Do we really want more Watchmen?

Do we really want more Watchmen?

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons 1985 series Watchmen is without a doubt one of the best and greatest comic series ever published. Describing an alternate earth with similar but different timelines, this serious and adult series was one of the first comic book series to be viewed as literature instead of comics. Watchmen also has a serious and controversial backstory involving legal ownership rights which resulted in the permanent dissolution of Alan Moore’s working relationship with DC Comics. If you’ve read into the matter, you may better understand Alan Moore’s distance from modern comic companies such as Marvel and DC and why he wants nothing to do with any of the modern adaptations based on his work; his distaste for such matters includes his insistence that his royalties go to support his fellow co-creators instead of himself. But like an old prospector who can’t help returning to the well until his supply is exhausted, DC Comics continues to return to the Watchmen series. Previously they had their Before Watchmen series in 2012 which elaborated on origins and backstories of main characters before the main series which debuted to mixed results from fans and creators alike. Recently DC Comics has incorporated the Watchmen character into their mainstream DC Universe in their DC Rebirth relaunch. Now with the unauthorized sequel to Watchmen titled Doomsday Clock slowly being published this year and an HBO produced series taking place in the Watchmen universe, we must ask but one question: Are these really stories that need to be produced and/or published?

When the Watchmen movie came out in 2009, I had never read the book before seeing the movie. While most of the comic literate world would cry foul, I still found the movie to be a decent and faithful adaptation despite the limitations that you would expect from a Zack Snyder directed movie. I even read in a magazine that even the articulate and ever distant Alan Moore thought it was “okay” which coming from him is a big compliment. When one reads Watchmen, the content is so rich and complex that you get the sense that not only do you understand and follow the story but by the end, you feel like you understood the entire world you just read within the thick manuscript of its pages. There is this sensation that all the loose ends were tied, and anything left dangling you didn’t need to question because some of it was good storytelling and the rest common sense. You knew that Dr. Manhattan was still out there among the universes, the cover-up about the “alien” attack had resulted in world peace instead of nuclear war, and that Rorschach’s journal detailing the entire incident would continue the deceased vigilante’s quest for justice without compromise. That was all you needed to know and that was fine.

Last year they announced the HBO Watchmen series was in the works and people debated whether it would be an adaptation or a sequel to the original series. When producer Damon Lindelof revealed actors and actresses cast in the project, he also elaborated on the writers approach to the show. “We have no desire to adapt the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Gibbons created 30 years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor rebooted. They will however be remixed.” He compares the process in the writer’s room to sampling beats to create new music or comparing the original Watchmen and this new series to the Old and New Testament by saying the New Testament didn’t erase what the Old had established but continued the stories. While those are some creative metaphors, that kind of high praise leaves me feeling anxious and inquistive instead of relieved and ready to put the matter to bed. They want to pay tribute to the original source material but tell their own stories with it which is what most if not all comic book movies have been doing since their introduction to the silver screen. But what more could they tell that wasn’t elaborated on in that dense and literate Bible they’ve put on a pedestal? They want to tell these stories in a contemporary context meaning the series will happen after the events depicted in the original Watchmen series but in the modern day. So this is a sequel but not really? In essence how is this any different than the current Doomsday Clock series except that our mystery characters won’t be interacting with characters like Batman, Joker, or Lex Luthor ( at this time anyway)?

I understand Lindelof’s desire to “ask new questions and explore the world through new lens” and with a cast consisting of Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Loui Gossett Jr and other actors’ familiar with comic book storytelling and adaptation, they certainly have the tools and the potential to do so. But I recall Lindelof’s involvement with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus which served as a not-prequel to the Alien franchise which attempted to do something similar to mixed results from fans and critics alike. Because sometimes in telling more of a story you lose the appreciation for the mystery and imagination the story left behind with its ending. This is a dangerous balancing act because in wanting to be vague and not spoil what is to come, you create unrealistic expectations and demands for something that wasn’t in demand in the first place. Sure the project has talented creators and people involved but so did the Before Watchmen series in 2012 and I can’t tell you how many of those back issues with the yellow and black lettering I’ve seen untouched in comic book outlets over the years. If the public does not want it, the ratings and attention will speak for them. I remember Alan Moore, when speaking out against DC’s 2008 Blackest Night series which he felt had been inspired by some of his earlier Tales of the Green Lantern comics, said “these days, I increasingly get the sense of the comic book industry going through my trashcan like raccoons in the dead of the night.” While I don’t always agree with some of what Alan Moore says, I do believe that DC Comics should leave the world of Watchmen alone and continue to concentrate on telling exciting and fresh stories instead of revisiting projects that feel less creative and more cash cow. I don’t have high hopes for this series but I’m open to be proven wrong. Maybe in the end it’ll all be some kind of grand joke. Everybody laughs. Roll on the snare drum. Curtains.

