There are certain comic book covers that just pop right off the page at you when you see ’em & Master of Kung Fu #75 is one ’em! This cool cover way back from 1979 shows again just how damn good of an artist the master Mike Zeck is! This one shows Shang-Chi doing battle with a giant fish man that looks straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft story. I love the simplicity of some covers and this one gets straight to the point with an amazing underwater struggle facing the Master of Kung Fu. There are some truly jaw dropping covers in the Master of Kung Fu comic book back catalogue & Zeck’s done a great deal of them, ah those good ol’ days…
Seems to me like after the “grand finale” series of the recent shared Marvel Netflix universe show, The Defenders, that Marvel’s lost some serious steam or should I say street cred?! Yeah, final verdict here on The Defenders…weak ass shit! Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t as bad as Iron Fist. BUT seeing the character of Iron Fist in the mix with The Defenders wasn’t really so bad in comparison to his other teammates. I realized that all of the shows are a bit stale when you take a step back and look at them. They all drag on too damn long and when they hit that lull they’re incredibly tedious, every now and again they’ve got their shining moments but they’re few & far between. I was initially pumped for a lean 8 episode, no BS Defenders series, however even 8 episodes felt a bit like a chore to sit through at times!
I wasn’t very impressed with The Defenders, as a longtime comic fan I think of all the ways the show should’ve been amazing and all the ways it was a bit of a let down. I’m tiring of the whole “uninteresting drama, for the sake of drama” these shows fill themselves with. I mean, does anyone really give a flying fuck about Foggy & Karen Page while they whine & worry over Matt Murdock’s Daredevil escapades anymore?! Was anyone captivated by Elektra & Matt Murdock’s “passionate” romance in the last season of Daredevil and this new Defenders series?! We certainly don’t feel anything real for Danny Rand & Colleen Wing! What about Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ supposed “love connection” anyone care about that? The whole “Jessica Jones is an alcoholic thing” is so by the numbers that every time she takes a drink I feel like rolling my eyes. Uggh it’s just all feeling a little plastic, this cookie cutter drama factor they keep trying to push, it’s just not very interesting. It takes up a LOT of the actual run time of these series.
Well how about the action? Aside from that hallway fight early on in the first Daredevil season I’m not feelin’ that these shows are setting any new action trends. The way I see it these shows should have really upped the ante in the way of action, especially when it comes to superhuman kung fu!! I’m thinking they should’ve been taking notes from movies like “Big Trouble in Little China” & mashing it up with say the likes of Tony Jaa’s “The Protector”. Compare The Defenders for a moment to something that is actually awesome like the movies I just mentioned. Take a moment and imagine if they would’ve slapped a blonde wig on Tony and had him do the action sequences for Iron Fist or even Daredevil, the Marvel shows should be striving to top action sequences like this one here:
Instead we get some seriously bland kung fu by people who’re supposedly superhuman heroes and villains. Heck imagine at the very least if Danny Rand was breaking bones left and right and seriously fucking people up with that iron fist? How much would that alone have changed the dynamic of things? The shows so far range from decent to barely passable, but they should be a serious spectacle to behold visually at the very least. Instead these shows are kinda lazy, no one’s willing to push the boundaries to give us something we wanna watch again and again. I enjoyed the first season of of Jessica Jones & Luke Cage….BUT…do I every really wanna revisit them? Honestly no. Do I wanna revisit say “Stranger Things”? Hell yeah!
I watched one of the latest ‘Game of Thrones’ episodes right before I started The Defenders. Not a good idea, The Defenders ended up feeling pretty cheap, the acting, action, even the sets felt very “made for TV”. Marvel’s got to make a few changes to it’s Netflix stuff. We need more inventive story telling, plot twists, better writing in general, far better action, actual interesting villains & more damn costumes!! Yeah put Iron Fist in his damn costume, that would at least make shit more fun. Give us some classic super powered villains rather than a gang of blah “bosses” and a bunch of faceless drone fighters for our heroes to do mediocre made for tv kung fu street fighting with. The time has come to start remembering where the roots of this shit came from, the comic books! Take notes on what made the last Wolverine movie “Logan” so good and give the fans what they really want!! I don’t have time to waste on more mediocre media Marvel, so get your shit together!
