Archive for December, 2013

via CinemaBlend

Guardians of the Galaxy First Look

Ever since Marvel Studios announced Guardians of the Galaxy at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012, they’ve done a good job of teasing us with some really cool concept art, but that’s about it. Production on the movie wrapped up this fall, but while director James Gunn occasionally posted pictures of himself feeding raccoons or holding up wrestling belts on the set , nothing from the actual movie has ever been officially published publicly. That is, until today.

The film’s director has taken to his Twitter account to post the first ever real look at Guardians of the Galaxy. Very similar to the concept art that was released this past summer and seemingly taken directly from the footage that was shown in Hall H during the Marvel Studios panel at this summer’s Comic-Con, the image has the titular team in a criminal lineup (at one point in the movie the group all find themselves in prison together). As you can see by clicking on the still and seeing it in high-res, none of them are very happy to be there.

With the film still about eight months away from its August 1st release date there are still some pretty big pockets of the movie-going audience who know absolutely nothing about who these characters are, so allow me to help out by breaking it down.

Gamora Guardians of the Galaxy

First up on the far left side of the image we have Gamora, a badass green alien played by Zoe Sandana. As the actress explained on the panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July, the character is a hardcore assassin and possesses great strength, agility and speed. She is an adopted daughter of the evil Thanos – the big purple dude featured in the end credits of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers – but starts a new life for herself with the Guardians of the Galaxy fighting with the good guys.

Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy

Next up we have Peter Quill a.k.a Star-Lord, played by Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt. Despite his looks, he is actually half human and half alien, and when he was a kid he was taken away from Earth and never looked back. He spends his days trying to be a Han Solo-type smuggler, but, like Gamora, finds a new path thanks to his new group of friends.

Rocket Raccoon Guardians of the Galaxy

Rocket Raccoon may be a lot shorter than his Guardians of the Galaxy teammates, but underestimating him would be a big mistake. Voiced by Bradley Cooper, Rocket is one of a kind, as he was just a normal raccoon before being kidnapped and undergoing experimental medical treatments. As his name implies, he is he is a big fan of explosions and weaponry, and of all the members in the group his closest bond is with Groot (who we will talk more about in a bit.

Drax The Destroyer Guardians of the Galaxy

This mountain of alien muscle is Drax The Destroyer, played by wrestler Dave Bautista. In the comics the character began his life as an ordinary human named Arthur Douglas who saw his entire family killed at the hands of Thanos. Needing somebody to help fight the evil titan, a cosmic energy known as Kronos takes Douglas’ spirit and puts it into a powerful alien body. He’s not only incredibly strong, but can also do some serious damage with a knife.

Groot Guardians of the Galaxy

Finally we’ve arrived at Groot. If you look at this character and think to yourself, “Man, that looks like a walking tree,” then you have some very sharp instincts. Groot is an alien of the species Flora colossus, and is the strongest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He has the ability to change his size and can absorb wood to become even stronger than he is naturally. He also has genius-level intelligence, though it’s a bit difficult to find that out given that he only has the ability to say “I am Groot” (probably not the biggest challenge for Vin Diesel, who is voicing the character).

In all probability we won’t get to see a Guardians of the Galaxy trailer until Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out in April, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Marvel will give us something sooner rather than later!

Read Full Post »

Deadpool Annual #1Well, that solves that then.

Way’s introduction of Deadpool’s White Thought Box is one of the more controversial aspects of his run on the title. Was it the natural progression of Deadpool’s psychosis or just a way of reducing Deadpool further down into a joke? Regardless, when Way’s run ended and Poshen took over the White Box disappeared without so much of an explanation… until now.

Deadpool runs into Madcap, a character who has been around since the 80’s. Madcap is himself insane after losing his family and being mixed with a compound that makes him as immortal as Deadpool. Deadpool is just trying to kill Daredevil when Madcap shows up and interrupts him. Then Daredevil shows up, then Thor (who was getting a latte), and the whole thing goes sideways and both characters are reduced to ash by Thor.

That ash then reforms into one individual, the body of Deadpool with Madcap hanging out in his mind.

Yeah, sounds about right.

I’m not entirely sure what I want to think about this pseudo-retcon of the White Box. What does this mean for all the interactions between Deadpool, the Yellow Box, and the White Box? How does this affect Deadpool’s character development?