On another note, I would definitely be down to watch something like this.

 

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Avengers Infinity War: Worth the 10 year hype?

Avengers Infinity War: Worth the 10 year hype?

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

 You have been warned.

It began with the culmination of 4 years work back in 2012. Since Iron Man had birthed what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, a small collective of directors, actors, and writers slowly started to establish characters which had only existed on the pages of a comic book. The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and others found audiences beyond the comic shop and the TV at home. Then they decided to come together in one movie in 2012 where these feisty, sarcastic and powerful people managed to come together to stop an alien invasion and become the Avengers. But as powerful as they were, a hint of a power greater than all of them combined smirked from the darkness of space. Shortly after we discovered of something called Infinity Stones which became some of the most powerful weapons in the MCU. Other heroes and characters arose from these conflicts such as the Falcon, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Winter Soldier, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Along with them came villians who would oppose and test them but due to general storytelling and cinematic expectation, more than enough of them fell by the wayside; chapters in their heroes journeys. A villain emerged over time with a goal that could literally be the end of everything and all the ambition to achieve it. His name was Thanos and he was coming to Earth.  In 2018, after 10 years of anticipation and proper build up, we were given this film: Avengers Infinity War which would change the entire fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever and let me say, that was worth every f@#c&!ng minute.


The Russo brothers and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley had a herculean challenge, they had to put 10 years’ worth of Marvel films in one huge story that paid tribute to its source material but also continued the stories that had already been established on the big screen. Similar to how well the Avengers had been handled, the material or characters needed little to no introduction. We know these guys, we know what the Infinity Stones are and we know Thanos is looking to collect them all. That required little to no introduction but what amazed me was how well the movie moved. Clearly ignored the rapid place jumping that plagued films like Batman vs. Superman and Justice League which failed to replicate a plot device found in comic book storytelling, there were place cards telling you exactly where we are. The characters moved a steady pace that made it easy to understand regardless of the grandiose of the story or the dangers they faced. Nothing felt rushed and it honestly felt like I was reading a true movie adaptation of a comic book come to life. The film not only told its own story but managed to connect all the movies and even tie up plot points that had been left behind from previous MCU Gems. What was amazing was it all felt so real. The characters joked, they argued, they fought both villains and among each other while battling Thanos and his enforcers, the Black Order.  They had problems arise and personal demons to push past while they did what they had to do knowing they may not walk away in the end. When somebody died or was hurt, the entire audience was silent because you were invested in the story. You weren’t being talked down to or given the same plot formulas over and over and over again. This was something new, this was bigger than any Avengers or Marvel movie you had ever seen. Although you are pumped to see your favorite heroes coming together , the same idea keeps your eyes hooked on the screen: What happens if they lose? What happens if Thanos gathers all the Infinity Stones and snaps his fingers? What happens when the heroes fail? That’s the magic of storytelling, eventually you become so invested that the characters become you.


After all these years of separate films, it was spectacular to see everybody all together united under one cause. In Avengers, it was everybody against Loki, the Ultron, or even pitted against each other; this time it’s the entire Marvel Universe against Thanos and his armies. While the action never really disappointed, I thoroughly enjoyed that the film took time to address every plot line poignantly. Very often ensemble projects have characters or story-lines fall apart or become underdeveloped compared to others but there was an excellent sense of balance here, When Tony Stark stumbles realizing his nightmare has come true, when Gamora falls, when Peter crumbles or when the Avengers fail, each moment is hammered into your mind and remains. In the past, I have agreed that Marvel movies sometimes rely too much on comedy to break apart serious moments instead of letting them breathe. In the last few years, we have seen darker and more serious moments start to emerge as tragedy is a crucial block in building memorable heroes but it is a slow process. In Infinity War, there were definitely some serious and dark moments but in a way, that made the jokes even funnier because when it was funny, the entire audience laughed. If you asked a group of people what was their favorite moment or line, guaranteed a lot of people would same much of the same thing. Characters like Spider-Man, Drax, Groot, Thor and a few others had some of the best moments but other great laughs came out of nowhere. This movie did great to push and evolve so many of its characters further and leave us eager to see where they go next.


