Joss Whedon Will Never Be Done With Superheroes

Despite the negative responses Age of Ultron resulted in, Joss Whedon is nowhere near done with superheroes. Last weekend at San Diego Comic Con he announced that he would be writing a new six issue comic book for Dark Horse Comics. Twist is described by Whedon as a “victorian female Batman” narrative. While the promo art for the comic was done by Julian Totino Tedesco, neither an official artist nor release date has been announced. In a recent interview with io9, Whedon detailed his vision and process for the upcoming story.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be done with superheroes, because I feel like I was writing about superheroes before I realized that I was. Everything sort of falls in that category. The new thing is called Twist, it’s Victorian story about a chambermaid who becomes a superhero, because I don’t get tired of that.

It’s a little dark and a little strange. I have license to sort of go to different places. I’m not beholden to the 40 years of this comic that existed before. But it is kind of classical in structure in the sense that it’s about women and men and power, culture and money and all the things I always like to nudge in.”

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Io9 also wondered whether Twist could possibly be made into a TV show or film to which Whedon responded simply “It’s a Dark Horse book, probably like six issues with the potential to be more. Unless I kill everyone, because you know me [laughs].” Given his reputation, it’ll be a surprise if he even makes it to six issues. Here’s hoping our feels are at least partially intact by the end of the comic’s run.

When asked about the outrage over AoU, Whedon expressed what he really thought. He said he was surprised by the response. “You know, ultimately everybody’s entitled to their opinion. Sending me pictures of nooses and things was maybe a little too entitled,” Whedon said referring to one of the major reasons he left Twitter. He went onto say that he thought putting Black Widow and Hawkeye together– despite many fans insisting they were more than friends– wasn’t right. He believes that the two superheroes just being friends is “a much more powerful and even much more romantic statement: that those people would die for each other, but they’re not trying to sleep with each other. That’s something about men and women that I wanted to say. So I’m not backing down on that one.”

Regardless of how fans might feel about AoU, Twist looks like an awesome new project and one that Whedon will really be able to sink his teeth into after the Black Widow controversy. He’s excited to “get back to something I loved very much, which is putting my hand to a comic book again.”

Photos from Geek Tyrant.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Movie Review

Genre – Action, Comic Book, Superhero

Director – The Russo Brothers (You, Me and Dupree, Captain America 3)

Cast – Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Robert Redford

Alluring element – Captain America kicking asses, taking names, and then kicking those asses, too

Scorecard:
Plot – 8
Acting – 9
Representation of genre/Identity – 9
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 10
Captivity – 8
Logical consistency – 7
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack/Ambiance – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9
 

“I can do everything he does… only slower” – how we feel about big shot blog sites who get their movie reviews in a week early because of special privileges

Oh Captain, my Captain! Chris Evans returns as Steve Rogers in his first solo film since Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011. He is not alone, though, as S.H.IE.L.D. director Nick Fury and mistress of espionage, Black Widow, join him in his mission to take down the Winter Soldier. There is a lot of back-story in this movie found in the comic books (Captain America: Winter Soldier review coming soon), and some of them might be considered light spoilers for casual fans of Captain America’s character, but fans who don’t know might be a little confused without those spoilers. It is never actually mentioned that Natasha Romanoff (check out our article on her here) is the Black Widow, and there are a lot of other details that sort of don’t really make sense unless you’ve seen The First AvengerAvengers or read the associate comic books. While some might consider it poor story-telling, I look at it as not getting rewarded for doing your homework. Now that Marvel has hooked in the masses, it seems to be setting a new precedent by making viewers delve deeper to understand the whole story.

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From the get-go, we can see that this is not your father’s Captain America. The naive young man who stood for truth, justice and the American way has opened his eyes to how the world really works. He still holds a moral standard that makes his colleagues roll their eyes, but is definitely going to throw down in the line of duty. In the strictest sense of it, he is no longer a champion of the American government, but the spirit of America. I feel like a good majority of Avengers showed Rogers being poked fun at for not knowing the various pop culture and historical references and making fun of his theological ideals and sense of and morality. Thankfully, this has been laid to rest and Cap now has a little notepad in which he lists all the things he has to catch up on, most recently added being Marvin Gaye’s soundtrack to TroublemanNote: this list is actually different, depending on the country you see the film in. It’s a quick way to see how the character has grown, and to avoid beating a dead horse.

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What really piqued my interest was Captain America’s level of brutality. Sure, he killed a bunch of Nazis in WWII, but that was war. I expected Captain America to have the same sort of moral compass as a Spider-Man or a Batman, where every life is sacred and not even the most vile are to die. That theory’s thrown out the window here as Cap stabs, smashes and explodes his way to put the bad guys down – most notably in the first ten minutes of espionage-filled action. Have we just evolved our super-hero standards to fit the modern day, or is this a darker, jaded Captain America that we’re seeing here?

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While The First Avenger let people believe in the symbol, The Winter Soldier had more of an origin story identity than the actual origin story did. We get to see Steve Rogers become a super-soldier, take down Red Skull and find the courage to defeat an army – but Winter Soldier really embodies the hero that we associate the character Captain America as. A lot of it has to do with the acting; Chris Evans plays the perfect Captain America. Even with an all-star cast at his side, there was never a moment that it didn’t feel like it was his story. The “supporting cast” absolutely makes the movie. I haven’t seen Samuel L. Jackson this bad-ass since he was chopping off heads with a purple lightsaber. I mean, he’s no David Hasselhoff, thank God, but he’s as Nick Fury as you’re ever going to get; he’s the leading agent of a super-spy program for a reason, and Sam Jackson played it to a T. Note: Sadly, there are no exclamations of “Mother-f***er” in this film. Meanwhile, the talented ScarJo plays Black Widow extremely well. She’s sexy without being objectified – a role model for women and a poster model for men, truly the best of both worlds. However, it’s Anthony Mackie’s portrayal of Sam Wilson AKA Falcon that really stole the show. From Mackie’s acting to the way the his costume was designed, Falcon was bad-ass – and from the looks of it, this won’t be the only movie he will be in.

