Category Archives: Graham’s Grumbles
Me oh my, I have not been the best UberFriend this week. I missed posting in my usual Tuesday slot. I beg your forgiveness. But, in my defense, this is the first time I’ve missed my self-imposed deadline in the entire year and a half that I’ve been doing this! And, it’s been a hell of a week. Allow me to elaborate…
Monday: It has been nine long years since my beloved, and much maligned, Toronto Maple Leafs last made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. For those of you who don’t know much about hockey, the playoffs consist of four best-of-seven elimination rounds. The Leafs faced recent champs The Boston Bruins in the first round and they managed to make it to a winner takes all final game. That final game happened to be on Monday. They had a big lead, and yet still managed to lose in the end. It was genuinely heart breaking. I can’t really go on much more for fear of this blog getting stained by my bitter tears…
Tuesday: I went to a rock-and-roll concert by the best live band I have EVER seen. The Airborne Toxic Event put on a show like no one else. The singer climbed amps, poured vodka on the crowd, and sat on the edge of the stage with the audience reverently crowded around him. He sang every song like it was the last time he’d ever be able to say the words. There is so much raw emotion poured into every syllable he sings it’s easy to forget that the band is in the midst of a cross country tour and he has to perform every other night. There most recent album is Such Hot Blood and it is worth every penny!
Wednesday: My lovely girlfriend and I have a book club of two. We alternate picking books, and with my latest pick I went with Stephen King’s The Shining. I had never read any King before, and somehow neither of us had seen the movie before. Well, we both finished the book this week and the Tiff Bell Lightbox happened to have a screening of the film last night. Going into it I knew that King was not a fan of the film, and I can see why. It loses a lot of the character detail from the book, and Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duval are not at all like their novel counterparts. That being said, it is gorgeously shot and some of the changes director Stanley Kubrick made were definite improvements. For instance, instead of the huge hedge maze from the movie, the book has hedge animals that come to life and attack people. Even in reading it I had a hard time finding topiary frightening. I can’t imagine it working on film, especially with the special effects available in 1980.
Thursday: I just got back from seeing Vampire Weekend, probably my favorite band of the last ten years. As usual, they put on a heck of a show… but it was hard not to compare them to Airborne Toxic Event and find them a little lacking. Their songs are certainly catchier, and more danceable. What they lack is showmanship, which A.T.E. has in spades (see Tuesday). It also didn’t help that the venue was all seats, making dancing somewhat difficult. Although, anyone who has ever seen me dance might consider that a blessing.
Graham Becksted is also addicted to The Simpsons Tapped Out, which takes up significantly more time than all of the above combined. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 79th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
I have finally reached a point in this column where I genuinely can’t recall if I’ve addressed some topics before or not. Case in point, I was reading some articles on another site that referenced the major change in Spider-Man’s status quo and I was sure I must have discussed it at some point. After a cursory glance through my records, it doesn’t look like I have! So, without further ado – Superior Spider-Man!
Spider-Man has never been one of my favorite characters, but I can’t tell you why. He is a wise cracking average joe who just can’t catch a break but he also has super powers and fights crime. He’s designed from the inside out to appeal to someone like me! But, I think I have the same problem with him that Black Cat does. She is super into him when he’s in costume – he’s confident, funny, and kicks ass. As soon as he takes his mask off, though, he turns out to be kind of a whiny loser. “Boo hoo, my aunt is sick.” “Wah! My boss yelled at me!” “Oh no, my supermodel wife is on the Victoria’s Secret runway.” Get over it!
In direct response to my complaints (or, a long planned plot point of writer Dan Slott), Spidey got a total personality makeover! In fact, it was more of a personality swap. With Doctor Octopus. Let me back up a bit. Doc Ock has been dying of some sort of disease for the last couple of years. His body’s gotten all decrepit and busted up. In a last act of desperation, he forced his mind into Spider-Man’s body, and Spider-Man’s mind into his body. Then, his old body died taking Spider-Man with it! Dun dun DUN! So, now, instead of being a nice-guys-always-finish-last sort of hero, Spidey’s kind of a dick. Doc Ock has decided to remain heroic, to kind of prove to himself that he can be a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was.
