Tag Archives: fantastic four

Messages from Midgard #9 – Mimosas with Loki

This was a really enjoyable week in “War of the Realms” country with all kinds of heroic happenings going on from Spider-Man choosing to negotiate with and not fight both the Angels of Heven and the Nigerian army in League of the Realms #2 to Cul Borson finding redemption in Thor #13. This week also marks the return of anthology War Scrolls, which features one of Marvel’s best stories of 2019, namely, Wiccan going to drag brunch with Loki. Speaking of drag brunch, “War of the Realms” also got a head start on Pride Month by featuring LGBTQ characters in both League of the Realms #2 and War Scrolls even though the first one is a little more tragic as the angel Fernade mourns over her lost love, Anemone.

War of the Realms: War Scrolls #2

War Scrolls is really one of the “War of the Realms” tie-ins that I wish got more than three issues, especially when we’re blessed with a trio of stories that like we got in issue two. First up is the part two of Jason Aaron, Andrea Sorrentino, and Matthew Wilson’s Daredevil, God of Fear serial, which cosmic sizes a classic battle between Daredevil and the Kingpin. But, before things go from Netflix to Man of Steel, Aaron and Sorrentino do some chilling characterization in a Ben-Day dot flashback where Daredevil prays that he won’t beat a mass murderer to death. Wilson’ color palette switch from flat and old school to majestic fantasy mode helps the story keep its momentum, and although he’s a bad guy, it’s fun to see Wilson Fisk get one up on Malekith and the Dark Elves.

The second serial is a Doctor Strange one from Devin Grayson (Nice to see her getting work again), Paul Davidson, and Andres Mossa. It show the effect of teleporting all the civilians and heroes in New York to the North Pole on Strange and is also cute and charming along the way. The main plot involves Dr. Strange preventing Nightmare from attacking this plane of existence, and Davidson and Mossa channel their inner Ditko with psychedelic art that wouldn’t be out of place in a head shop circa 1968. Grayson writes Dr. Strange as a heroic figure a la the Doctor or even Morpheus from Sandman, who admits his mistake of teleporting the superheroes out of New York and shows Nightmare that fear can be fought and resisted to. And he does this all while taking a nap. (A cute kid even tucks him in and gives him a stuffed animal.)

War Scrolls definitely saved the best for last, and that is a drag brunch story by Anthony Oliveira, Nick Robles, and Cris Peter featuring Hulking, Wiccan, and Loki in a mini-Young Avengers reunion. It’s funny, sad, and Kid Loki turns Thor into a bear on the first page. Oliveira and Robles spin the tale of Loki’s relationship with Wiccan and the Young Avengers, and how even though he may have manipulated them and even cast his lot with Malekith the Accursed that they still care about and support him. The story is in direct conversation with Kieron Gillen’s Loki arc in both Journey into Mystery and Young Avengers and clears up loose ends while providing the reason for why Loki wears a horned helmets. Plus Jean Grey and Emma Frost drag queens get into a fight, and Oliveira, Robles, and Peter create a vision of the Marvel universe that is beautifully queer. This story alone (The Daredevil and Dr. Strange ones were great too.) earns War Scrolls #2 an Overall Verdict of Buy.

War of the Realms: Spider-Man & the League of Realms #2

In Spider-Man & the League of Realms #2, Sean Ryan, Nico Leon, and Carlos Lopez basically have Spider-Man herding cats, er, trying to get people like Screwbeard and Ud the Troll, who are hardwired to fight, to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. However, they start with a tragic love story, and Lopez uses beautiful whites and reds to show the story of the Angels Fernande and Anemone, who was killed by Malekith because he just wanted to know what killing an angel felt like. Fernande was the enemy in the previous issue, but now she’s a staunch ally of Spider-Man and decides to help the resistance against the Angels of Heven in Nigeria.

But this issue isn’t all triumphant, and Leon gets the opportunity to show Screwbeard, Ud, and Ivory Honeyshot, whose realm was the first one conquered by Malekith, shooting and fighting their way through Rome. The measured conversation and protective spells of the first half of the issue are replaced with catchphrases, explosions, and a foe that might be beyond any of them. The blows that Malekith’s main lackey Kurse land are powerful reminders of the pointlessness of unceasing violence, and Spider-Man’s probably going to have clean up the mess in the next issue. Because of its mix of fine and cartoon-y art, still quirky ensemble cast, and story that shows the results of both war and diplomacy, League of Realms #2 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.

