Category Archives: Commentary

VALKYRIE #1 – MARVEL COMICS

Writers – Jason Aaron & Al Ewing
Artist- Cafu
Colorist – Matt Wilson
Letterer- Joe Sabino.

I’m very fresh to this Asgardian comic universe after many years of being away. I figured with Jane Foster being announced for the new movie “THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER” I should catch up with the goings on in her universe. There’s a nice write up at the beginning of the book, briefly outlining her life up to this point and throughout the story there are more then a few references to the past to give you a good sense of where she is at. On to the review.

Other than curiousity, the art was a strong factor in me picking up this book. From the detailed, magnetic, youthful, looking cover by artist Mahmud Asrar to the strong, angelic inside art of artist Cafu(The first panel is worthy of being a portrait on any wall. Beautiful crafting),I thought the art was on par with the writing in this book, and that is a rarity for me. Facial features, background landscapes, costume renderings, Realm stylings, you name it. All of it really worked for me. Was pleasantly surprised by this. Though in retrospect I shouldn’t be, as Jane Foster is going to be playing a big part in the MCU so it would make sense she is getting” A” talent treatment here.

Jason Aaron & Al Ewing’s writing was also pretty strong in this premiere issue. I love dialogue driven books and this one held up nicely. The first person Jane Foster dialogue gave us some insight as to what came before, so the reader never really had a large amount of questions about why certain things were the way they were. The story some very interesting secondary character introductions(new to me anyway)that I suspect will make for some interesting conversation and storylines down the road. A large key to me for this book will be keeping a balance between the God and the girl(I know she’s not a girl but it’s rhymed and it’s my review).Strong secondary earth bound characters will help with that.

Other then the strong art , the other unexpected surprise of this book was the down to earth feel it had to it. If you liked the Don Blake/ Thor “balance” trials and tribulations of the original series you might feel a bit of nostalgia for this first issue. That and just a pinch of Peter Parker/ Spider-Man life balancing is in there also. For a “Goddess” book I found this ingredient very well done and dispensed through the book. Every good first issue needs a hook to bring you back. This one ended with a page turner, and brought in a villain I would not have associated with this title, and that’s a good thing. Far too many times the arch nemesis is trotted out to pop a first issue and I feel many times that is done too soon. Add to the fact that this villain is now “amplified ” and it’s going to make for an interesting second issue.

I did have a few issues with the overall story. There seems to be a bit of a clique’ to send the hero up against (insert D level villain here) to get the issue started off with a bang. There was more to the story this time, and it recovered nicely, but would have been cool if it could have been avoided completely. Also I found the scene transitions with a few of the characters a little too cut and dry. Overall , I enjoyed the story a lot more then I thought I would. If your looking to try something new, I’d recommend giving it a read. Between the art and writing I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Til Next time

Scott

Comic Review:Invisible Woman #1 (of 5) – Marvel Comics

If someone had told me last month that I would be picking up the first issue of “Invisible Woman” this month, I probably would not have believed them. Make no mistake about it, the absolutely beautiful cover by Adam Hughes caught my eye when I was mulling through the titles at my local comic shop.

Let’s start first with the main reason I bought this book. Between the previously mentioned Adam Hughes cover, and the crisp , fleshed out, and intricately detailed backgrounds of artist Mattia De Iulis (Jessica Jones)I was sold pretty well just thumbing through the book at the store. Add to that the beautiful use in colours in the book in  different Blues, Whites, Browns and wonderful use of  inking shades to match the tone of the book and I was sold for this month

Writer Mark Waid  has written a pretty interesting re- introduction to one of Marvels oldest characters, and made her seem very fresh and new after 60 plus years. The first chapter was very well paced, and there are 4-5 scene transitions which makes for  a pretty good statement about where the character is going after the FF’s return. It sets her off on a storyline that I suspect very few would expect out of this character. Yet it makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Invisible Woman has always been a bit of a one dimensional character to me, but Mark Waid found some creative ways to  hi lite both her adaptable powers, and some overall weaknesses she has. The dialogue between the others characters in the story flowed smoothly, and gave you enough character development to make you want to come back for the second chapter.

It’s a 5 issue mini series and you don’t really need to be a regular reader of the Fantastic Four to appreciate the book, but I think long time readers will appreciate what they have done with Susan Richards. There’s no extra cost on this one either as many of their numbers #1’s have usually added a dollar to them. I’m going to put it in my pull list as it’s only 5 issues and go from there.

Til next time

Scott

 

 

 

 

I’m glad to see such a talented team and what many would call a

Pop Culture Cafe Reviews – Welcome Home

After about a year and a half of giving mini twitter reviews I think I’d like to start giving proper, long winded, but hopefully entertaining reviews again. This will range from Graphic Novel reviews(Fancy word for the floppies), to television reviews(A lot of Premiere episodes to wet the viewers whistle, or any other body part they may have), to cinematic releases, streaming content and even YouTube odds and sods

I’d like to also sink my teeth into some editorials, music, podcasts, Independent Digital content and whatever other media may come my way also.(Christ I may need to extend the day cycle) I found one of the reasons I got bored with the review concept before is that I tried to write like a proper reviewer……….whatever the hell that may entail. I tried to cookie cutter it too much so that they tended to be devoid of any personality of any kind. That’s just not me.

