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Earth’s Mightiest Movie Series

May 5th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

A couple years ago, when Marvel was releasing their miniseries/event Siege, my excitement was off the charts. Ever since Avengers Disassembled, Secret War and the Sentry, Marvel – with Brian Michael Bendis at the helm – had been putting together one big arc of events tagged together. Siege was going to be the big finale to it all and it was doing a great job. Not only were they coming off an entertaining status quo with the whole Dark Reign thing, but the miniseries was hitting all the right notes. It was four issues, had less tie-ins than normal and set up a great big bad in the Void. After the third issue, I couldn’t wait for the conclusion.

Then Siege #4 was a huge wet fart of a comic that took away my enthusiasm like nobody’s business. My excitement for this years-long epic went up in smoke and I’ve lost any interest in Marvel’s event stories.

Last night, I went to the midnight showing of Avengers. I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I had a complete blast and while there are some definite flaws (why did the bad guys die all at once, exactly?), I’m more than ready to see it again. More than anything else, there reached a point where I had to step back from everything and realize that it was more than just a fun movie. I had to step back and remark, “I can’t believe they actually pulled it off.”

Seriously. Can we take a second to look at how absolutely miraculous it is that things turned out as they did?

The Avengers always had this weird spot in Marvel lore in that they were considered a major deal, but lacked the mainstream star power. Of the main three Marvel superhero teams, they were the least memorable to the average man on the street. There’s a reason why Spider-Man and Wolverine were inserted into the lineup. If anything, that made them perfect fodder for Marvel Studios. They had fanboy recognition and lots of history to mine, showing that there were existing stories that proved that they are viable characters. Yet at the same time, there would be a public unaware of who these guys were and they’d get drawn in by the hype, seeing the non-Hulk guys as something fresh and new.

I recall how cautiously optimistic I was about Iron Man ever since seeing the very first picture of the armor as designed by Adi Granov, the man known for illustrating the hell out of Iron Man’s armor in Iron Man: Extremis. The early photo of Robert Downey Jr. with the glowing chest looked perfect and from all accounts, he was genuinely excited to be playing the role. I even recall an interview where director Jon Favreau claimed that he had read every single issue of Iron Man to get his head in the game.

With the then-upcoming Incredible Hulk coming out, there was a rumor on the internet that both movies would share the same scene. Like some event would occur and we’d see the incident from Tony Stark and Bruce Banner’s point of view, respectively. I even made a joke about this in the first page of Ultimate Edit way back when. There were definite rumblings that they were building towards something big. It didn’t happen, but it wasn’t too far off.

Part of me was afraid. Comic movies are incredibly easy to screw up. I’ve seen Dr. Doom look tame. I’ve seen Galactus as a cloud. I’ve seen a movie studio that refused Sentinels in an X-Men movie. I’ve seen Juggernaut with cheesy rubber abs. I’ve seen Daredevil and Superman Returns and Spider-Man 3. I wanted so much for Iron Man to be what it should be.

Other than removing a subplot because of the US Air Force throwing a hissy fit, that’s what we got. Iron Man was the movie comic fans have been wanting to see. Thing is, it wasn’t JUST a good movie. After the credits, Nick Fury appeared and told Stark that he wasn’t alone in the superhero game (though as far as SHIELD knows, he is, which is weird in retrospect) and introduces the Avengers Initiative. And some people go, “HOLY SHIT.”

It continues weeks later when Incredible Hulk comes out and we have a scene at the very end where Tony Stark tells Thunderbolt Ross that they’re putting a team together. Not to mention that there are definite callbacks to Captain America existing in that movie’s continuity. Marvel Studios was planning on not only doing a bunch of movies in a shared universe, but funneling it into a gigantic team-up.

Each movie featured more and more references to other movies. Iron Man 2 showed a half-finished version of Captain America’s shield, introduced Black Widow and ended with a shot of Agent Coulson finding Thor’s hammer in the middle of a desert. Though if anything, Iron Man 2 gave me pause. Not just because it was the weakest of the Avenger movies, but also because they went out of their way to point out that Stark was only going to be an Avenger in a minor capacity. Like they were sitting us down to explain that Robert Downey Jr. was going to only get a couple scenes in Avengers because he’s a busy dude, so don’t get your hopes up.