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What makes Winter Soldier so great is it’s reflection of current society. Much the way The Dark Knight showed us our fear of terrorism and the symbol of how that is dealt with, Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed us our addiction to using government enforcement. Ah, the plot thickens. Everything is not what it seems though, as the whole shebang has been a conspiracy, an infection that has swept the whole system. Iconic movies like V for Vendetta have portrayed similar messages, but not quite as plainly as Winter Soldier showed it, and especially not as relate-able as to U.S. drone strikes taking down its own citizens. Surprisingly to some, this isn’t the first time Steve Rogers has taken on the entire U.S. government in the name of its people, so who is really the enemy here? I’ve seen the movie and I still don’t know; these are the questions that keep a good movie in the minds of its viewers.

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So, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about Captain America, but what about the Winter Soldier? He is in half the title, after all. When the book that the film is based off of (review of that coming soon as well) was released almost a decade ago, the big reveal was that Bucky Barnes – friend and partner of Steve Rogers before his heroic and untimely death in The First Avenger – was actually the Winter Soldier, and it floored readers. Thanks to IMDb and the rest of the internet, we all knew this coming in. The reveal wasn’t quite as built-up as I would have liked, and I feel the whole portrayal of Bucky was really rushed; there was maybe 15-20 minutes devoted to him – and that is a shame because the Winter Soldier (both before and after the events of the movie) is one of the most ruthless killers in the Marvel universe. We do get some superb action sequences with Bucky and Captain America, each blow giving off waves of power, reminiscent of an epic anime fight. While on-screen, they do the Winter Soldier justice – but in the same way that Bucky was a pawn for the Russians, he is also just a pawn for the deeper storyline of the movie.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier also did not shy away from fanboy moments. The Amazing Stan Lee made his usual cameo (honestly one of his funniest), but it was another guest star that made us gush aloud in the theater. I won’t spoil it, but the Russo Brothers, who direct the movie, also are executive producers for a television show we can’t seem to get enough of – we’ll let you guess. We also get a taste of other not so super villains too, with Baltroc and Crossbones getting some screen time (they’re not in their traditional costumes, so see if you can find them). The use of the vibranium shield was spot on and a clear ode to the books; every fight sequence begins or ends with Rogers bouncing this thing off walls, even at one point destroying a S.H.I.E.L.D. fighter plane with it. Captain America was also a monster in combat. Exponentially quicker and stronger than his opponents, he put the hurt on a lot of people in spectacular fashion. Every punch, grapple and shield bash looked just as one from a super-soldier should.

To bastardize a line from The Dark KnightCaptain America: The Winter Soldier is the movie that we deserve, and the one we need. In a time where we are getting dangerously close to superhero super-saturation, it’s great to see a comic book film that favors character development over plot development. There are, of course, the explosions, fight scenes and witty one-liners that set a high standard at Marvel Studios, but what really makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier worth your money is the front-row seat to watching one of the finest characters in comic books saving the world from itself. Although the actual Winter Soldier (or Agent 13, for that matter) wasn’t in it for very long, The Winter Soldier drove home it’s sociopolitical points while still looking like one of the best comic book movies to come out.

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Other Stuff:

Easter Eggs!

An explanation of the post-credit scene.

Review of Captain America (vol 5): Winter Soldier graphic novel

All media credited to Marvel Studios

We Can Do It! Black Widow

“We Can Do It!: Women in Comics, Television and Beyond” is Hush Comics’ answer to what women in comics mean to the world and to us  Visit our page every Monday to learn about a new super lady!

*Note: Yes this article is late.  Yay for jet lag from ECCC and hey, I thought it would be cool to publish when Winter Soldier actually came out.  Oopsies.  

Who:

Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow

Nicknames/Aliases:

Black Widow, Natalia Romanova (ok that’s her given name for you aficionados), Czarina

Skills:

Advanced combat skills and training, acrobat, ballerina, slowed aging due to Soviet experimentation, and a great knowledge of how to use a gun.

Origin Story:

Like most Marvel heroes, Black Widow has been retconned.  Either way, her history is way sketchy.  I guess that is what happens when a girl is trained by Russia to be a spy and is genetically mutated.  Yup, so that is basically her history.  Her real name can either be Natasha Romanoff or Natalia Romanova.  This just adds to her mystery.  She was trained by Ivan Petrovich, and in her retcon, by the KGB.  She has been experimented on to make her age slower and make her more agile.  She has also had her memory altered so she doesn’t remember significant chunks of her life and is given the memory of being an esteemed ballerina.  Originally, Natasha was sent to kill Iron Man.  She wore an evening gown with a sweet cat-eye mask with a veil over her face.  She was also raven haired before she had her fiery red mane.  She met Hawkeye and convinced him to help her.  After a failed mission, she was kidnapped by the KGB and brainwashed to kill the Avengers, of which Hawkeye was a member.  Because she had fallen in love with him, she eventually found the light side and became good ole American.  She also became the 16th Avenger.  She has found herself in a romantic relationship with many Marvel characters, mainly being the main squeeze of Matt Murdock aka Daredevil, but she also has been with Iron Man, Captain America, and Bucky Barnes.  In her current issues, she is an independent spy who sometimes takes jobs with Nick Fury’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Notably, Black Widow saved Wolverine from the HYDRA and was a leader of The Champions which included Hercules and Ghost Rider.  She led them to battle with many baddies including The Stranger and The Crimson Dynamo.  Yeah, she pretty much has done everything.

