Captain America

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Review – New Avengers #29 (AVX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Ron Garney & Jason Keith
Published by: Marvel Comics

In an earlier time during the AVX saga there was a moment, a key moment where Captain America and the world deciders wanted to hope for something else.

New Avengers #29 jumps into the time machine, we see the secret council brought together one more time in the darkest hours of the Phoenix taking over and the Avengers feeling helpless to it all. The same group that debated the fate of Hulk and so many other cases in private for the good of the world. It’s not something they pride themselves in, instead they often debate and dread the grouping of the team as it always brings so much conflict and a deep seeded sense of regret for the outcome that follows.

For Captain America, this reunion isn’t just about doing something for the Earth, it’s about trying to understand where times split and how to get back to a sense of normal again. With the group so emotionally split it’s a tough debate that follows and leaves them split on where this all will go, so many are at a crossroads given the advancements to humanity and the world that going against it seems equally as damaging. We get an insight into Reed Richards as well and his MIA nature in this whole battle.

It’s a good read and it helps explain why Captain America is so torn apart on what he’s doing, he knows what these changes bring but it’s the condition that lurks on him and drives him to create these resistance attacks. For those following AVX that want a good break from the battle and a bit of time to feel bad for Cap this is a solid read.

Release Date: August 8, 2012

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #5 (AVX)

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Matt Fraction
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover Art: Ryan Stegman & Marte Gracia
Published by: Marvel Comics

So we’re a bit late to the AVX party on this one but we’ve been following the series so far and wanted to continue at least with some coverage of the latest happenings after that 3 week break that Marvel took.

We’re back on the Moon and Hope is merging with the Phoenix, the Avengers and X-Men are clashing on the moon and it’s about to go down in a bad way. Hope is feeling the limits of this event she’s prepared so hard for and no amount of training and preparation she attempted is providing much help right now. Regardless of this bad situation, everyone is battling out their own personal pursuits on the surface as the apocalypse itself sets in.

Avengers vs X-Men #5 dives into the dilemma that is Hope’s mind, she’s torn on what it is she’s exactly doing anymore, the force is too strong and she has no idea on how to tangle with this cosmic bird trying to overwhelm her. Instead of embracing it like the warrior pictured through all of this lead-in, she’s still the scared girl and now she’s trying to get away.

The issue  is one of the strongest yet, we see a bit of everything in the pages of issue 5 including where this whole story goes once the Phoenix Force and Hope have their difficulty in bonding. Many have had an issue with the Avengers beating down every X-Men member they see but that will not be the case anymore, honestly everyone on the Avengers just died a little inside. Balance issues with Red Hulk dominating everything that gets in his way and so on seem flipped for the next arc.

I’ve been hoping for a brighter side to this story for the X-Men side, I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened in this issue. Some fans will of course be cheering because of the cool new attire and powers but at the same time it could very well mean doomsday is just around the corner for Earth yet again with 5 avatars full of stupid amounts of power. I can say I’m really looking forward to seeing where this whole twist goes in issue #6.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★½ 
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Marvel Free Focus returns with more free issues (5/7/12)

Captain Britain, Daredevil and Captain America arrive on tap this week for Marvel fans looking to catch a few freebies, unfortunately we’re winding down from our previous months of high volume releases but that will only small bump in the road as next week takes things up to 4 releases.

  • Coming soon*
    • ASTONISHING TALES (2009) #6
    • VENGEANCE (2011) #5
    • RED SKULL (2011) #5
    • CLOAK & DAGGER (2011) #3

If we see any other releases from next week show up early we’ll get on it, enjoy the sales and the freebies to help carry you until next week.

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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 
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Review – The Avengers #25 (AvX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Walter Simonson
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Daniel Acuna
Published by: Marvel Comics

Avengers vs X-Men spills into the pages of The Avengers #25, the fight is on and then we shoot back into the memories of Captain America. Unfortunately yes, we’re in another back story sandwiched between minutes of the fight breaking out. This isn’t to say it’s irrelevant in the story though, in fact it’s a chunk of a huge story panning out for the arc . We’re given a glimpse at Captain America in this struggle, it’s not one he’s all that accustomed to though, he faces issues of public perception and doubts in his own mind about his ability to deliver. No one ever said being the face of a super hero group would be easy though, even his allies remind him of that as he wishes for that one move to put them back in the good grace of the public.