Thor #13

In the Thor tie-in issues of “War of the Realms”, Jason Aaron and artist Mike Del Mundo have been doing a fantastic job of fleshing out the supporting Asgardian characters that have popped up throughout Aaron’s run. Cul Borson, the God of Fear and on a secret suicide mission from Odin, gets the treatment in Thor #13. Beginning in the present day with Cul surrounded by crying Dark Elf children, the comic is structured like a biography of the god with childhood flashbacks of him bullying Odin and eventually being banished to Midgard as the “Serpent”. As he fights through the mushroom mines of Svartalfheim, Cul is in conflict between wanting to be feared and loving and between caring for his little brother and wanting to usurp his throne.

Although the flashbacks include Cul overhearing arguments between Odin and Thor that made him wish he had a son and dark temptations from Malekith, Thor #13 is an action-oriented issue tempered by soul searching narration from Aaron. Del Mundo’s Cul cuts a dark figure in the sickly green of the swamps of Svartalfheim where Dark Elf children, who have been called unworthy, help build Malekith’s empire. He wants to leave them to die, but in a moment of supreme character development hacks off their chains. This leads to a resistance movement even if Cul never sees the fruits of his actions. He was a never a “good guy”, but in a tough moment, he did one heroic thing and can die without wasting his life. Cul’s last stand against the Dark Elves is pretty damn noble as Del Mundo fills his panels with bodies, and combined with Aaron’s insightful writing earns Thor #13 an Overall Verdict of Buy.

Giant-Man #2

“War of the Realms”‘ most random tie-in continues in Giant-Man #2 where Leah Williams fits Scott Lang, Raz Malhotra, Atlas, and Tom Foster into a fantasy quest narrative, and Marco Castiello’s art is still so shadowy and less than detailed that it is still difficult at times to immediately know who’s talking. (Tom’s shirtlessness, Atlas’ septum ring, Scott’s Ant-Man helmet, and Raz’s Skyrim do help.) In Hero’s Journey and college movie tradition, they end up facing a threshold guardian, who needs them to pay a toll and drink way too much at a party.

Williams’ gift for humor shines through in Giant-Man #2 with Tom’s knack for karaoke coming in handy when faced by Frost Giant locals, and it’s nice to know that there are some Dolly Parton fans in Jotunheim. Castiello also turns the nine panel grid into a grid of debauchery as Atlas keeps downing pints while tired dad Scott Lang passes out early. Also, the drinking songs are cleverly weaved into the plot of the miniseries as the team literally learns how Frost Giants are made and end the penultimate issue with a shot of their final obstacle and a side of how utterly expendable they are. By leaning into fantasy genre trappings and its characters’ dysfunctional personalities, Leah Williams and Marco Castiello create a fun event tie-in that earns an Overall Verdict of Read.

Fantastic Four #10

One thing that I loved about Fantastic Four #10 is that write Dan Slott and artists Paco Medina and Kevin Libanda start out by telling the story of the Fantastic Four moving to Yancy Street and Franklin and Valeria Richards trying to fit in with “regular” kids after working with the Future Foundation out in the multiverse and don’t force a tie-in. Franklin is struggling with the dwindling nature of his powers and going through an emo phase, and there’s a block party. Then, Slott introduces all the baddies from “War of the Realms” and connect it to the strength and resolve of the people of Yancy Street as Franklin realizes that growing up in this neighborhood and learning to never give up made Ben Grimm a hero long before the Thing.

I love how Slott writes Franklin and Valeria as ungrateful adolescents and not just cute kids with big brains and godlike powers. Franklin’s almost limitless superpowers have gone to his head, and it’s nice to see some of the kids in the neighborhood cut him down to size when he brags about his abilities instead of helping with art classes at the Grimm Community Center. However, this story nails the awkwardness of moving to a new area when you’re a kid, getting used to new people, and ways of doing things. It also shows that New York didn’t roll over when Malekith invaded, and best of all, introduces a friendship/rivalry between Moon Girl and Valeria that I hope gets fleshed out in future issues. Most of “War of the Realms” has involved street level heroes fighting cosmic threats, but Slott, Medina, and Libanda turn the tables and have the Fantastic Four protecting their neighborhood. This earns Fantastic Four #10 an Overall Verdict of Buy.