This, as you can imagine, ‘caused a bit of an uproar when it first happened. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical at first too. But, as far as interesting changes you can make to a character, this beats just flat out killing him by a mile! I don’t buy any Spider-Man centric books regularly, so whenever he does pop up in something I’m reading it’s always a pleasant surprise to be reminded that this is not my father’s Spider-Man. Every time he’s placed in a situation that Peter Parker has been in a million times before, you legitimately don’t know what’s going to happen. Will he flat out kill a villain? Does he care about civilian lives? How long will it be until his other superhero friends start to catch on that something’s up with him?
The other thing about all of this is that I know it’s not going to last forever. I’ve been reading superhero comic books long enough to know that no one stays dead forever. Not even Bucky or Gwen Stacy. Superman was only dead for a year. Captain America lasted two. Doc Ock has been Spider-Man for about 9 months, so I give it maybe another year until Pete’s back in the driver’s seat. Maybe it’s time travel, or SHIELD having his brain patterns on file, or a clone, but somehow, someway, Spider-Man will be back to his status quo. Until then, though, I think we should all just sit back and enjoy the ride!
Graham Becksted has to acknowledge that the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the playoffs, so it’s hard for him to stay mad at anything for long. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 79th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
I just spent the last hour and a half filing my taxes at the last minute, so I’m a little brain dead. Therefore, this one’s going to be pretty simple. I’m going to spend the whole piece talking about one current comic book series.
I was skimming through the letters page of one of my comics the other day, and something caught my eye. One of the letter writers said that their favorite current Avengers title is Uncanny Avengers. Before I could even pause to ask myself what mine would be, the answer came to me without a hint of doubt. Young Avengers.
The current run by Kieron Gillen and Jaime McKelvie is so good. It’s innovative and exciting, and each issue is absolutely gorgeous. I think the only thing that is stopping it from being as big a deal as it deserves to be is that most people haven’t heard of any of these characters. There’s no Wolverine, Captain America, or Iron Man. There’s a Hawkeye, but probably not the one you’re thinking of.
The majority of these characters were first introduced in a title of the same name by Allen Heinberg and Jim Cheung. I think Marvel tried to keep these characters mainly for their creator’s use, so after the initial twelve issue run they didn’t pop up in much. The ones appearing in this series are Hawkeye, Wiccan, and Hulkling. Hawkeye is a rich girl who happens to be a pretty good archer. Wiccan is the reincarnation of one of the Scarlet Witch’s magic babies, and also happens to be a magician. Hulkling is a Skrull shapeshifter who is in a long term relationship with Wiccan.
The rest of the team are also all relatively new characters. Marvel Boy is a Kree from an alternate dimension and is the only member of the team who has also been an Avenger and a Dark Avenger. Miss America is so new that I know absolutely nothing about her, except that I think she’s also from an alternate dimension. Finally, there is young Loki. Yes, the Thor villain Loki. He may be the best character in the whole book.
Gillen really emphasizes the fact that he’s the god of mischief. He’s not a supervillain, or world destroying menace. He’s just kind of mischievous. Nobody trusts him, but they can’t help but be manipulated by him. The thing is, his heart seems to be in the right place. At least for now. I can’t wait to see what happens with him.
The other thing that makes this book so good is the beautiful art. Jamie McKelvie (with assists by Mike Norton) is doing some truly fascinating stuff. The art is so crisp and detailed it looks almost like a photograph from some beautiful, colourful world. Every month, he manages to do something new and exciting with panels too. For instance, in the most recent issue Marvel Boy rescues the team from some aliens. Over a two page spread, you see the floorplan of the room and you can follow the Kree’s path through the room. There are numbers on certain particularly dramatic moments that are numbered and correspond with panels that circle the floor plan and show more detail. I lingered on that image for a good long while soaking it all in.
So, like I said, we’re only four issues in. If my opinion means anything to you, you should go out and buy those issues ASAP. You will not regret it. In fact, you will probably send me a thank you note.
