirate and maniac obsessed with power and Death. While there’s no guarantee it will be referenced in the movie, it stands as a strong and melancholy origin story for one of Marvel’s most infamous villains.


4. Secret Avengers Vol 1: This 2010 ongoing series written by Ed Brubaker with art by Mike Deodato, David Aja and Michael Lark detailed the actions of a covert Avengers squad. After Steve Rogers returned seemingly from being dead and lost in time, he was made the new primary law enforcement agent by the President and established a group of Avengers specifically for black ops. This team consisting of Black Widow, Nova, Moon Knight, Valkyrie, Beast, and War Machine was tasked with the directive of keeping tabs on known threats with no hesitations of being proactive or cleaning them up. Having relinquished the title of Captain America to his friend Bucky Barnes, Steve operated as his own character as his team took on all manner of threats ranging from international criminals to secret shadow organizations attempting to usurp arcane artifacts or advanced technologies to take over the world. With Infinity War occurring two years after the events of Civil War, the movie details a bearded Steve Rogers who has operated in the shadows with a small fraction of the Avengers protecting the world on his own terms. While not exactly Thanos-heavy, this espionage Avengers book could give context to what Steve Rogers and his Avengers were doing during that time on the run.


5. Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection: This 2014 collection details writer Jim Starlin’s evolution of the character known as Adam Warlock. Originally a perfect artificial human who rebelled against his creators, it was Adam’s connection with the Soul Gem which  tipped Thanos off to the power of the Gem and the other Gems scattered throughout the universe. Although they were once allies, they would become allies and their battles would include the Earth heroes Adam considered friends and allies. Although the battles came with serious consequences, Adam would consistently reappear in matters regarding Thanos and his quest for power. Under Starlin’s pen, he played an integral part in the Infinity Gauntlet series and would even wield the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet at one point. The character of Adam Warlock was referenced at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol .2 (2017) and I would surprised if Adam didn’t make an appearance in either movie as pivotal character in the Earth’s heroes battle against Thanos on the big screen.

Well that’s all for our countdown regarding Infinity War. It’s been fun looking back at the past and remembering how far in advance Marvel and the people behind the MCU have been working toward this moment. Hopefully the movie succeeds in telling a great story worthy of these characters and everyone involved. They sure have enough source material to go off on. So enjoy yourself and remember, no spoilers!

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Character Introductions: Top 5 Portrayals of Shazam/Captain Marvel to see before the movie

Character Introductions: Top 5 Portrayals of Shazam/Captain Marvel to see before the movie

Posted by on Apr 17, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

So recently images of Zachary Levi’s portrayal of the DC hero called Shazam graced the Internet and it got some people excited. Some thought Levi’s suit was an excellent portrayal while others criticized the suit for being a bit too cartoonish for a live action movie. Me, I’m glad the photo came out because I forgot the movie was happening overall. Shazam or Captain Marvel as he was previously known is a popular DC hero whose origins trace back to the Golden Age of Comics but this is his first time on the big cinematic screen. So to help give the non-nerdy people context about who the World’s Mightiest Mortal and the Shazam Family are, here’s 5 appearances of Captain Marvel aka Shazam that should not only inform you but get you excited for the movie’s debut on April 5th, 2019. SHAZAM!

1. Justice League Unlimited: (2005)
Captain Marvel’s second (although first formal modern) animated appearance was in the DC Animated Universe during the Justice League Unlimited series. In the episode titled “Clash”, Captain Marvel voiced by actor Jerry O’Connell joins the Justice League but his positive and at times naïve opinion about Lex Luthor and his attempts to reform strains his relationship with the League, specifically Superman. The tension culminates in a harsh battle between Superman and Captain Marvel over Luthor’s latest project, Lexor City and their conflicting opinions about Luthor’s innocence. Although Captain Marvel was proved to be “correct” and Superman apologizes for his actions, Captain Marvel resigns from the Justice League, highlighting his disappointment in how he used to look up to the Justice League and Superman and his disgust for what the League has become.