A movie is only as great as its villain and Thanos is most definitely one of the greatest Marvel villains we’ve ever seen. Josh Brolin played this character with such honesty and sincerity because Thanos doesn’t believe what he is doing is wrong and overall movie has you sympathize with him. He has judged the universe and found it desperately in need of balance and thus his quest for the Infinity Stones has him deemed as the hero. He must stay strong in the face of unsurmountable resistance, he will be forced to make difficult decisions that will require sacrifice from his body and soul, he will cry and at the end he will have to reap the fruits of his labor, no matter their taste or size. Thanos has bent this idea of good and evil and he does it so effortlessly to the point where you can’t believe that you’re rooting for him at the end. While his enforcers in the Black Order certainly stand out in the movie, they are still background characters; they are merely extensions of Thanos’ will and such characters are exactly why you see him here in the first place. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Just like the heroes grew with you, you have watched Thanos evolve. You got to know Thanos the tyrant, Thanos the madman, in this movie you met Thanos the father and Thanos the god. At the end of this film he has broken the Avengers, he has amassed greater power unlike any other being before him, and he has literally wiped out half of the known universe’s populace. He sits down on a perfect world and finds himself at peace. He won and we lost. Game over, man.

Although some comic fans would cry the movie has barely touched on most of the story from the Infinity Gauntlet comic book, this is one of the rare cases where I don’t give a damn. The entire Marvel universe has changed before our eyes and nothing will be the same until we see how it concludes in 2019. Sure we will have films like Deadpool, Ant Man 2, Captain Marvel and others to entertain or fill in the gaps in the Marvel timeline but the damage made in this movie will not be forgotten and honestly that’s all we could ask for. In the end, comic book movies have slowly become a polarizing opinion in the cinema world. Some have welcome this new stage in film-making and some look at it as cinematic arsenic gradually killing this artistic and creative genre. As both a fan of comics and cinema, I applaud this movie for being exactly what anybody should expect: a great movie worthy of its story. In the end, we were simply entertained. We laughed, we cried, we shushed people who talked during and we cannot wait for more. You know what they say: once you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up.

 

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Constantine: City of Demons Part 1 Review

Constantine: City of Demons Part 1 Review

Posted by on Apr 27, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

If anybody’s made a comeback, it’s been Matt Ryan’s interpretation of the iconic John Constantine. Ever since the solo Constantine series was canceled by NBC in 2015, Matt Ryan has continued to be associated with the chain smoking blonde demonologist and “master of the dark arts”. He voiced the character in Justice League Dark (2017) and even made a notable cameo in Season 4 of Arrow (which some may argue was the best episode in an already tired and contrived season). He revisited the character in the recent season of DC Legends of Tomorrow repeatedly as he helped the team with their battle against the imprisoned time demon Mallus. Coming off the heels of the news that John Constantine would be a cast member on Season 4 of Legends, CW Seed announced the premiere of Constantine: City of Demons, a 12-episode series set in the same universe as Justice League Dark. The first 5 episodes were released on CW Seed on March 24th.

After watching the first five episodes, there is no doubt in my mind that Matt Ryan is perfect for the part of John Constantine. Whether he’s battling his inner demons come to life (seriously), talking with Chas at the pub or battling forces that would drive any man to death by alcoholism, Matt Ryan plays Constantine with that iconic snark, cynicism, and regret with just a dash of muddled heroism. While I am disappointed to see no immediate connection to the 2015 Constantine show especially regarding Chas and his family, writer J.M. DeMatteis known for his work on Spider-Man and Justice League International still tells a story that only could involve John Constantine. When Chas daughter is stricken with a mysterious that doctors can’t solve, Chas turns to his old friend who discovers this little girls condition is anything but a common cold. His investigation into the matter gets dangerous and near fatal but that’s a normal day in the life of John Constantine. Even though the cast is small, DeMatteis gives everybody real roles to play, especially when the series explores John’s origins and the incident at Newcastle that would forever change his and Chas’ life. That incident faithfully retells the story while walking the balance between the unflinching darkness that the Hellblazer series at Vertigo was known for with the acceptable limitations of present day animation. Near the end of this first group of episodes, Constantine finds himself in L.A. agreeing to help a demon lay off his satanic competitors in exchange for Chas’ daughter’s life but there’s no doubt in my mind that either party will honor their deal in the end.