Although Marco Castiello’s giant blue Paul Rudd will haunt my dreams, this was probably one of the best weeks for “War of the Realms” with issues that focused on character and story and not making the millionth Dungeons and Dragons/Lord of the Rings reference. Even if Jason Aaron’s War of the Realms mini ends up being a bust, it won’t tarnish his classic Thor run, which has done a great job showing the journey of side characters during this event. Also, Anthony Oliveira needs to write a Young Avengers run ASAP, and Nick Robles has definitely entered the pantheon of sexy Loki artists after his work on War Scrolls #2 and even made the horned helmet cute.


Panel of the Week

If this panel doesn’t make you miss Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson’s Young Avengers, you have soul. (War of the Realms: War Scrolls #2, Art by Nick Robles and Cris Peter)

Take a Trip to Yancy Street with the Fantastic Four

Marvel is spinning out their popular Web of Venom series concept with a new focus. The publisher has announced a series of quarterly specials exploring the first family, the Fantastic Four! This August, Marvel invites you to once again explore new stories, exciting adventures, and thrilling surprises with a series of stories featuring Invisible Woman, The Thing, Human Torch, and Mr. Fantastic, all set within the continuity of the current Fantastic Four series!

The Fantastic Four have made their home on Yancy Street, but their arrival doesn’t exactly make their neighbors happy. To make matters worse, when our heroes start to investigate a nasty piece of vandalism, The Thing is forced to relive painful memories of his Yancy Street tormentors…and if that’s not enough, danger lurks in every corner with the arrival of The Terrible Trio!

The first issue re-teams Gerry Duggan and Greg Smallwood. The two worked on Dr. Strange: The Best Defense. The first issue explores the ripples created about the Fantastic Four’s move to Yancy Street.

Fantastic Four: Yancy Street #1 is out August 21.

Fantastic Four: Yancy Street #1

This June, Marvel Showcases the Best Suits of Spider-Man with Variants!

This June, celebrate Spider-Man with a series of variant covers that show off the webslinger in the many epic costumes he’s worn over the years, including his stealth suit, symbiote suit, webbing suit, cosmic suit, Fantastic Four suit, and more!

Look for Marvel’s Spider-Man variants on these select titles this June:

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #23 by Stuart Immonen

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #24 by Olivier Coipel

CAPTAIN MARVEL #7 by Mike McKone and Rachelle Rosenberg

DEADPOOL #14 by Mark Brooks

DOCTOR STRANGE #16 by David Yardin and David Curiel

FANTASTIC FOUR #11 by Jay Anacleto and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #8 by Adi Granov

IMMORTAL HULK #19 by Ema Lupacchino and David Curiel

MAGNIFICENT MS. MARVEL #4 by Gerald Parel

THANOS #3 by Nick Bradshaw and Morry Hollowell

Underrated: Fantastic Four (2015)

Before you start yelling at me for writing a column about why the worst reviewed Fantastic Four movie doesn’t entirely suck, I’m not saying the movie is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not. But it is unfairly shit on by so many of us, and that’s the whole point of Underrated. This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character.

The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are underrated in some way.

fantastic four featured

This week, because one of the most anticipated comic book movies ever has recently come out,  I wanted to revisit an older column and talk about the much derided Fantastic Four movie from 2015. Or Fant4stic, as the stylized logo goes, which is how I’ll be referring to the movie from here on out. The flick was directed by Josh Trank and starred Micheal B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm and Tobey Kebbel as Victor Von Doom. The relatively unknown director Josh Trank had previously directed the cult hit Chronicle and one other movie that I’ve never seen before being handed the reigns to Marvel’s first family, but based on Chronicle there was hope that Fant4stic would be on par, with, or better than, the other superhero flicks of the year.

Obviously that wasn’t the case. But was the movie really as bad as we think it was?

