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Tag Archive | Marvel

Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

This marks the first time I’ve ever watched a sequel without seeing the original first. Still have no interest in seeing the first entry. A part of me feels tricked into thinking this entry was theatre worthy either.

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance posterA mad genius exists out there cutting exceptional movie trailers turning garbage films into inspirational gold. He must be stopped! Otherwise, we will continue to waste $13 a pop for 3D tickets to crap like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Wait, it wasn’t all that bad.

In fact, parts of it were downright good and even a bit unsettling. So here’s a quick, down and dirty review of the film…because how much time do we really want to waste on a Ghost Rider sequel review? Not much time.

THE GOOD

Idris Elba. This man is a god (literally, in Thor) and he is guaranteed to save your crappy movie, or at least be the best part of it. He even steals his smallish scenes in Thor (muh favorite). Not quite sure why he was boasting colored contacts. It looked cool when he was playing Heimdahl, but went with his outfit and godly persona in that flick. Here it was obvious some studio exec was like “Idris Elba in contacts makes this movie THAT MUCH COOLER. Do it.” Elba was sporting an off-putting and unnecessary French accent, but aside from that – he was the best actor and second most fun to watch on the screen.

The special effects were the most fun thing to watch on-screen. The Ghost Rider himself is a special effect and a gorgeous one at that, with flames curling around his skull head and any vehicle he chooses to mount bursting into hellish fire. His antics are creepy, twitchy and a bit scary. The vibe for The Rider was PERFECT and clearly a lot of time and energy went into making him look cool. The action sequence were entertaining, especially the mid-point of the movie, in the rock quarry.

The audience was treated to tasty and attractive animated sequences as a narrative device. I’m always up for animated sequences in otherwise live action films. Especially comic book adaptations. Thanks production teams!

THE BAD

Nicholas Cage and his bizarre acting abilities. Loved him in Kick Ass and think he has a dry, oddball sense of humor but it was the wrong tone for this type of movie. What he emoted and what the director envisioned did not mesh well together on-screen and the effect was a mushy pile of loosely connected action sequence, while any attempt at plot was jarring on the audience. Not that anyone expected this to be Oscar worthy material, but it was a discordant mess not even on par with most Hollywood messes. An enjoyable mess, mind you. Entertaining.

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X-Shirts: Female Mutant Inspired Fashions

Do you know how difficult it’s been to find an attractive, properly fitting ladies shirt with one of the X-Womenz emblazoned across the chest? Well, it’s been damn difficult. This may shock some of you but Storm, Phoenix and Rogue just aren’t the most popular Marvel faces affixed to an item of clothing.

This also goes hand in hand with another rant/beef I have: even though Rogue is much-beloved by fangirls (this fangirl at least) there is not a single mass-produced costume inspired by her character. Any Rogue costumes and wigs have to be custom made. Which SUCKS if you want to dress up but can’t sew your own.

It’s only been recently that the Storm and Phoenix pre-fabricated costumes have appeared for purchase through major retailers (in varying degrees of skankitude).

PHOENIX:

Weird mix of old school costume and original Phoenix. With just a dash of sleaze.

STORM:

I really adore the head piece to this costume. And all the silver. It pretty much rocks 100%.

I love the Storm version, but wonder about cosplay race-bending.

Is it appropriate for a white person to cosplay as a comic book character of color? According to this blog post, no. And for all intents and purposes, I tend to agree.

So then, would it be weird for me to wear a shirt with Storm on it? Unfortunately there is no guide post on the internet for that particular question (THE NET HAS FAILED ME!)…so I’m gonna also go with “no.” And use a similar set of logic: there are enough white female X-Characters with whom I can identify. If anyone wants to argue I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Anywho – the whole point of this post was to highlight the trend of using the X-Ladies (the BEST ones, sans White Queen) on more clothing attire. And jazzing them up a bit, so it’s not the old Jim Lee 90s version or the throwbacks to the original crew either.