Although these episodes are too short to really fill the void or unanswered questions Constantine left behind in 2015, it’s always good to hear that lighter pop and hear John Constantine’s voice over a stream of cigarette smoke. In the DC universe, he’s the guy you talk to when you can’t find Doctor Fate, Zatanna, Swamp Thing or any of the other hardcore magicians when things are taking an infernal turn for the worst.  My final thoughts are that I’m liking what I’m seeing so pour me another round, give me a light and let’s get weird in the City of Angels. I’m betting on you John, hell or high water.

Grade:
Constantine: City of Demons (Part 1): B (solid and worth checking out)

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Highway to the Green Lantern Zone: The Plans for the Upcoming Green Lantern Corps Movie and what it could mean for the DCCU

Highway to the Green Lantern Zone: The Plans for the Upcoming Green Lantern Corps Movie and what it could mean for the DCCU

Posted by on Mar 20, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

The DC Cinematic Universe could use a little lightening up these days. Excusing the not so subtle pun, the DCCU has invested a little too much time into two of their hallmark characters, Batman and Superman, while not expanding on their other memorable and successful characters. Batman had three fairly successful and well-received movies under Christopher Nolan’s vision and Superman got a decent re-introduction through Zack Snyder’s direction. DC Comics and Warner Bros. have continued to make both heroes household names known throughout the world but what have they done to expand that universe? Despite not wanting to follow the Marvel method, they seem to be making some of the same mistakes Marvel did when they started making superhero films back in the early 2000s. After X-Men and Spider-Man, we found Daredevil, Incredible Hulk, The Punisher, Elektra, and a few other films which had great star power and potential but managed to fall flat despite their good intentions. One could draw parallels to Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, Catwoman, Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, and Suicide Squad and their mixed if not poor reactions with critics and audiences. Are these movies on the campy level of Howard the Duck or just plain bad like Steel? Absolutely not but I don’t think they had the reaction Warner Bros and DC Films wanted. After Man of Steel failed to perform as well as they anticipated, they scrapped the two planned sequels and jumped straightforward to Batman vs. Superman (I’m sorry I refuse to call it by its “proper” movie title, it sounds more like a court case than a movie) and eventually Justice League which brought together characters hinted at in the former movie. Neither made back the kind of money the companies were hoping for and honestly the DC Cinematic Universe needs a win like Wonder Woman. In other words, this lantern is in dire need of a recharge.

Like I said before, Green Lantern had his shot in 2011. Despite having a decent Hal Jordan played by Ryan Reynolds and a fantastic Sinestro played by Martin Strong, this movie just didn’t make any lingering sort of impression. Too much info dump, weak villains, cheesy special effects and other factors could have contributed to why this film under performed and any plans of a sequel were scrapped. Nobody returned to Green Lantern outside of animated shows or films until 2014 when they announced a Green Lantern film was in the works with the title Green Lantern Corps. Controversial writer David S. Goyer and writer Justin Rhodes were attached to co-write and produce the script based on a draft by Goyer and DC writer/GL guru Geoff Johns. Having Geoff Johns not involved would be a horrible idea for he has expanded the Green Lantern universe more than most writers involved with the title have. The Green Lanterns that would be portrayed in the movie would be Hal Jordan and John Stewart, two of the most well-known Green Lanterns. Recently they have considered director Christopher McQuarrie to direct the film which has lead people to speculate that they will cast veteran actor Tom Cruise, who McQuarrie worked with on at least four movies, to play Hal Jordan.

Now everything is still speculative. There are people who are making articles about who would be great choices for John Stewart, this being his first big screen appearance. Nobody has been confirmed for Hal Jordan or what story they’ll be working with. The only thing we know is the script has been described as “ Lethal Weapon in Space” which sounds pretty fricking cool to me. Whomever is cast as either Green Lanterns matters little to me ( although if it is Cruise, I never imagined Hal Jordan being that short) compared to what the story is. The reason the 2011 Green Lantern movie failed was the story seemed to care more about introducing everything about the Green Lantern Corps and trying to get new audience members instead of educating them simply with the great characters, story, and dialogue that comes with a good movie. Nobody knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy was outside of a comic con before the movie and now you can’t hum “Hooked on a Feeling” without somebody knowing what the hell you’re referencing.

