Monday, April 26, 2021

Memorable Comic Book Scenes

 

Before our podcast on the Marvel Hacks, Season 11, Episode 10, where Wolverine gets his bones taken out in X-Men 25: I wanted to look back at some other memorable scenes from me reading comics


 Invaders #19

These two panels open and close one of the books from the small pile of books stacked up in my basement as a kid. My best guess is somebody bought some comics for my brother when he was recovering from a tonselectomy or something. Whatever the source, I read these books over and over – resulting in my misguided love for the Champions – but also my affinity for the Invaders and Union Jack. This Nazi death trap opened the book - it sucked the moisture off Namor and the pulled out the oxygen to keep Torch and Toro from igniting was one of the most nefarious traps ever. They also caught Cap and dragged him behind by his shackled feet. Even more of an impact – Union Jack’s arrival to save the day on the final page.




X Factor #87

With the Blue/Gold relaunch, the OG X Men left X Factor and returned to the main rosters. They were replaced by what can only be considered a C Team at best. In this issue, after the conclusion of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover extravaganza, the team gets sent to counseling. Rahne and Lorna get kinda short changed (boy problems and body issues) and Alex can’t break out of Scott’s shadows, but we learn about Jaime’s fear of abandonment and isolation despite the fact that he is his own crowd and Pietro feeling like every moment is like waiting in line at the BMV. The thing that really resonated with me and stuck was the reveal for Strong Guy. After being drawn and portrayed as a complete goof, we learn why he has such a cartoonish form.



Uncanny X Men #190

The first of a two-part else worlds type story, with Manhatten and it’s current residents and visitors thrust into a Conan style sword and sorcery reality. The story came out of nowhere and feels a little like an attempt to capture that Days of Future Past kind of shock value – I always loved it. Lot’s of cool cameos from Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Universe … one wall crawler in particular, who seems to immune to this magic and ends up way worse off for it.



X Factor #39

So many X Men images could be on this list: Scott and Jean on the moon, Wolverine rising from the sewers beneath the Hellfire Club … this one is just as classic to me. For all the whining he does about having to restrain the destructive power of his optic blasts, we finally get a shot to convince us that Cyclops might have been right … at least about this. See you around, Sinister.



 

Uncanny X Men #277

I had a friend in college who was a huge Wolverine mark. I always like Gambit, but I would always talk up Gambit vs. Wolverine just to be a jerk. In this issue, Gambit (with an assist from Banshee) takes down a mind controlled Wolverine, but a few pages earlier, he pulls off a pretty strong power move. This was when Gladiator was more like a Superman knockoff, and less like the Sunday Night Superstar that he would become over the years.



Infinity Gauntlet #4

I was hoping for something like this sequence as soon as Thanos was teased in the MCU. Once Endgame came around, we pretty much got it

.



Brother Beavis



 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Justice League: The Snyder Cut Review





Off and on, it took me about 8 hours to finish Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  I know some people look to Brothascomics for comics and comic book movie opinions so I am going to jump right in.

First, if you know me, you know I am a Marvel Hack and host a Podcast that proudly boasts this.  I didn’t grow up reading DC comics but have always been a fan of their animated stuff from Super Friends, to Batman The Animated Series, to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, to Harley Quinn.  In animation, DC is far superior to Marvel/Disney and it’s not even close.  Yet somehow with these iconic heroes and characters, their modern movies do not seem to resonate with me.

Zack Snyder was charged with rebooting their universe with Man of Steel. I saw this movie in the theater with my son who was 9 at the time and a huge fan of Superman.  I was not a huge fan of the movie but totally could understand why people liked it; although they killing of Pa Kent took me out.  Plus, this broody Superman was not doing it for me but…. Hey let’s try something new.




Then DC panicked in a big way after Marvel released Avengers.  They saw the money and adulation Marvel/Disney was receiving with their super team and pressed the accelerator on their DC extended universe and rushed out Batman v Superman to get them closer to making a Justice League movie.  BvS is an awful movie and is truly indefensible and the DC Powers that Be should’ve been concerned that they turned over their universe to Zack Snyder. 

The train that was to soon be a train wreck called Justice League came out in 2017 and, even with all my apprehension, I still showed up to this movie at midnight with my kids who were now 10 and 12.  The movie is terrible.  We now know the backstory where Snyder was getting shit from the studio to make essentially a “happier” movie and then tragedy struck when Snyder’s daughter died by suicide and he and his producer wife, Deborah, had to drop out and could not complete the movie.  DC studio heads brought in Joss Whedon to finish the movie which required several reshoots and the infamous fun lip Superman.

The Whedon cut was/is a mess of a movie and essentially killed the DC extended universe for a period.  Almost immediately, Zack Snyder fans began calling for the #SnyderCut; the true version of Justice League that Snyder had intended.  And 4 plus years later, here we are as the WB and HBO Max greenlit an additional 25-35 million dollars to make this 4-hour true version of the film.

And after that long intro, I guess I should review the movie.  I went back to see if I wrote a review of the movie in 2017. I didn’t, we reviewed it on the podcast.  To summarize, I didn’t like it and to push forward with Justice League 2021, my opinion has not changed.  Honestly it’s the same movie without editing for the first half.  I mean there are some deleted scenes but for the most part, it’s just playing scenes out that would’ve or should’ve been cut anyway.  Additionally, throughout the entire movie now, is this slow-mo, cinematic and opera music that plays during scenes; especially ones with Wonder Woman.  It often comes off like a Hype Williams music video and adds nothing to the actual movie. Plus we get to see Cyborg’s origin story played out fully and honestly, he comes off best in this reboot/remake.

