Tag Archives: marvel comics

[Words and Pictures] Indestructible Hulk and Thor: God of Thunder

First a quick PSA: Commenters on the last W&P column harangued me into buying and watching the movie Dredd, so if anyone wants to know what I thought of it, I’ve obediently done a very brief review of it in that comments thread. Such is the awesome power of the SF Signal commentariat.

On to today’s business. I’m a pretty hard sell when it comes to superhero comics. Much as the idea and the underlying tropes of them still appeal in theory, the actual material rarely grabs me as it once did. Not because it’s deteriorated — in significant ways, most superhero comics nowadays are better than the ones I enthusiastically devoured as a youth — but because what I value and enjoy in comics has changed as I’ve aged (boy, have I aged), and the price of comics these days makes me waaaay more impatient with anything that doesn’t provide what I’m after.

There are exceptions, though: bright little corners of the superhero universes that deliver the sort of craft, coherence and entertainment that I seek. Those qualities, when they’re present, more or less invariably arise from an uncomplicated source: talented writers and artists given enough freedom to produce tonally and narratively consistent stories that project their distinctive creative voices.

In evidence of which I offer two series, which just so happen to be written by a couple of guys I reckon to be amongst the best current writers of mainstream superhero comics, despite being wildly different in style and voice…

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Roll Perception Plus Awareness: The Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game

Welcome back to Roll Perception Plus Awareness, a column about roleplaying games and their place in a genre reader’s and writer’s world. For what I have for you this time out, let me set the scene:

Three X-men and a former Avenger investigate a breakout on the Raft, the maximum security prison in the East River for supervillains. There, they find that numerous inmates have escaped, with the help of Electro. Cinematic battles are fought in and on the raft. In a key moment, the Hulk, at the Raft in self and solitary confinement, proves valuable in taking out Vapor, Ironclad, Vector and X-Ray, the evil Fantastic Four-like group known as the U-Foes. And discover that there are deeper and darker things afoot, that mandate a temporary alliance to uncover.

Was this the latest issue of a comic? A motion comic on DVD? A new animated Marvel series? No, none of the above. This was a recent session of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game that I participated in. Marvel is the latest roleplaying game from Margaret Weis Productions (yes, that Margaret Weis, fantasy fans).

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Where Do We Go From Here? X-Men Legacy #1 and a Post-Xavier Marvel

Marvel Comics is shaking things up with their new Marvel Now!  Among the changes comes some huge stuff for the mutants of the X-books following the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men.  Enter X-Men Legacy #1, kicking off the all-new ongoing series from acclaimed writer Simon Spurrier and Eisner Award Winning artist Tan Eng Huat!

Legion, the most powerful and unstable mutant in the world and son to Professor Charles Xavier, has killed gods and reshaped the face of the universe. Now, Legion will finally attempt to conquer his demons and establish his place among mutantkind!

Trailer is after the jump.

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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 163): Star Wars, Disney and Marvel, Oh My!

In episode 163 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester and his rag-tag band of panelists, discuss:

Star Wars, Disney, Marvel, Timothy Zahn, The Thrawn Trilogy, Star Wars: Episode 7, the Star Wars Extended Universe, Star Trek, Pathfinder Tales, Tie-In novels, George Lucas, Stargate, The X-Men, the 501st Legion, Lucasfilm, Disneyland, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Pixar, Disney Princesses, Disneyland’s overhaul / rebranding of the iconic Submarine Ride as the new “Gungan Undersea Extravaganza’, Marvel Comics, Joe Quesada, Terry Brooks, The Sword of Shannara, Triumph over Tragedy, Attack of the Show, Newsroom, Pirates 101, Baldurs Gate, The Jar-Jar Binks Live Action Generic Non-Traditional Holiday Special with guests Tinkerbell, Wolverine and The Incredibles, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Ship Breaker, The City’s Son, and Reboots…

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The Top 5 Graphic Novels Starring The Amazing Spider-Man

On the Kirkus Reviews blog today, I list my Top 5 Graphic Novel picks starring the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

From the post:

Sergei Kravinoff burst onto the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1964.  Since then, he has hunted Spidey relentlessly in the hopes of proving to everyone he is the greatest hunter in the world.  Collecting Web of Spider-Man #31-32, Amazing Spider-Man #293-294, and Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132, Kraven’s Last Hunt, written by J. M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Mike Zeck, brought Kraven and Spider-Man together for their final confrontation.

Driven mad by his inability to defeat Spider-Man, Kraven the Hunter launches his ultimate end-game and manages to defeat the web-head.  He shoots him, and buries him.  To further prove that he is the greatest hunter in the world, Kraven takes on Spider-Man’s mask and hunts his latest enemy, Vermin, and defeats him in a brutal attack.  Two weeks later, Spidey wakes up (he was drugged, not killed) and has to dig his way out of his own grave. Kraven is no longer interested in him.  Vermin, however, is out for revenge following the beat-down Kraven gave him.

Click through to the Kirkus Reviews blog to read the full piece and see all my picks.

‘The Gunslinger’: A Great Entry Point to Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series

I have a new post up over on the Kirkus Review site looking at Stephen King’s The Dark Tower-The Gunslinger: The Journey Begins, Graphic Novel from Marvel Comics. The script is by Peter David, a name comic book readers are well accustomed to seeing (The Incredible Hulk, Young Justice).  He also wrote one of my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation novels: Imzadi.  The series is illustrated by Sean Phillips (WildC.A.T.S.) and Richard Isanove (Wolverine: Origin), and plotted by Robin Furth (Stephen King’s personal research assistant for The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance).

Here’s an excerpt:

The story opens with Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, tracking the man in black across a desert wasteland.  He comes across a man who offers news of the man in black along with food, water and shelter for the night.  All he asks in return is for The Gunslinger to tell him a tale.  Through flashbacks, we see the day Roland’s ka-tet were slaughtered by the Good Man, John Farson.  As Farson’s followers are stacking up the dead for a pyre, Roland escapes along with another Gunslinger, Aileen.  She is mortally wounded and asks that he bury her in her family crypt back home – in Gilead.

Check out the full article over on the Kirkus Reviews blog.

The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 131): Panel Discussion: Female Superheroes Who Deserve Their Own Movies


In episode 131 of the Hugo Nominated SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks our irregulars to weigh in on: Female superheroes who deserve their own movies.
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Comic Books vs. Natural Selection

About a week ago, someone sent me an article which pointed out that, surprisingly, Disney had bought Marvel Comics for something like four billion dollars. This deal outraged some fans, irritated others, and gave great amusement to still more. Mostly, I couldn’t muster any ire. I’m a life-long comic book fan, and someone who extols the virtues and capabilities of the medium. Nevertheless, the news made a blip on my radar and then I got on with my day.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I saw a different article, which was that Warner Brothers were taking DC Comics and ‘re-branding’ it DC Entertainment.

Both articles — and the interview I’ve just linked to — are full of fairly sickening big-business gibberish talk. I mean, who really wants to grow up to “handle the strategic development of creative license opportunities’? Who talks like that? If someone talked to you in that fashion on the street, you’d call for the police and take them away for some sort of treatment. Electro-shock, for preference. But I digress.

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