Issue 25 takes us into the heart of Cap’s doubts and desires to deliver a win for the people, with the help of his fellow Avengers and a streak of luck delivered by Noh-Varr they take on a piece of the puzzle that delivered such a heavy blow to the image of the Avengers. With swift action and coordination Captain America is able to relive the good moments of this job, tackling A.I.M. and renewing faith in his team to protect the world in a way they only can. It’s a deep side story that really drives off from the Phoenix issue at hand, that is until the end of the issue and then you find out yet another interest rests under the surface of this conflict. Who else in the Avengers will develop a new agenda as they come to this fight and how will it spiral out for the team?

For those hoping to see a dramatic battle in Avengers 25, you’ll get one but it will not center around the X-Men, instead the focus shifts over to A.I.M. and it’s an important step to introduce a greater issue at hand. It’s a shame to see so much back peddling but understandable given where this story is directing itself, what was originally a battle to save the Earth from the Phoenix force is now developing into a galaxy wide battle to control it. We’ll have to see how well they can keep it together when they start to wonder who they can really trust.

Outside of the story, the rest of the issue is a good read, although I still struggle to see why Thor came off so odd, his face almost too flat to imagine as he flew in to lend a hand to Captain America. So much of the book went fine minus that moment and it was so large of an exposure that seemed to never repeat itself after the fact.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Heroes Reborn goes 99 cents with Marvel today! (4/16/12)

We’re a bit late on this one but we have the news on the Monday 99 cent sale for Marvel. Heroes Reborn is the theme of the day and it comes in 3 flavors you can see below.

As usual the sale lasts until 11:00 PM EST so act fast as there are only a few hours left.

Additional background on the Heroes Reborn series from Marvel:

Taking place in an alternate universe created by Franklin Richards, HEROES REBORN: AVENGERS #1-12 re-tells how the team first gathered and became the super group they are today. In HEROES REBORN: IRON MAN #1-12, witness Tony Stark gradually become the Invincible Iron Man while also finding time to flirt with Pepper Potts and hang with James Rhodes. And in HEROES REBORN: CAPTAIN AMERICA #1-12, discover how Steve Rogers adjusts to present-day life in a world full of global threats and super villains.

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Marvel puts Ultimates up in Friday 99 cent sale!

Marvel has a twist today for collectors, today’s digital sale revolves around the Utlimates series. There’s not much to really say for variations though, we’re not talking about Ultimate Spider-Man or X-Men just the base series that helped spark the side universe that we know today.

Sale issues:

Keep note that while you can access this on iOS, Android and the PC you’ll need to get in before 11:00 pm EST otherwise the window will close up and these comics will jump back to regular price. Grab them while you can!

Link: Marvel Digital Store

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Avengers Movie Toys by Hasbro arrive

Hasbro and Marvel are back at it, the duo have introduced new movie related play goods for the masses. We have some images and the info in a handy guide for everyone.

Link: Marvel News

  • Iron Man Mission Mask
    • Make super hero action “come alive” with the awesome IRON MAN mask that features lights and sound effects! When villains rear their ugly heads and you’ve got to save the day, put on your mask to feel just like your favorite hero. With details that make this mask seem just like the real thing, you’ll want to wear it all the time — or until your evil enemies are defeated!

      Mask comes with instructions.

      Requires 3 “AAA” batteries, included.

      Mask adjusts to fit most head sizes for ages 5 through adult.

  • Iron Man Tri-Power Repulsor
    • Arm yourself with this super-powered TRI-POWER REPULSOR blaster, just like the legendary IRON MAN hero! Sneak up on your enemy, then immobilize him with your blaster’s pulse lights and launch sounds as you fire away with missile after missile! Re-load and move on to your next target. The future of the world is in your hands!

