I just got done reading the ‘ALPHA FLIGHT: True North’ Marvel Comics one shot and it got me a bit excited about the possibility of an ongoing series. Yeah Alpha Flight has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid in 80’s and after the first John Byrne series it’s never been quite the same, so hearing that a new one shot was coming out made me decide to head up to ‘Cosmic Monkey‘, (Portland Oregon’s best comic book shop), to grab a copy and see for myself. It’s been a few years since I bought new comic books, I quit a while back cold turkey, as their just too damn expensive and many of them don’t grab me like they used to honestly. However, Alpha Flight always gets another chance!
So ‘True North’ was a pretty decent little dive back into the lives of the diverse Canadian superhero team, it features three short stories with various members of the team. The first featuring classic Alphans Talisman & Snowbird as they travel to a remote area of in the Arctic Circle to investigate a supernatural presence. It’s an intriguing little tale that could have really spanned the whole issue. I definitely enjoyed the artwork in this one by Max Dunbar as well.
The next story is a small slice of life featuring everyone’s favorite little person badass ‘Puck’ and the fish woman ‘Marina’ as they walk a lonely beach on a sunny day. Puck shares a story from his past and the two of them spend some time bonding. A neat little short overall but I wasn’t a real big fan of the artists depictions of Puck and Marina, who basically just made them look like a short guy and a green woman devoid of most of her fish like qualities. The last story features Heather Hudson aka ‘Vindicator’ as she hides from the Canadian government for crimes committed while under the mental control of long time Alpha Flight villain ‘The Master of the World’. It’s a pretty interesting short story too and also features her husband James ‘Guardian’ Hudson with plenty of underlying relationship drama bubbling below the surface. Overall this one was nice refresher of just what an Alpha Flight ongoing series could feel like in 2019.
The other members were missed though, classics like Sasquatch & Shaman weren’t even in it at all and Northstar and Aurora only spoke a couple lines. I was hoping for a cool one shot with the whole team showing their current relationship as a team, but regardless it was still a pretty good teaser, even if it was priced at whoppin’ 5 bucks! DAMN!! I’ve always thought the team under the right writer again could be developed into a great modern series. The team’s super diverse cast has a lot of rich history to explore. ‘True North’ strikes some good chords but I’m not sure it was really quite compelling enough to drum up the magic needed to push Alpha Flight into a new ongoing series. I’d like to see Wolverine return to the team and maybe bring some drama into Heather and James’ rocky relationship. It’s always been softly suggested he might have some feelings for Heather. You never know! I’m also still hoping for an Alpha Flight movie as well, I think they’d be an instant hit in the MCU!
The Thing was always one of my favorite superheroes, I just couldn’t get enough of this damn character. He was so freakin’ cool that besides being one of the mainstays in the Fantastic Four comics he also was the main character of ‘Marvel Two in One’ series (that started in the 70’s) and teamed up with pretty much every superhero to ever appear in the comics. There were some really really obscure team ups I’ve got to mention someday in another post. Well in 1983 I was beyond stoked as kid when John Byrne decided to give Ben Grim his very own solo series, it was one of my favorite things EVER (no pun intended)! Well issue #6 was always one of my favorite covers just ‘The Thing’ in all of his rocky glory in a simple black background. This issue itself utilized the blackness in quite an interesting way as well as he faced off against the Puppetmaster, this one drawn by the legend Ron Wilson and Brent Anderson is a true classic and shows that sometimes the best covers are sometimes the most simple!
I’ve got this new found love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from 1990 since watching it for the first time in decades! It was sooo much darker in tone than I recalled. When I saw it back in the day I was a fan of the original comic books, my older brother had a bunch of them in the 80’s along with other cool weird indie comics like ‘Radioactive Black Hamsters’ and ‘Cerebus’ so the movie at the time felt purely like kid stuff. The original comics had an even darker, bloodier and grittier tone to them something I think would be quite interesting to see brought to the big screen some day. Well one of the old TMNT covers crossed my mind from back in the day, issue #10 had bad ass one the folded, front and back. This totally tubular classic was drawn by Peter Laird way back in 1987, an era when they kicked a lot more ass and all wore the same color head bands. One of my favorite vintage Turtles comic covers for sure!
One of the things I really enjoyed about ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was the “Professor” Hulk finally making his big screen appearance. I’ve gotta admit I was a bit disappointed that this version of the Hulk really didn’t do any smashing and even more of a let down was that we never got to see Hulk and Thanos get a rematch. Just because the Hulk’s got Banner in the brain doesn’t mean he still can’t kick some major ass! Regardless it brought back memories of the character as a kid when “Banner Hulk” was introduced and for me it was shocking to see the character this way. Incredible Hulk #285 was always a favorite of mine, where we really see Banner Hulk in full effect.
I mean the cover and the first page feature Hulk with his classic Banner attire and even some sweet ass combed hair!! Back in 1983 I was in awe that this could even ever be a thing for Hulk, the character during this period feels a lot like the ‘Endgame’ Banner Hulk, where he was a lot more reserved about doing any serious ass kickin’. Later in the 90’s we got Professor Hulk yet again, though he was much more of a bad ass often using guns instead of fists to fight his enemies. Still this great cover is a total classic from artist Ron Wilson and inker Joe Sinnot and of course who doesn’t love a classic showdown with one of his greatest villains-ZZZAX!!! Check out the first page of this issue, it’s one of my all time favorite depictions of the Professor Banner Hulk! He never looked so damn smart and sophisticated!!
Damn there’s a lot of Joker news going around these days, first and foremost the release of the upcoming solo ‘Joker’ movie’s trailer that dropped today! Joaquin Phoenix stars as the clown prince of crime and if you haven’t seen it check it out now:
I’m totally impressed with all I’m seeing here with Phoenix’s take. It’s looks totally intriguing and so far of all the movie Jokers I actually think Phoenix looks most like the actual comic book version of the character. He lost a TON of weight for the role and finally we see a much thinner version of the character more in line with his comic book look, instead of say Nicholson’s more “husky” version and Leto’s “jacked up Juggalo frat boy” style Joker. Add to this the fact that Phoenix is a grade A actor with the chops and then some to make this more than some glossy CGI superhero flick. I think there’s also a truly mysterious quality to this new movie, as it’s not connected to anything out there in the current DCEU. Is Batman somewhere out there in this version of Gotham? Is this the start of a whole new DC movie universe altogether? It’s odd because we, not too long ago, were just introduced to a new Joker in Suicide Squad. So this random Joker flick certainly came out of left field. So far I’m fully invested and going as far to say this one is one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. What do you think?
…..So there’s yet ANOTHER new Joker as well that’s set to appear in the season finale of the Gotham Tv series and boy thhis one looks pretty damn crazy literally. The Joker appears to be some sort of psychotic burn victim and is yet another pretty damn bizarre version of the character. Again I should say I’ll literally take anything to avoid more Jared Leto Joker! I’ll admit I’ve never watched Gotham simply because I tend to avoid shows that are are on regular TV as I find most to be bland as hell. This though raises the level of interest and just maybe I’ll give it a shot!
Still one of my favorite and overlooked Jokers remains to be from the legendary Batman Dead End short film from 2003 and feature the Joker played by the late Andrew Koenig. The look of the Joker here is ripped straight out of the comics. If you’ve never seen it check it out, it’s a TON of fun and has plenty of twists!!
Ok, I went from insanely excited about a reboot of Hellboy to now wishing that Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman were back again instead for a third installment. I loved the del Toro Hellboy movies but also recognized that they really didn’t capture the true tone of Mike Mignola’s visionary comic book series. Visually they were damn near perfect but I’d always hoped for a darker version of Hellboy to appear onscreen as a fan of the source material. I was positive that latest director Neil Marshall was finally gonna deliver the goods. I’m a huge fan of his debut werewolf flick ‘Dog Soldiers’ and his companion piece ‘The Descent’ was just as damn good. From the start, Marshall made many claims that this new version of Hellboy was going to have the feel of the comic books, much darker, gothic and less comedic than del Toro’s lighter take on the series. Well now after seeing both trailers for the movie at this point it seems the new incarnation of Hellboy is more or less the same take on the character we got from the previous films. At least from what the trailers reveal.
The only thing that feels different is the dropping of the ‘F-word’ and some shoddy CGI blood sprinkled about in the trailer. Heck it even seems as if David Harbour is doing a full on Ron Perlman impersonation and the wacky comedy seems just as prevalent (if not more so) here in the two trailers as it was in the del Toro movies. Why even replace Ron at this point if you’re just gonna do the same take on the character? Sure Harbour’s version appears to be not quite as cute visually but it still feels basically just like Ron. The trailer’s got a cheaper production quality as well in my opinion, dare I say a more generic vibe to it as well when you compare it del Toro’s perfect gothic style.
I was also a bit surprised to see just how CG heavy this footage was, Neil Marshall had originally boasted the movie was going to largely utilize practical effects over digital to give it a more real world feel. Instead I’m seeing a lot of truly subpar standard Hollywood digital effects at play here and it’s making me miss del Toro’s vision all the more. I’m gonna call it here, a prediction that Hellboy is going to flop. The one thing the first two movies had going for it were that they really stood out from the crowd, while this so far looks sadly like another bland Hollywood blockbuster.
I’d also heard that Mike Mignola, (the creator of the character/legendary artist), stated early on that this movie was much more in line with his vision of the character that the previous installments. I’m not sure as he’d stated that quite some time ago, if perhaps the production somewhat switched gears and now we’re getting a more standard “what you’d expect” from a big Hollywood production. The comic books are are truly incredible and anyone who’s only familiar with the movies might be quite surprised at how different the tone of them are from movies. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that there’s a real Hellboy movie here that hasn’t been presented in these two trailers. I’m still going to see it, but man am I disappointed with what I’ve seen so far. Any other fans of the comic book out there feel the same way or disagree? Let me know!
There’s been all sorts of controversy about Brie Larson lately on the internet in regards to the upcoming Captain Marvel movie. Some people are fully up in arms about her recent statements regarding white males as film critics, not wanting to be interviewed by ‘white dudes”, wanting fewer white males on her Captain Marvel press tour and just wanting more diversity in general. I understand her concerns, but It’s clear that her approach to the topic has clearly triggered some fans. She could have stated her issues in a much smoother way that’d likely have spoke to fans of the comic books, who have ironically been throughout the years mainly white males. Will all of her recent statements about calling hard for diversity in the film biz affect the box office numbers for the Marvel blockbuster? We’ll have to wait and see but one thing I’ve been perplexed about from the initial announcement of Captain Marvel the REAL controversy: the decision to base the character on a white female, “Carol Danvers” and cast Brie Larson at all. I’m ok with the decision but would’ve much rather my era Captain Marvel been given a chance. The one who came before the “Carol Danvers” character way back in the early 80’s. Growing up, my Captain Marvel was first and foremost, Monica Rambeau.
Yep, Monica was the first female Captain Marvel, appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man annual #16 and eventually went on to become the leader of The Avengers in the 80’s. She’s a total badass who harnesses a multitude of energy forms, irradiated with energy blasts from different dimensions that also gave her the ability to move at light speed. Besides being the leader of The Avengers she was also the first black superhero to join the ranks of the team. In my opinion she’s also a much more interesting character in general. Monica was a New Orleans native and worked for the harbor patrol there operating as an ACTUAL captain of ship. At one point she caught wind of a wicked plot to create of a dangerous supernatural energy weapon, Rambeau took it upon herself to try to stop the threat and in turn was exposed to a powerful extra-dimensional energy.
She gained the ability to convert her body to pure raw energy. Soon, the papers began to refer to her as “Captain Marvel”. It wasn’t long after that she’d run into issues controlling her vast new power and her growing energy abilities almost made her a danger to the public. With the help of Iron Man & Spider-man she was able to successfully release the excess of it safely. She made the decision to utilize her powers to fight for the good of the earth under the name she was given by the media. Using the same name of a pervious male super hero Mar-vell, she’d quickly drawn attention of Earth’s mightiest heroes, The Avengers. Joining the team she worked her way up as one of the greatest members in their ranks and eventually accepted the role of leader of the team. Her story is pretty awesome and as a kid growing up she was one of the main superheroes I’d known as the leader of The Avengers along with Captain America & The Wasp.
To me Monica’s Captain Marvel should have been given the chance to front her own MCU movie. As much as I do agree with what the overall points that Larson has been trying to make about “white dudes”, it appears a bit like she’s been trying to exploit the topic of diversity to gather attention for her movie. With the topic being a big part of her MCU campaign, I’ve been perplexed since I’d first heard many of her comments about diversity, just why Marvel chose her character to be the “Captain Marvel” we see in the first female led superhero MCU movie. As a white woman herself and the FIRST female Captain Marvel being ‘Monica Rambeau’, (a character of color who worked her way to the top roster of the Avengers) isn’t it a bit odd to choose ‘Carol Danvers’ who only first took the Captain Marvel mantle as recently as 2012?
I do think Larson should have addressed this, especially with her campaign for diversity in the film industry recently gathering so much attention. She maybe even could have even suggested the character for the movie be Rambeau, in respect to the iconic character and just diversity in film in general. Whatever the case, it’s good to get the history of the female Captain Marvel character out there for discussion, in my opinion Marvel made a HUGE mis-step in not presenting the true original female Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau for the upcoming movie.