Thor and Captain America were both extremely solid in my opinion and brought everything to a head. The end of Cap’s movie showed a teaser trailer for Avengers and the hype continued.

The trailers honestly didn’t do much for me. Plus I still felt a little apprehensive. A movie with so many characters? I don’t want another Spider-Man 3. Plus the Avengers haven’t been known to be used especially well in other medias. Back in the 90′s, they gave us that bewildering Avengers cartoon that decided that Captain America, Thor and Iron Man weren’t worth talking about, so they went with Tigra, Wonder Man and the like instead. Then a few years ago, Marvel started releasing animated movies such as Invincible Iron Man and Ultimate Avengers and those sucked on ice. ESPECIALLY Invincible Iron Man. Try that animated turd and be amazed by how unwatchable it is.

And so I saw Avengers. And it ruled. My fears — including the idea of Tony Stark being a glorified cameo — were unfounded. It gave me the opposite reaction of Siege #4. I want to see it again after watching all the others over again on DVD. I want to read about the next installments of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor’s movies and where they lead to next. I want to hear about new characters being brought out of the ether. I want more.

I can’t believe they pulled it off. DC Comics and Warner Brothers briefly tried and immediately tripped over their own feet before they could make a single step. Marvel simply got their shit together and while there were so many reasons for things to fall apart, they pulled off one hell of an impressive project.

It’s movie history is what it is. Bravo.

Also, whoever came up with the idea of the final post-credits scene deserves a statue in his or her honor.

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This Week in Panels: Week 82

April 17th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Hello, everybody. This week I’m helped out by David Brothers, Space Jawa and Luis.

In a couple days, I’m taking off to Las Vegas for a bit, but that won’t put a damper on the quantity of posts. In a few hours, I’ll have a big review article going up. Tomorrow I’ll have something really cool to share with you all and while I’m gone, a couple Mortal Marathon guest articles should be popping up. Plus that one guy and that one girl will probably still be posting stuff as usual.

Anyhow, panels.

Batgirl #20
Bryan Q. Miller and Ramon Bachs

Batman and Robin #22
Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Six

March 1st, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday gave us the brief reunion of Thor and his undead squeeze Valkyrie, whose wings will make putting on shirts a total chore. With everything taken care of, threat-wise, we still have the epilogue to work through. Shanna, Ka-Zar and Black Panther have moved on to greener pastures. They aren’t the only ones leaving.

ManiacClown insisted I namedrop “Twinkies” somewhere in there. The dude just can’t let it go, but whatever. I like the challenge. As for what Zarda’s talking about, the Supreme Power: Hyperion miniseries from a few years ago showed a dark future where Hyperion, Zarda and a lot of superheroes rule over the world with Nighthawk being the only remaining opposition. Like with the end of Howard Chaykin’s Squadron Supreme series, Loeb’s exit from Ultimate stuff calls for a moment of, “Crap, we have to force things back to the status quo so that future stuff can happen.”

Tomorrow is about putting an end to this for good and also tying up that one loose end that really should have had a bigger impact on the story.

Day Seven!

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This Week in Panels: Week 75

February 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

It’s the ThWiP 75th Week Double-Sized Spectacular! …Okay, it isn’t double-sized. It differs from week to week, so you can’t even define what single-sized is anyway. But I do have Was Taters and Space Jawa helping me out, so that’s neat.

Plus Deadpool Team-Up has the most Gavokian panel in the history of panels.

Avengers #10
Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.

Captain America #615
Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice, Sean McKeever and Filipe Andrade

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Four

February 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday showed the two powerhouses of the Ultimates Thor and Zarda duke it out over the streets of New York City as the 9,281st lightning bolt goes off right behind them. I’m wondering how any of these superheroes even hear each other over all the deafening thunder that must be filling the area. As the two slug it out, Iron Man appears in his special Hulkbuster armor out of nowhere. It seems enough to take Thor down and he has been trying to talk some sense into him. That brings us to this.

Thanks to ManiacClown for the help. Tomorrow the not-quite-Christmas story continues.

Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Three

February 26th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Ah, Day Two. The installment where Thor wrecked everyone some more and Zarda woke up and gave him a piece of her mind. It’s mentioned that Zarda really hasn’t been pulling her weight ever since joining the team at the end of Ultimate Power. But now it is Day Three, where their brawl continues and develops. How does this relate to that Clark Kent-like exit Iron Man did just a few minutes before?