      Blaster comes with 4 missiles.

      Requires 3 “AAA” batteries (not included).

      Ages 4 and up.

  • Captain America Attack Shield
    • In order to fight alongside the AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA needs all new equipment – including an improved Stark Tech shield. Built by Tony Stark himself, his shield packs all the latest in high-tech weapons, from bulletproof energy shields to devastating projectiles for taking down enemies at a distance.

      Defend and destroy with your CAPTAIN AMERICA Attack Shield! Arm yourself with this impressive piece of weaponry to block attacks and, with a squeeze of the trigger, stun your target as you send discs soaring up to 20 feet!

      Shield comes with 5 launching discs.

      Requires 4 “AA” batteries (not included).

      Ages 5 and up.

  • Thor Thunder Clash Hammer
    • Forged in the heart of a dying star, the hammer of THOR was built to harness the raw power of thunder and lightning. Few beings dare challenge THOR whilst he wields his almighty hammer!

      Gear up to do battle just like your favorite MARVEL THE AVENGERS character! The Thunder Clash Hammer looks just like the signature hammer of the mighty THOR. But when you press the button, the Thunder Clash Hammer’s thunderous battle sounds will cause your foes to tremble! The lightning glow of the hammer will make you look like the warrior for good that you are! All hail mighty THOR – and you, when you hold the THOR Thunder Clash Hammer!

      Includes hammer.

      Includes 3 “AAA” batteries.

      Ages 5 and up.

  • Hulk Gamma Green Smash Fists
    • Feel just as powerful as your amazing MARVEL THE AVENGERS hero, the HULK, with these amazing Gamma Green Smash Fists! When you put these green hands of power on your own hands, it will be that much easier to imagine yourself smashing everything that gets in your way! With a HULK hero mask (sold separately), you can be even more like the muscle-bound green hero. Get into the best HULK action ever with your Gamma Green Smash Fists!

      Includes 2 fists.

      Ages 3 and up.

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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #1: Infinite

Doing this in the wrong order but its worth putting out there for fans on the fence about buying this one. AvX Infinite #1 is actually a digital installment to this new series from Marvel. Focusing on more involved story telling using interactive panels that develop as you click along. Let’s get started on this new adventure into the fresh series of AvX.

Infinite #1  tells us the story of Nova and his race to Earth, for those of you who read Avengers vs X-Men already, a big question did revolve around Nova just appearing at random and spiraling into the planet with no real control. Infinite is a unique chapter to get a feel for what these guys are really up against and the trek that Nova made to alert the planet to the threat coming their way. The Phoenix force is coming and that’s the big worry, but we see how powerful it is and how Nova pushes his very limits to relay the warning. While some might hope for more details around the conflict itself, the story stays largely contained to a safe area so that readers without the means to get Infinite aren’t robbed of crucial pieces of the story.

As a new format the delivery is unique, allowing the author to give pause and direction through the pages of the read so that emphasis can be made as needed. Things that would normally cost valuable page space can now be considered like state of being or drama in the moment. A few scenes used Gaussian blur to show poor vision after impact and even visual attention back to Nova. Being able to go from shock to distress with a click was a pleasing experience as you normally inject those frames in with your own mind or sometimes even miss out on what the context was.

Is AvX Infinite critical to your collection? No, would it have worked as well in print? I have my doubts, needing to arrange the panels in such a way to tell the story in print would have consumed quite a bit of paper and required a price hike in the process for something that would have gotten lost in translation. As a fan though I thought the installment gave just enough information to be worth the investment, after reading the current AvX issues 0 and 1 it was a point that bugged for clarity to me even if it was used for an experimental format. The only flaw I really hit with the book was the final panel, while the rest of the art stands pretty high, Captain America’s face in the last scene is just troubling, a little extra time would have gone a long way on that face.

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

Link: Marvel Comics – Avengers vs. X-Men #1: Infinite

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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

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