Review – The Amazing Spider-Man #687 – Ends of the Earth

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Stefano Caselli
Color: Frank Martin Jr.
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Caselli
Variant Cover: Gabriele Dell’otto and Perkins / D’armata
Published by: Marvel Comics

The end is at hand, Spider-Man and company have fought through numerous obstacles trying to find Doc Oc including the Avengers in this latest battle. With so little time left there’s absolutely no time to fool around and there’s still so much to do with the launch of the rockets coming at any moment to possibly save the world or send it spiraling into doomsday. Spidey has managed to recruit even Mysterio into the fold using his mass desire for wealth as a motivating force to help put an end to the games and save the planet and his billions.

Unfortunately this issue puts the heroes at a huge road block and they rise to the limit to do what feels like the impossible, the drama of Sable, Widow and Spidey is balanced with the humorous behavior of Mysterio as he bounces around. It’s not to say they make Mysterio a stupid or slapstick type of character, it’s actually a witty relief of a character joining up on a side he feels he has to out of personal interest more than a moral interest. The pace of this last section of the story is intense and it drives home the sense of urgency and desperation to do whatever it takes with who and what is available in this final hour.

The wrap-up to the issue feels a bit forced, you have a massive build up that doesn’t manage to deliver as much as you would think in that final moment when it’s all there. I understand there’s the classic moral decisions of Spider-Man in his series but I guess you can’t expect a huge throw down with a villain on his death-bed clinging to his final moments that can barely stand on his own power. Overall it’s an impressive arc and I’ll be going back into the past releases to catch up on the full story as I joined late into the releases.

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

Review – The Avengers (2012) Movie

The wait is over for the latest Marvel Super Hero installment, Marvel has released The Avengers to theaters this weekend and it’s taking off like mad. The new movie spearheaded by Joss Whedon sets out to combine the lives of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye into a single classic package from the comic world. The article will try to stay as spoiler free as possible so everyone can read it without feeling like I just killed the ending.

Given past experiences this isn’t something that’s a given to go well, many have felt the burn from bad group movies like Fantastic Four and some of X-Men as well. Fortunately Whedon has a history with Marvel in writing story arcs and developing characters across their roster, as a result he has a bit of an understanding about how they work. Add onto this he’s a creator from the genre and understands developmental trends from the Marvel Universes, as a result we get a mixture of hero profiles that set up a great experience without trying to reinvent the wheel, instead he just borrows from the best of all there is to pick from.

The basics are easy, Loki has returned and he’s in for payback, he has an army with him and a plan to launch a full-scale invasion if he’s lucky. With his brother preoccupied elsewhere and his existence thought to be lost to the void he’s on a limited free ride ticket to get into action while he can. Unfortunately this is where things go horribly wrong, in his last trip to Earth he didn’t take the time to absorb the level of the heroes on the planet, as a result he’s stuck with something he didn’t account for, some big names that don’t take kindly to getting shoved around.

As a Marvel movie this hits a lot of points that get missed in regular releases, while running at around 2 hours and 30 minutes from previews to credits it uses the time to create story, relationships, conflicts and resolve without axing too much off. It’s very common to see critical development skimmed through in favor of being flashy or saving time, Whedon doesn’t dive into this all that much and the experience is richer for it. We see a band of heroes that had no real relations jump into the fray with genuine conflict instead of magical cooperation, given the fights that happen in the comic universe it was a relief to see that no one was really happy-go-lucky in the story.

The result of this is an intense experience and one of the most impressive accomplishments is the development of the best Hulk I’ve seen yet in the movies from Marvel right now. The personality development is critical and the focus goes from the random generations of Banner to something closer to the Hulk seen in arcs like Planet Hulk. If there’s a chance to keep that thunder going it would likely prove to renew faith in the franchise even if it was yet another reboot. Other characters like Captain America get a heavy kick to the modern age, we left off with him trying to cope with the modern age but Whedon helps crank a reluctant Captain into full gear by making him step up to the situation at hand.

Other developments include a reformed Thor, while headed toward greater responsibility he’s less of a hot-head figure in the development, using calculated attacks and complete control of the hammer to dish out heavy damage to anyone in his way. The other step up in development came from Iron Man, while there’s no doubt that Tony Stark likes to let it rip, he’s at a technological point where he’s more interested in knowing more and doing more than ever before. While he still gets to be a bit of an ass it’s nothing that dwarfs the rest of the cast in the movie and often serves to develop the story around other characters even more.

While I had a lot of excitement going into The Avengers, it was a true test to see if it held up to expectations, it’s safe to say that it delivers on multiple levels. As a comic movie it brings intense action and storytelling to new levels, it doesn’t short the audience to meet a deadline and it draws a full story experience from start to finish. Joss even finds time to tease other parts of the universe throughout the film to the final seconds before the MPAA rating screen closes out the movie, yes that’s right sit through EVERYTHING, if you leave early you’ll only hurt your own experience.

Visually The Avengers brings intense environments through heavy use of locations and CG implementation, the story sells because they took the time to go through how they sold the comic and kept to that. With so much time taken into making this a major accomplished piece there aren’t any areas that just blatantly scream out that a corner was cut. It’s easy to know so many things are CG in the film but the immersion remains strong throughout the movie and owns what it is by utilizing the technology to the extreme.