Sure it was certainly disappointing when it came out, almost entirely failing to meet the vast expectations heaped upon on it – of course, I’m being facetious, because almost from the get go it seemed this movie was doomed to fail. From the way people turned their nose up when talking about the rumours swirling about choices made around Doom’s origin, at one point he was supposed to be a Russian hacker called Victor Von Domashev; the reprehensible reaction to the casting choice of Micheal B. Jordan as the Human Torch (yes, there were some who were more worried about the lack of perceived blood relation between the Storm siblings rather than the colour of their skin, but the sense that many – myself included – got was that the outcry was a bit more racially tinged); and the dreaded Studio Involvement toward the end of the filming and editing process.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the strife between the director and the studio (if you haven’t there’s a good account of it here), but when Trank tweeted his frank tweet about Fant4stic you could hear geekdom cry “I knew it! It’s so bad even the director hates it!” And Tobey Kebbel seemed to agree with Trank in an interview given last year, saying that “the honest truth is [Trank] did cut a great film that you’ll never see.That is a shame. A much darker version, and you’ll never see it.”

tranktweet

Kebbel goes on to say that much of the footage of Doom in the movie isn’t him, due to the amount of the film that was reshot “I played Doom in three points: Walking down a corridor, killing the doctor and getting into the time machine, and lying on the bench. They were the only times I played Doom. Everything else was some other guy, on some other day… doing some other thing. I was infuriated that he was allowed to limp like that!”

With all the vitriol surrounding the movie prior to it’s release there was realistically no hope for the movie (indeed it barely made enough money to cover the budget, let alone the marketing costs), and many people took a rather large shit on the movie because they felt that they had the right to do so – whether they’d actually watched the movie or not.

Almost a year after the movie came out, I sat down and watched it on Netflix for the first time. And you know what? It wasn’t anywhere near as terrible as I expected it to be.

Fantastic Four The ThingNow I did go in with some pretty low expectations but, dare I say it, I actually enjoyed the movie; even though it seemed to do everything possible to prevent that from happening. Yes, there are moments that seem contrived only to move the plot from point A to B in the most straight forward manner, and there is a sense that there are two visions on display here due to the reshoots, but this isn’t as bad a movie as you’d expect based on the hatred and criticism that Fant4stic received upon it’s release.

While some of the acting is questionable, the performances of Jordan and Teller (and Bell’s vocal performance) are pretty solid. While we’ll never get to see the original version of the movie, the one we did get does have a visual punch that’s better than you’d think. As a slow burning action movie, this isn’t too bad.

Was this a great Fantastic Four movie? Hell no.. but it’s not as bad as you’d think, and if you look at it as a movie very loosely based on the Fantastic Four rather than an actual Fantastic Four movie, then it’s actually watchable.

That’s why it’s Underrated.

Preview: Fantastic Four #9

Fantastic Four #9

(W) Dan Slott (A) Aaron Kuder, Stefano Caselli, Paco Medina (CA) Esad Ribic
Rated T
In Shops: Apr 24, 2019
SRP: $3.99

“WHAT PRICE VICTORY?”
• One cruel act will forever change the relationship between the Fantastic Four and Victor Von Doom.
• The fate of Latveria and of the world and the balance of Cosmic Power in the Universe all rests on one decision!
• All will be revealed in the terrifying final chapter of “Herald of Doom”!

Fantastic Four #9

Can You Handle the Heat? The Human Torch Comes to Marvel Contest of Champions

If you’re not afraid of a little heat then battle to protect your title as champion as the Human Torch officially makes his way to Kabam’s Marvel Contest of Champions.

Hot-headed Johnny Storm was one of four people on the space flight accident that gave rise to the Fantastic Four. After their ship was bathed in cosmic radiation, Johnny gained the ability to create and control fire. In addition to generating powerful blasts of flame, he can envelop his body in plasma, giving him the ability to fly. Now dubbed “Human Torch”, he and the rest of the Fantastic Four are taking The Contest by storm. Flame On!

The Champion’s spotlight is here if you’d like to know about this character’s abilities and stats.

Sue Storm Goes Solo in Invisible Woman #1 this July

She’s always been a super hero, fighting to keep the world safe with the Fantastic Four…and now, it’s time for Sue Storm to take the spotlight in her own series!

This July, the superstar creative team of Mark Waid, Mattia De Iulis, and Adam Hughes take Sue on a journey that will unlock the secrets of her past in the most surprising way!

Years ago, after becoming part of the Fantastic Four, everyone’s favorite Invisible Woman was taking on adventures of her own on an espionage mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. Now, it’s up to Sue to save her former partner from danger before it’s too late!

In over fifty years, Sue Storm has never had her own title, but that changes this July when Invisible Woman #1 comes to shelves!