2. Batman: Brave and the Bold: (2009-10)
Captain Marvel’s fifth and more frequent modern animated appearance was in Cartoon Network’s Batman: Brave and the Bold series. In this rotating guest spot, Captain Marvel was voiced by actor Jeff Bennet and his alter ego Billy Batson was voiced by actress Tara Strong. Not only did he help Batman fight the occasional villain, this portrayal expanded on the character and his rich universe. In “The Power of Shazam”, we learn about Captain Marvel’s Fawcett City and his struggles with Dr. Sivana and his family, the evil Black Adam, the immortal wizard Shazam, the bitter Aunt Minerva and his sister Mary Batson aka Mary Marvel. In “The Malicious Mr. Mind!” we see Batman and the Marvel family take on Dr. Sivana, the alien Mr. Mind and the other member of the Monster Society of Evil. He would work alongside Batman and other heroes and eventually bec0me a member of the Justice League International. The right mix of goofy and serious, this interpretation of Captain Marvel was both accurate to the comics portrayal but also balanced the juxtaposition of Captain Marvel’s powers and responsibility with Billy’s child-like optimism and innocence. It’s also one of my favorite depictions of the character and one I recommend for those unfamiliar with the Big Red Cheese.

3. Young Justice: (2010-2016)
Captain Marvel’s seventh and other frequent animated appearance was in Cartoon Network’s other DC Comics series Young Justice. He is a member of the Justice League and he volunteers to be the den mother to the Young Justice team after Red Tornado abruptly leaves the position and team. This version of Captain Marvel shows him acting more like his Billy Batson who is 10 years old at the beginning of the series who seems to prefer hanging with the group of younger heroes instead of the Justice League. Billy idolizes the team and prefers to spend time in Mount Justice even when he’s not on monitor duty, seeing them as peers closer to his own age. A few episodes reference or allude to him living with his uncle in Fawcett City instead of at a foster home and even his tiger Mr. Tawny makes a cameo. His youthful nature is constantly used against him by the team who find it a little too easy to confuse and manipulate him when necessary. This version of Captain Marvel is important because Billy Batson ages throughout the series storyline. He goes from 10 years old in 2010 to a 15-year-old by 2016, a change indicated simply in size since his attire has changed very little. Although the series doesn’t go deep into Captain Marvel’s mythology or backstory, the idea of the World’s Mightiest Mortal being a den mother to a group of young teenage superheroes is an amusing concept worth viewing.

4. Superman/Shazam! : The Return of Black Adam: (2010) This short animated film centers on Superman and Captain Marvel aka Shazam, voiced by returning actors George Newbern and Jerry O’Connell, joining forces to deal with the returning threat of Black Adam, voiced by The Mummy actor Arnold Vosloo. At only 25 minutes long, this short-animated story reiterates the story of the Wizard Shazam, his mistake in appointing Black Adam as one of his champions, Black Adam’s return from exile and Superman’s vulnerability to magic which gives characters like Shazam and Black Adam an upper hand in battle. This version also introduces a silver age Captain Marvel character known as Tawky Tawny, a humanoid tiger and companion of the Wizard Shazam. For those not interested in watching the animated series, this simple but enjoyable film is the perfect introduction to Shazam for those of any attention span.

5. Justice League: War (2014): In this adaptation of Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, the presence of Captain Marvel was an original idea and not one from the film’s source material. He replaced the original member Aquaman who would be featured later in Throne of Atlantis. Orphan Billy Batson sneaks out of his foster home to watch the football game that Victor Stone plays in who he memorably interacts with after the game. Later Billy’s foster home is attacked by Parademons forcing him to transform into Shazam voiced by actor Sean Astin. He fights alongside the Justice League and despite some impulsive actions on his part, his mystical lightning bolt is the missing ingredient that helps Cyborg return Darkseid to Apokolips. Depowered, he and Cyborg have a moment where Cyborg agrees to keep Billy’s secret from the League. Referencing Shazam’s membership with the Justice League in the past, this version balanced the bratty kid of Billy Batson with the star struck adult burdened both with the responsibility of his powers and learning to play well with others.

So I hope that helps you on your journey to learn more about the hero that Dr. Sivana calls for some reason “ The Big Red Cheese”. I hope the new movie properly balances the proper levels of seriousness and fun that I always associate with Cap… I mean Shazam and his family of superheroes. Until then, enjoy this clip from Batman: Brave and the Bold that a younger part of me relates to in more ways than one.

 

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