Oh, Santa Thor. ManiacClown and I are going to miss writing you.

Tomorrow, Tony will continue his crusade to get through to Thor. What role will Loki play?

Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day One

February 24th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to the final week of Ultimate Edit. Boy, it’s been some ride, eh? It’s been just over three years with fifteen issues to its name, but it’s about time to bury it. I guess we were already “burying” it, but– you know what I mean.

So to sum up. A bunch of former D-list heroes have been amped up as villains and fight the Ultimates before being forgotten about completely. Then Loki and Enchantress come to Earth with a big troll army and wrecked stuff for a bit. Enchantress magically coaxes some of the female Ultimates to help them out and capture the staple members of the team. That way, the lesser good guys could look important by rescuing the heroes worth a damn. Valkyrie breaks free from the spell and gets herself killed by Loki, but then Thor shows up and goes on a rampage. He targets everyone and Loki’s all, “Haha! All part of the plan, beyotch!”

And now, the rest of the story…

Thanks to ManiacClown who wanted Loki and Thor to discuss how Hela looks like the ladies in mommy’s lingerie scrolls. We’ll be back tomorrow with some of those other characters nobody cares about. Don’t worry, they’ll be gone by the end of the week.

Day Two!
Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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A Look at the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Promotional Comic

February 17th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Tuesday gave us the long-awaited videogame sequel Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and you bet your ass I picked it up. Not only that, but I picked up the special edition. In addition to the game, the package includes a tin case, free access to the downloadable characters Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath, free Marvel Unlimited for a month and a booklet that features lots of sweet art and a prologue comic.

Now, I know what a lot of you are saying.

“Who gives a shit about a fighting game’s story, let alone a stupid crossover story like this?”

Me. That’s who. I love fighting game storylines… at least until the 4th or 5th game when they run out of ideas and go through the motions. I love cheesy crossovers. I guess I just love plots where the basic idea is, “Here are a bunch of interesting individuals out to beat each other up. There can be only one winner. Who’s it going to be?” I guess this is part of why I love the Royal Rumble so much.

I was going to scan the 12-page Frank Tieri/Kevin Sharpe comic, but that would be too easy. I thought it would be better for everyone to simply transcribe it for all of you who picked up the regular copy of the game. So it back and enjoy Fate of Two Worlds.

SCENE 1
(Zombie-filled laboratory)

Jill Valentine: Wesker has to be here somewhere. Boy, we really have our work cut out for us.
Chris Redfield: You said it. All sorts of zombie types here. Oh, crap! It’s an Executioner boss!
Jill: We don’t have enough ammo for this!
Chris: Why the hell not?! We haven’t shot our guns once yet! We’ve just pointed our guns at zombies and acted like it was good enough! But you’re right about us being screwed. We’re going to need a miracle here.
(a green hand appears through a portal, grabs the Executioner by the hood and slams his face into the wall repeatedly)
Hulk: HULK SMASH ENDBOSS!
Jill: That green monster just saved us.
Chris: You’re right. LET’S GET HIM!

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This Week in Panels: Week 73

February 13th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

“HEY, EVERYBODY!”

Louie!

“WHO’S GOT SOMETHIN’ FOR ME?!”

I do!

“WHAT IS IT?!”

A bunch of panels from comics that that me, David Brothers, Was Taters, Space Jawa and David Uzumeri read this week!

“…eh, what the hell. I WANNA DIP MY BALLS IN IT!”

Amazing Spider-Man #654
Dan Slott, Paulo Siqueira, Ronan Cliquet de Oliveira and others

Batgirl #18
Bryan Q. Miller and Dustin Nguyen

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This Week in Panels: Week 68

January 9th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

A very lonely edition of ThWiP. Only ten panels in total. One from Was Taters. One from Space Jawa. Nothing from David. And Esther had that cease-and-desist order made about me asking for panels passed months ago, so that’s a no-go. Man, that judge was a dick.

Speaking of dicks, here’s Eric O’Grady Ant-Man, everybody!

Ant-Man & Wasp #3
Tim Seeley

Avengers Prime #5
Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis

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