Will the comics bother to address this?

Probably not.

Read Full Post »

Review: A+X #14

A+X #14I’m catching a theme here… everyone is making fun of the Superior Spider-Man…

Seriously, everything I’ve seen with the Superior Spider-Man that isn’t actually the SSM comics, the characters always somehow poke fun at Doc Oct. They conveniently find a way to discuss either Doc Oct or villains like him, and in doing so say things that would cause Doc Oct to hold his tongue lest give away the game. It’s getting kind of annoying because while yes, we know about Doc Oct, the characters (except Deadpool because, well, Deadpool) have no idea. I know, it’s a little thing, but it pisses me off because it takes away from the story itself.

Instead of some interesting team up between Magneto and Doc OctSpidey we’re treated to a long dialogue about what it means to be a villain.

And instead of that being really interesting and thought provoking, most of it is spent trying to get a rise out of Doc Oct.

Thank you for that.

The second team up is another installment of Cap and Scott running around, sniping at each other while trying to figure this Skrull thing out. And that’s pretty much it, a lot of back and forth bitching while destroying Doom Bots. And man, Victor von Doom is a bit of a jerk. What else is new?

Read Full Post »

X-Men Legacy #20This week… on A&E’s Intervention…

Apparently this wasn’t so much an execution as it was these guys helping David by knocking him down a notch. This actually makes a scary lot of sense. David has been running around a bit high and mighty which was in direct contradiction to him being afraid of his own powers and just how dangerous he can be. He needed a good sit down but your standard intervention wasn’t going to work… cue the dramatics.

But will all this backfire on them? Basically they just gave David the key to his own powers and being able to do even more damage than he already has. It’s like giving armaments to one country to fight another, only in a decade or two finding those guns pointed back at you. The way Ruth was reacting, it seems this is pretty much what’s going to happen, eventually.

Why is it whenever an Xavier is involved it is always going to end badly?

Read Full Post »

What's Your Tag?

Those of you who have yet to be infected with the Live by Microsoft, Die by Microsoft virus may soon succumb to it. Microsoft is now breaking into the TV show/mini-movie industry, albeit without any idea of what they’re actually going to do. Either way, this is an unbelievable accomplishment and, further, a declaration of war!

View original post 248 more words

Read Full Post »

Review: X-Men #7

X-Men #7So… we’re just going to ignore the fact that Rogue isn’t there anymore?

Okay, so the real story is all about the fact that Lady Deathstrike is back (sorta) and both Karima and Monet are back as well. Some rich girl in Columbia decides to have herself ‘infected’ with Lady Deathstrike’s conscious because, I dunno, because she can? Wood doesn’t really make that clear. Both Ana and LD seem to be interested in more mods and so they want the tech inside of Karima and plan one of the stupidest assaults on the school to date.  Karima and Monet had to be outside jogging or else the plot would have gotten really screwy by the fact LD would have had her butt handed to her even worse than she just did.

I’m also still a bit annoyed that so far this all-female team is getting nothing but female baddies to fight against…

And I have no idea what to make of the Jubilee and Roxy sub-plot at the moment, will have to see where that one goes.

But lastly, even though I haven’t gotten to the Uncanny Avengers issue I know that Rogue gets skewered and is apparently ‘dead’, so I guess at the moment they are just ignoring her absence post-Battle of the Atom until ‘all is made clear’ once Shock-Jock-Remender gets done with his plot arc.

Sometimes it’s the little things that really annoy me.

Read Full Post »

Anna Paquin as Rogue

When I heard that Rogue was cut from Days of Future Past I was both upset and relieved, apparently these emotions aren’t mutually exclusive.

But then I remembered what The Vulture wrote back in July:

In Singer’s take, Ellen Page returns as Kitty from the Brett Ratner–directed X-Men: The Last Stand, but this time she uses her powers to send Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine back into the past, where he encounters the younger mutants played by James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender. However, something bad happens to Kitty during the time-travel trance, and while Wolverine is still under her spell, the other X-Men must race to find a mutant who can siphon Kitty’s powers and bring their friend back to the future. Could that be the plot development that brings Anna Paquin’s power-copying Rogue into the fold once again?

This made sense and the trailer seemed to confirm it as Rogue is seen being rescued by Bobby and Magneto, something which I figured was in the back part of the film when they needed to find her to save Kitty.

