Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.
Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.
The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s. Continue reading
I’ve been seeing an increase of stories recently online & on social media about Marvel Comics and it’s continuing sales slump. Most of the articles bring up the hot topic of diversity, some say that Marvel’s record low sales of their comics books are simply because of rising cover prices & lack of fresh new ideas for their characters. Others say that it’s directly due to it’s attempt at diversifying it’s star characters by changing their race, gender & sexual orientation. Most of their popular character’s titles have had a bit of a revamp lately, for instance Wolverine is now female, so is Thor, so is Iron Man, Cap is black, the Hulk is now Korean-American etc. etc. You get the point. Could these changes really be the reason why sales are down? Do people just simply hate diversity in the Marvel Comics titles?
I really doubt that it’s really that simple, though rising cover prices and lack of fresh ideas definitely doesn’t help their low sales. What I see personally happening is a bit of a trend within Marvel Comics that feels a bit insincere. I honestly don’t really mind that the traditional characters have been replaced but I do feel Marvel’s move to make all these changes to their most popular titles feels as if they’ve been exploiting diversity to make a quick buck. What I’m saying is that it feels like Marvel is just trying way too hard to be current on these topics rather than crafting interesting stories. I don’t believe you can simply take all of your money maker superhero titles, simply change their identities and expect them all to suddenly bring you boatloads of cash because you finally decided to make them more diverse. It’s just not that simple folks. Continue reading
I recently picked up an obscure 80’s flick called ‘Wild Thing’ (aka Asphalt Kid) on VHS and to my surprise it was quite an enjoyable little oddball ‘superhero’ flick. Yeah, ‘Wild Thing’ is the alias of the homeless hippie hero who’s parents were killed by a crooked cop in 1969 when he was just a toddler. His parents were full on flower children too, as the opening scene shows them looking like members of the Grateful Dead driving around in an old VW van around the big city. Instead of living with his aunt and uncle after this tragic event the lil’ dude is chased down by the cops and leaps into a nearby river. He finds shelter with a homeless lady who takes him in as her own. Over the years he learns the ways of the streets, hunts pigeons with a tennis racquet for food, mimics a martial arts master who practices in the park, learns to speak from radio disc jockeys and figures out ways to communicate with alley cats. Yep Wild Thing is a bit of a “Jack of ALL trades”.
Wild Thing grows up a bit and by the late 80’s he’s become somewhat of a local legend and protector of the streets, rumored to have superhuman abilities. He’s a full on hippie vigilante who roams the rooftops looking for trouble. This one’s got quite a plot. Things get interesting when a woman from Wisconsin named Jane (Kathleen Quinlan) moves into the area to work at a priest’s half way home. Sure enough she arrives for the job late at night and is attacked by some crazy local hoodlums, well guess who arrives to save her? Continue reading
Ok so I’m eight episodes in on Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ and I’m honestly not quite sure what all the crazy hatin’ on it is all about. I liked all the Marvel Netflix stuff so far, Daredevil being the best, then Luke Cage and so far I’m feeling like Iron Fist and Jessica Jones are pretty much on the same level. I remember being a bit bored during ALL of the ‘Marvel Netflix’ shows at some point or another, they are ALL about 3-5 episodes too long. I think keeping them around an 8 episode affair would easily be the best structure for these shows.
Iron Fist does move a bit on the slow side from the start, but like the previous Marvel series they all take waaaaay too long to get to the real meat n’ potatoes of it all. The fight scenes range here from good to sloppy, nothing mind blowing but they feel in line with what we have seen thus far from Marvel for the most part. Check out the “nunchucks” scene below, it’s clear Finn jones is definitely no Bruce Lee! It would have been really cool if they had really took the opportunity to amp of the kung fu to something truly mind blowing. Not sure why they didn’t go that route but if they had this show could have been spectacular. As far as crazy martial arts / action I think Daredevil has succeeded most and remains the best of the bunch. Overall though as much as I do enjoy watching the Marvel Netflix stuff I think all of it ends up a tad on the bland side of things still. The street level realism is personally getting a bit boring in my opinion. They’re better executed than the movies and have definitely had better villains than the theatrical stuff but still there’s something missing. In my opinion ‘Logan’ has set a new standard for the live action superhero stuff.
That being said Iron Fist I think is actually an OK series. I was really prepared for something truly horrendous but I’ve actually had a fairly fun time with the series so far. the amount of shit this show has gotten has reached laughable levels online, like the other Marvel Netflix stuff was The Shawshank Redemption or some shit. The writing is indeed not award worthy but I’ve kinda enjoyed it for that. It’s a bit ridiculous at times with characters their odd “motivations”, Danny Rand is certainly quite a bit different in the way he acts and deals with things. But kinda I dig that aspect of the show. Rand is pretty naive and seems quite often a bit clueless. I’m guessing that it’s because he spent the last 15 years training in the mystical city of K’un-Lun with monks in another dimension. He’s basically new to the real world, as he went missing when he was tween. He’s a bit bratty, he’s got a crazy kinda weird unpredictable temper and though he’s supposed to be “enlightened” he’s a bit of a spoiled privileged poser. Hey those people really do exist, I’ve met a few in my time.
He throws tantrums and really hasn’t much of a clue what to do with his business and his insane inherited wealth. I like his ‘flaws’, he kinda acts a bit like a clueless rich white teenager who’s got a good heart but is a bit of a dipshit. Rand’s got some realism to him, that maybe wasn’t the show’s intention but I’m kinda glad he’s not a carbon copy of Matt Murdock. This could all be due some bad writing but in this case it kinda actually works in the series favor. I also thought Colleen Wing was pretty cool too, she steals the show from Danny Rand quite often and is just as much of main character here. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up getting her own series with Misty Knight, ‘Daughters of the Dragon’ anyone?
There’s a lot I would have done differently here with this show. It should have a TON more crazy kung fu action, it shouldn’t have been 13 episodes and it most definitely should have had the costume dammit!!! That alone would have set this apart from the last two series, we need way more of a superhero presence in these shows, this one was one I was certain was going to deliver on that front. I could easily see this character come up with a bit of a cheezy flashy classic inspired Iron Fist costume and it making perfect sense. Danny Rand should be the one kinda clueless dude who sports a questionable “superhero” costume.
Marvel should play off of that aspect of the character and let Iron Fist go over the top. They hopefully up the ante’ ten fold with his kung fu escapades when we see him next. That being said we definitely DON’T need anymore rich white superheroes. Or anymore weatlhy superheroes for that matter. Let Rand be the last of em’. I’m glad they chose to go with a character based more on his comic book counterpart, I think it was a good choice and it raised some good controversial conversations that perhaps needed to happen in the ever changing spectrum of modern pop culture. Again we also see some pretty piss poor villains, why can’t Marvel get this shit right? This “street level realism” is getting a bit old, bring out some crazy costumed villains already. Even the movies suffer from this, The shows are the perfect place to build excellent villains, they have the time to develop them and I’m not quite sure what Marvel is afraid of. They did a good job with the Kingpin, tried their best with the Purple Man but still they were too afraid to make the guy actually purple!
I also don’t see the show as ‘racist’ after viewing it thus far and I think that whole aspect of things was way blown out of proportion by critics. Iron Fist is proof if anything that Marvel needs a new formula, if they go for a season two with Iron Fist I’ve got a feeling it’ll be quite different with all the flaws everyone has been pointing out. Let’s hope the Defenders brings something truly unique to the table…
Holy Hell! I’ve got to make some time here to give some props to Hugh Jackman’s “last” run as Wolverine! I know everyone and their mom, dad & parakeet are talking about how great this movie is and yeah I agree it’s a glorious final chapter. They finally took the gloves off and let Wolverine be Wolverine. I find it funny how damn long it takes Hollywood to figure out what us comic book fanatics knew way back in the year 2000. We want our Wolverine to be a savage lil’ a-hole and you just can’t really do it with a PG-13 rating. So as you know by now obviously Logan is bloody, gritty and tonally different than any of the other movies. It’s a no BS affair, it’s personal and it has real heart. There are no giant CG robots or even a weak ass version of Sabretooth anywhere in sight. Nope Wolverine here is a cussin’, drinkin’, pissed off SOB and it’s great to finally see him the way he was more or less supposed to be all along. Sure he’s older and weaker here but hey I’ll take what I can get dammit!
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier is amazing and so is Dafne Keen’s X-23. They both nearly steal the thunder from Logan time and time again throughout the movie. By now you’ve likely heard it ALL and probably seen the movie. It’s great and I’ll see it again, soon. BUT, yes there is a but here and it needs to be addressed (SPOILERS AHEAD). My biggest problem with ‘Logan’ was it’s villain/villains. That’s not to say I didn’t dig Donald Pierce and his Reavers, they were forgettably fine but let’s be honest they could have been AMAZING. When I heard that they were going up against Wolverine in this final flick I was fucking thrilled. The Reavers could have and should have been a seriously scary force to be reckoned with.
Sure Donald Pierce had a dinky lil’ cybernetic hand but he could have been a lot more like his counterpart from the comics with four cybernetic limbs & superhuman strength. They failed to make him a truly deadly opponent and the rest of The Reavers should have been modeled after the legendary comic book team. Imagine the original Reavers with an even deadlier Lady Deathstrike back again looking more like comic book counterpart. It should have been Logan and co taking on serious threats more similar to ‘The Terminator’. That would have been amazing. They missed an opportunity to really bring us the psychotic cyborgs we deserved to see. They gave us a lot of throwaway soldiers for him and x-23 to mow down sure, but none of them served any other purpose than just that.