Graham Becksted will accept comments in lieu of thank you notes. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 79th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone at this point, but I’m sort of a wait-until-the-last-minute kind of guy. This week though, I have a good reason. I just got back from seeing Oblivion, which I had pre-selected as my topic for this week. It’s a new sci-fi film by the director of Tron: Legacy that stars Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman.
I knew what my favorite part was going to be before we had even set foot in the theatre. I knew with 100 percent certainty that I would not have to sit through the Oblivion trailer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it. And, the thing is, it was the exact same trailer every time. I’ve seen a bunch of Great Gatsby trailers, but at least there’s some variety! Finally, I was able to watch trailers without ever seeing Tom Cruise rhapsodize about the Super Bowl, or Olga Kurylenko look through a viewfinder, or Morgan Freeman light a cigar. It was great! And then, the movie started.
I think a lot of other places have commented on how the story seems to be a blended smoothie of other sci-fi films. (Planet of the Apes, Moon, and The Matrix are the ones that came to mind for me.) And that is definitely noticeable, but I was struck by the video game references in it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, the director’s first film is about a guy who gets sucked into a video game. I’m sure he’s played a few in his time and that would seep into his work.
The most obvious video game touchstone in the movie is the idea of invisible walls. You used to find them in most games that looked like you were outdoors. You’d eventually hit an area that you couldn’t walk past, or a threat of instant destruction if you pass a certain point. Cruise’s character is face with one of those. There’s an irradiated area that spells instant death if he passes a boundary that comes up on his ship’s screen. It even flashes red.
The rest of the video game nods were more subtle, and may have just spoken to my specific gaming experiences. For instance, there’s a part where Cruise is after these threatening orbs and he chases them into a canyon. At one point, it goes to his POV and we see a branching path ahead of him. Two of the orbs go to the left and the third goes right. I flashed back to Rebel Assault for the PC where you have to make a similar choice in a race at the beginning. In the moment, it felt so similar that I thought it had to be intentional. In the harsh light of my dining room, I’m not sure how many filmmakers are going to specifically reference a twenty year old star wars game in their blockbuster Tom Cruise movies.
Another reference that’s almost as ancient is MechCommander. That’s only fifteen years old. The premise of that game was that you were a desk jockey back at home base telling a bunch of Battlemech pilots where to go and what to do. You set up waypoints, and objectives and watch the backs of your team. That pretty much perfectly describes Andrea Riseborough’s character in this. She stays at home and tells Cruise what to do. She can see where he’s going and she can interact with his screens, letting him know where enemies are, or where his next objective is.
Finally, this one is a bit more recent. There’s a computerized female voice that interacts with Cruise at one point. She’s unreliable, and a little out of sync. She tries to coax him to her ship, and I swear she was this close to offering him cake. If you don’t get that reference, I demand that you immediately stop what you’re doing and go play Portal.
Ultimately, it was a fun little ride. Very pretty to look at, but I find that the more I reflect on it the more plot holes I’m finding. So, I would highly recommend that you try not to think too much when you see it.
Graham Becksted is excited to see what life will be like without The Oblivion trailer. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 80th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
I had some time off this weekend so I managed to catch up on some of my seriously neglected comic book reading. I figured I might as well spend some time getting back to grumbling about comics which is what this blog was initially focused on. First, let me apologize for the tardiness of some of these “reviews.” A lot of these comics came out awhile ago and I waited for trades, and then sales, and then I had to work through the pile. So, let’s get into it.
Avengers: Children’s Crusade
This mini-series started in 2010 and took awhile to finish – the final issue came out in March 2012. This series is steeped in Marvel mythology, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to newbies. Here’s the premise – Two members of the Young Avengers (Wiccan and Speed) think they are the reincarnations of The Scarlet Witch’s magic babies. Ever since the House of M storyline their “mom” has been off the grid, so the team decides to try and find her. They find her in Doctor Doom’s home country preparing to become his bride. The Avengers and The X-Men get involved and fisticuffs ensue. There are some deaths, and some resurrections.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, have at it. I found it a little relentless, and kind of boring. I think it got away from the humanity that makes these characters interesting and ended up too wrapped up in time travel and magic. When a story can be resolved by the snap of a finger it starts to lose me. Unless it’s fun, like Doctor Who or Star Wars. This story, unfortunately, wears Marvel continuity like cement shoes and can’t quite survive it. On the plus side, Jim Cheung’s art is gorgeous. It’s a nice blend of amazing superhero style with a slight sprinkling of manga influence.
Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger
Cloak and Dagger have never interested me much as characters. They’re generally a little too melodramatic for me, and they tend to be pretty separate from the rest of the Marvel Universe. They started out as runaway teenagers who get their powers when evil drug dealers test their new drug on them. It’s a little too “after school special”.
I downloaded the first issue of this three issue mini-series because it was free on the Marvel app. Written by Nick Spencer and drawn by Emma Rios, I was totally charmed by this story. I’ve still only read the first one, but I plan on buying the rest of it. It’s part of a crossover during which everyone in New York gets Spider-Man powers, and the young duo are thrust into the chaos. The thing that really charmed me in it is the dueling voice over captions. They have such distinct, real personalities. I would probably read an ongoing series of this.
Ever since Frank Miller’s particularly dark take on the Man Without Fear, it seems there has been a competition between writers to see who can pile the most crap on the character. He’s been imprisoned, beaten, had his secret identity outed at least twice, and seen at least three girlfriends killed by his enemies. So, it was a bit of a surprise when I heard that this latest storyline by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin brings some of the fun swashbuckling back to the title.
I’m not going to mince words, I was blown away by this trade. The writing is really good, but the art completely steals the show. Daredevil is blind, and this story was the first that I’ve read that really gave you a sense of how he sees the world. Sound effects take on so much meaning, and certain things in panels get magnified or highlighted to show what he perceives of them. It’s really well done and I recommend it to absolutely everyone – especially if you’re into Daredevil or want to see some truly thought provoking comic book art.
Graham Becksted’s allergies are already acting up, so he apologizes for all the sneezing. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 78th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
I’m tempted to describe this post as being about the latest comic book controversy on the Internet. But, as this controversy reared its head two weeks ago, I highly doubt it’s still the latest. It sprung out of an issue of Uncanny Avengers – a new series that features a team of Avengers and X-Men working together. Captain America has made Havok the leader of the team, and at their first press conference (‘cause superheroes have press conferences) he makes a speech.
Some other blogs that have commented on this have just used part of the speech, but for the sake of clarity I’m going to write out the whole thing. This is from Uncanny Avengers #5 written by Rick Remender and pencils by Olivier Coipel. (If one of you would like to follow along at home, the download code is: TMM302XSWCSA)
The speech is as follows: (He takes his mask off) We wear these things so people don’t know who we are. But I want you to know exactly who I am.
My name is Alex Summers. I’m a student of professor Charles Xavier. This team is an embodiment of his simple dream of all people working together. A fight more important now than ever.
Recently the world saw my brother Scott infused with the power of a god. And while he tried to make a lasting change to fix what he saw as broken, no man should ever unilaterally take action or choose for so many. It is hubris.
I never quite saw things as my brother did. I never quite saw things as my brother did, and later our views diverged further. I don’t see myself as born into a mutant cult or religion. Having an x-gene doesn’t bond me to anyone. It doesn’t define me.
In fact, I see the very word “mutant” as divisive. Old thinking that serves to further separate us from our fellow man. We are all humans. Of one tribe. We are defined by our choices, not the makeup of our genes.
So, please, don’t call us mutants. The “M” word represents everything I hate.
(A reporter asks, “Well… if you don’t want to be called “mutant,” what should we call you?) How about Alex?
All right, so there it is. The X-Men have been used as an analogue for minorities of any sort almost since their inception. So, a lot of people took this to be the writer making some sort of statement that minorities should forsake the part of their identity that sets them apart. Not only do I not think this is what the writer is saying, I don’t even think this is what Alex is saying.