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“X-Men: First Class” Fever

**LEAKED SCENE**

I normally don’t go in for this kind of crap, but I’m anxious about this movie being good and redeeming the franchise. Here’s a leaked clip on YouTube. Watch it before it’s pulled:

 

It’s happening again – Fox has control of one of my favorite properties and is teasing me with a potentially good film. Literally – teasing. Dropping intriguing character vignettes YouTube videos and releasing 40 still images in the last week.

Glad to see the black leather is not making a come-back.

I KNOW I should have learned my lessons by now. But I actually liked Matthew Vaughn’s Kick Ass and the writing team looks pretty solid – Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman have all proven themselves on movies and TV shows which have plenty of nerd credentials.

Also – the lineup of qualified and talented actors and actresses further serves to muddle my usually quite rational thinking when going into a film like this. Yes, the continuity continues to be further eroded and fucked up. Yes, it makes no sense that Emma Frost has now appeared in two films completely out of a rational timeline (maybe all will be explained?). I’ve no hope of ever seeing my favorite characters interact on-screen in a normal way. Ahem, that would be Rogue and Gambit. I’m a child of the 90s animated cartoon series, so there’s no changing my mind. The best thing is just to accept that I love these two characters together and walk away.

Against my better judgement: I do think “X-Men: First Class” has the potential to be good. And potential potential is VERY exciting.

When it gets right down to it – X-Men are my favorite superhero group. I’ll support them no matter what shitty-ass movie or cartoon series or spin-off is being made. I’ll give them more of my time and energy than I would donate to any other Marvel, DC, Dark Horse property. It’s an abusive relationship, and I’ll keep coming back for more until they close up shop.

Here are the aforementioned character introduction trailers to entice you:

MEET BANSHEE

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Thor: More Fun Than Expected

It may shock and appall many to know that I am not a raving fanatic of the God of Thunder. Not because of anything HE did, but because I only have a limited amount of time to spend on superheroes and the X-Men usually dominate that realm (Thor reference!). Sooo – for a comic book fan of my tastes, what is there to love in a Thor flick?

Thor movie posterHow about almost everything? As “Iron Man” before it, “Thor” provided lots of fun. And in a comic book movie adaptation especially with content as light and fluffy as “Thor”, what more could you expect?

WHAT’S GOOD

The special effects were well done, the action sequences spot-on for this type of hero. I hadn’t especially noted it, but Dan was quick to mention how the film had dispensed with the ubiquitous wire/John Woo/Matrix fighting scenes for punching, kicking and a good old-fashioned wrestle in the mud. Which is totes appropriate for a Viking. Good job fight choreographer. Your efforts were duly noted by the general public!

The cast exceeded my expectations having only glimpsed Chris Hemsworth in the Star Trek film (in arguably the most memorable/traumatic opening sequence to grace the screen in a while), wasn’t sure what he would have to offer up as this larger than life character. He managed it quite well and showed a pretty adept comedic timing. As did the always lovable Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgaard. And to some degree Natalie Portman. I’m still not convinced I like her in comedies. But she can hold her own with this cast. And she won an Oscar, so I guess that means automatic pass. She did have loads of chemistry with Hemsworth but unfortunately I never quite bought their relationship. Which wasn’t their fault – but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Maybe it’s just my baby hungry brain, but was anyone else speculating about whether or not she was pregnant during the filming of this movie? It’s post “Black Swan.” Just saying.

As for the Asgaardians – Anthony Hopkins was stellar as old Odin One Eye. He growled, howled and menaced as is appropriate to the All-Father. Renee Russo was his lovely wife Frigga. Blink and you probably missed her. Pretty sure she had one line and a weak-ass battle with an Ice Giant. Pretty lame for the All-Mother. Tom Hiddleston was a much more subdued Loki than I anticipated, especially after having encountered him in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game series. And part of me was secretly hoping they would cast him as a female. Lady Loki was smokin’ hot!

