Tag Archives: fantastic four

Cut the Check: A Call for True Leadership at Marvel Comics

(The below is a guest blog post from past contributor Anthony Brown – The Management)

Marvel ComicsIt’s funny how in High School the people given awards for Most Likely to Succeed and Best Leadership rarely are the people who go on to become something super successful or to a position of great leadership. While I do not have access to the yearbooks of the Marvel brain-trust I am almost certain none of the people calling shots over there were nominated or won those awards either. When I am not blogging for Graphic Policy I am actually in a leadership for company as their Director of Operations (not this kind).

Fantastic_Four_645_CoverWhile on my journey to this position I learned from some really great leaders, and as I think about what is going on at Marvel Comics currently something Larry Nichols told me, and everyone, at Devon Energy about doing the right thing sticks out. He told us when Devon goes into communities to drill or frack or do whatever it is they are in town to do, they make sure they do right by everyone in the community not just the people being affected by the work they are doing. In my time there that was exactly what I saw happen. We cut BIG checks to land owners and communities for the inconvenience and then would go in and plant trees and restore playgrounds and do other community work just because.

So how does this tie into Marvel Comics? Well right now Marvel is currently killing off anything related to two of their titles that paid the freight for the company for years because they do not own the movie rights. The Fantastic Four and X-Men are being treated like well… the comic version of X-men in real life. Marvel just ended the Fantastic Four comic. You know just in time for their moving release. The Marvel web-site had not even a blip on it about the last several X-Men related movies. Full disclosure these are the first two comics I read and I have not missed an issue since 1988.

All New X-Men 40 biInstead of Marvel showing any kind of real leadership or appreciation for these two franchises they kill comic book series or continue to do stupid stuff like this (hat-tip to Bleeding Cool). Marvel why not make another great Fantastic Four run? You know the book that you had “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” at the top of for years. Instead you treat it like DC’s Vibe. Why not stop Brian Michael Bendis from his shock-jock-esque writing style on X-men? How does a guy write Avengers for 10+ years and have the fall out of their stories have more consequences for the X-men than for the Avengers? Why not let Hasbro, Bowen Designs, XM Studios and others put out great figures and statues of all the characters we still love; because before the Avengers were the cash cow they are today. The Fantastic Four and the X-Men were paying the freight.

So here is my revolutionary solution sure to change the comic world. Marvel CutTheCheck! I understand The Mouse is calling the shots now and we have to have contrived “events” like AXIS (still trying to figure out the point of that event) Age of Ultron and Original Sin all the time. While each of these had their moments, we all could have done without them. The real point is Marvel is run by grown men, all of whom should know better than to take their ball and go home. Here a fun a fact. Just a segment of what Disney owns, ESPN, made over $40 million a day. So from my vantage point cutting a check to Fox and Warner Brothers and whoever else Marvel needs to pay is not going to put a dent in the bank account. Even if it theoretically did it would be short-lived because the Marvel Movie Machine would crank out a reboot, toys and comics faster than we could write a check to pay for it all. So Marvel show some real leadership and quit screwing us, the comics and the characters that made you great for so long and cut the damn check.

Game Review: Legendary Paint The Town Red Expansion

legendaryThe “Paint the Town Red” expansion for Legendary is the third expansion in the series, and the second in a row with a stronger thematic concept.  Although the second expansion came right out and declared itself the Fantastic Four expansion, this is definitely the Spider-Man expansion even though it doesn’t really identify itself as such except for the box art.  As an overall analysis of this game series reveals, it is the street level characters that are the bigger push in terms of popularity, but it is also these characters, their villains and these villains’ schemes which make for a much easier game play experience.  The Dark City expansion helped a bit to counter this trend of the street level scenarios being that much easier to play, but this expansion goes much closer to the original trend.  As opposed to the grand schemes of certain villains, this expansion plays out a lot more like a Spider-Man comic, fun at times but never in any real danger that the characters (or in this case the players) are in much danger.

The focus here is all Spider-Man, meaning that anyone expecting more variety will be disappointed.  Instead this sticks close to the Spider-Man story lines with Black Cat, Moon Knight, Scarlet Spider, Symbiote Spider-Man and Spider-Woman.  The schemes are equally related, focusing on Carnage and Mysterio and various spider-related problems, although one does strive for a bit more by trying to take on the Clone Saga.  As with the Fantastic Four expansion, this does little to expand any of the more disappointing mechanics of the game, as the S.H.I.E.L.D. draw pile and the bystanders are once again left untouched.  This is an expansion on the same scale as the Fantastic Four expansion, incorporating in fewer cards while also adding to the refinement of the game play experience.