Why is she important?:

Let me count the ways as to why Natasha Romanoff is important.  Ok, first, she currently is the female face of The Avengers.  I mean she is carrying the entire female population in all the current movies.  That’s a lot to handle.  And all this is just my opinion of course, but I really think she is the inspiration for two of my other favorite women: La Femme Nikita and Echo from Dollhouse.  As far as La Femme Nikita goes, she was also a Russian spy who was used as a tool for the government.  And Echo?  Well, Natasha was also brainwashed and supplied with false memories.  She was made to be super strong and acrobatic.  So were the Dolls.  Pretty cool, I think.  Not only that, but Natasha has kinda saved a lot of our favorite superheroes.  Like, their lives.  Oh, and she’s smart, witty and can kick a lot of ass.  I’d say she is really important not only for the Marvel Universe, but to women ad little girls who go to the movies and read comics.  Thank you, Miss Romanoff.

What she means to me:

Honestly, before The Avengers came out, I had limited knowledge of who Black Widow was.  But considering my celebrity doppelgänger, Scarlett Johansson, played her, I needed to find out as much as I could.   As a little girl, I used to play spy.  Didn’t every little girl?  Ok maybe about half of us.  Anyway, Black Widow is the woman I think of when I wish I had a different life, except in my head, it is a more glamourous world without all that experimentation.   Now that I know tons more about her, I think every girl should idolize her.  She is a woman who has been through hell and back, is smart as a whip and can kick some serious ass.  Yup, pretty much one tough as nails chick.  And that’s why I love her.

photos belong to Marvel

 

written by Adrian Puryear

Comic Book Reviews 01-22-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

batman 27 epic

Batman #27 – A

If you were reading Scott Synder’s Zero Year arc, you may have forgotten that the series is 75 years old. Every panel feels brand new, yet strongly nostalgic. Batman #27 was thiiiis close to an A+. Long-time Batman fans will cringe as they watch Bruce Wayne clash with James Gordon; what has blossomed into a historic bromance has very hostile beginnings. Throw in Dr. Death and a looming Riddler threat, and you have an origin story worth telling – one that’s far darker than Frank Miller’s Year One and more colorful (not just in ink, but in personality) than the Bob Kane stories that spawned Batman. With the arc wrapping up in Batman #29, I’m basically camping out Black Friday-style at Mile High Comics until they release it. To be stuck in the past is usually an unhealthy delusion, but in the case of Batman: Zero Year, it’s a delusion I can live with. – S

Other Reviews:

Action Lab-Danger Zone Comics

Bo: Plushy Gangsta #1 – C-

I have to admit that when I first saw the cover of this comic, I was very excited to read it because it simply looked awesome. A thugged out teddy bear that everyone seems to fear. However, in the actual read some things fell short in my opinion. First of all, the dialog at times was somewhat hard to read because it was written as hardcore inner-city hood dialect. For example, “ ‘lcome, ladies. They call me The Cut, and this is my ‘umble estate, ya-‘ear? Yeah, yeah!! Ya must be tired after de ride, but I thought…it’s still a ‘ood time to, ya know, ‘et to know each other. So…” the entire book was filled with this ghetto speak which took away from the moment of whatever was happening because I had to re-read certain things just to make sure I was reading them correctly. Secondly, it did take a long time to get to the point of it all. Toward the end of the comic, we do finally get to hear the story behind “BO” and why he is a plushy bear, however we don’t actually get to see his face or hear him talk till the second-to-last panel. Nonetheless, he is still a plushy teddy bear gangsta that everyone fears which wrangles in some of the entertainment factor which is accommodated nicely by the art work with the use of bright colors and smooth textures. I do have higher hopes for this book with upcoming issues because Bo is finally introduced so we should be seeing a lot more of him. So even though this issue was slow, somewhat hard to read, and lacking humor and comedy, I would actually like to read the next issue just to see what happens. For goodness sake, it’s the hood version of TED and I think the rest could be interesting now that the introductory issue is out of the way. – E

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars: Legacy II #11 – D+

The cover of Star Wars: Legacy #11 displays a rugged (unknown) man leaning in for a passionate kiss with our heroine, Ania Solo, and title caption reading “History Repeats!”  Know what I have to say about that?… Banta Poodoo.  Ania in tow with her alien, droid and Jedi partners have taken up interstellar freighting/smuggling as they casually (almost nonchalantly) hunt down the Sith forces that are taking over the galaxy.  Though this greater plot is mentioned zero times in the issue, there seems to be a new story unraveling.  Ania and crew end up running into a stranded vessel along their journey that happens to be occupied by a man and his crew.  It’s apparent that Ania knows this gentleman quite well.  I could tell from the immediate and unhesitant kiss she laid on him the instant he takes his helmet off.  Learning only that this scruffy looking dude (…this guy hasn’t earned the title “nerf herder”…) is named Ramid and that he is from Ania’s past does little to instill the “history repeating” factor.  It’s quite underwhelming for a die-hard fan like me and makes me wish this series would just wrap it up already.  Still – there remains just a faint glimmer of potential in this series.  Can I get a “woop-woop” for the Lightsaber Whip appearance?!  A plasma whip to the face is exactly what Legacy needs to keep me flipping pages. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Scribblenauts Unamsked: A Crisis of Imagination #1 – A-