Steppenwolf is still our villain but with spikes on his suit as he looks to gather the Mother Boxes to allow Dakseid to come to earth.  The 2nd half of the movie is where you begin to see some new footage in the scene after Superman resurrection.  A much more drawn out and better action sequences as the Justice League (w/o Superman) take on Steppenwolf and the Parademons.  Once Superman shows up, we do get a full Darkseid reveal; although our heroes save the day and we don’t get to see Darkseid do anything other than look on menacingly as the battle rages in front of him.

As I have been saying since 2015, there was no reason to rush the Justice League movie other than money and jealously of Marvel/Disney and this movie rushes all it can into this one off so Zack Snyder can complete his version of fan fiction (Thanks Tito) onto the screen.  The last 20 minutes of the movie is just a fever dream of a director filming stuff that is not going to lead to anything.  Batman’s Nightmare World from Injustice is literally just that…. A dream and a reason to drop the Joker into a movie he has no business being in.  The teaser from the 2017 version with Lex Luthor and Slade Wilson does not lead to anything.  It’s just a longer version of that scene and, now without making a Deathstroke movie, what is the point.  Then, the last part is a Martian Manhunter appearance that makes no sense because there is not going to be another movie based on the era or characters in this movie.  Cavill is out as Superman, Affleck is out as Batman.  Yes, Momoa and Gadot are back for their roles but when are those movies coming out?  Exactly.

Snyder makes visually amazing looking movies but cannot put a film together to have it make coherent sense and giving him free reign to make a movie- essentially with no editing- not a great idea from the jump and it shows in Justice League (2021)

I know people reading this will think I just hate DC and that is not true.  My kids loved DC growing up and I watched more DC shows and read more DC comics with them than I ever did as a kid.  When I heard, they were making movies to compete with Disney, I was happy for my kids and for fans because both companies putting out quality content makes all fans winners. But that ship has sailed, I think. DC is doing unrelated solo movies now with Black Adam getting a movie soon and maybe Shazam will show up (honestly who knows).  There is a new Batman working in a world that is unrelated to any of the movies before it.  DC movie universe is a jumbled mess… just like Justice League: The Snyder Cut.

So, if you like that sort of thing, this is the thing you will sort of like. I was hoping for the best but honestly just got the same movie with some B-side remixes.  Enjoy it.  Don’t try to take it in all at once!



 The Producer



Sunday, February 21, 2021

The COVID Break benefitted the MCU




 

 


 

 

Take yourself back to the spring/summer of 2019.  10 years of the MCU concluded with a long, but mostly satisfying conclusion with Avengers: Endgame.  We all screamed and shouted when Cap picked up Mjolnir and we all got misty eyed when Tony/Iron Man snapped Thanos out of existence and died on the battlefield surrounded by his teammates and loved ones.  It was a conclusion 10 years in the making and, for the most part, gave fan service to hardcore fans and newbies alike to close the chapter on this version of the MCU.




 

Of course, Spider-Man Far From Home came after that as a little cherry on top; but for the most part, the chapter was closed and on the horizon was new movies from the House of Mouse and, let us be honest, those new offerings were not as tantalizing as what we had just witnessed.  A Black Widow movie that seemed about 7 years too late.  The Eternals(name one, I double dog dare you).  These movies were not exactly lighting up the blogosphere; especially when most comic fans were hoping for news and movies about the Fantastic Four and X-Men.

 

As we entered 2020, so did COVID 19 and it had no love loss for movies and movie theaters.  As the pandemic seemed to worsen day after day and month after month, gatherings for nerds and geeks began to disappear or get altered dramatically.  Comic bookstores went to drive up services- if they survived the pandemic at all.  Comic book conventions were cancelled.  And the upcoming slate of superhero movies were delayed or sent to VOD.

 


And while Disney DID announce a slate of new movies (still no mutants tho) with Blade, Thor, Fantastic Four, Dr Strange, and others, the biggest news was the slate of tv shows headed to Disney Plus- their new streaming service that was set to bridge the gaps between the movies.  But COVID delayed the production of everything and by the time we got our first MCU show on Disney Plus (WandaVision), it had been close to 18 months from Spider-Man and the debut of WandaVision.  That is/was a huge gap in time for nerds and geeks and I think it was greatly needed.

 

While I do not believe Comic Book Movie fans were suffering from movie fatigue; I do think that we all needed a break from the previous 10 years.  Think about what Endgame gave us and what it concluded.  We saw this culmination of 18 plus movies wrap up in a 3.5 hour bow and I think we were all tired- fans, filmmakers, critics,  and creators combined.  Following up Endgame with an out of continuity Black Widow movie and an Eternal movie would have felt like a letdown- no matter how good those movies are.  The COVID break acted like a big reset button for the MCU and fans alike. The saying is "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and this is a clear example.  We, as fans, had been spoiled a little bit having a movie come out like clockwork every few months.  It became routine, boring, predicatble.  Now, with the pandemic and having our ability to talk, discuss, blog, podcast, etc about those movies taken away, we have become more appreciative of what we had because it can be snapped away just like...



 

And I think that is why the hype for WandaVision has been so overwhelming; on top of the fact that is so well done.  We had time to heal from the conclusion of Endgame and learned to miss and appreciate those characters again.  Its why people are so over the top about Falcon and Winter Soldier and even the malaise that surrounded Black Widow and The Eternals have lifted a bit.  The world seems fresh and new again.  Nothing seems predictable and the world is now open to fresh and surprising things. (we still want our mutants, tho)




 

So as WandaVision comes to its conclusion in 2 weeks and Falcon and Winter Soldier leads us into summer 2021 and into Black Widow, Eternals, Shang -Chi, and Spider-Man, let us not forget those dry 18 months without the MCU.  Enjoy the new content- you never know when it might go away again.


The Producer from Brothascomics