Even without all the showy aspects of Loki on display, Hiddleston’s performance was probably the most emotionally adept of anyone in this story. Thor is kind of a d-bag for most of it (but that’s his arch) and you JUST KNOW he’s never going to lose, so the tragedy really falls to Loki and I couldn’t help but sympathize with him.

RACE AND GENDER

The whole Ice Giants thing – I don’t know about you but there was this weird race thing happening there that I’m not sure about. It was pretty surface, so I don’t think there’s much more analyzing to do. The ice giants were people of color being slaughtered by the mostly white Asgaardians (save the sexy and a bit scary Heimdall played by Idris Elba and the asian dude who had one line). If the Skrulls ever make it to the screen, I have a feeling there will be a similar reaction as well.

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Nerd Bucket List

Originally had planned to write a recap of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena but that will have to be put on hold. Instead, I bring you something that immediately inspired me as soon as I saw it.The Nerd Bucket List.

It was actually brought to my attention by another female comic book enthusiast who goes by the name of Jill The Nerdy Bird and guest writes for Newsarama.com. She penned up an article there with her own very specialized Nerd Bucket List as opposed to one that must be adhered to by all nerds.

So, you probably guessed by now that the remainder of this entry is going to be about my own personal Nerd Bucket List. The very exciting thing is that I’ve managed to cross off quite a few things on the list already! These are in no particular order or sequence, as all things are equally important to a nerd like me. 😉

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MINDY’S NERD BUCKET LIST

Meet Katee Sackhoff and Edward James Olmos. Obviously – she is my female heroine idol and it would be the shining moment of my days to shake her hand and tell her that she totally changed my perception of what a female heroine could be with her performance. I would also HAVE to ask her, “What do you hear Starbuck?” Because no one

Starbuck and Adama. My two favorites!

has ever asked her that before. 😉 And Edward James Olmos is like the Grandpa I never had. His gravelly voice and reading glasses and general demeanor are as comforting as a glass of warm milk. I’m especially excited to learn that he might return to the BSG Exhibit in Seattle this year for another script reading. I’m so there.

Visit NYC and lurk outside the Marvel Office. They don’t do regular tours, but I can still be a creeper and maybe snap a few pictures with an editor or something out on the street. Or maybe contact them ahead of time and see if  a tour is possible. Or rewind time back to 1998 and be this kid.

Cosplay as a sexy superhero. This is probably something that should be done before I turn 30 (so like, next year) because after 30 I’ve decided is the cut-off for any kind of sexy cosplay. Please time, do not make a liar of me. I don’t know though – Steampunk has made dressing up in costume at any age a work of art, so that might be the loophole in the future. Not sure what superheroine I would like to attempt. I’ve done Rogue before for a superhero party and all that hair dyeing was such a hassle. Any suggestions?

Participate in Thrill The World in full zombie regalia. At least once. Complete with zombie eye contacts and a clever costume.

Obtain a comic book artist portrait. That sounds so ridiculous, but I’ve always fantasized about becoming a comic book character. Not sure what the process would entail either – probably scouting out a decent picture and passing it off to the artist at a convention. Thinking Pablo Raimondi, Pia Guerra or Joelle Jones. Unless someone has an alternate suggestion?

Join or lead a geeky volunteer group. Like the PDX Browncoats. As mentioned before, this would unite my passion for contributing to the community AND displaying geekery in all it’s glory. Plus meeting and hanging out with a group of like-minded folks. Hopefully that can be checked off in the near future!

Alex Maleev sketch, Scarlet Witch

Sketch from Alex Maleev. Dude, he lives here in Portland but I haven’t seen him attending one convention in the last year. He was even noticeably absent at SDCC. What gives? He is elusive as fuck, which makes a sketch from him about as prized as a Unicorn horn.

Sit inside the cockpit of a Colonial Viper. It wasn’t just enough to SEE them. Seriously. It’s the equivalent to some fans of LOOKING at the Millenium Falcon. Want to touch! Want to see what it would look like if I was flying through space, blasting some frakin’ toasters. So say we all!