This book is just absurdly cute. I laughed, ooh’ed and aww’ed my way through the entire issue. Inspired by the videogame (unfortunately only for Nintendo) of the same name, Unmasked follows our hero Max in his plight to help save Gotham, Earth, and the entire galaxy. The premise of the book, and the game, is that Max owns a magic notebook that can bring to life any appropriate tool or item to complete a task. TONS of fun ensue as this concept is applied to the DC Universe. The story is witty and fun, and the art is simplistic, but detailed in the best kind of way. This is fun for all ages and a solid investment.  – A

Wonder Woman #27 – B

I don’t know how Brian Azzarello does i every month, but he manages to make every single issue of Wonder Woman look like a battle between the gods. This could be because every issues is, in actuality, a battle between the gods – Wonder Woman herself now included among them. The grandiose scale of each struggle makes you feel like the world is really at stake, yet it is still somewhat personable because of it’s human characteristics . While the war for Olympus is waging, Apollo has decided to torture Zeus’ first born in order to persuade him into joining Apollo’s side – and he does a pretty crappy job at it. Issue #27 has so much to offer in story, from Wonder Woman’s angle (she be schemin’!) to Zola’s predicament. Something crazy’s about to happen, and I wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle when it happens, but as a reader, I cheer for blood like any other Greek would! – S

Justice League #27 – B-

Victor Stone AKA Cyborg has had quite the upgrade (get it?) when the New 52 began. No longer a member of the rag-tag Teen Titans,Cyborg has become arguably the most valuable member of the Justice League, with the exception of Batman, obviously. Using his connection to every single network in the world, he’s the Big Brother you actually want to have (get it?). Justice League #27 showcases the metal man with the big heart. While I definitely appreciate the sentimental relationship between Vic and his father, it comes across as corny, with no real build-up to make you care about what is happening. That being said, Cyborg gets a kick-ass upgrade to his suit, and the “Red Room” is a cave of wonders that made me drool in excitement. The issue left me really wanting more, in a negative way. It did, however, prove that Cyborg could carry his own story. I’m excited to see his character continue to develop in the New 52 and will wait patiently for his show-down with Grid. – S

Harley Quinn #2 – B-

In it’s second issue in, Harley Quinn is beginning to find its own identity. PETA fans will love this episode, as Harley tries her best to rescue a shelter full of animals in danger of being euthenized. Harley can’t do it on her own, though, as she enlists the help of Poison Ivy to do so. Here’s where things get interesting; Ivy and Harley have always had a… colorful relationship. That relationship has been kind of a fanboy fantasy that’s playfully hinted at in Bruce Timm’s Harley & Ivy mini-series, as well as Gotham Girls; I mean, there are Tumblr pages (SFW, as far as I could tell) devoted to it. I’ve always felt that it’s a lot more subtle than in this issue, with Harley getting morning-after kisses and Ivy getting really excited about the prospect of seeing Harley’s beaver. Often compared to Marvel’s Deadpool books, Harley Quinn has much more going on; the art by Chad Hardin is fantastic and there is actually a storyline going on, two aspects that Deadpool sorely lacks. I highly recommend this fun and interesting book! – A

Dynamite Entertainment:

Bad Ass #1 – B+

For an introductory issue to a newly established character, the author didn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling. There was plenty of humor and action to go around; however it seemed a little light on a cohesive introductory story. We are thrown into a random world with some unexplainable characters plus a minor side story about the character. While all that can change, it may take a few issues to flesh out some of the details. Who is this main character? What kind of background does he have? How realistic is this world he is living in? These are just a few of the questions that I hope get fleshed out in the next few issues. I will say that the artwork is solid, nothing spectacular, but definitely drawn well enough as not  to detract from anything else. This is one book I will be keeping my eye on for the future. – R

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom (mini-series) #1 – B-

Taking a little break from the turtles, Age of Utrom focuses on Krang and his quest for domination, as narrated by our sad robot friend, Fugitoid. For those not obsessed with TMNT, an Utrom is a brain-like creature of extremely high intelligence; in the TMNT cartoon, they are all simply referred to as the Krang. I love that they are starting to bring the inter-galactic war into the comics. The art is wonderful, accented perfectly with late 80’s heavy color sci-fi era. It’s an interesting concept, but to be honest, I don’t know how I would feel about it if the Turtles name wasn’t attached to it. The confrontation Krang had with the leader of the Fighting Lizards was pretty cool, but I can tell that this mini-series is just a set-up for the next big reveal in the main TMNT series. It would be great to get more Krang in the future issues, as his cunning and ruthlessness make him a fun villain to watch. – S

Samurai Jack #4 – C+

After some great debut issues, Samurai Jack has entered the land of mediocrity. Jack is still kickin butt and taking names, but the honeymoon phase is ending and the expectations for the book are rising. In this issue, Jack travels to a frigid land led by a monarch who imprisons Jack. Jack leads an uprising against the evil Queen and collects another Thread of Time on his journey to face Aku. The series is beginning to get a little formulaic, but it is still in no way a dull read. The same magic from the animated show is here, but the writer is taking his time to get to the showdown. This is still a solid book and I recommend it to anybody interested. – A

Image Comics:

Deadly Class #1 – A

If there’s one new book you pick up this year, make it Deadly Class. Rick Remender is simply a comic book genius, as his other ongoing title, Black Science, has stunned me with it’s captivating plot and panicky pace. Deadly Class spends most of the book setting up the story of an orphan, living on the streets. It’s quite possibly the saddest thing since [enter superhero here] died. What our protagonist doesn’t know is that he is being secretly recruited for an underground school of trained assassins. The art by Wes Craig, complemented by the astounding color work of Lee Loughridge, is some of the best in the industry. Along with Black Science, image Comics has become an absolute powerhouse in the comic book industry. You need to pick this book up –  end of discussion!