It’s not like he’s saying that he doesn’t want to use or have his powers anymore, he just doesn’t want to be identified solely by what separates him from others. Sounds fair to me. What doesn’t sound fair is people attacking the creative team for what they think they are saying through the character. Remender has also written The Punisher, Venom, and Wolverine and no one has confused their bloodthirsty vigilantism for Remender’s.
He’s just trying to write the way he thinks this character would speak. And, I don’t think it’s out of the question considering what has happened to this guy in the recent history of the Marvel universe. His brother, Cyclops, who he has often bumped up against and chafed under the leadership of, has been taking his group of X-Men and making them more and more isolated. It makes a certain kind of sense that he would go in the exact opposite direction.
Anyway, those are my two cents on the matter. Please, let me know just how wrong I am.
Here are some more digital download codes:
Guardians Of The Galaxy 1: TMM21LJJBQP4
Fantastic Four 5 AU: TMM36Z7TJJKF
A + X 6: TMM28M7S2ZDX
Also, Marvel has started up their free digital comic promotion again and you can find all the details here: https://promo.marvel.com/
Graham Becksted will continue using the M word no matter how controversial it gets! He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 78th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
I am and have been something of a movie fan over the years. As such, I’ve often had IMDb as my homepage. I go there for trailers, news, and to win bets that no one else agreed to. The one I’m interested for today’s entry is the rating feature. You can rate a movie on a scale of 1 – 10, or put it on a list of movies that you want to see. I think I’ve been using this tool off and on since 2001. I decided to take a look at my rating history, and in some cases it’s like looking into the viewing habits of a stranger.
To date I’ve rated 448 things. Some are movies, some are TV shows, and some of them have bizarrely high ratings. For example, the first movie I rated was K-Pax and, apparently, I thought Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges’ forgettable sci-fi (?) movie warranted a 7/10. I don’t even remember if Spacey turns out to be an alien or not, never mind how I reached that rating.
The next movie I rated was the 80s chick-flick Beaches starring Barbara Hershey and Bette Midler. I decided it had earned a 3/10. This rating I can shed some light on. In 2001, I was in grade 11. I’m pretty sure this was put on for us to watch on a Jewish holiday or something, and I was pretty immature. At 16, I don’t think I was quite ready for what is, I’m sure, a touching story of friendship that lasts through the years. I kind of feel like I should see it again to give it another shot.
Another movie I think I gave an unfairly low rating to is Memento. While I’ve never been a fan of it, I don’t think it really deserves the 1/10 I gave it. I certainly think it’s overrated, but the filmmakers probably would have got the same message if I had given it a 5/10. Do filmmakers even check the IMDb user ratings? I have to imagine they only do if every other critic has destroyed their movie, and this is their last chance at salvation.
Speaking of salvation, I think I might count as the film Mumford’s salvation. The movie’s about some psychiatrist with a hidden past, or something. I was definitely on a serious Jason Lee kick at the time, and his small part in this is the only reason I can imagine giving it a 9/10. The average rating for it is 6.7. And that average is shockingly uniform through every breakdown that IMDb can provide for their ratings – men, women, young, old, American, Other. Not me, though. Never one to follow the pack, I broke free and rated with my Jason Lee infatuated heart! I’m a Mumford maverick!
Here are some of the other highlights of my early 2000s ratings – Daredevil got an 8. I’m pretty sure I got swept up in the Affleck/Garner romantic vibes. Blade Trinity scored a 7/10 purely on my enjoyment of Wesley Snipes saying this line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOluT80DqRo. Easy Rider, the counter culture, indie film pioneer, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda motorcycle picture earned a 4/10. Another movie that I should probably see again, but I remember it as being terrible. I’m sure it was really edgy when it came out in 1969, but now it’s just silly.
Well, that’s it for this week. If you’ve done any IMDb rating in your time, I suggest you take a look at some of your earliest work. Let me know if you come across any surprises!