Create a comic book. I’m no artist, but I’ve dabbled in all forms of writing save one (or two) and it seems especially strange given my passion for comics. How hard would it be to work up a script? Probably not that difficult. The scary part would be in finding an artist who would be willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears to see those words brought to life.

Meet Joss Whedon AND Brian K. Vaughn. The last of the comic book scribes whose work has inspired and thrilled me over the years. They are both hugely talented and the opportunity to shake their hands or stare at them obsessively while my mind goes helplessly blank and my knees give way would be truly special.

Complete all Assassin’s Creed games with 100% achievements. Just cause.

Finish up the Phoenix Tattoo in the next two years. Provided both the DH and I can find stable employment situations. Have had to reschedule twice now, so London no doubt thinks I’m a flake. But I don’t intend to have a half-finished tattoo on my body forever.

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BUCKET LIST ITEMS ALREADY COMPLETED

Attend San Diego Comic Con At Least Once. This was listed as one of the top items on the collaborative nerd bucket list, so I believe I can safely assume the mantle of nerd for the rest of my days – having traveled to the geek mecca and survived the eye-gouging dangers of Hall H and witnessed the glory that was the Avengers Panel (even if we were in the back row and it was on the jumbo-tron). Check out the recap of SDCC 2010 starting here.

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Spreading the Link Love 8/20/2010

Lazy Friday blogging – but I’m  pretty excited about a number of these links, and if you can’t link spam at least once a month, then what else is the internet for?

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE EXHIBIT

The Experience Music Project and Science Fiction museum in Seattle, Washington is hosting a BSG Exhibit starting in October. You can also enter to win tickets for two, along with free airfare and a hotel for the grand opening. It features three full-size prop spaceships, costumes, exhibition films, music and other props from the original and re-imagined series. Battlestar Galactica opens to the public Oct. 23, 2010 and runs through March 4, 2012. It’s a bit lame, seeing as the exhibit closes the first day of the Emerald Con. Perhaps we could tack an extra day onto the trip and plan to see this on March 3rd.  I’ve been meaning to see the Science Fiction museum for quite awhile, I’m sure it will be filled with enough nerdosity we could justify an entire day of it.

The idea of planning a whole separate trip to Seattle is not terribly enticing. And yes, when we do go (no ifs about it) we will totally dress in costume. In fact, we’ve been talking about making the BSG costumes a convention mainstay and decking them out/beefing them up to be as realistic as possible.

If anyone else is interested in joining us, lemme know. And if you haven’t started watching BSG yet…why the hell not? It’s a fantastic series, and you don’t need to love space or robots for it to make sense.

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THREADLESS: The X-MENAGERIE

This one will be short and sweet. The history behind this shirt: Addie picked one up on Preview Night of Comic Con. Threadless had a small store presence there featuring comic book related desigins on Wednesday and Thursday, but our schedule was too busy to allow us to take a detour and pick one up.

I guess the moral of the story is that patience can be a virtue for a lady who loves hoodies. Yes – this awesome design is now available on a hoody, with a schweet X-slash on the front. The only frustrating thing is that I wasn’t quite sure if the sizing is right, so I ended up with a Small because it’s a uni-sex/dude size chart. Hope it’s right, or if not, I can swap it out for Medium before they all sell out.

Got an email that it shipped on Thursday afternoon. The hoodie is $30, and the shipping/handling is only $5, which is pretty damn reasonable for purchasing clothes on the internetz. It’s supposed to arrive in 5-8 business days, so I’m looking at next week to bring me the most fantabulous hoodie a nerdy-ass girl could ever want.

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RUNAWAYS CASTING CALL: Racebending?

It’s tough to watch beloved pieces of entertainment being white-washed yet again. It sort of makes me want to slap Hollywood’s hands away from anything that features women or characters of color, because it’s nearly impossible for them to not fuck it up – even when a minority is at the helm or race plays an integral part in the story line.