But now we learn that Rogue’s scene was at the beginning of the film and apparently wasn’t important enough to the plot to keep? So what does that mean for The Vulture’s inside information which was spot on about everything else as confirmed later via the trailer? There are a few options:

  • They assume it meant Rogue but apparently it refers to someone/something else? (but who/what?)
  • This is one piece of information they simply got wrong?
  • Rogue’s removal is some kind of ‘red herring’ and we’ll be surprised during the latter part of the film?

I’m not really sure what to make of this, we’ll have to see what further reveals they give us before the film is released next year.

Read Full Post »

Uncanny X-Men #14Emma Frost hasn’t lost her touch but Scott Summers is still a bit of a jerk.

While Scott is right, they all need to learn self-defense and stuff, he’s not actually the nicest of teachers about it. It’s all a little too paramilitary and he’s doing his reputation no favors. Emma, on the other hand, is downright sneaky and manipulative. She knows there is something more to Ben’s powers and she was going to get it out of him one way or another. 

The hard thing about creating new characters that are mutants is coming up with new powers. Ideally, you want stuff that hasn’t been done before to make them unique. Ben is a ‘transmorph’ or some such. He takes on a pleasing, safe, image and gives off some kind of chemical hormone which together makes people like him. It’s like Gambit’s ‘charm’ ability, or a ‘reverse empathy’ ability, only it has a physical aspect. It’s kinda cool and allows the artists to have a little fun with the whole thing.

Ben is also gay, something we learn in this issue, and it’s treated quite well. Emma just wants him to work on his powers, she couldn’t care less about his sexual preferences as it doesn’t define him as a mutant. And since mutants can easily be used as an analogue for homosexuals, the parallels are there. It’s also good to be learning more about these new characters, it allows us to get invested in them.

I just hope we’re not getting invested in them just to see them get killed off later down the line.

Read Full Post »

Review: Deadpool #19

Deadpool #19Never underestimate Deadpool’s intelligence or cleverness.

Posehn really hit it out of the park in this story arc, showing us a real depth to Deadpool’s character and how damaged he is. But even though Deadpool has very good reason to be insane, he shows his strength by the simple fact that refuses to truly be insane. Deadpool is not impulsive in this issue, he manages to calmly bide his time till he can get to Butler. He observes the world around him and discovers something he can use to his advantage. Of course, he impulsively kills Butler once he has him but it’s kind of hard to blame him.

The situation with his daughter is left open but I really hope that one day he finds her and she doesn’t  hate him. They could decide to make her hate him and that would just give him another reason to hate himself, but I really hope they don’t. He’s lived such a horribly sad life that needs some ray of sunshine in there.

I do like how in the end Wolverine and Cap treat him with respect, you had this feeling through the arc that they considered him a friend but here at the end they pretty much nail it. They understand that Deadpool is not a joke, he’s a survivor.

While Posehn’s run may have started out a bit strange and odd and verily WTF, this has been one of the best arcs since Kelly’s run I’d wager. If this didn’t give you Deadpool feels then I don’t know what will.

Read Full Post »