The Walking Dead #120 – C-

The war is halfway over folks!  I sure hope that means better things are to come for TWD.  I applaud Kirkman for keeping the story alive, but I just can’t help but feel it’s being forced (and has been for a while).  In this issue Rick has just returned to Alexandria when Negan arrives in “explosive” fashion.  In addition to lobbing grenades over Alexandria’s walls Negan’s undead-Trojan Horse takes a bite out of the Alexandria community.  Meanwhile, Jesus continues to be the baddest mother-SHUT YO MOUTH-amongst the ever shrinking human population.  By combination of running out of explosives and getting chased off by some unexpected reinforcements, Negan and army eventually pull back.  Convinced he’s won the war, Negan cracks a smile and continues on this merry fu**ing way.  Like last issue and the issue before… and the one before that (you see where I’m going with this)… I’m left longing for more in this corner stone comic series.  The All Out War arc of The Walking Dead still has potential.  But what will determine my continued allegiance (and funding) of this series will largely depend on its conclusion and where the series head’s next.  Crossing my fingers for major develops in the next issue! – T

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #22.NOW – A

Now we’re playing with fire! After two filler issues about the Purifiers, a wacko religious cult, All-New X-Men is making waves again. Kids will be kids, as the issue opens up with a hilariously passive-aggressive argument between Jean Gray and Scott Summers. Without much dialogue, Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen remind us that these mutant legends are still just children, still coping with this bizarre situation. As the group is startled by a group of invaders, they rush into action to defend their base. The invaders, the Ski’ar, have had great relations with the X-Men, but those who have read the Phoenix Saga know that they’re not so crazy about Jean Grey. To close the book, the X-Men are greeted by one more group of space travelers – let’s just say there’s a reason those new uniforms look just like space suits! I’m ready for the best team-up in comics to happen NOW (get it?)! – S

All-New Invaders #1 – A

While reading this comic, I found there to be several things rather enjoyable about this book. First off, I found Steve Pugh’s artwork to be amazing, particularly the epic fight scenes between Tanalth, The Pursuer, and Jim Hammond. The way they were drawn with the bright colors and smooth textures, it was just truly eye catching. The overall story was good, and where it is about to go I can see being great with how many different elements are involved in this story. What I appreciate about this book is that they give you enough background knowledge so you don’t have to be completely lost to the situation, yet they still hold a strong mystery and entertainment element to keep you invested in the story. After seeing everything that happened I am fairly excited to see where this goes and what is to happen next. The only thing I wish would have come out of this issue was a little bit more character info. I’m sure prior knowledge would help and that such knowledge could reveal itself during the next issue, other than that however, I found this comic to be rather enjoyable. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the art was amazing, particularly during the fight scenes? – E

Origins II #2 – B+

Even after the original origins story, details on Wolverine’s pre-Weapon X days are still rather scarce. Considering how long he has lived however, I’m not surprised. So far, what I have gathered from this series is there will be a few more answers to that lingering question of “what happened to Logan before Weapon X?” This issue marks the introduction of Victor Creed AKA Sabretooth, and while nothing really happens between the two, it should allow for some really interesting tussles later in the series. Creed even throws in his trademark “runt” taunt towards Wolverine. The artwork so far has been spectacular including some really gritty scenes that are colored very well. The story is still a little ambiguous as to where in the continuity we are and with what they are ultimately trying to achieve in writing a sequel to his first origin story. The first Origins revealed so much about Wolverine so I am very interested to see where they take this and what revelations will be uncovered by the end. – R

Black Widow #2 – B

Phil Noto, where have you been all my life? The art in Black Widow is so mesmerizing. While that is what lured me in, Nathan Edmondson’s writing is what goes for the kill. As is popular in comics, we begin at a certain cliffhanger and build up background story until we arrive back at the beginning. There isn’t a whole lot of great spy monolog like in the debut issue, which left me asking more questions about what was going on than answering them. Either way, I’m excited to read the next issue to see where this Iron Scorpion thing takes us, if not just to see more great Noto art. Here’s to hoping there is a clearer scope going forward. – A

Avengers #25 – C+

I think the new Avengers comic book is being told through the wrong medium. The amount of dialogue in this book has been almost excruciating. No doubt, writer Johnathan Hickman can tell a story, and the art by Salvador Larroca fits the mood quite well, but there’s nothing to ruin the pace of a comic book by having every panel be a bunch of long-winded characters (ahem, Stark…) standing around explaining why they’re so smart. That gripe aside, I’m a fan of any multiverse stories, especially those with a Thor as brutal as the one we saw today. Throw in a dead Avenger, and we have quite the mystery on our hands. – S