Graham Becksted will do another one of these in ten years time. Watch for it! He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 79th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
I’m going to preface this week’s grumble with a quote from the wise Jedi master Qui Gon Jin, “There’s always a bigger fish.” This came to mind today as I was reading bits and pieces from this Criticwire (CriticWire? Critic Wire?) post (http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/the-criticwire-survey-overrated-masterpieces). They polled a staggering number of film critics and asked them which masterpieces they actually hated. There were some interesting choices on the list like Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and Tree Of Life. There was quite the Twitter uproar over this poll, with Twits questioning what constitutes a masterpiece and demands for some of these critics to turn in their film snob cards.
I got to thinking, I used to believe that my friends and I were real movie snobs. While some people might watch Fight Club, they’d never follow the director’s work like we did. They’d never listen to commentary tracks, and learn the name of their favorite sound designer. And then I discovered the Internet. There are millions of people out there who would scoff at my pedestrian list of film favorites. Even my snobbiest film fan friend would be put to shame by these guys. I was reading the list, and not only were there movies listed that I didn’t consider masterpieces, there were movies that I hadn’t heard of. There were entire genres that I hadn’t heard of.
The thing that really blew me away was that these critics oftentimes commented that they had seen these supposed “hated” masterpieces multiple times. I think that might be what separates a movie buff from a film snob. The ability to hate something and yet watch it multiple times just to properly articulate your hate.
Everyone (by which I mean me) thinks that being a film critic would be a pretty sweet job. You get to watch movies all the time and then tell people what you think of them. But, the downside is that you have to watch movies ALL the time. As it stands, I watch a lot of movies. At least compared with your average Joe (by which I mean the people at my dayjob…who are mostly women…so I guess I mean average Jane…) The difference is that I get to pick and choose what I go and see. If I don’t feel like watching a movie that day I can just watch an episode of Dr. Who instead. Or play Civilization 5. Or drink myself into a stupor. Or watch a movie and do one or more of those things at the same time.
So, I guess what I meant from my opening quote is that no matter how big a fan you think you are of something, “there’s always a bigger fish.”
With my grumbling out of the way, I’d like to introduce something new to my column. I buy new comics every other week or so. Most of them are Marvel, and most of those are big name titles. Something that they’ve started to include in their pricier books is a free digital copy, and since I’m probably not going to ever bother using those digital copies I figured I’d include the codes here. Each code is good for one copy, so it’s kind of a first come, first served sort of thing.
Here’s how it works: Go to www.Marvel.com/Redeem. Follow the instructions and enter the following code for the issue(s) you’re interested in.
Uncanny X-Men 3 – TMM14P57J564
All New X-Men 9 – TMM3507B0SGQ
Avengers 8 – TMM35EXU20TQ
New Avengers 4 – TMM32C9RE019
Avenging Spider-Man 18 – TMM3752A3MV8
If you snag one of these, let me know what you think!
Graham Becksted is expecting some serious good karma for his generosity. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 77th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
The last time we saw Professor Xavier and his motley crew of merry mutants on the big screen, they were just getting together for the first time. Hence the title, X-Men: First Class. The sequel involves time travel and the cast from the last movie as well as the majority of the cast from the original trilogy. On top of that, they keep adding new characters to the mix like the recently announced Blink and Peter Dinklage in an as yet unannounced role. This thing is getting so crowded they should change the title to X-Men: Economy Class.
And, while I am concerned that it too is getting overstuffed, I’m not as worried as I am with Amazing Spider-Man 2. Here’s why:
- Bryan Singer: He made the first two X-Men movies. I’ve seen them each at least a dozen times, and I think they’re some of the best superhero movies ever made. Prior to that, he made The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil – both pretty solid movies. Since then, it’s mainly been duds. But, I think getting back to these characters who helped make iconic will help get him back on the right track.
- Mark Millar: Due to the deals that they made prior to making movies themselves, there is a chunk of the Marvel universe that is housed over at Fox. After some, let’s say, less than successful efforts (Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Fantastic Four 2, etc.) they have hired Mark Millar to be their Marvel Movie Guru. (I don’t think that’s his official title, but it’ll do for my purposes.) He’s a real love him or hate him sort of writer, but I think we can all agree that his balls-to-the-wall, constant action, widescreen storytelling style will work well on the big screen. I mean, imagine what the brain behind Kick-Ass could do with a Wolverine or Deadpool movie? And he’s had a hand in the creative process of this film, so I’m excited to see just how nuts it will get.