As if The Last Airbender weren’t insulting niche fans enough – Runaways the movie is promising to offer up more of the same. Seriously Hollywood, you can’t fuck with niche fan-groups like you can with huge, best-selling franchises and expect the same kind of loyalty or money. In fact, you can pretty much guarantee some kind of completely valid boycott.

No one has been cast yet – so the concern is just being raised over the casting call announcements, which are purposefully color blind in regards to Nico Minoru, who is a major Japanese American female figure in the comic books. The casting call assumed to be for Nico reads:

Girl 1: Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded
Female, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011

“Uniquely beautiful” must be the way that Hollywood chooses to describe a biracial person, without actually having to use that descriptor. It also leaves it open for one of the movie’s main characters to not share the same race as her comic book counter-part.

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Women of Marvel: Panel Footage

I feel like there were some interesting and valid pieces to the Women of Marvel panel, so I want to share a few clips which captured the spirit and intention of what most of the audience was there for – to celebrate women in the creative process of making comic books and learn more about their craft and what compels them to work in this medium.

This first video (my apologies for the crappy shaky cam) is a response to what their favorite projects have been thus far.

This second video reveals their favorite female comic book characters, as well how they were first introduced to comic books as a medium.

I took video of pretty much the entire panel, but for the sake of those who actually paid admission and traveled to Comic Con to experience this panel first-hand, I will not be posting the panel in it’s entirety. Hopefully these clips will give a flavor of some of the better parts of the panel.

Being a frustrated feminist comic book reader doesn’t mean I don’t also enjoy and appreciate the dialogue happening here. I would love, in the future, to attend a comic book convention where these conversations with mainstream comic book creators could occur unfiltered. Yes, there was a moderator (Marvel stooge) in attendance, who I felt was there to field the tough questions and help the panelist disregard any serious conversations which might have occurred.

Alrighty gang – this is it for the next three days – I’m heading to the Oregon Coast to camp, and then I start a new job on Monday. BUT, I’m bringing LOTS of comic books with me, and I hope to get back to doing just some plain old reviewing next week. Won’t that be a delightful change?

What I’ve been reading? American Vampire, Scott Pilgrim, Rescue, White Queen and Black Widow one shots, Underground and DEMO.

Also – expect a review of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World film which I scored a free ticket to next Wednesday.

Comic Con 2010: Day One + Preview Night

PREVIEW NIGHT

We boarded our flight around 8:45am Wednesday and arrived in San Diego around 11:45am. Then had to wait for the free hotel shuttle for an hour, which was fine because it gave us an opportunity to eat what would be our only substantial meal until nearly 10pm that night.

We dropped off our luggage, printed up our tickets and hopped a trolley around 2pm to the convention center to pick up our badges.

San Diego Trolley < Portland MAX

The registration process itself was fairly quick and easy. Then we were herded like cattle into a line to moo over the master schedule and play a few hands of rummy.

The massively insane lines for Preview Night

Three hours (and some confusion, expensive water and frozen yogurt later), and we entered the Preview Night exhibit hall. Not first…but not exactly last.

There was a mad rush to hit up certain booths (Marvel! WB!) and I stopped off at Boom! Studios to pick up a limited edition Dark Wing Duck comic for a friend of a friend. Erin scooped up a ton of free items, but I was quite overwhelmed by the lines and people and mostly tried to steer clear of death by crushing.

Death by crushing might look something like this

We ended up finding The Guild booth and got autographs from the entire cast. They were all so absolutely gorgeous! Sandeep Parikh complimented my tattoo and Felicia Day also ogled and touched my arm. It was definitely my joy moment for the day, year and life!

About half of the Guild Cast. Sexy Felicia Day!

Next we stopped off at the Webcomics area. Addie chatted and snagged a picture with the guy who creates Dinosaur comics. That was her joy moment.

Finally, we hit up the Browncoats booth and along the way Erin discovered a dude with a Vampire Diaries swag bag, which he nonchalantly traded off and ended up making her day.

After that we were exhausted and took the trolley back to the hotel, then hopped a cab to an In-n-Out Burger down the street. Totally worth it.