For the record I’d like to say that Luke Cage was yet another job well done for the Netflix Marvel universe. I wasn’t quite as addicted to it as I hoped I would be, I think maybe the first season of Daredevil was probably the best in my opinion. I do think though when I came to that conclusion it’s likely because it felt the most like a comic book. We got Daredevil in his costume (though I still think they could have done a better job with the DD costume)) while Jessica Jones and Luke Cage appearance wise kept the whole street clothes thing in check. It worked for them because let’s face it the tiara & big yellow blouse-y shirt just get up wouldn’t have been a look many people in 2016 would have been too thrilled with. I found Luke Cage to be super solid action drama a bit light on the whole superhero vibe which is fine because it does work for the medium but hey I think giving these guys a few more colorful villains to tangle with might be exactly what the show is missing.
I’m not certain why everything thus far has to look so “real world” on these shows, I mean the Marvel movies are incredibly colorful for the most part. So far the Netflix shows do have way better developed villains than in the movies. However I’d like to see some full on super villains eventually enter the scene. Imagine how tense things could get if we got someone perhaps like Tombstone to enter the scene and accurately keep his larger than life comic book appearance? Continue reading
I haven’t quite made it through the entire season two of Netflix’s Daredevil yet but I’m slowly chipping away. So far so good though, I dig the first season more but this one’s still a good time. One thing I’m hoping for is an appearance by one of Daredevil’s classic villains. Some of them clearly might not work with the show’s more serious tone, say like Stilt Man or Mister Fear might not feel right on the Netflix show which is much more grounded in reality than the Marvel movie universe. However this show is in need of more real villains. So here are five villains I think would be perfect for the show and The upcoming Defenders series (I left out Bullseye because of course we all know he’d be on the list automatically) :
This guy would be perfect for the show’s more serious street level tone. If they could bring the sinister albino giant to life on screen I think it’d be quite a spectacle. I think of a classic battle much like the incredible Bruce Lee Game of Death sequence with Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Tombstone has a past with Hell’s Kitchen in the comic books and he’d make for the perfect bad guy in season three!
We all know that Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock gets involved with pretty much every and any beautiful woman on screen. It makes me feel a bit bad for Foggy, but whatever I guess Matt’s just too sexy for his own good somehow which leads me to Typhoid Mary. Continue reading
I just read the first issue of the latest reboot of 80’s indie superhero Badger recently released by Devil’s Due and the formerly defunct First Comics. Seeing it and it’s retro looking cover on the shelf brought back some great days of hanging out in weirdo dingy comic book shops in the 1980’s with my brother in Wisconsin. Badger took place in Wisconsin and back in the day I used to collect this series, admittedly a bit confused by it’s incredibly offbeat characters and story arcs at times back then. Still the character was always unique, a mentally ill crime fighter with multiple personalities who lived in a castle in Wisconsin with a wizard named Ham. I mean what’s not to love right?
Well Mike Baron the original creator is back with a current retelling of the character’s origin in a pretty neat-o first issue. Issue one starts off with Norbert Sykes (our protagonist) as he signs up for the military and heads off to Afghanistan where he quickly begins to go crazy. He’s paired up with dog named Otis, who he clearly relates to more than any of the soldiers and heads off into the battlefield. It’s not long before his animal companion becomes a casualty of war and Norbert’s taken captive by enemy forces. While held prisoner he’s visited by a spirit animal, in the form of you guessed it a Badger! He agrees to devote his life fighting for the rights of the animals of earth and then embarks on a crazy killing spree against the enemy. He’s soon detained, shipped back to the good ol’ USA and institutionalized. It’s here where we first start to see again this is by no means your average origin story.
The issue was a good debut, however I think they could have really spread this one story over two issues to really build his origin in an even more powerful way. It felt a bit rushed at times and I hope they slow the pace down just a bit and really let us get to know just what makes this dude tick. The story was also a darker more serious tone than what I was originally expecting which honestly ended up being quite a pleasant surprise as this character has proven before he can lead a compelling tale if that’s the type of one Baron wants to tell at the moment.
The art by Jim Fern was pretty solid too, if maybe a bit stiff at times or that could just be in contrast to the incredible cover art by Paul Pope. I’m gonna be back for issue two to see exactly where this one goes. I’m quite curious to see if the elements of the 80’s Badger come into play and how they approach some of the more offbeat characters and settings from the original series. I’m also curious about this Badger/Putin fight rumored to happen soon. Either way it’s comforting to see a familiar face back on the shelves in 2016 with a solid debut I felt a bit like it was 1986 all over again…
I’m really enjoying the latest Marvel Netflix original series ‘Jessica Jones’ and I totally loved Daredevil. It really got me thinking about why these shows seem so far (at least to me) so much better than the Marvel cinematic experience!