I want reviews to entice to want the reader to perhaps give the material a try…or perhaps give it a pass. I will never blatantly take a shite on any ones craft no matter how much I may not enjoy it. I”ll leave that to SOME…..I say SOME of the wingnuts on other sites. You won’t see any plot regurgitation reviews with me either. Can’t imagine how much it must infuriate an artist/writer to see his/her story reduced to poorly(sometimes) put together Cole notes. I may use profanity every now and then but it will well placed and not in excess.

As far as a schedule goes , there isn’t one. I may do three in one day and none for two days or I may do one …or two…..or three a day. I work, I’m married and we have an award winning(somewhere I’m sure) podcast that comes out every two weeks. I hope you enjoy what does come out though. I’ll try and make it entertaining.

Scott

Marvel/ Netflix Daredevil Season 3 Thoughts So Far *May Contain Some Spoilers*

So once again I got the chance to get a sneak peak at the first 6 episodes of Daredevil 3. I talked about it on The Pop Culture Cafe podcast which you can find a link on the column to your left. But here is the audio of just that review/thoughts.

 

 

Captain Marvel – A Few Thoughts By Brian LaBelle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1BCujX3pw8

I don’t normally write long posts with original thoughts for social media much anymore, but I went down a crazy YouTube rabbit hole last night about the footage from Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 that was screened in Europe this past weekend and as the biggest comic geek you know besides possibly yourself, I had to share some thoughts that kept me up until 3AM.

First off – Some definite light spoilers –

The Captain Marvel soundtrack sounds like it might just might be the best of Big Shiny Tunes. Lots of heavy “classic” 90’s rock is going to “permeate the movie”, so it’s going to be a stylized one similar to the 70’s rock in Guardians of the Galaxy. So that’s already going to make it enjoyable for some of you.

It won’t be an origin story. She already has her powers, she’s a former pilot who has been living on the Kree home world.

She returns to Earth with “Star Force”, a team made up of Linda Danvers, Marr-Vel, Minn-Erva, Att-Lass, Shatterax, Korath & Ronan who made their debut in the comics as a team during the Kree/Skrull War. The last 2 members mentioned appeared in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movies, 20 years after this film takes place.

They come to Earth to stop the Secret Invasion of our planet by the Skrulls.

Carol Danvers’ wingman was Maria Rambeau, call sign “Photon”. Her daughter Monica would be around 20 years old in the present MCU. In the conics Monica was an Avenger named “Photon” who had powers similar to Captain Marvel and even went by that name when Linda Danvers lost her powers to Rogue from the X-Men (that won’t be in the movies, but Photon May be in the sequel).

This movie is meant to “expand Marvel’s cosmic presence”. We already have the Chitauri, and other alien races introduced in Guardians. But the Kree and Skrull are massive Empires with many of the alien races introduced falling under the influence of one of those two, or the Shi’ar Empire from X-Men comics which may come later.

Now for some absolutely INSANE theories and actual possible spoilers for Avengers 4, some of which I’ve read and heard online, others I’m just speculating.

It is confirmed that the plot of Avengers 4 will start 10 years in the future. Some of the Avengers who are still around then will travel not through time, but to different realities in the multiverse. They’re going to collect the Infinity Stones of other worlds, in order to make their own gauntlet, to go back in time to stop Thanos’ finger snap. This can’t happen in the comics, but the rules of the MCU multiverse are different.

Hawkeye’s wife and children were killed by the finger snap. He’s going to have his own mission in the present that he adopts the “Ronin” identity and costume to complete.

Pictures were previously released of Tony Stark greying at the temples, Ant-Man, and Captain America in his costume from the attack on New York in the first Avengers movie all talking. That led to speculation about time travel, but that was actually an alternate reality where the same battle takes place and the Avengers lose.

If you saw Ant-Man & the Wasp, then you know the whole thing was about Ghost gaining the ability to access alternate dimensions while still being tethered to this Earth, which was killing her. Ant-Man’s ability to access the Quantum Realm (Microverse) is what will enable Tony, Ant-Man, and Professor Hulk to travel to alternate Earths to collect the stones they need.

The Russo Brothers said the reason that Hulk wouldn’t come out to fight Thanos wasn’t that he was scared, it was that he got to be Hulk for years on Sak’aar and he was sick of Banner only letting him out, to bail everyone else out. 10 years from now, they will have learned how to work together to become “Professor Hulk”. Which if you read the comics, you know is one of the most powerful versions of the Hulk because he has all of Banner’s smarts and Hulk’s strength working together.

They also just said if there was a scene they could have added, it would have been the Red Skull turning his back on Thanos and laughing. Red Skull tells Thanos, “A soul for a soul. That is what the gem requires.” But he also says you must be willing to give up that which you love most, not that you necessarily have to. The soul the gem required was for the release of the Red Skull. He is now free to make his way back to Earth, or make another surprise appearance somewhere else and maybe even pursue another infinity gem.