Her swag bag is bigger than yours.

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The Real Women of Marvel – Girl Comics #1

Wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this book – I knew it would be women writers and artists collaborating on short stories. Didn’t quite anticipate that it was going to be such  a showcase, and was therefore hoping for perhaps at least one or two really engrossing stories. Instead, it was a hodge-podge of several different writing and artistic styles, only a few of which really sparked my interest.

Several other reviews depicted this as a gimmicky book with little to no mass appeal. I agree somewhat with that description – and am also a little disheartened that Marvel feels the need to trot it’s females out of the dark shadows they are mostly shrouded in during the rest of the year – giving them a little bit of sunshine to warm themselves in before they are retired again.

The most compelling elements of this book happened at the end – when the writer and artist bios appeared. Discovered Marvel is housing a lot of great female talent – especially the art of Emma Rios and the cover art done by Amanda Conner and Laura Martin who’ve both worked on books I’ve read.

What I learned from looking these bios over is that Marvel is decidedly female-writer lite. And only ONE of the featured authors has written for a mainstream superhero book – Valerie D’Orazio. She edited for DC for several years and is now helming Punisher Max: Butterfly, as well as X-Men Origins: Emma Frost. Wish I could read either of those, as I love her blog, but neither character interests me on any level.

The comics industry really doesn’t have too much of a leg up on the film industry when it comes to inclusion. And it seems a lot of these attempts to include and recognize women ARE gimmicky, from both camps. Despite all women have achieved in the last 100 years, there are still only a handful of them working in high profile positions in the entertainment industry.

It would have been better to showcase some of the storylines currently being written and drawn by women – like a book full of teasers or interesting bits from their current series, rather than these brief snippets that really don’t tell you much about the style of the writer (more so about the artist).

Also what would be compelling to me as a female reader is Marvel’s bid to include more women writers on their bigger selling books – Iron Man, Spiderman, Hulk or X-Men.

Another controversial feature is the title of the book: Girl Comics. *sigh* I’m not really buying the “Lady Editors” attempt at establishing a credible reason for naming anything “Girl” these days. I’m delighted by their enthusiasm for the project, and that because of them women in comics are being recognized, but she buys way too heavily into the idea that the name of something doesn’t have importance.

Uh, yeah. It does.

This is in conjunction with several other pro-women releases Marvel intends to unveil this year for Women’s History month – but it really feels incredibly hollow. I yearn for a world in which it’s not exceptional that a woman writes comics, but instead is a rather ordinary occurence.

Especially since a stronger and stronger contingency of readers are women. We don’t need special Girl Comics – we just need more females represented in our favorite books in all aspects.

Reviews read for this article:

i09 review

Comics Worth Reading

The Beat

Marvel News

Books To Get Excited About

I started reviewing Marvel’s line-up for February and March in an effort to rekindle my love for X-Books and the Marvel brand as a whole. Wasn’t expecting much in the way of titles I would actually pick up, especially after scanning through their releases for this week and the rest of March. Dismal, dismal stuff – most of the X-Titles. However, a few of them sparked interest, as well as some other material I never knew existed. Kudos to Marvel for winning me back as a reader. For now.

It’s unfortunate that the X-Factor synopsis for the next few books looks absolutely painful. Not sure I’m going to be able to get back into this book with the fervor I had reserved for the first 25 issues of it’s latest reincarnation. While I love Peter David…Dr. Doom is completely un-interesting to me. *tears*

This isn’t the sum total of the books I’m considering getting back into (or picking up for the first time), but the other publishers are going to have to hold off for a bit. I’ll check in with Oni Press and Dark Horse later this week and give a run-down of what looks interesting there.

Girl Comics #1

X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler

X-Men: Hope

X-Men: Second Coming

Nomad: Girl Without a World

– Phoenix Saga #1 (the Marvel page link appears to be broken, it’s a prequel to X-Men: Second Coming)

Kick Ass TPB (collecting issues #1-8)

What are you all reading and/or looking forward to?