- It’s A Team Movie: A team movie is going to have a huge cast out of necessity. Each character doesn’t need their own storyline for the movie to work. The team needs a threat to bring them together. We need a villain with some sort of interesting agenda. And, maybe one or two characters with an emotional arc that we can follow and get invested in. Whereas, in Amazing Spider-Man 2 they’re going to need to introduce us to, and make us care for, Mary Jane, Rhino, Electro, Norman Osborn and Harry Osborn. That’s a lot to cover in one movie.
So, based on all of that, I’m cautiously optimistic. I have to admit, I’m most curious about who Peter Dinklage will play. The obvious answer for comic fans is Puck, Wolverine’s Canadian dwarf buddy from Alpha Flight.
But, that would be kind of weird. Unless, they do the scene like the one from Giant Size X-Men 1 where Prof. X goes to Canada to recruit Wolverine to the team but Puck is there and tries to convince him to stay in Canada. That would be awesome. Unlikely, but awesome.
Graham Becksted will is still waiting for a rim shot for that classic Economy Class line. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 76th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
This was an exciting weekend for me. I helped some guy move. (Don’t worry, he was a friend not some random guy I saw lugging a couch down a flight of stairs by himself.) I also saw a panel featuring the majority of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (I’ll tell you about it if I have time.) Finally, Marvel announced that they were releasing 700 comics for free on their digital APP. Unfortunately, they’re only free until tonight. (Well, that was the case, but because of some server issues that has changed.)
Let me get my grumbling out of the way. Firstly, on the iPhone and Android tablet versions of the app the 700 issues were not organized in the best way. There was no easy way to see all of them at once. They were divided into groups, but some issues weren’t available unless you went digging for them. And some, from what I could see, weren’t available on the app at all. I sort of get this, as they want you to be tempted to try other stuff that you see. But, I buy a ton of Marvel comics and I was most interested in trying stuff that I haven’t read before, so I had to dig for a good long time to find some gems. Now, I didn’t mind that aspect of it too much as I love digging through long boxes and this reminded me of that. To a newbie though, this was probably pretty frustrating. If you want to see what Marvel has to offer, you should be able to access the free samples as easily as possible.
The other big problem was that the server couldn’t handle all of the interest that this promotion generated. Sometimes I couldn’t log in. Other times it would crash as I was trying to load a particular category of issues. They tried to fix this on the fly, but it didn’t help much. They’ve pressed the pause button on this, so today isn’t the last day after all. Keep your eye out on the app, and I’m sure they’ll restart it soon.
All that being said, I did download over 350 new comics, and it’s hard to grumble too much about that. There are some obvious things that you should download, like any issues of House of M or Civil War that you can get your hands on. But, there are also some buried treasures in there. Things that you might miss after downloading yet another Deadpool special. Here are some of the most interesting ones I found in my hunt:
- Any Marvel Vault issue: I didn’t know that these even existed, but they’re fascinating. These are old fill-in issues that were never needed. So, they were retouched years after they were produced and released into the world. I can’t wait to check these out. The Hulk/Human Torch team-up even has Steve Ditko art!
- Age Of Apocalypse Alpha and Omega: This was one of the greatest crossovers in comics history. At least, that’s what I think. It turned all of the X-Men books on their heads and captivated my imagination and the imaginations of my friends. These two issues are the beginning and end of that series. You can also find the first issues of a bunch of the series that take place in-between.
- Deadpool Killustrated: This series is nuts. Well, at least this issue was. Deadpool is tired of killing the Marvel universe and has decided to slip into novels and kill the characters in those. It’s very metafictional, but you do get to see Deadpool kill a giant whale. So, there is that.
All right, so those are the three that I’ve come across so far. But, there are also a bunch of one-shots, graphic novels, and first issues that are worth your time. If you come across something I should check out, let me know!
Graham Becksted will tell you about the Star Trek panel some other time. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 76th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.