Overall it’s an experience to catch although some may need to prepare themselves for it based on the running time. While it is action driven it’s very much about the drama and adventure throughout the story and that may set some fans back. If you’re a general movie fan hoping for a blind rush of action that lacks depth I’d still say try to see this, if you’re looking for a well executed comic movie, you’d only rip yourself off by skipping The Avengers. Now the question remains if Marvel can hold the rest of their movies up to the same bar. For my experience this was one of the most rewarding installments I’ve come across for Marvel movies, I was interested going in with minimal fears and I came out wanting to see it again.

Story:★★★★½ 
Cinematography:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

99 cent Marvel Mondays gives Hawkeye and Black Widow the spotlight this week!

It’s another Marvel Monday and the company is kicking off the week with a combination of Hawkeye and Black Widow with some of their more recent moments in Marvel History. Check out the list below and get in on the sale via your iOS or Android device or your computer while you can! The sale wraps up at 11pm EST or 8pm PST

  • Hawkeye & Mockingbird
  • Hawkeye: Blind Spot
  • Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye
  • Black Widow

Link: Marvel Mondays 99 Cent Sale

Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner talk The Avengers, also TV Trailer

It was getting a bit much with all the Avengers posts but one highlight of this interview by Marvel stood out as a lovely moment that had to be shared.

Zack Zeigler recently talked to both actors for the movie on characters and costumes, we got some gems of the following that had to get passed forward.

“We are humans with high skill sets,” Renner said. “[Hawkeye and Black Widow] fight well together…and they complement each other.”

Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson star as Hawkeye and Black Widow in “Marvel’s The Avengers”
Added Johansson, “Both of us fight hand-to-hand…but we’re fighting in a different way than everybody else. We do a lot of fighting on the ground.”

Johansson made her debut as Black Widow in “Iron Man 2,” where we learned of her affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D. and that she wouldn’t hesitate to lay the smack down on bad guys. Renner made a brief cameo as the bow-and-arrow wielding Hawkeye in “Thor.”

For both Renner and Johansson, getting into character never posed a problem. The issue was getting comfortable in their characters’ clothing.

“It was like 800 degrees in my costume…and everybody looked incredibly uncomfortable until the cameras were rolling,” she said. “And then ‘Cut!’ and we were all like, ‘Ugh, this thing! Get it off me, it’s awful!”

There’s one more part that makes this priceless, although I’m not sure how great Mark Ruffalo feels about it.

Added Renner, “I think the humility award goes to [Mark] Ruffalo. [He was] in a thong or wearing something unflattering, and he’s supposed to be the [Incredible Hulk].”

Keep that in mind future potential Hulk actors, running around in a thong might be part of your job requirements. Outside of that you do get to look like a badass on the big screen and that just might make up for all of the labor invested.

To top things off we have the latest TV Spot showing a roll call of the team.

Link: Marvel News

A Black Widow trailer appears and Robert Downey Jr. Talks Avengers

On the 4th day of April Marvel gave to… well they gave a new trailer showcasing Black Widow in The Avengers movie, it’s a pretty sweet clip although she still will have quite a challenge ahead against the supernatural forces at work. Worth a watch especially if you like to see Scarlett Johansson getting acrobatic and wrecking shop.

Robert Downey Jr. follows up on that by interviewing with Marvel about his role in the Avengers as Tony Stark and how the impressions found of his character leading into the movie wont exactly dictate where we see him now. Given the story control has shifted hands and we’ve seen Tony make leaps and bounds between stories that’s not a far cry for expectations.
He also notes how impressive it is to work with Joss Whedon on this film and how any situation can flip in a moments notice working with him, any challenges in scripts or scenes are tackled in a moments notice and the fluid motion of the whole thing goes uninterrupted.
“[Joss] is really quick and incredibly responsible to his job requirements, to the letter,” Downey, Jr. said. “There’s a scene at the end that kind of unites Thor and Cap and Tony, and it needed to say a lot…but it couldn’t be two pages, so [Joss] said, ‘Give me a second.’ It ended up being four lines that included all of us and he gave us three pages of options. The guy is kind of a machine, but [what he writes] feels organic.”
It’s a good sign for the movie, Marvel has had a very unsteady past with franchise successes but this seems to be their strongest card to play yet. On top of this momentum the company is also pushing forward news on Thor 2 coming November 15, 2013 and Iron Man 3 in May 3, 2013.

Marvel brings Avengers TV Spot Brings Helicarrier and Agent Coulson Poster

Avengers stuff is going crazy this month, between AvX and the new Avengers movie it’s getting heavy. First up, Agent Coulson gets a new movie poster, he’s a right hand man to Nick Fury and a huge part of helping the team organize to take on their latest threat.

No word on the movie poster availability like the Lego one but here’s to hoping it’s out there anyway. With that said, check out the video below and enjoy the poster resolution we have available.

 

 

 

 

Lego and Marvel prepare Avengers movie posters for launch day

Select movie locations across the nation will get a special treat next month when The Avengers hits theaters, Lego and Marvel partnered to create a promo poster using Legos to recreate the main characters from the movie. It’s pretty awesome but supplies are limited so I’d start asking around at your theaters to find out who will be supporting it.

If you’re curious check out the image below and sample shots of the Avengers Lego kits rolling out for the movie!

 

   

Marvel adds 10 new pictures from The Avengers movie

As if it wasn’t hard enough holding out for that May 4th release, Marvel has 10 new shots of the cast for the movie to tease everyone with. Some decent action shots all around although the stills of Chris Evans still have me really wondering about that Captain America suit. Hopefully it works better in action than it does right now.

Check out the pictures in the gallery below, we’ll add any extras as Marvel releases them.

Link: Marvel News