Posts Tagged ‘Black Widow’

Black Widow #7There is something to be said about how much of a sociopath/psychopath a person has to be in order to do the job of a spy.

There is a very casual nature to death, dealing it and causing it, and this issue is all about Natasha being that kind of casual killer. It doesn’t frame her out very well into being the good guy here. Though at least her struggle is there, the teetering point between empathy and apathy. But not a lot of character development is done here on her part, even with the introduction of both past and present and Daredevil’s lawful neutral demeanor. It’s like it’s just another day in the life of Black Widow… which isn’t a bad thing, but seven issues in and we’re really not getting anywhere.

But we do learn why her lawyer/assistant is sticking with her despite it all, that’s something that is totally going to come back later… that’s just how these things roll.

I’m still disappointed in how slow this series is pacing though, and the general lack of a good Noir feel, or even a modern Burn Notice feel. Heck, I’d even settle for Ocean’s Eleven.

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Black Widow #6See, this is more like it.

This time, Black Widow wanted herself to get caught so she’d be brought to where the big baddy is. She takes a few punches but then kicks everyone’s butt and gets her mark. Classic spy tactics.

The only problem is that this part of the story is barely half the issue, the other half is used killing off the guy she just captured making her mission pretty moot except to say there’s an even bigger baddy out there. And the last few pages is once again hammering in the concept of the lonely life of a spy. Yes, we get it, thank you. If you’re going to tell us crap we already know, then at least you could approach it differently, like they did in Burn Notice.

Which, come to think of it, the concept they have going on here in Black Widow is pretty similar to that show. The why is different, but both are about spies who do side missions helping people and redeeming themselves while slowly investigating the main mission. They even have voiceovers giving some friendly spy-advice. But right now, Burn Notice did it better.

Great cameo from Hawkeye though, classic.

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Black Widow #5This title is starting to spin its wheels.

Natasha is a spy, but she’s not really been acting much like one.She’s getting all her information from other people then later lamenting that she’s spending too much time trusting others and not doing things herself or going by her gut. Does any of this seem right to you?

This is Black Widow we’re talking about here, by now we should be knee deep in intrigue and film noir, not just random jumping from one fight to the next. It seems that Edmondson understands this as he has Natasha comment previously that she’s a spy, not Hawkeye or Iron Man or whatever… so why isn’t he making her a spy? He seems to be purposely making her do the worst spy job ever and letting her recognize that she is.

Is there a point to this? Will I suddenly be wow’d later when it all comes together? Cause at the moment this is less Maltese Falcon and more Knight & Day. Not a good thing…

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Black Widow #4Natasha can’t seem to catch a break…

So far she’s either coming out even or down right failing in getting the job done. It’s not for a lack of skill or intelligence, she just can’t seem to get the upper hand.

While I like that it’s not all roses for our favorite assassin, it’s a bit disheartening that four issues in and it just seems to get bleaker. Cold War is a messy business, and as she points out, she’s a spy, not a rooftop jumping archer, this street battle stuff isn’t her style. Messy is good, messy is realistic, but at some point Natasha is going to have to put the hammer down otherwise I have to wonder who’s comic am I really reading?

You know, this title kinda reminds me of Gambit’s solo, very introspective but not in a new-reader friendly way. I like that we’re getting more than just a ‘mission of the week’ kind of thing but it’s a very tenuous line the series is walking right now if they want to keep new readers. But Natasha does have that extra boost from the movies… so maybe Marvel isn’t too worried about that.

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Review: Black Widow #3

Black Widow #3Third issue in and the title seems to have stalled just a bit.

It’s not a bad story, but it’s a little bit of a rehash of what has gone before which, seeing there has only been two previous issues, is problematic. We have more existential commentary from Nat in another mission gone wrong because she’s distracted, and it doesn’t move forward the overall plot in any way. It’s not a terrible issue, but a stall this early in the title can be dangerous as a sign of things to come.

But, for these faults, it’s a beautiful comic with great flow and pacing. In some ways it’s very reminiscent of an episode of Burn Notice. It would make a wonderful filler issue… five more issues in.

With a SHIELD job on the horizon, hopefully we’ll start into the arcs and get this ball rolling.



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Review: Black Widow #2

Black Widow #2I suppose they do teach how to clean up after a murder scene in lawyer school.

That’s really what this issue is about, giving us an insight into Mr Ross’s personality. He’s going to be Nat’s ‘Girl Friday’ so an introduction was in order.  He’s not your typical lawyer, quick to do his owe stakeouts of questionable individual while Nat is out doing the heavy lifting. And he seems to take his advice from Captain Mal “if someone tries to kill you, you kill’em right back”. I like this guy, he’ll do nicely.