The real threat here was X-24, a villain that to me felt as about exciting as “Deadpool” from X-men Origins: Wolverine. I was really disappointed to see a Hugh Jackman ‘clone’ as the big bad muscle of the movie. That was a serious mis-step in my opinion. I only say this because we could have gotten any number of amazing Wolverine villains in his place. Imagine for a second that their secret weapon was Omega Red?! Or Cyber? Daken? Razorfist? Heck even a bigger badder version of Sabretooth would have been welcome.
My point being we really didn’t need any of them, we already had Donald Pierce and The Reavers. They could have supplied us with all sorts of frightening cybernetic mayhem. Instead they went the overused “fight your clone / fight yourself” route. Ahhh well what can I say, I am a picky comic book bastard. It just irritates me that they got so close to me having to just shut the fuck up and admit perfection. At least they finally got ol’ Wolvie right. It took them seventeen years to figure it all out and I’m damn glad they did. This is clearly a groundbreaking movie that’ll change the way comic book movies are made from this point on. Don’t get me wrong I give ‘Logan’ a solid A-, but in the future though let’s give the same care to the villains as we do to the heroes cuz a hero’s only as good as his villain! Oh yeah one more thing I highly doubt this is the last time we’ll see Mr. Jackman in the role of Logan, this movie is a box office smash and we all know money talks…why stop now anyway when you finally figured it all out?!!
The Dregs is easily one of the most compelling comic books out there. After a amazing first issue this new series from Black Mask keeps this unique mystery building, leaving you with plenty to think about after the last page. We’ve got one of the most original books on the shelves that breaks the mold of of anything you’re likely reading at the moment. Issue #2 starts off with a bang as we follow the exploits of Arnold, a homeless addict who’s hell bent on solving the mystery of a missing friend named Manny who’s seemed to vanish into thin air from the streets. The first issue also let us in on something incredibly sinister going on in the gentrified area of of the city where it appears that a hip bougie restaurant was serving up plates of food with people on the menu.
I don’t want to give too much away about the plot but the second issue delivers the tension, mystery & then some. The opening sequence of it sets a dark tone unlike many other comic book I’ve read. This series is full on grit and hits some serious issues in our society you rarely ever see in the pages of comic books. Aside from those the story doesn’t rely entirely on social commentary to be interesting, it’s pages bring about a truly creepy and hopeless air that’s hard to shake. The light at the end of the tunnel looks very, very dim at this point. Continue reading
I just checked out the debut issue of ‘Quantum Teens Are Go’ out now from Black Mask & as far as first issues go it’s got some pretty good things going for it. The book’s tone is super light hearted (which is a nice break form the grit) and if you’re a fan of those old 80’s teen sci-fi flicks movies like “My Science Project” you’ll likely dig this more updated take on the genre. The story starts out with a bang as our two daring teen characters are raiding a mysterious abandoned research facility in hopes of stealing something special. The place is guarded by robots and soon we see them running for their lives with their high profile stolen goods.
We soon realize the teens are anything but normal as they seem to working on some sort of odd hi-tech machine in their garage carefully adding the mysterious stolen parts to the equation. We also come to find that one of the characters named “Nat” (formerly Brandon) is transitioning to a female gender clearly with some resentment from her parents. Hey boyfriend who’s kinda like a nerdy mad scientist has been hard at work on some sort of time travel machine and his grades are suffering. He’s also got issues with his “parents” who’ve taken him in as their own as we realize something has happened to his real family for unknown reasons as of yet at least to us.
‘Quantum Teens’ has some great modern day teen issues going in the story along with of course a bully in school who’s clearly got a problem with the two and the fact that Nat was once identifying as a boy. It’s got the current atmosphere of the times, which seems to be all the rage in the comics these days fitted in with a sweet little opening to what might just might prove to be an epic time travel adventure. Only problem is they’ve reached a point in their garage based science project that’s got them stumped. So they hit the streets in search of some answers from some pesky bandits who’re in a similar business…
Hence we’re introduced to some other interesting supporting characters, one described as a poor man’s “Matthew Mcconaughey” who’s there to help the teens get their machine in working order. We’ve got a cute, bright and intriguing story set up here in the first issue that looks to be headed for some fun times. I totally dig simple stories like this that have a bit of a throwback feel to them harkening back to similar vibes like “Back to the Future”. The characters are witty, vibrant and the artwork is decent enough. Though this issue didn’t reinvent the wheel it’s a nice fast paced story so far that’s likely to put a smile on your face in these gloomy times as of late. Check it out if you’re looking for something that’s not going to depress the shit out of you!