Green Lantern has decades of great stories about a space cop who literally has one of the best weapons in the DC Universe. A tool that lets you create anything you can think of; its limits are only defined by your own imagination and willpower. You have two of the greatest Green Lanterns that were ever written as your main characters ( I’m still hoping to see  Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, or even Simon Baz in the future). This film could open up the DC Universe beyond Earth and if this movie is good enough, it could expand on other characters and concepts from the Green Lantern universe. Will we see any of the emotional spectrum Lantern Corps? Will we get to see famous villians like Sinestro, Despero, or Parallax? Will we get to see the planet Oa, the Guardians of the Universe and other characters like Ganthet, Sayd, Arisia, or Killowog? Time will tell but the possibilities are enough to get people excited. But what DC Films needs to remember is we’ve been here before and still left the theater disappointed and sometimes shaking our heads. We’ll read these articles and watch these trailers with a healthy mix of skepticism and hope. DC Comics, you have a universe full of exciting, interesting, and creative characters which in the right context could inspire both new and old fans. You have the upcoming Aquaman, Flash(point), Shazam, and Batman solo films along with Wonder Woman 2 on your roster. There’s still the possibility of redemption with Suicide Squad 2 or with spin-off’s like Gotham City Sirens. You have this potential, please find the right creators to tell the best stories you can with these characters. If Green Lantern Corps is a step in that direction, then push back the fear of failure from your mind and go for the stars. Sometimes it’s the risks that end up paying off in the end. Until we get some concrete facts, please enjoy this clip of  Green Lanterns G’nort from Batman: Brave and the Bold attempting to remember the famous Green Lantern oath in a moment of crisis.

 

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Twelve Facts to get you hyped for Incredibles 2

Twelve Facts to get you hyped for Incredibles 2

Posted by on Mar 2, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized


Back in 2004, Pixar put in their contribution to the supehero genre with their film The Incredibles. The story of a super powered family trying to adjust to a life of normalcy without their superpowers until the past catches up to them and more was a joy to anybody whether or not they had ever read a comic book. So when they announced a long desired sequel, audiences cheered and anticipated hilarity and greatness. It had been ages since I last saw the Incredibles and after watching it, I decided to do a little research into the making of the film and found these twelve awesome facts that make me look forward to June 2018 that much more.

1. The Incredibles (and Frozone’s) powers reflect their feelings on life.
Mr. Incredible is the husband and father so he does his best to be strong for everybody. Mrs. Incredible has three children and a husband who despises his job, so she does her best to stretch herself in many different directions, often at the same time. Dash is an energetic and active ten-year-old boy so he uses his superspeed to get everything done. Violet is a teenager who is insecure and body conscious, so she hides herself from the world by going invisible. Jack-Jack is a baby which is essentially a blank slate with numerous possibilities ahead of him, so he has multiple powers at his disposal. Frozone? He just wants to be cool and find his super suit.


2. The Incredibles has a few comic book references sprinkled throughout the film.
Inside Robert’s cubicle there is a danger sign in the form of a red lightning bolt, a reference to Captain Marvel and the Marvel family. When Mr. Incredible gets his new car, the hood emblem is the triangular shape of the Golden Age Superman. The dark ray-like vehicle that delivers Mr. Incredible to Syndrome’s Island is a reference to DC villain Black Manta. The hero Gazer-Beam references both Cyclops from Marvel’s X-Men and the Marvel Hero Daredevil. Did you notice any others?

3. There is an unintentional Ratatouille reference in the film.
When Dash’s school teacher Mr. Kropp finds out Dash will be avoiding trouble for his actions once again, he declares “This little rat is guilty!” Amusingly voice Actor Lou Romano would later provide the voice for Linguini in Pixar’s Ratatouille (2007), a chef who would rise to fame due to his collaboration with a rat.

4. There are a two nods to the next Pixar movie Cars in the movie.
When Frozone and Mr. Incredible break into a building, you can see Red the Fire truck amongst the cop cars that arrived at the scene. During the final battle with the Omnidroid, Doc Hudson can be seen parked alongside the street. Originally Cars was supposed to debut before the Incredibles but due the film production being ahead of schedule, the release dates were changed.