All-New X-Factor #2 – C

Last we left our mutant business associates they had just crashed the A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) lab run by true evil, genius Doctor Terrance Hoffman.  Knowing only that they were tasked to rescue captured mutants, Polaris, Gambit and Quicksilver begin searching high and low.  Before long Hoffman learns of the Serval team’s intrusion.  What a perfect time to try out the awesome, new, evil power he’s been cultivating!  The catch is – live mutant specimens are needed to fire it up.  Specimens for today?  Reaper and Abyss!  Fatale is also one of Hoffman’s lab rats, but seems to have passed her usefulness to the doctor and is eventually found by Polaris.  Hoffman charges up, and starts a rumble with the Serval mutants.  How it ends… you’ll have to read!  All-New X-Factor #2 gets a mediocre score this time.  The second installment diverges from many of the aspects that made #1 alluring.  From cover to cover, this issue was mostly cliché good guys fighting bad guys.  Depth was lacking and I was much less familiar with the new mutants that appeared in the series (there’s definitely some backstory I’m missing).  Gambit’s inner-monologue was limited and dull.  All in all, a mildly entertaining read.  I do have to give mad props to Peter David for the Star Wars reference near the end of the issue… Looks like Marvel is already warming up for next year’s takeover.  I suspect next issue will pick up again and get back to the focus on Serval Industries and their mysterious CEO Harrison Snow. – T

Avengers World #2 – C-

After an amazing premiere issue, #2 is lackluster in just about every way. Smasher, who is a new incarnation of the character in the Marvel NOW! relaunch, doesn’t really have enough clout to carry her own story, although those drawn to the character will definitely enjoy the story. I can appreciate what Hickman is trying to do, but I feel that the first issue was just a ruse to get us invested in the futuristic Scientistic Supreme storyline. On the plus side, Dr. Bruce Banner makes his hilarious return as he schools everybody that will listen. – S

Hawkeye #2 – C-

Haweye has been one of the most consistently enjoyable books out there, but this issue just wasn’t up to par with any of the rest in the series thus far. I think a lot of that is the fact that Katie may still be Hawkeye, but she’s nowhere close to being Hawk Guy.Clinton Barton is a clumsy, skilled, but mostly lucky hero, who constantly gets the crap beaten out of him as he tries to do the right thing. Watching Kate parade around like Harriet the Spy with no direction is getting a bit frustrating. Pretty soon, even the cat food guy is going to stop listen. – S

George Romero’s Empire of the Dead #1 – C-

While George Romero is considered one of the pioneers of the zombie genre, I must admit that I have not been a fan of his last few films. Zombies that think and are able to operate guns? Zombies that have some deep embedded memory of who they were before they turned? If that sounds ridiculous to you then not only will you not like those films, you will not really enjoy this book either. The only thought running through my mind while reading the inner monologue of a recently turned zombie was that Warm Bodies did it way better. The art was great and unique but other than that I was able to find few redeeming qualities about this story, particularly the ludicrous “twist” at the end. All of that being said, if you have been a fan of George Romero’s work up to this point, last few films included, I think that this will be something you can enjoy. – R

 

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 2 A’s and 3 B’s, averaging out to a 3.40

Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 2 B’s, and 5 C’s, averaging out to a 2.67

Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.43

Funniest Panel of the Week:

The Walking Dead #120
The Walking Dead #120

Epic Panel of the Week:

All-New Invaders #1
All-New Invaders #1

Cover Art of the Week:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom #1

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibTaylor LoweEvan LoweAdrian Puryear and Robert Michael

So Far This Week… January 22, 2014

With the expansion of Hush Comics, we have decided to give bi-weekly news updates.  Anything we find news-worthy will be posted here every Wednesday and Sunday.  Have anything to add?  Post it in the comments!

So far this week…

Quickly following the release of the next DC Animated film which debuts in less than two weeks (February 4th), Justice League: War, it has been announced that an animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s Batman & Son story titled Son of Batman will be released in the Spring of 2014. Chronicling the introduction of Damian Wayne, this will be a great addition to the DC Animated library. Check out the trailer below.

DC won’t be the only comic book company getting some animated love; Marvel will be releasing an anime-style movie called Marvel Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, coming straight to DVD on March 25 I’m really excited to see a darker animated film of two of the most brutal enforcers in the Marvel universe. You can find more details here or just check out the trailer below.

Everybody holding out hope that the open world bounty hunter game, Star Wars 1313, would still be produced after LucasArts was sold are going to be sorely disappointed. Disney has officially dropped the trademark on the game’s title, essentially dropping it in the sarlack pit for good. Wanna know more about this  game changer that could have been? Click here.

Don’t be too down in the dumps, Star Wars nerds! There have been heavy talks about a Boba Fett spin-off film. Only thing is, he might not be the Fett you grew up with. If you’re intrigued by Lawrence Kadsan’s (acclaimed Star Wars producer) alteration of the great bounty hunter, check this out.

In an amazing show of love, a couple in Denmark have crafted a table-top version of a Mass Effect reaper, a world destroying drone for the popular science-fiction video-game. It’s terribly realistic, which does the nearly month-long construction justice. You can learn more about this couple and their pet drone here.

It’s a LEGO’opoly out there! LEGO and Marvel have once again teamed up to come out with LEGO sets (and assumed videogame connection) for Captain America: Winter SoldierAmazing Spiderman 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy, the latter of which will be released in August, right in time for the film. You’d think will all these sets coming out that the price would decrease.

In comics news, Dr. Who will be finding himself a new home after leaving IDW Comics (home to some of our favorite independent comics like TMNT, Samurai Jack and Locke & Key) for a lesser known Titan Comics, ending a six-year run with IDW. We’re not sure how we feel about it, but check the facts and let us know how you feel.