via Newsarama

Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver

One of the things that set Marvel’s superhero universe apart in the early days was how the characters from each individual title co-existed in a shared universe, prone to numerous crossovers, chance meetings and even relationships between books. Since then that inter-connective continuity has become a staple of superhero comics, but it’s also coming back to haunt Marvel when it comes to their movie ambitions. It all came to light earlier this year when the productions for Marvel Studios’ The Avengers: Age of Ultron and 20thCentury Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past both announced it would feature the mutant character Quicksilver, albeit with different actors playing that role – (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Evan Peters, respectively). This unique conundrum brings into focus an interesting and unintended aspect of movie adaptations of Marvel properties and the rights which Marvel sold prior to having its own movie studio, as well as other characters which  might follow Quicksilver in becoming Marvel characters that are able to literally co-exist in two (or perhaps three) separate superhero movie continuities. But first, a lay of the land.
Up until 2004 when Marvel announced plans to finance their own movies, they instead sold the movie rights to its popular characters to movie companies to be developed into feature films. Its cross-town competitor DC avoided this fate by the fact that it was owned by actual movie studio – Warner Bros. – going as far back as 1970. But Marvel, who was in bankruptcy for several years in the late 1990s, sold the movie rights for virtually all of its characters to movie studios far and wide. Some of those movie rights turned into movie successes such as Fox’s X-Men movie franchise and Sony’s Spider-Man, but other movie rights owned by outside parties (including Sony) reverted (or were sold) back to Marvel as they began getting their own movie studio in order. Marvel successfully reacquired the movie rights to Iron Man and Black Widow from New Line in 2005, and the Hulk and Thor one year later from Universal and Sony respectively. Recently Marvel’s also retained the rights to Daredevil, Ghost Rider and Punisher as well – something they put to quick use, with Daredevil as the flagship of its Netflix line of television shows. Although they hadn’t been able to reacquire the movie rights to their entire character library, Marvel used an extensive line of credit to reacquire the central heroes that would form the Avengers – and Marvel’s in-house movie studio – and build what we know of today.
Currently, Sony owns the movie rights to Spider-Man, while 20thCentury Fox owns both the successful X-Men movie franchise (both have new films hitting in 2014, and have already announced more for 2016 and beyond) as well as the soon-to-be rebooted Fantastic Four film series. With those rights agreements comes the use of ancillary characters of those leading characters, and while some characters are clearly associated to Spider-Man – say for example Aunt May – others had a more complicated backstory with association with multiple character families, some owned by Marvel in-house and some under these rights deals to Sony and 20th Century Fox. Quicksilver is an interesting example, as he was introduced in 1964 as the mutant son of the prime X-Men villain Magneto; sure thing to be considered part of the X-Men family of movie rights, yes? But after his early appearances in Uncanny X-Men, Quicksilver and his sister Scarlet Witch broke from mutantkind and became some of the earliest recruits into Avengers in 1965. For the most part, both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s stories have been told in Avengers andits related titles. That complicates things, because apparently in these contracts – which haven’t been released to the public or the press – they weren’t completely specific on which characters they covered.
X-Men Days of Future Past
“It’s a little tricky, “Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch back in 2012 in an interview with HeyUGuys. “”If they want to use them in the X-Men movies they could, if we want to use them in the Avengers movie we could.”

The first thing that comes to mind for anyone who’s read comics for a significant amount of time is “crossover,” but you’ll have to hold your horses on that front. In comic book terms, you have to think of these families of Marvel characters at Sony, 20thCentury Fox and Marvel as separate companies… because, well frankly they are. And just as the idea of an official crossover between major companies like Marvel and DC in comics is a rarity, in Hollywood it’s even more so, due to the exponentially higher budgets, dividends and stock-holders involved. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen as Feige once attempted to insert Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in one of the Sam Raimi era Spider-Man movies, but the red tape involved is even stronger than that webcrawler’s webbing.

What instead is happening, in the case of Quicksilver, is that two versions of the character are appearing in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Each named Quicksilver, each with the same powers, but played by different actors and with a strong possibility of different backstories and characterizations. For instance, marvel Studios can’t use the word Mutant to describe the character, or mention his connection to Magneto. Fox, likewise, won’t have mentions of his superheroic teammates of Iron, Godly, or Captain status. Quicksilver has become the face of this conundrum, but the super-fast speedster wasn’t the first to sit in this precarious position.

Stan Lee, the billed co-creator and writer of many of the Marvel characters that have been translated successfully to the big screen, and made a name for himself to mainstream audiences for his well-received cameos in nearly all of Marvel’s Hollywood outings, both in film and television; even in movies for characters he didn’t create such as Captain America: The First Avenger. In a majority of these roles he’s played unknown bystanders (or in the case of Fantastic Four, the lovable mailman Willie Lumpkin), but in two instances “The Man” in fact played the over-the-top character his parents created and he defined, himself. In both 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and the original Iron Man from 2008 he is billed as Stan Lee. While it might not be too factual to call him a Marvel character and someone whose movie rights are tied up in legal contracts, it’s still worth noting.

Stepping back into the completely fictional characters of the Marvel comics universe, there are a number of characters like Quicksilver who could be prone to shared rights between movie studios and simultaneous co-existence in separate movie universes. The easiest one to name is Quicksilver’s sister, the Scarlet Witch; she’s already been announced as having a major role in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Sony has yet to say if the mutant will play a role in X-Men: Days of Future Past or future movies. The third example is a mutant like the Maximoff siblings, and like them an offspring of a popular pair of characters: Cable.