5. There is a Kevin Smith reference in the film.
When Buddy first enters Mr. Incredible’s car, the hero stutters over remembering the boy’s real name and his first guess is “ Brodie”. The character Brodie Bruce is a character Jason Lee has played in several Kevin Smith films. It was his role as Azrael in Kevin Smith’s film Dogma (1999) that got him the role as Buddy Pine/Syndrome.


6. There is an insider Star Wars reference in the film.
The character “Mr. Sansweet”, the gentleman who sues Mr. Incredible for saving his life from his suicide attempt and sets events in motion leading to the ban of Superheroics, is an insider homage to Steve Sansweet, a Lucasfilm associate who takes care of all fan club and memorabilia aspects for the company. He appeared in an uncredited cameo in Star Wars: Episode I.


7. The actress for Violet was found on the radio.
Director Brad Bird was listening to Public Radio International and he heard Sarah Vowell speak on the PRI program “ This American Life”. He felt her voice was perfect for the role of Violet although she had never acted before. After Brad reached out to her about the role, Pixar animators animated one of her segments from “ This American Life” and sent it to her as further proof that she was right for the role


8. Edna Mode was based on a real costume designer.
The costume designer Edna Mode was based on Edith Head who worked as a studio costume designer on hundreds of movies for over more than fifty years and modeled after Linda Hunt in Ready to Wear (1994). Originally actress Lily Tomlin was considered for the voice of Edna but when she heard Brad Bird’s impression of the sassy designer on a temp track, she said “What do you need me for? You got it already.”

9. The Incredibles was Brad Bird’s first choice at Pixar
Director/Producer Jon Lasseter had approached director Brad Bird to work with Pixar in 1995 and later when he left 20th Century Fox. Bird turned him down both times, the latter since he had a contract with Warner Brothers to make The Iron Giant (1999). When Warner Bros. failed to properly promote this classic animated film, Bird finally agreed to join Pixar. At that time Lasseter was overjoyed and had only one request for Bird: make the film you’ve been dying to make. As Brad Bird had been sitting on the idea of an animated film about a family of superheroes for a decade, the film originally dubbed “The Invincibles” was his obvious choice.

10. Much of Syndrome was based on director Brad Bird
Whether he wanted to make a good first impression or didn’t want to repeat mistakes of the past, director Brad Bird drove his creative teams consistently to be as inventive as possible. He wanted greater attention to detail and characters than any other previous Pixar movie. His teams responded to his vision by filling the movie full of references and inside jokes especially when it came to the villain Syndrome whose character and facial features were based on those of the director.

11. The paper in Mr. Hugh’s hand isn’t what you thought, it was much worse.
When Bob Parr is called into his supervisor’s office, Mr. Hugh places his hand on a piece of paper that Bob’s reactions make us believe is a termination notice. Fortunately, it was not but unfortunately it was a memo to all the employees at Insuricare that they are now responsible for buying all of their office supplies. Their parking will also be metered by the hour and all the electricity they use during work hours will be deducted from their paychecks from now on. But according to the company, it has “recorded its highest profits in years.” Go team, indeed.

12. Incredibles 2 picks up exactly where it left off back in 2004
Although Syndrome was close to yelling “Too late! Fifteen years too late” considering how long it’s taken to get a sequel to The Incredibles, producer Jon Lasseter has said the film “starts right as the first one finishes, so it just carries on”. Incredibles 2 is the first follow up film from Pixar to do such a thing.

Honestly I can’t wait to see where the Incredibles family will go in this film. I have a feeling that it will be, as the kid in tricycle said, totally wicked. But NO CAPES!

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Why Marvel Doesn’t Need ANOTHER relaunch

Why Marvel Doesn’t Need ANOTHER relaunch

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

Recently Marvel Comics has announced another word synonymous with reboot in the comic book world: relaunch. Marvel has yet again announced plans to revitalize its entire publishing line in May 2018 because Marvel: Legacy in 2017 was so long ago. These announcements came with this image drawn by long time Marvel artist Jim Cheung.

Marvel currently has been on a roller coaster this last year and it appears the hits just keep coming. Marvel: Legacy wasn’t quite the revitalization that DC: Rebirth was for DC Comics. Consistent low sales had them cancel several titles such as Gwenpool, Iceman, America Chavez and others despite those titles being popular amongst fans. Their new Editor-In-Chief C.B. Cebulski ran into a little controversy shortly after accepting the position. One of their staple and best selling writers left and signed a contract with DC Comics (there appears to be no bad blood there so good luck Bendis!) These are noticeable concerns but as a fan, they are just roots tracing up to the root of the real problems plaguing Marvel’s progress. This promo art while being a beautiful piece of artwork shows me more problems than solutions and leaves me with more doubt and questions than with a feeling of peaceful resolution and excitement.


First lets address the problems one can associate with the idea of a relaunch. The problem with relaunches is they constantly erase the work of others to appease fans who cling onto memories of the past. While its important for comic characters to evolve and change, what’s the point in testing new ground and pushing characters, some of which are older than our parents, into new territory just to have it erased a year or so later? We see several classic characters returning to the mainstream Marvel universe again. Apparently, death or dishonor are nothing The Hulk or Thor can’t shrug off. Iron Man has apparently awaken from his coma. The Punisher is no longer rocking War Machine’s old duds. The original Wolverine, not Old Man Logan, is back from the dead. Loki’s time as Sorcerer Supreme will be apparently short lived. It looks like now that Fox and Disney have made up, the Fantastic Four might be back. While its nice to see the gang all back together, seeing characters like Gambit, Venom, Ghost Rider’s Robbie Reyes and even the Defenders amongst the group are clearly tie-ins to their cinematic or television universes. Sometimes it feels like while the movies and television have opened up Marvel’s characters to greater audiences, that more time is spent keeping in line with those interpretations instead of focusing on the stories and characters themselves. It is exciting that Ant Man and the Wasp might be getting their own book or that Reyes’s Ghost Rider will be on the Avengers but is it enough to get the readers back?

Second, the real problem isn’t the relaunch, its how Marvel has been telling stories in the last few years. Great titles like Spider-Man (Miles Morales) and Ms. Marvel are three dimensional characters who earned their place in the Marvel universe but their stories get interrupted by issues tying into crossover/mega event stories. The last few crossover stories have not had the same reaction and resonance that previous Marvel crossovers had. Civil War II was a little underwhelming despite a good premise, Secret Empire was met with much controversy over Captain America and his allegiance with Hydra, and Marvel: Legacy was in some way overlooked with little to no impact. Sometimes these tie-ins are great stories because you see how current events in the Marvel Universe affect the characters within that series i.e. the Ms. Marvel tie-in with Civil War II was wonderful. But sometimes these tie-ins stories are unnecessary filler issues almost saying “Hey! I was here too when this thing was happening”! What they should do is take time away from crossovers and spend a year or two building up their characters with great storylines, stellar artwork and continue strengthening these characters who become pillars in their company.

When we mentioned the other classic characters remaining, what about Riri Williams who took over as Ironheart for Iron Man? Why is Iron First missing from the Defenders roster? What about Jane Foster, is she permanently off the Thor roster? Marvel creates these characters but despite the talent behind creating them, they sometimes feel more like replacements instead of legacies. They create these characters, Invest in good storylines and characterization but the moment the original pops back into the picture, well thank you and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I believe Ironheart has found a place with the Champions alongside other Marvel young heroes and I’m sure there are plans for the other characters I’ve mentioned but it’s not the character, it’s the first impression given upon introduction. A few of these characters that have appeared in the last few years seem less like natural characters evolving from the great tapestry that is the Marvel Universe and more like figureheads simply there to keep up with modern events. What better way to show you’re more progressive than but an even bigger focus on characters of different minorities, identities, or beliefs? Naturally such a change is welcome but if the execution is forced and fails to find its audience, the book will eventually be cancelled and then what was the point? I feel its important to be aware of current day politics and issues with the world but constantly adapting and trying to please people accomplishes nothing. It’s like the person who can never say no, eventually you get burned out from being so overextended with little to nothing to gain for yourself.

Instead of constantly flooding the market with relaunched number #1 issues, Marvel should find a point to start with their characters and just tell great stories like they have done and still do to this day. As a fan, I have enjoyed many Marvel series and have had the pleasure of telling those creators how much their stories excited and stimulated my imagination. I understand that comics are an investment and the rules of the game change constantly; what was hot one year could be cold turkey the next and it’s still a business overall. My concluding point would be that this “Fresh Start” as it’s been called tells us of new storylines, new creative teams and more for Marvel in 2018. But being the seventh Marvel relaunch since 2012 compared to DC Comics three relaunches since 2011, I sincerely hope this upcoming change heralds positive results for the House of Ideas. As always, time will tell even for superheroes.

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