Odin once collected all 6 gems and realized it was too much power and dispersed them throughout the 9 realms. The gauntlet in his armory was a fake, but that’s because Tony, Bruce & Scott are going to use the time stone to go back in time and switch it with a fake, so that Tony has a gauntlet to harness all of their power at once in.

Marvel has been very deliberate in introducing the concept of a multiverse in earlier movies so that Avengers 4 can feature “numerous variations of every Avenger, from a wide variety of alternate universes.”

Now do you want to read the craziest thing yet?

There’s no turning back after this if it turns out to be true.

This is 100% speculation based on stuff I saw in a YouTube video, but don’t say you weren’t warned…

Tony becomes obsessed with time travel and “fixing things”. Correction, since the first Iron Man film, Tony has been obsessed with “fixing” past mistakes and ensuring tragedies can be avoided. He has PTSD and it affects his health in Iron Man 3. His obsession led to the creation of Ultron in the second Avengers film. He ruins his relationship with Steve Rogers because he can’t see past the fact his brainwashed buddy was forced to kill Tony’s parents against his will in Civil War. He gives Spider-Man some tough love in Homecoming. And he talks about how Thanos has been in his head for 6 years in Infinity War. There has been a trail of bread crumbs laid out in front of us.

Now what if, Tony DID manage to assemble his own gauntlet? Of course he’ll go back in time and stop Thanos finger snap. That’s a Hell of an adventure to go on though the multiverse for a somewhat anti-climatic ending. Isn’t it?

Why stop there?

Tony could also theoretically use the gauntlet to save Thor’s people from Hela. He could stop Ultron from being created. He could prevent Pepper from being subjected to Extremis. He could stop the attack on New York. He could go back and stop Steve’s plane from sinking into the ocean and make sure Peggy Carter teaches him how to dance.

Not only could he do all of those things, he’s shown us in every movie he WOULD do those things if he had a time stone.

Thanos was the bad guy for part 3, but if this is really the end of the “classic” Avengers line-up in movies, then there’s one classic Avengers villain who has potentially been under everyone’s noses all along…

I’m giving you one more chance to stop reading. Here it is!

You know him by many names which is fitting for this multiversal epic.

Iron Lad

Nathaniel Richards

Victor Timely

Immortus

Rama-Tut

The Conquerer

Kang

A time-changing obsessed version of Tony Stark from the far future who now calls himself Kang has been orchestrating all of the events of this MCU over the past 10 years to create this situation where he is able to get his hands on 2 Infinity Gauntlets, ascend to Godhood, and create a perfect universe and it takes all of the Avengers and others from alternate dimensions along with Thanos to stop him.

That’s a definite change from the comic origins, but the movies have never followed everything exactly as in the comics but have still stayed true to the story. Robert Downey Junior, the original MCU hero realizing he just can’t stop himself from going too far and sacrificing himself to save the multiverse and stop Robert Downey Junior, the greatest villain in the MCU might actually be as close to a perfect ending to this 10 year roller coaster as I can imagine?

Or this could be a whole bunch of baloney?

THE SHAPE OF WATER/THE SPACE BETWEEN US

While doing some research for the latest The Pop Culture Cafe podcast I came across the trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s new film, The Shape of Water. As with a del Toro movie you step into another world from Guillermo mind. But is it a totally original?  I got trapped down the YouTube rabbit hole after watching the trailer.  I came across a short film from Norway, The Space Between Us. The Space Between Us was a short film by the Netherlands Film Academy in 2015.  Now after watching each trailer does it each have a similar feel and look.

The Shape of Water
An other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

We follow Juliette, a cleaning lady in a research institute called Beacon. The world of Beacon is a desolate place where the remainder of the human race is forced to use oxygen masks to survive because of severe air pollution.

In their search for finding a new way of living they manage to capture a sea creature, they name Adam that could prove vital in mankind’s salvation. The short film explores the theme self-sacrifice in a fast paced action, sci – fi setting. The main selling point is the VFX done by a crew of 10 students at The Netherlands Film Academy

Now I am not shitting on Guillermo del Toro here. But I did find from these two trailers I find it hard to believe that  del Toro did not come across film and a germ of a idea came about.

What do you think?

 

They Need The Fantastic Four

The FF are unfortunately and very visibly missing form the MCU and with that horrible iterations that came out we can safely say the rights desperately need to be reverted back to Marvel.  Now that being said I believe it needs to happen sooner that later as it would help quell the injustice Marvel has subjected white people with.

Yes, you just read that right: injustice to the white people. With all these politically correct motivated changes to characters via their back story or even their ethnicity (looking at you Heimdal) I honestly believe the FF need to be released as they should be: all white and all American.

It just feels that they (white people) are not being represented and with Luke Cage and Black Panther making white America feeling some what uncomfortable kinda of way it’s time they get a Marvel movie just for them where they can be the hero again. Where they can be the center of attention with no sidekicks or some kind of ethic liaison to Shield or any crap like that.

Marvel please give them the heroes they deserve. The heroes they need so they can stop feeling left out. This way Lil Tommy and Lil Jane can look at the big screen and see themselves.

Guest Columnist

Malik Jackson