At this point the “street vs. skies” divide in this game might almost be moot anyway.  At the very least the base game is required to play Paint the Town Red, but by incorporating in the other expansions the imbalance between the two character types is less evident.  While heavy hitters like the Fantastic Four might have no trouble in a street level scenario, at least in this way one can face Black Cat against Galactus and see what happens.  That is the fun of these expansions, is that their price is not outlandish, and that they therefore help to build the game easily and inexpensively, even if the individual expansion offers little else new, the sum ends up being greater the parts.

Score: 8.2 

Review: Silk #4

silk004There is an unfortunate bellwether of comic series facing hard times, especially those that are right out of the gates.  As opposed to running stories featuring their own heroes, there are numerous crossovers featuring other heroes or others teams.  Spider-Man has been an obvious constant with this series since its inception, but the Fantastic Four have not.  While their appearance here makes sense, one might also hope that it is not a sign of things to come for this intriguing heroine, especially as she has the potential to be just as popular as Batgirl or Ms. Marvel in the new landscape for comics.

The appearance of the Fantastic Four in this story is introduced so that Silk can learn the boundaries of her powers, with the help of one of the greatest scientific minds of the Marvel universe.  While she is busy with Mr. Fantastic, Peter Park and Johnny Storm take a moment to reconnect and talk primarily about the new heroine.  His attraction to her leads the two of them to an awkward-ish date.  There are a few moments that don’t make sense here, such as when she attacks Peter, or going dancing at a club before a date, but for each moment which misses a bit there are others which are nearly perfect.  In particular the end to their date is perhaps one of the most clever uses of the non-speaking panels in recent years.

While this issue fits with the overall approach of the series thus far, it also acts as a bit of an interlude for the series.  Instead of focusing on some action sequences, this issue is practically devoid of them (aside from one near the beginning which is kind of funny.)  Instead as before this issue succeeds by building itself in the strength of its characters, and succeeds once again.  The appearance of the F4 is a bit of a distraction but the series succeeds in finding its heart where it has been all along.  Cindy Moon is built and written as a person first and as a hero second, which is incidentally what made Spider-Man so popular so many years ago.  The formula is perfect but the question remains whether it will catch on with this title.

Story: Robbie Thompson  Art: Annapaola Martello
Story:  8.7 Art: 8.7  Overall: 8.7  Recommendation: Buy

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It’s a brand new week. Did folks have fun this Free Comic Book Day? What was your favorite comic?

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Kotaku – Batgirl Makes Her Playable Debut As Arkham Knight DLC – Yes! Very cool design too.

Bleeding Cool – Neal Adams Talks Gerry Conway, DC Comics And Who Owns What – Some good info as to where things stand.

ICv2 – ‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff Adds ‘Orange is the New Black’ Actress – Cool?

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Fantastic Four #645

Bleeding Cool – Fight Club 2 #1

Review: Fantastic Four #645

ff645The recent developments of the Fantastic Four are some of the most bizarre in the history of the medium, or at least they would seem to be.  One of the widest ranging developments in the medium of comic books is recent years actually comes from another medium, that of movies.  With the successful roll-out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it changes how comics are seen and consumed, as company wide stories are now possible for Marvel and DC Comics.  Although Marvel got the ball rolling and has a good lead thus far on its shared universe film universes, it does have a distinct disadvantage, that being while DC has almost all of the rights to its major players, Marvel’s were sold off piece by piece long ago.  Thus while the Marvel Cinematic Universe is popular, it can be said for some fans that it contains mostly Marvel’s B-List of heroes while the remainder are held by other companies.  Although Spider-Man seems ready to be re-intergrated into the fold, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four are still outliers, and though it would complicate the MCU, they are still properties that Marvel Films would most definitely want to get back.  This fueled the rumors about the demise of the Fantastic Four in the comics.  It is apparently taking an approach more in line with the Ultimates version of the team, and it would seem that no one at Marvel is happy, to the point that they are breaking up the Fantastic Four to spite them.

That much is conjecture about the behind-the-door dealings of the film business, but what is a certainty is that this is the last issue of the Fantastic Four, and that it will be the last issue for a while, with various plans for the characters.  Johnny is joining the Inhumans, Reed is going to go missing, and Sue is going to go looking for him.  For those that have been following the Fantastic Four, there is obviously a story to wrap up from this run of 18 issues, and it wastes no time in getting to that.  It wraps it up, almost too efficiently, and as an ending it probably would have fallen a bit flat, but there is a lot more here than that.  It is the follow up stories which really do this issue justice as a final issue.  It focuses on what makess the Fantastic Four such a strong concept, that they are family first and a superhero team second.  The stories explore some of the finer points of the characters, while also showing why this team has always so much soul.