Debuting in comics as the infant Nathan Summers in 1986’sUncanny X-Men #201, the character who would later become known as Cable was born as the only son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor. Four years later in New Mutants #87, Summers returned from the future as a hardened warrior named Cable. At the time the connection between Cable and the infant Summers wasn’t made, but soon after the 1990 debut it was revealed. As a character he’s almost exclusively appeared in X-Men related books for his 27 year history, so logic would dictate that his character would also be a clear part of the raft of intellectual property acquired when 20th Century Fox bought the movie rights for the X-Men in 1994. But not so, apparently, as in 2009 Variety Senior Editor Marc Graser reported Cable was one of slate of characters Marvel Studios was developing as standalone movies. The co-creator of the adult Cable persona, Rob Liefeld, has stated unequivocally that Cable is part of the planned X-Force movie, which if true would by extension make the character a part of 20th Century’s movie rights holdings. Who’s right? Could they both be right?

The facts as they’ve been revealed don’t illuminate any clues as to why this might be. It’s certainly possible that Variety was simply mistaken to list Cable as a character in development at Marvel as a feature film. But if that was the case, wouldn’t Marvel, or especially 20th Century Fox, ask for a correction from Variety? To date that hasn’t appeared, but neither has any official confirmation of any of the properties Graser mentioned. Factual answers to this lie in the 1994 contract between Marvel and 20thCentury Fox, but that is highly unlikely to ever come to light in the public. More likely, fans will find out which studio has Cable’s rights when he appears on the big screen for the first time. But perhaps, like Quicksilver, his rights are evenly split with the character able to be used by both indiscriminately; or perhaps for some reason the infant-aged Nathan Summers character is tied up in 20th Century Fox’s rights while the adult Cable in another; or vice-versa.

There are additional characters that have paths that crisscross different sectors of the Marvel Universe whose movie rights are owned by separate companies; two of which have already appeared, Sabretooth and Mystique. Although both of these characters are ardent parts of the X-Men side of the Marvel Universe and have appeared in numerous X-Men movies, both of these characters’ origins are rooted outside of the X-Men titles. Sabretooth was originally created for 1977’s Iron Fist #14by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, and fought against heroes such as Iron Fist, Luke Cage and even Spider-Man. It wasn’t until 9 years later that he first stepped into the X-Men titles, with 1986’s X-Factor #10. Likewise, Mystique first appeared in 1978’s Ms. Marvel #16 under the pen of Claremont and Dave Cockrum; the character wouldn’t segue over to her more well-known haunts of the mutant side of the Marvel U until 1981’s Uncanny X-Men #141. In many ways, Mystique and Sabretooth’s complicated path in comics are reverse mirror images of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but with them being extensively used in 20th Century Fox’s X-Menmovies. But given this evidence, could they show up in a Marvel Studios’ movie? Imagine that for a second. Heck, even Rogue first appeared in Avengers Annual #10 (From yes, you guessed it, Chris Claremont), as a villain under the watch of Mystique. Now that she’s been cut from X-Men: Days of Future Past, maybe she can make her big screen return in a future Marvel Studios film.
Inhumanity #2
This whole conversation doesn’t even bring in 20th Century Fox’s other Marvel superhero franchise, the Fantastic Four. Although currently in dry dock awaiting a reboot, when Fox bought the rights for Marvel’s First Family they also bought the title that during its first fifty issues was the crossroads for Marvel’s then-budding comic book universe. Numerous characters such as Black Panther, Uatu the Watcher, and Kang appeared there, as did entire races such as the Inhumans, the Kree and the Skrulls (and many other space-faring races). Marvel’s already made announcements about being in early development on Black Panther and Inhumans movies in-house, so perhaps those rights were carved out when they sold the rights to the FF to 20th Century Fox? The current push for the Inhumans in Marvel Comics has been speculated as being the first step to bring them into the movie spotlight. Perhaps, but there’s still a lot of question marks. Another big one to consider is Mephisto, who first appeared in Silver Surfer, a title whose titular star is squarely in the movie-verse of 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four franchise.

Again, it’s all down to the contracts signed by Marvel and these various outside studios. But much like some comics creators have had second thoughts about contracts signed with publisher years or decades after the fact, so might Marvel now as they build their comics empire.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »