Tag Archives: Thor

Marvel’s Phase 3

Lately, there’s been a release date war between the major movie studios. Everyone wants to save the date for their big ticket event before anyone else can. The fun part of this for nerds is that almost all of these events are superhero movies! Even better, we can now schedule our movie going lives pretty precisely. The latest volley of release dates came from Marvel studios, so let’s take a look at what the future holds. (more…)

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Thorry About That

Today, Marvel Comics made a pretty big announcement about the future of one of their main characters on The View of all places. The internet was full of guesses as to what the announcement would be since that show is not the place you would typically go to for breaking comic book news. No one could have guessed, though, that they were going to announce that Thor will be becoming a woman.

New Thor

New Thor


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Marvel at Some Film and TV News

I feel as though I have something to confess. I have not been watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I sincerely, sincerely, sincerely apologize. Wow, it feels like 1000 pounds has been lifted from my shoulders.  There’s just too much else on TV at that time that I’ve already committed to. I’m on the ninth season of Supernatural, and I can’t just ditch it now. But, I will catch up with S.H.I.E.L.D. at some point. Maybe on DVD, or streaming or something like that.

As penance, I’d like to offer up a quick piece on some other recent Marvel film and TV news.

Firstly, I’d like to provide a revised update on my ranking of the Marvel movies that have been released so far:

  1. Iron Man
  2. The Avengers
  3. Thor: The Dark World
  4. Captain America
  5. The Incredible Hulk

That’s right – Thor 2 is that good. At least, it is in my opinion. They toned down the romantic plot that felt so out of place in the first one. That love story felt so forced, and in this they just treat it as a given. They also improved Asgard a whole lot. Previously, it was really campy veering pretty close to Xena and Hercules territory. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s what you’re going for I’m all for it. But, it feels pretty out of place next to Iron Man and Captain America. In this one, they had all the Asgardian’s playing it straight and I think that really helped give the movie more heft. The stakes actually mattered.

Those stakes are THE WHOLE UNIVERSE! Here’s the gist – A dark Elf dude from the beginning of time wants to make everything all dark elf-y using this red ooze thing, thus killing everything that exists. Luckily Thor’s grandpa kicked his ass and saved the day. But then, Natalie Portman accidentally gets infected with the red ooze thing and the dark elf dude comes back to get his hands on the stuff again. We laugh when Kat Dennings from Two Broke Girls is on screen, we cry when a relative of Thor’s bites the dust, and we thrill when Loki and Thor team up to fight some dark elves.

Oh, and Loki once again steals the show. Tom Hiddleston is a delight in this role. I mean, it made a ton of money as it is, but I have to wonder how much more it would have made if it was called Loki: The Dark World. He is legitimately that popular. I’m also a sucker for movies where the villain from a previous outing teams up with the hero – X-Men 2, Rocky 3, Blade 2, etc. One of my favorite plots from Heroes (the TV show) was when Sylar temporarily thought he was related to the good guys and teamed up with them.

The other big Marvel news of the last week is that they are going to be making 5 TV shows for Netflix in 2015. The shows are as follows: Daredevil, a blind lawyer superhero. How great an idea is that? So great that I thought of it way back here (http://uberfriendship.com/grahamsgrumbles/2670). Jessica Jones, a private investigator with rarely used super strength and flight.  Add to that a tragic backstory explaining why she isn’t a superhero anymore. Sounds good to me! Power Man, about a man who was framed for a crime, put in jail, and then given super strength through an accident. Now he protects a poor neighbourhood in New York from gangs and what not. Iron Fist, a spoiled rich guy who learns humility and karate from some dudes in a pocket dimension. He can also channel his chi into his fist and make it really hard. Like, iron hard…

The last show will feature them all teaming up and kicking ass as the Defenders. As it stands, solely in the conceptual stage, this seems like a beautiful idea. Unfortunately, these characters are all pretty easy to mess up, so I’m trying to keep my expectations low. But it’s hard. Like, iron hard…

Graham Becksted is collecting Movember donations at www.MoBro.co/GrahamBecksted. 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 96th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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It’s hammer time… or not

Ah…  Thor: The Dark World.

thor the dark world posterI didn’t really enjoy this movie.  The plot wasn’t that great.  It’s like the plots from old computer games… there are bad guys, there are good guys, the world is about to end and the heroes must save the day.  The title of the movie looks like it came out of a generic computer game too.

The bad guys look like Jabbawockeez from America’s Best Dance Crew.

Dark_Elves_fulljabbawockeezBut here’s the thing: I’d have to saw that the Jabbawockeez dance crew is much creepier and scarier.  The dark elves from Thor look like that they are just a bunch of dudes who play Call of Duty too much.  The Jabbacwockeez look like they’ve been watching you sleep every night without you knowing it.  The dark elves have spaceships and grenades and lasers that don’t go pew pew… but that’s just not as scary.  The Jabbawockeez look like they will headspin before raping you in the middle of the night.  And they’d still be more entertaining to watch.  Sci-fi dark elves just don’t it for me.  I don’t even know why they have spaceships and grenades and lasers and stuff.

To be fair, this movie isn’t completely awful.  The movie is funny and has a lot of interesting characters.  Loki is snarky, funny, devious, and just really villainous.  And he doesn’t even need to wear a white mask to be creepy.  If he had his own movie I’d probably watch it.

people-really-want-thor-villain-loki-to-get-his-own-movieBottom Line

This is an ok movie.  The best part about this movie is that the characters are fun.  There are a lot of funny moments in this film.  Everything else in this movie has been done before and is nothing special.  If you don’t see this film, you haven’t missed out on much.  If you do watch this movie, I would point out that there is a tag before and after the credits.

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The Makings Of A Team!

Marvel NOW! is the latest flashpoint for Marvel fans.  Everything’s changing and it’s the perfect time to jump on (or off) of various books.  Almost all of the main titles are getting new creative teams.  And, as has been the time honoured tradition of new creative blood, the super hero teams are getting new rosters.  This is always a very exciting time for fan boys and girls alike.  Who will the new members be?  Will my favorite be one of them?  How many teams can Wolverine BE on?

The Avengers books have always been particularly good at exploiting these moments.  The covers usually announce that THIS is the issue where the new team is picked.  There’s usually a smattering of cards, or faces, and a big question like, “WHO WILL BE THE AVENGERS?”

The team usually stays fairly consistent for a few years. Sure, some people may come and go, but there’s usually a fairly stable core.  For example, I only really started reading Avengers during Brian Michael Bendis’ run so, for me, the core team is Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and eventually Thor.  But, for more old school readers, it’s not the Avengers if it doesn’t have The Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Hawkeye and Beast.

At this point, it seems like the number of characters who have been Avengers is growing so large that every Marvel hero from Captain America to Squirrel Girl will have been an Avenger. I mean, I think the announced roster for Hickman’s run is a little big – 24 members!  That’s more characters than pages in an average single issue.  But, I trust in Mr. Hickman’s abilities.  And, frankly, the Avengers should be a huge book where huge things happen.

Prior to my Avengers interest, the X-Men were my team of choice. When I was a kid, we would spend recesses arguing over which characters were cooler, and building our dream rosters.  That’s the thing with the X-Men – I think if you took a group of 10 people and sat them down with a list of the all the mutants in the Marvel Universe to choose from and forced them to pick an X-Team with ten characters on it, you’d get ten completely different teams.

To give you an example, here are three teams put together in the last decade or so.  Bendis will be taking over the main X-Men book shortly, and he’s taking the team back to the original five (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and Beast).  When Joss Whedon did his run the team was made up of Wolverine, Beast, Cyclops, The White Queen, Armor, Colossus, and Shadowcat.  Joe Casey’s Uncanny X-Men run consisted of Angel, Iceman, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Chamber.

(I think next week I’ll try to cobble together my ideal X-Men team.)

Anyway, Marvel doesn’t have a monopoly on this by any stretch of the imagination.  The first time I had read any JLA stuff had been during the Death Of Superman when the team consisted of Ice, Fire, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardiner, Bloodwynd, and Maxima.  (Just to show how many times I’ve read that collection, I actually pulled that list straight from memory.) When Grant Morrison took over, the team reverted to the classic roster of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman. And while that is an infinitely cooler team, I still look back kind of fondly on the days when the team was made up of second stringers.

As much as we’d like to think that the creative teams are the reason most people buy or stick with a book, I think the characters on the team play as big, if not a bigger, role.  So, if any of you get the singular honor of writing one of these team books some day in the future, make sure you take great care in picking the roster.  You could end up defining a generation’s idea of who that team is.

Graham Becksted is the only member of The Secret Graham Coast Avengers.  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 69th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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Comic Book Crossover Event At The Movies!

So, it happened.  The Avengers was released in North America this week.  And nothing will ever be the same again.

Actually, that’s probably not true.  But, some people have made a whole bunch of money, and the rest of us just spent a lot to help this gargantuan picture topple some crazy box office records.  The only thing that could come close to making as much money as this would have to be some sort of Hunger Games – Twilight hybrid where Katniss Everdeen is hunted by naked Edwards and Jacobs or something.

For the record, the movie was awesome.  It had everything I could have wanted.  A quippy Iron Man, a bad ass Captain America, an operatic Thor, and a pitch-perfect Hulk.  No one character took centre stage, or got bogged down with character development.  There was no distracting romance angle, or personal drama.  Most of these characters have solo movies to worry about that stuff.  This is the traditional crossover comic book epic that fanboys always buy up like crazy.  And now, the general public understands why!

In comics, they’re so rote at this point that they have a pretty standard formula: Huge bad guy appears, some superhero gets his or her ass kicked, a bunch of other superheroes show up to help, there is a misunderstanding and the heroes fight, then they settle their differences and work together to beat the villain.  And, despite how predictable it all is, they do a new one every year or so and it’s inevitably the best selling thing out there.  Sure, they’ve become better at it recently.  The formula has been tweaked with varying levels of success.  For instance, Civil War pretty much started and stopped at the “misunderstanding” phase.

And don’t look to me to try and explain why it works so well.  All I know is that when I was still going on road trips with my parents, I read Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars over and over again.  It pit the biggest Marvel heroes and villains against each other for 12 issues.  That’s pretty much the long and the short of it, but it’s riveting!  Maybe it’s something to do with humanity’s fascination with the struggle between good and evil.  Or, maybe it’s more to do with seeing characters who don’t normally interact with each other forced to fight or cooperate.  Or, maybe it’s as simple as seeing the Hulk hold up a mountain so that it doesn’t crush Spider-Man and a bunch of Avengers trapped underneath.

After the adrenaline rush of the movie died down, I started to think that DC and Warner must be drooling at the prospect of a JLA movie.  It’s mighty tempting.  Can you imagine Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all in one movie?  Never mind the rest of the team just those three would be a feat.  But, imagine the cartwheels they’d have to go through to concoct a threat that requires those three plus Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Flash and Aquaman.  And one that has to be introduced and defeated in 2 hours?

I hate to break it to you DC Fanboys, but I don’t think a giant, telepathic, alien starfish is going to resonate on screen quite as well as it does on the page.

On second thought, that sounds amazing!

Alternatively, they could go in the direction of the Justice League International and have a team of mostly b-listers.  Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, and maybe G’Nort.  They could team up and fight traffic violations, or something.  That’s something that could be filmed in a weekend, and put in theatres by the end of the month and they could totally capitalize on the Avengers buzz!

I think that’s something even I could direct!  Sorry, I have to call my agent.