Nat does get her own adventure, just something small and deadly to show us that she’s not without her faults and has a lot to atone for. It also gives us a little bit of that softer side we saw in the first issue which allows the beginning of a multifaceted character development. Things are happening at a deliberate pace, Edmondson isn’t trying to throw us too far into the deep end nor is he tripping too much over the tropes. This is a good thing because Black Widow is a character that could easily be ruined by sloppy writing.

And let’s face it, she deserves a hell of a lot more than sloppy writing.

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Review: Black Widow #1

Black Widow #1Note to self: Do not get on Black Widow’s bad side.

In this first issue of Black Widow’s new solo, we’re thrown straight in. We think we’re treated to a complicated back story, but it’s just a feint. We think she’s out to kill someone, but that’s a red herring.

If this doesn’t scream old school cloak and dagger, then I don’t know what does.

There is the trope of ‘former bad person taking out bad people to atone’ that we have to deal with, but as long as they can keep from being preachy about that and make it about the how instead of the why, then this could be one fun ride where nothing is as it seems. I like it when a story can keep me on my toes.

Top this with Phil Noto’s wonderful artwork and you totally have me on board with this title.

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A+X #10Nobody likes Fantomex. This is just fact. Natasha is no exception… and apparently neither are the writers.

Sure, Fantomex does the right thing at the end, after being a complete unlikable jerk. In fact, him doing the right thing is really just him being a ponce. So, yeah, no one likes Fantomex.

Then we have the very cuties drawn Scarlet Witch and Domino. It was nice to see Wanda interact with a mutant and it not devolve into the whole “M-Day” stuff. Sure, there was a hint at it, but for the most part it was literally the story of two lucky ladies saving the known universe.

I do love Domino here, she’s sassy as all get out and just tases Wanda without a second thought. Hey, it worked, didn’t it?

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Justice League Movie CastIt’s not been confirmed but the line up for the new Justice League movie Warners Bros has slated for a 2015 will be: Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and The Flash.

This seems likely as while there have been others in the Justice League at various times, these five are perhaps the most notable, which is a good thing seeing as there is no word yet if Henry Cavill and Ryan Reynolds will be reprising their roles as Superman and Green Lantern. We already know Christian Bale will not be reprising his role as Batman as the JL movie will be removed from Nolan’s Batman universe and Batman could be rebooted as early as 2017. So, assuming Cavill and Reynolds are back, then their movies would be the ‘set up’ or ‘phase one’ of the DC Film-Verse which would culminate in the Justice League movie, but three out of five major characters will not have an origin movie.

Good thing these characters are recognizable… but are they really anymore so than the Avengers cast before the ‘Phase One – Avengers Assembled’ films were released:

The Avengers poster by Mondo

The Avengers poster by Mondo

Batman and Superman are basically Iron Man. It could be argued that when Iron Man came out he wasn’t that recognizable beyond people knowing his name but the first movie catapulted his status to that of Bats and Supes. Phase One hadn’t really started yet so that movie counts. When Phase One really got going, you’d have to have been living under a rock not to have heard of Iron Man.

Wonder Woman is pretty much The Hulk. Both had wildly successful tv series, but ever since they’ve had issues with getting a decent movie off the ground and/or getting decent people to play them. They’re fairly recognizable characters though no one can name a single person in these character’s rogue’s gallery or their origin story beyond a few tidbits, unless they were already fans.

Green Lantern is Captain America. You can’t not have heard of these guys if you poked your nose anywhere around the comic-verse, but other than having one crappy movie (Captain America in 1990, Green Lantern in 2011) and being in other character’s animated shows, they haven’t gotten much love outside the comic-verse.

Flash, well, he really is Thor. They are two characters who people have heard of but get confused with other characters (mythology, Flash Gordan, Venom (true story!)). Also, they’re two characters who have had tv shows and movies no one remembers.

As for Black Widow and Hawkeye, they will be represented by whatever little-known-outside-the-comics characters end up getting picked for the supporting cast. They will then see skyrocketed comic book sales, their own solo titles, and possibly their own movie.

But again, only two of these characters (possibly one if they want to strike the tragedy that was Green Lantern off the record) will have introduction/origin movies. Will this help or hinder the effort?

Let’s look at the Phase One movies, here is a breakdown of how much money they made at the box office thanks to Box Office Mojo:

2008Iron Man – 318mil domestic – 585mil total (for comparison)
2008Incredible Hulk – 135mil domestic – 263mil total
2010Iron Man 2 – 312mil domestic – 624 total
2011Captain America – 177mil domestic – 367mil total
2011Thor – 181mil domestic – 449mil total

2012Avengers – 623mil domestic – 1.5billion total

Not only did the individual origin movies not come anywhere near Iron Man (save maybe Thor’s total take), even Iron Man fell into the shadow of the Avengers film itself.