Invisible Woman #1

Marvel Reveals Upcoming Series and Covers for July

Today, Marvel released a special edition of The Pull List, unveiling exclusive information for titles coming to comic shops this July! The episode shared details on writer Jonathan Hickman’s new direction for the X-Men; trouble for Rocket in “Guardians of the Galaxy”; The Thing and Hulk clash in “Fantastic Four”; and new series “Punisher Kill Krew #1” and “Loki #1.”

HOUSE OF X #1 (of 6)

Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Art by PEPE LARRAZ
Colors by MARTE GRACIA
Cover by PEPE LARRAZ

FACE THE FUTURE

Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (SECRET WARS, AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR) takes the reins of the X-Men universe! Since the release of Uncanny X-Men #1, there have been four seminal moments in the history of the X-Men. Giant-Sized X-Men. X-Men. Age of Apocalypse. New X-Men. Four iconic series that introduced a new era for Marvel’s mutants and revolutionized the X-Men. In House of X, Charles Xavier reveals his master plan for mutantkind…one that will bring mutants out of the shadow of mankind and into the light once more.

HOUSE OF X #1 (of 6)

POWERS OF X #1 (of 6)

Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Art by R.B. SILVA
Colors by MARTE GRACIA
Cover by R.B. SILVA

FEAR THE FUTURE

Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (INFINITY, NEW AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR) continues his revolutionary new direction for the X-Men. Intertwining with HOUSE OF X, POWERS OF X reveals the secret past, present and future of mutantkind, changing the way you look at every X-Men story before and after. You do not want to miss the next seminal moment in the history of the X-Men!

POWERS OF X #1 (of 6)

LOKI #1

Written by DANIEL KIBBLESMITH
Art by OSCAR BAZALDUA
Cover by OZGUR YILDIRIM

EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HERO! ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES!

After dying a grisly death in THE WAR OF THE REALMS, Loki learned a valuable lesson in warmongering: Don’t get caught. But now he has a whole new set of responsibilities — and his brother Thor is not about to let him walk away from them this time. Late Show and BLACK PANTHER VS. DEADPOOL writer Daniel Kibblesmith takes the god of mischief in a thrilling new direction!

LOKI #1

PUNISHER KILL KREW #1 (of 5)

Written by GERRY DUGGAN
Art by JUAN FERREYRA
Cover by TONY MOORE

ONE MAN. TEN REALMS. TOTAL WAR.

• During the War of the Realms, Frank Castle made a promise of vengeance, and Frank Castle keeps his promises.
• A van full of orphans is about to make that promise a lot more complicated.
• How does a man kill gods and monsters?

PUNISHER KILL KREW #1 (of 5)

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #7

Written by DONNY CATES
Art by CORY SMITH
Colors by DAVID CURIEL
Cover by DAVID MARQUEZ

THE DEATH OF ROCKET BEGINS HERE IN ”FAITHLESS” PART 1

In the aftermath of the FINAL GAUNTLET, the Guardians of the Galaxy are taking some well deserved R&R. But their vacation is about to be cut short when a familiar, but radically powerful enemy returns. And what does all of this have to do with the whereabouts of a certain raccoon?

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #7

FANTASTIC FOUR #12

Written by DAN SLOTT
Art by SEAN IZAAKSE
Cover by ESAD RIBIC

Ben and Alicia are off on their dream honeymoon in a remote tropical paradise…until someone decides to crash it. Or should we say SMASH IT?! Get ready for the biggest HULK VS. THING FIGHT OF THE CENTURY! PLUS: The saga of the Future Foundation by Jeremy Whitley and Wil Robson!

FANTASTIC FOUR #12

Preview: Fantastic Four #8

Fantastic Four #8

(W) Dan Slott (A) Aaron Kuder (CA) Esad Ribic
Rated T
In Shops: Mar 27, 2019
SRP: $3.99

“HERALD OF DOOM” continues with “FIRST-WORLD POWER”!

Latveria is about to take its rightful place on the world stage. Thanks to the benevolence and ingenuity of your beloved leader, Victor Von Doom, Latverians will soon know a new age of peace and prosperity! All of this shall come to pass – as long as we can repel these four nefarious foreign invaders who have illegally entered our beloved country! Death to the Fantastic Four!

Fantastic Four #8
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