VIDEO: S.H.I.E.L.D. Sucks at *Everything*

You know, maybe S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t as bad-@$$ as they make themselves out to be…

WARNING: Spoilers abound for Marvel films and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

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Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor

Thor: The Dark World opens on November 8th. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some of Thor’s more recent adventures for the Kirkus Reviews blog.

From the Post:

I was more than a little skeptical of the first movie. Thor was never one of my favorite characters growing up. First, he talked funny. All ‘thou’, ‘thee’, ‘verily’, and whatnot. Second, well, he just wasn’t accessible to me as a reader. I couldn’t identify with him – he was a god, after all. Truth told, I enjoyed the alternate Thor versions Beta Ray Bill and Eric Masterson (Thunderstrike) in the comics more than I did Thor himself. But the movie converted me. They stripped away all the things about Thor I didn’t care for or identify with. They brought his humanity to the forefront and made the character likable, and accessible, without losing the core of who he is and what drives him. Yes, they changed up his backstory (Don Blake became a one-liner joke), but in this situation, I was actually for those changes. With that in mind, I offer up 5 graphic novels featuring Marvel’s God of Thunder, Thor to get you ready for The Dark World.

Click on over to the Kirkus Reviews Blog to read the rest of the post.

TRAILER: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The new trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been released.

Here is what the film is about:

After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

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VIDEO: Thanos Crashes Comic-Con

This is what happens when Thanos, the Mad Titan, decides to invade Comic-Con.

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Marvel has historically been the more grounded of the Big Two comic book companies. Its world (commonly called Earth 616) was, by original editorial fiat, our world. There were few fictional settings, with most of the action taking place in an NYC identical to ours save the Baxter Building and Avengers Mansion.

The extra abstraction layer in the Marvel world (as well as DC and other comic book universes) is that SF and fantasy tropes exist in almost equal measure, and in vast numbers. Aside from comic books, such a robust slathering of concepts from both SF and fantasy (not to mention a dollop of horror) is exceedingly rare. The mystic and the mechanical seldom intermingle on such a grand scale successfully. This is especially true in fictional universes that have well-established sandboxes. Miles Vorkosigan will never discover he’s destined to become the next High Mage. Westeros will never encounter a rogue berserker probe.
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[TRAILER] Thor: The Dark World

Marvel’s Phase 2 domination of filmdom kicks off with Iron Man 3, but we’ll also get to see a bunch more superhero movies. Like this one, Thor: The Dark World, which takes place some time after the first movie. I’m not sure what exactly is going on, but it somehow involves Christopher Eccleston, Loki and his not sudden-and-inevitable betrayal. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the fist movie and I can’t say this one does a whole lot for me either.
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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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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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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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Welcome to a new column here on SF Signal: …And Another Thing, a weekly commentary on issues and news from the speculative fiction community! We feel that there’s a lot of news that comes flying out from every corner of the internet on a number of issues: the incident at ReaderCon, the extreme popularity of the summertime releases of Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, to the landing of Curiosity on the surface of Mars. This column will feature a roving band of SF Signal Irregulars and their takes on the world around us.

As John and I were getting ready to launch this, a proverbial earthquake happened: Disney announced that they were purchasing LucasFilm Limited for $4.05 billion dollars in cash and stocks. Almost immediately, my Twitter and Facebook feeds exploded with people excited, freaking out and everything in between. The noise is going to continue for a while, I suspect, and while I was initially skeptical, I realized that this isn’t something that’s unexpected.
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Trailer: Marvel’s Iron Man 3

What? Who are you accusing of being late to the party?

Iron Man 3.  I can’t wait. Seriously, this looks great.  Extremis?  Pepper as Rescue?! (Maybe.)  The Mandarin?!  The Iron Patriot?  AGENT COULSON RIDING A UNICYCLE?!

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How do you follow up The Avengers, amovie that currently hold the number 3 spot in the list of all-time top worldwide grossing films? Well, if you’re Marvel, you announce your next set of films at Comi Con! That’s just what they’ve done.

G4tv is reporting that Marvel has announced the following schedule for their next superhero films. And look! It even includes Guardians of the Galaxy
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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.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Marc Webb’s updating of Spider-Man’s origin story looks good but feels flat and, ultimately, too familiar.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: High school student Peter Parker’s investigation into his parents’ disappearance bring him to Oscorp, where he is bitten by a genetically engineered spider and begins to take on its powers.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Exceptional special effects; great chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone; early scenes where Peter learns to use his powers.
CONS: Lack of necessity in retelling the origins of the title character; inappropriate tone undermines the character’s primary appeal; too little humanity in the villain.

Haven’t we been here before?  It seems like only yesterday when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man opened to rave reviews and a huge opening weekend, with the pitch-perfect casting of its title character (Tobey Maguire), love interest (Kirsten Dunst, who went red to play Mary Jane Watson), and key villain (Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin),  to say nothing of scene-stealer J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, exceptional dialogue, and its…well, honestly, rather substandard effects, but those didn’t detract from the action and suspense.  Raimi followed it with a superior sequel (Spider-Man 2) written by Michael Chabon and a lifeless continuation (Spider-Man 3) crammed with too many villains.  Now Marc Webb, hot off the success of indie favorite (500) Days of Summer, takes the helm to continue… Read the rest of this entry

TRAILER: ‘With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story’

On April 27–29, EPIX will be hosting Marvel Heroes Weekend – a marathon of superhero movies including Iron Man 2, Thor, the world television premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger and the EPIX Original Documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.

Hosted by legendary comic book creator Stan Lee, the marathon also includes EPIX Extra: Mighty Movie Superheroes, examining the origins and fan following of the mighty team. The weekend celebration of Marvel’s famed superheroes and their creator features the movies that have led up to the highly anticipated theatrical release of The Avengers on May 4.

Trailer for With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story follow…

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Joss Whedon is bringing The Avengers to movie theaters everywhere on May 4th.  Not everyone knows who The Avengers are or what they’re all about, so I thought we might take a look at the team before that movie comes out.

The Avengers began in the pages of Marvel comics way back in 1963.  They followed in the footsteps of DC comics who re-launched their team, the Justice League of America, in 1960 (The Brave and the Bold #28). A lot of heroes have been part of the team throughout the years, but the original team had Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and the Black Panther.  Captain America joined a little later.  Similar to the JLA, the idea was the team would ‘assemble’ whenever there was a threat too big for any one superhero to handle.  Hence, they were ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’.

For the film, they are looking at a team of: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow, all of whom have been part of the team at one point or another. 

Let’s take a look at each one…

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In episode 103 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks the SF Signal Irregulars to chime in with their Favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies and TV Shows from 2011.

This week’s panel includes:

© 2011 SFSignal.com
Featuring original music by John Anealio
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SF Tidbits for 9/2/09

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SF Tidbits for 9/1/09

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SF Tidbits for 8/19/09

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