Why is this so? Was Avengers just that much better than all the other movies?

While it was quality, you also have to take into account that Avengers pulled together fans of every single one of those characters. Those who watched Iron Man may not have cared to see Thor. Those who watched Captain American possibly didn’t care about The Incredible Hulk.

So the question now becomes… how are the sequels going to do? How many people who didn’t care about Thor and Loki went out and watched Thor after they watched Avengers? How many of those will be going to see Thor: The Dark World when it comes out? We won’t really know for sure until we see the numbers.

Superman's_Profile_picture by ~Agustinus

Superman’s_Profile_picture by ~Agustinus

How does this affect the Justice League movie?

Avengers may have needed to let you get to know the other characters because it couldn’t rely on the draw of Iron Man and comic readers alone, but Batman and Superman are guaranteed to be a big draw. Not only do they have masses of individual fans (which goes well beyond the comics) who want to see them, but they want to see them interact. No matter the quality of the movie, we can expect to see very large numbers out in mass for opening weekend.

But what if the Justice League movie is terrible?

Then back to the drawing board with no money lost on origin films that went nowhere, but also, like Green Lantern, it might be years before they touch on the character ever again. Though they could go the route of making tv shows like Arrow and Amazon which is in pre-pre-production. They have a lot of options, only a few we’d actually like to see.

But what if the movie is actually really good?

Those who went to go see Bats and Supes are introduced to three other characters that, if they are done right, will basically have the ‘Hawkeye effect’ and people will want to see them in their own movie. This means when WB sinks money into a WW movie with the same actress, in the same universe, then they are guaranteed better returns than if they tried to go solo before Justice League, an idea that they had but seems to have been dropped.

The only issue would be that they couldn’t do prequel movies because that would be annoying, but it would be easy enough to put their origins in there as either a quick 15 minutes at the beginning or parceled throughout the film (as long as it’s done right).

So, is it a smart move by Warner Brothers to work backwards?

They’ve already been accused of trying to ride on the back of the Avengers box office smash… but then Batman and Superman are literally much bigger characters in their own right and could carry a team-up movie with so much ease it should be criminal. The fact they haven’t done it before now should be punished as a capital offence. Maybe it took a kick in the pants for them to get around to it but it was a long time coming.

As for GL, WW, and Flash… I think the fact that Green Lantern made 116mil domestic, half of that on opening weekend before the news came down of its quality, proves that the audience is there for these movies, maybe not 300mil domestic like Iron Man right now, but they are there. But really, as long as they start putting out good films, they will be able to hold against Disney/Marvel, if not surpass them… but with a rash of really bad superhero movies in Green Lantern and Superman Returns, and the retirement of the Nolan-verse Batman movies, they need a shining beacon of ‘yes, yes we can make good movies!’.

Man of Steel logoWe do have Man of Steel coming up later this year, but will that be enough? We were already let down by a Superman movie and so wary eyes are on this film. If it’s a great film then it will definitely help the cause, if it terrible then at least it could be kicked under the rug.

In the end, the Justice League movie is the crux of the entire DC film franchise. Supes and Bats will always have their place on screen but if Justice League fails then it will take everything else down with it. If it succeeds then it is a literal blank check for Warner Bros to bring all our favorite DC characters to life.

So yes, this really is the best move by Warner Bros. Marvel’s Avengers had a fairly blank slate to start with while Justice League has a lot of recent history with most of the characters, either through failed movies or the failure to make a movie. They need a reset button, they need a point to start, and this is it.

Granted, the reset button does look an awful lot like the self destruct button… but that can be entertaining in its own right.

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Review: A+X #2

A+X #2

A+X #2

Review: A+X #2

A+X is the opposite of AvX, Avengers and X-Men team up rather than fight each other. Like AvX it’s less about actual plot and more about kicking butt for any reason they can muster.

In issue 2, Rogue and Black Widow team up to take on a Sentinel which has gone crazy. Apparently BW has a car fetish, who knew? But the fun part is when BW chooses to transfer her powers to Rogue via full on lip-lock kiss. Now, I don’t know a lot about BW unfortunately to know how in character this is, but Rogue reacted about as I expected, in that she was surprised but ultimately replied with “Oh. Good Kisser. Spy Secrets. Wow.”

Between this and her ‘Kinky Bondage Drinking Games’ with Gambit in Uncanny Avengers and score a few for Rogue.

As for the second team up of Kitty Pryde and Iron Man… I don’t normally comment on artwork because for the most part I’m not that big of a stickler but this one was a little odd. The way that fingers were made into sharp disjointed claws and everyone was so gangly… it was weird. Thankfully it had some pretty fun dialogue to make up for it.

Gambit is in the next issue, paired up with Hawkeye! I don’t foresee a lot of kissing there…

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