It is these stories which act as the best send-off for a team that we probably won’t be seeing again for a while, at least not until the followup story lines are resolved.  For followers of the medium and especially those of the superheroes stories, there are likely few that have not been exposed to the Fantastic Four in one way or another, and so the stories are inhrently approachable, and in this case even non-fans of the team and its characters will find enough to take away in this issue to rank it a worthy of a look.  It is with a sad heart for the diehard fans that this is the end for now, but as they say in the issue Fantastic Four Fourever, and it is inevitable that these characters return to the team in the long run.

Story: James Robinson Art, Karl Kesel, Louise Simonson, Tom DeFalco and Jeff Parker Art: Leonard Kirk, Joe Bennett, David Marquez, Tom Grummett and Pascal Campion
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Fantastic Four, the Official Trailer

Fox has released the first full trailer for Fantastic Four. Based on the Marvel comic series, the movie is a a contemporary re-imagining of the original and longest-running superhero team. The movie centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

The movie hits theaters August 7, 2015.

I have to say, the trailer doesn’t look half bad. What do you all think?

A First Look at Jamie Bell as The Thing in the Fantastic Four

There’s been some teases in a trailer, or a look on a poster, but Empire Online posted an exclusive first look at actor Jamie Bell as The Thing in this summer’s Fantastic Four.

The look is rather different from what we’ve seen before in previous live action versions. Check it out directly below.

Fantastic Four The ThingThe design for some reason reminds me of a mix between the horrible version in Roger Corman’s The Thing and Michael Chickliss’ version in two films. Mix those in with some rocks you’d buy at Home Depot to make your walkway look really nice.

What do you think of the design above? How does it compare to the below?

roger corman's fantastic four thing_chiklis1

The End is FOURever – Your First Look at FANTASTIC FOUR #645!

This April, four will stand together…one last time! Marvel has released a first look at Fantastic Four #645 – the oversized, senses shattering final issue! James Robinson and Leonard Kirk are joined by a murderers row of fantastic talent to give the First Family the grandest sendoff of them all!

Will the Fantastic Four defeat the Quiet Man and the corrupted forces of the Heroes Reborn universe? Will Johnny Storm get his powers back? Will Reed and Sue be a family again or will it all be torn asunder? Questions will be answered in this main feature story!

Then, special guests bring you four brand new stories featuring Marvel’s quintessential quartet! With heartfelt tales from Karl Kesel, Louise Simonson, Tom DeFalco and Jeff Parker and art by David Marquez, Joe Bennett, Tom Grummet and Pascal Campion – you can’t afford to miss this one!

Plus, iconic creators from across the Fantastic Four’s history share their all-time favorite covers! Hear from Stan Lee, John Byrne, Roger Stern, Mark Millar, Roy Thomas, Chris Claremont, John Romita Sr., Walt Simonson and more!

This is the end of the Fantastic Four – 4ever! Be there when the most controversial Fantastic Four story concludes in the extra-sized Fantastic Four #645!

Pre-Order Fantastic Four Volume 4: The End if Fourever on Amazon

FANTASTIC FOUR #645 (FEB150796)
Written by JAMES ROBINSON, KARL KESEL, LOUISE SIMONSON,
TOM DEFALCO & JEFF PARKER
Art by LEONARD KIRK, JOE BENNETT, DAVID MARQUEZ, TOM GRUMMET & PASCAL CAMPION
Cover by LEONARD KIRK
Connecting Variant by MICHAEL GOLDEN (FEB150797)
Spotlight Variant by MICHAEL KOMARK (FEB150798)
Avengers Variant by PASQUAL FERRY (FEB150799)
Pre-Order on Amazon
FOC – 04/06/15, On-Sale – 04/29/15

Fantastic_Four_645_Cover

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The weekend is almost here! What’s everyone doing to enjoy it?

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The New York Times – ‘Brooklynite,’ a Superhero Musical With Matt Doyle and Nicolette Robinson – I kind of want to see this.

The New York Times – Hey, the Hulk’s in Central Park! Marvel Comics Covers Highlight New York – Nice.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Bleeding Cool – Curb Stomp #1

CBR – Darth Vader #2

CBR – Fantastic Four #643

CBR – Gotham Academy #5

Bleeding Cool – They’re Not Like Us #3

Comics Beat – Thor Annual #1

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It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d everyone get?

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Newsarama – DC Hires Ben Abernathy as Talent Relations Director – Congrats!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

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ComicBook.com – Criminal Special Edition

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The Beat – Curb Stomp #1

Comic Vine – Daredevil #13

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