After a little thought I decided to nail down my five reasons Marvel should send some of their more popular characters down the same path as Jessica & Matt Murdok!
1.Better Character Development:
It’s clear one of the main reasons why I’ve liked the tv shows more so than the movies is simply because we have so much more time to really get to know the characters inside and out. It can be tough sometimes within only a couple hours to really get a character to the point where you actually understand them and their true motivations without everything feeling a bit rushed.
Netflix gives us the time we need without boring us to really fall in love with the characters. It plays out much more like a comic book taking the time it needs to tell a great story. Some of the Marvel movies simply try and pack way too much shit into too small a time. Not only that but Marvel movies are so concerned with tying everything together between franchises that sometimes you get lost in a big sloppy plot. Imagine for a minute if Captain America would have been a tv series, how much more it would have meant to see Bucky come back as the Winter Soldier after spending a whole season with him and Cap in World Ward II?!
2. Believable Special Effects:
Sometimes when I’m watching a Marvel movie I feel like I’m watching a frikin’ cartoon. There’s soooo much CG and special FX work that it ends up a bit feeling like I’m watching ‘Roger Rabbit’. The Netflix shows have really done a spectacular job with the special effects and they flow nicely alongside the story and the action sequences.
They haven’t required the amount of CG that say The Avengers used but sometimes I really wonder if these big bloated shiny CG stuffed spectacles really need to be telling stories that need that much in the way of FX. More is NOT always better folks and some of these Marvel movies just have NOT aged well and it hasn’t even been that long.
One thing the Marvel movies do NOT have going for them are good villains. The Netflix series works hard at giving us reasons to love and at times really hate the villains. We never really get much in the way of character development for the bad guys in a Marvel movie. Usually they’re just merely there as a reason to see some crazy ass battle go down.
The Netflix series give us the time with the bad guys that we need to really understand them or just really wanna see them get their asses served up. I haven’t once given two shits about any villain in a Marvel movie. And folks your superheroes are only as good as their evil counterparts. So if you ain’t got a good bad guy you ain’t got shit.
Yep, the Marvel movies are all about money and selling boatloads of shit to the kids. Making a killing with merchandise means the movies can never go too dark. However the Netflix Marvel stuff doesn’t have to worry about that, they can cuss, draw blood and have tons of sex if they want to.
The Marvel movies don’t dare go too dark or violent, perhaps that’s one reason why their villains just suck so bad? They’re not allowed to really get all of their evil out onscreen, now imagine the what the Red Skull would have been like in a Netflix series…
5.They Don’t Follow the Marvel Movie Formula:
Let’s all face it, the Marvel movies most definitely have a bit of a tired and predictable formula. I really liked Ant-man but it really felt so “2008”, while watching it’s plot unfold I thought “man we’re really doing this whole thing again?” It felt pretty interchangeable with any other Marvel movies I’ve seen. Good guy gets powers, boring bad guy who has similar powers, cute love interest in danger, big CG fight at end. Blah blah blah..
Or if you’re The Avengers movies you have them all fight a super blah bad guy and then at the end of the movie a big CG slugfest, in a big city, fighting a bunch of similar looking CG clones. The second Avengers movies was really just a retelling of the first, instead of Loki you had Ultron and instead of the hordes of CG Chituari Warriors you had the horde of CG Ultron clones fight at the end in Sokovia instead of New York.
The Netflix shows have broken away from the usual mold at least for the moment and that’s god damn refreshing. Hmm….But then again there is this now:
Here’s a great blast from the past, GI Joe #53, by none other than Mike Zeck! Duh! You know I am starting to think that he might be the best cover artist of the 1980’s as I’ve seen a trend of consistently posting covers by him during that era. He did a ton of super awesome GI Joe Covers back in the day. You know all of us kids back then were obsessed with Snake Eyes! This was a simple, basic but totally bad ass cover that showcased how cool the character was-proving you just can’t ever go wrong with a god damn ninja!!
What’s even more bad ass is the full picture Zeck originally drew-Check it!!