It’s been a while since Bruce Willis has blown something up in a futuristic sci-fi thriller (uh, you mean like in Looper?). This film, titled Vice, portrays a society where people are allowed to take out primal urges on androids. Complications arise when one of the androids becomes self-aware. There are more details here.

The script for a new Fantastic Four film, slated to release in June 2015, has been finished, with casting to begin within a month. I might be the only one who thinks Marvel is beating a dead horse with the FF franchise, but I am excited at the prospect of Michael B. Jordan (The WireFruitvale Station) playing the Human Torch. Those interested should check out this article.

So if the New 52 Justice League International didn’t work out, and the current Justice League of America isn’t working out… the next logical step is to release Justice League: Canada, right? DC Comics logic has me confused. It’s since been renamed Justice League United, and features another ensemble cast of lesser-known DC characters. Check out our reviews when this book drops April 23rd.

New trailers have been released for Maleficent and 300: Rise of an Empire, both of which are on our ‘must see’ list for 2014.

Quentin Tarantino is PISSED! Somebody leaked his finished script for what was supposed to be his next film, a Western titled The Hateful Eight. The leak caused him to go on a Pulp Fiction-esque rant, the entirety of which can be found here.

Miniature Dollhouse reunion, you say?!  It’s true!  You can watch the trailer for Lust for Love starring Franz Kranz, Dichen Lachman, Enver Gjokaj and Felicia Day right here.  Then you can squeal about Whedonverse.

Check back on Sunday to get a new round-up!

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

Comic Book Reviews 01-08-13

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Black Widow #1
Black Widow #1

Black Widow #1 – A

If you’re looking for a kick-ass superhero book, pick this up. Black Widow has always been a character worthy of her own series; an ex-KGB and current Avenger, Natasha Romanov is shrouded in mystery and has the skills to take on anything. The art in Black Widow is amazing, giving off the feel like the whole story is being told through the lens of a spy, with extreme color detail (nod to Phil Noto!). I’m instantly sold on just how bad this chick is as she takes on two cases with ruthless efficiency. Not much developing yet in terms of a plot for this arc, but the issue itself is thoroughly entertaining with just enough detail to make you pine for the next one.  – S

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars #13 – C

The beginning of a five part spinoff story starts with Star Wars #13 this week.  The topic – Vader’s revenge!  Sounds cut throat and exciting right?  Well… not so much in this issue.  Following events in the previous 12 issues, Vader is out to force choke the life out of everyone who played a part in allowing the double crossing Bircher to take command of the Devastator.  He recruits young Imperial ensign Nanda to chauffer him around the galaxy on his vengeance quest.  While I enjoy the prospect of Vader violently using the force on others as an anger management technique, I can’t help but feel that this theme is overplayed.  Through the entire issue there was only one moment in which readers experience the “Vader moment,” and even at that it only spanned two pages.  The most intriguing and exciting potential for the next five issues are the elite, black-ops Stormtroopers (that have no record of ever existing) and what they will bring to Vader’s foes. The story has me interested, but not on the edge of my seat.  I hope we get to see more out of Nanda and that Vader jumps into action soon. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Detective Comics #27 – A

This is not your average “special anniversary” issue. With DC celebrating 75 years of the Dark Knight in 2014, Detective Comics #27, which was the original comic that the Bat-Man appeared in dating back to 1939, is a great way to ring in the year. This issue is full of mini-stories, both feel-good and reflective, that explore a different aspect of Batman’s history. All are thoughtful and put a smile on my face, with Gregg Hurwitz & Neal Adams’ nostalgic story stealing the show. You can tell that the creative team that worked on this book had fun making it, and I had fun reading it. – S

Batman Black & White #5 – A-

Bringing back this collection of short stories about our vigilante hero is the best idea DC has had for a long time. Each issue is a series of vignettes about the Bat. All of the writers and artists so far have been a hodgepodge of the comic book elite. Issue five does not disappoint. I guess what I find so appealing is the old gumshoe approach that they have taken. The first story by Ivan Brandon puts us in the middle of a training exercise between Alfred and the bat. Several of the other stories focus on how clever Bruce Wayne is when he is tracking his prey. “Cat And Mouse” by Keith Giffen and “Hope” by Jimmy Palmiotti are great detective stories. My favorite, hands-down, is “I Killed The Bat” written by Blair Butler and illustrated by Chris Weston. This twisted tale of a cartoonist turned murderer will put a vicious smile on your face by the end of story. – J

Forever Evil: Arkham War #4 – B

The Bane we all know and love is back. With the Justice League out of commission by the Crime Syndicate, the Gotham rogues are left to pick up the pieces of territory. This arc reminds me a lot of No Man’s Land, where Gotham plunged into chaos and the rogues all fought over the remaining territory. All villains are scheming and plotting to get the upper hand over one another, but no tag team is more fun to watch than Bane and Talon. This issue is a full-out Battle Royal between the Gotham baddies that can get clustered at times, but well worth the price of admission. With Freeze and Scarecrow unleashing their own mind-controlled Talons, I can’t wait for the next one. – S

Batman/Superman #7 – C

Batman and Superman are in a colossal fight to death. Bats has been fitted with cyborg technology from the alien villain Mongul. He has been turned into a playable character in a global video game. Over 90 million gamers are in control of the Batman and are hell-bent on killing Superman. The overall story is a bit trite, but the artwork of Brett Booth gives this issue a vibrant look. This issue felt rushed, but if you’re in the mood for a quick mindless read with pretty pictures this is your choice. – J

 

Dynamtie Entertainment:

Lil’ Vampi #1 – C

Li’l Vampi, a one shot by Eric Trautmann and art by Agnes Garbowska, follows pre-teen Vampi in her new adventures in Stoker, Maine.  The puns from vampire, werewolf, and monster lore are cleverly put throughout the book.  Vampi is a loner who doesn’t really get along with her peers because she is… well, weird.  Her story reminds me a bit of if Buffy had taken place in her late elementary/ early middle school years.  Vampi plays detective to the morbid in the town of Stoker.  But her pet cat, Pantha is a good distraction from the social mishaps she endures.  The best part of this book is Pantha, particularly when he turns his litter box into a miniature replica of the Pyramids of Egypt.  Overall, I felt the story was a bit confusing, especially for the young targeted audience.  The story bounces between the actual happenings of Vampi to her diary, without much warning, which could be confusing to new and young comic book readers. I do have to say the art was very well suited for the genre, of course, with cover work from Art Baltazar.  This was a decent read, but definitely was out-shined by other releases this week. – A

Image:

Sex Criminals #4 – A

Across the back of issue four reads “For Mature Readers Duh,” something that readers should definitely take heed of. This is not the book you read with your friends. It’s raunchy, and foul, and my mother would be ashamed of me, but I love it. The story is written superbly by Matt Fraction, the writer behind the acclaimed Hawkeyeseries (ongoing!) and it focuses on two young lovers, Suzie and John, who can freeze time when they orgasm. This issue introduces us to Her and the sex police. It’s crude humor of the best kind and I can’t get enough of Sex Criminals. It’s only been four issues so I implore you to catch up, but only if you can handle that type of humor. – S

The Walking Dead #119 –B+

Excuse me a moment while I put my foot in my mouth, because TWD just shut me up with their latest issue. After a forgettable #118, we join our Survivors back at Alexandria as they regroup and prepare to defend themselves from Negan’s retaliation. We seem to have found a soft spot in Negan, as he killed one of his own when they try to sexually assault a POW a few episodes ago. That all seems to fade, though, as we get a reminder why we hate/love him so much. – S

Kaboom! Studios:

Adventure Time: The Flip Side #1 –B

Adventure Time: The Flip Side may seem like a children’s book and, although it isn’t as popular as superhero comics, the first issue was enjoyable. It’s lighthearted, easy to follow, and good for some laughs at any age. If you are as big fan of the T.V. show as I am, you will enjoy reading this issue as you watch Finn, Jake, and Beemo take on a rather interesting and unexpected adventure. There isn’t anything dire going on – no threat of planetary destruction which only our heroes can prevent and no grand mystery that is looming over our heads. It’s about a group of friend going on an adventure because that’s what they do best. This book is humorous, enjoyable, relaxing, and just plain old Mathematical! I look forward to the next issue. – E

Marvel:

Marvel NOW Point One #1 – A-

This issue is designed to introduce multiple new arcs that all begin in the next few weeks. Point One is a great read throughout; some of the series will pique readers interest and some will not. Unlike the weekly previews publishers come out with that have only two or three pages, each of these stories actually have a starting and ending point. Especially engaging are the Black Widow and Ms. Marvel series. It’s about time we see some kick-ass women in comic. This isn’t your average variety comic, this is a collection of stories about Marvel’s soon-to-be front-running comics and they deserve your attention.  – S

All-New X-Factor #1 – B

Serval Industries wants is open for business, their model, “we just want to help people.”  But the real special thing about Serval Industries is their business associates – superheroes!  Polaris has recruited Gambit to work for the seemingly noble and industrious Mr. Snow.  Why shouldn’t a powerful, cutting-edge company recruit mutants?!  What could go wrong?!… The concept put forth by Marvel and Peter David has got this reader very interested.  I haven’t seen a concept like this explored in comics before.  The theme is very down to Earth and jives very well with all us grownup nerds out there working a 9-to-5.  The plot balances predictability and mystery nicely and the characters in focus are well selected.  For casual Marvel fans, like me, I appreciate the effort to put well-know, but very dynamic characters into the story.  I see a lot of potential in the follow up issues.  I expect to see many more familiar faces and I can’t wait for the plot to gain additional depth.  I recommended this issue for anyone out there interested in Marvel, but doesn’t necessarily know the entire cast and crew of Avengers vs. X-Men. – T

Avengers World #1 – B-

Unlike the current Avengers title,which centers around intergalactic epidemics, Avengers World takes the series back down to Earth, quite literally, as the Hand (again, no relation to the Foot) emerges as the threat. All your favorite Avengers are in action, with Captain America and Bruce Banner getting a majority of the spotlight. Banner is very witty and sarcastic throughout the issue and is instantly my favorite character. There’s a lot that happens here, and it’s great to see Marvel put out an Avengers book that focuses on what’s going on down here instead of out there. – S

Deadpool #22 – C-

After an intriguing last issue, Deadpool #22 keeps the momentum going with Deadpool tracking a traitor amongst S.H.I.E.L.D. A special All-Star appearance by Agent Coulson keeps the book fun and exciting; even his ’62 Corvette, Lola, is part of the action. There is not a lot of intrigue here, as most of the story is made of up situational humor. That being said, it is a Deadpool book, so it’s around the lines of what I was expecting. – S

 

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 2 A’s, 1 B and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.25

Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 2 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.20

Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.80

Funniest Panel of the Week:

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Epic Panel of the Week:

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Cover Art of the Week:

Jim Lee's variant to Detectice Comics #27
Jim Lee’s variant to Detectice Comics #27

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib, John SowetoAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe and Evan Lowe