Graham Becksted does not have an agent.  He is 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 64th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

PS: Stella’s Avengers Handsome Man Ranking

  1. Thor
  2. Captain America
  3. Iron Man
  4. Hulk
  5. Black Widow
  6. Hawkeye
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J. Michael Straczynski, My Literary Frenemy

As comic book readers age, they tend to get more interested in the creators of the book than the characters themselves.  I’m sure there are exceptions, like people who only read Spider-Man comics, but even they prefer certain storylines and appreciate the people behind them.  Everyone’s got their favorites, and some that they hate.  Then there are people that you just don’t get.  There are plenty of people for me that fit into these three categories.  I love Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, and Steve McNiven.  I can’t stand Dan Slott, Chuck Austen, and I’ve read more Robert Kirkman stories I haven’t liked than liked.  In the middle are guys like Matt Fraction, Geoff Johns, and Grant Morrison – I’m not a huge fan, but I definitely don’t hate them.

And then there’s Joseph Michael Straczynski a.k.a JMS.  I’ve got a real love hate thing going with this guy.  The first work of his that I had any contact with was the excellent Rising Stars.  It’s all available in three trade paperbacks and makes for a good read.  It’s about a group of 113 people whose birth coincides with a meteorite crashing to Earth.  They all have different powers, but they are all tied together.  It’s a pretty cool read, even though the art sees a steady decline.

Having enjoyed that I figured I might as well give Babylon 5 a shot.  But first, some background – I’m a huge trekkie.  To the point where I had a cardboard Enterprise-D dangling over my bed.  (And if you know which one the Enterprise-D is, congratulations. You too are a trekkie.)  I’ve watched pretty much every episode of every Trek series other than Enterprise.  When Deep Space Nine was starting there was an outcry that it was just a copy of Babylon 5.  And there are definitely some similarities (http://www.firstones.com/wiki/Similarities_between_Babylon_5_and_Star_Trek:_Deep_Space_Nine). But, after hearing from die hard B5 fans how superior it was to DS9, I finally got a chance to see for myself.  I did four seasons of watching.  Four seasons that I’ll never get back.

This is the series that gave JMS the cred in the geek community that he has.  This.  It is terribly acted, the sets are atrocious, and the highly touted computer graphics look dated and ugly.  And JMS wrote almost every episode.  He set a record for it!  So, pretty much everything that ended up on the screen was his brainchild.  Having said that, I’m pretty sure I slept through most of the first season.  It was the only way I could get through it!  It picked up in season 3 and 4, but that’s not saying much.

Having slogged through that, I kind of figured that would be it for me and JMS.  But then, I guy I worked with started buying his Thor run.  I was pretty skeptical, but he insisted that it was really good.  He wore me down, and I started reading his back issues.  I was blown away!  Thor is resurrected and he recreates Asgard as a floating city in Oklahoma.  Eventually, I picked up the Marvel Omnibus of his run and it stands as one of my favorite Marvel storylines.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that Olivier Coipel does some of his best work on the series.  The only problem with the run is that it was cut short because Marvel had other plans for the character.  It’s a real shame because I really would have liked to see where JMS was going.

Before that, he did a really long run on Amazing Spider-Man.  I haven’t read much of it, but he did something in it that alienated every Spidey fan on the internet.  Peter Parker finds out that Gwen Stacy, his first real girlfriend, went to Paris and had twins with Norman Osborn.  Then, she came back, was killed by Norman in his Green Goblin guise.  The children aged much faster than normal because of the Green Goblin serum in their blood, and they go on the hunt for Spider-Man because Osborn says that he’s their father.  It’s all very bizarre and tarnishes the character of Gwen in a way that doesn’t really make sense given what was established about her previously.

So, to sum up, I just don’t know what to think about JMS.  He’s the one writer whose work I truly either love or hate.

Graham Becksted did get Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition after all (thanks Sonali and Jesse).  He is 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 57th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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