Tag Archives: green goblin

Back to School: Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25

USM25CoverBack to School is a weekly issue by issue look at the beloved superhero teen comic Ultimate Spider-ManIn this week’s installment, I will be covering Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25  (2002) written by Brian Michael Bendis, penciled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, and colored by Digital Transparency

Ultimate Spider-Man #24 kicks off with Ultimate Nick Fury (Aka the one who looks like Samuel L. Jackson.) slowly dematerializing in the counselor’s office at Peter Parker’s school. Things are very serious with the Green Goblin, and Fury says that he will get Spider-Man to try to assassinate him or Mary Jane and Aunt May will die. Peter freaks out about Fury and SHIELD knowing about his secret identity and learns some crucial backstory about Norman Osborn like that he lost a super soldier serum contract with SHIELD, which is why he tested the Oz drug on himself. Unfortunately, SHIELD can’t help Spider-Man out unless he actually threatens a civilian thanks to the rules of engagement and a prohibition on spying on Americans on American soil. Later, Norman Osborn’s limo is about to pick up Aunt May and Peter for dinner at his house, but Peter dissuades her and says he’s a creepy, bad man. Peter wants to keep her safe so he swings around as Spider-Man hoping to put an end to the Green Goblin once and for all. Unfortunately, he runs into his nemesis, who has kidnapped Mary Jane, who is Harry Osborn’s dinner guest.

After a gripping double page spread of Spider-Man and Harry’s surprise at Mary Jane being kidnapped, Ultimate Spider-Man #25 flashes back to Harry’s hypnotherapy sessions. His therapist, Dr. Warren, is a little hesitant about planting subliminal suggestions, but Norman waves him off, and then we get to see his transformation into the Green Goblin from his POV as he grabs Mary Jane and leaps into action to fight Spider-Man and a SHIELD helicopter. It’s super trippy, and he sees Spider-Man as an actual spider. They fight for a while until Green Goblin drops Mary Jane off the Queensboro Bridge, which is when the SHIELD sniper in the helicopter finally starts firing at him. In an homage to “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”, Spider-Man catches Mary Jane with his web just as she’s about to go splat, and her fate remains ambiguous as the issue ends.

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Other than a badass extended and logical to the overall plot Nick Fury cameo, the big highlight of Ultimate Spider-Man #25 is getting to see the world from the skewed scientific, religious, and very drug addled perspective of Norman Osborn. Oz truly fucks you up. Artists Mark Bagley and Art Thibert also channel their Clone Saga days and have Norman see Spider-Man as more spider than man with all kind of weird appendages and extra arms. The colorists at Digital Transparency add to the hallucinations with cloudy little goblin babies whispering the chemical formula for Oz with the help of eerie lettering from Richard Starkings.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis leaves the usual banter, quips, or villainous speeches and instead of makes the subconscious of Norman Osborn conscious with all kind of character defining buzz words. Lines like “He’s your son” for his relationship with Peter to “Fire eyes” about his abilities help flesh out Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin persona and the added angle of him as a failed military contractor and scientist makes him a more interesting foe than the non-verbal Hulk-lite of the first arc of Ultimate Spider-Man. It also more than makes up for the multiple reused panels during Harry’s hypnotherapy session although that could have been a storytelling choice to show how impassive, compliant, and basically buzzed out on lithium he is.

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No they didn’t…

The Green Goblin shares blood with Spider-Man, and Peter Parker used to look up to Norman Osborn and is friends with his son. This deep connection makes him an excellent arch-nemesis, and adding SHIELD and a glimpse at the larger Marvel Universe is like having an ice cream after dinner. However, in the endgame of these middle issues, Bendis and Bagley go for the typical damsel in distress deal with Mary Jane instead of letting Peter and her have a genuine conversation about their relationship. Then, they do an homage to “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” (Except trading Gwen for MJ, and the George Washington Bridge for Queensboro.) with a similar angle and sidelines all of these relationship complications plus some fun banter with Harry at his house into a typical Peter saves MJ situation a la the entire Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy .

Even though the nod to “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” was a little too on the fanservice-y side and using a female character to just further a male character’s arc is a big problem with superhero comics, it makes story sense for Bendis and Bagley Green Goblin to come after MJ and raise “Legacy’s” tension level as an arc. The Green Goblin knows Spider-Man’s secret identity as Spider-Man and has clearly threatened Aunt May and MJ with death if he puts the costume on again. So, when he sees Spidey in action, the Green Goblin instantly grabs Mary Jane, who is a guest at his house. The constantly inviting Aunt May and Mary Jane to dinner is just a cover to basically hold them hostage and blackmail Spider-Man. Norman Osborn is pretty clever when he isn’t injecting untested Oz formula directly into his veins multiple times every day. Also, Mary Jane getting kidnapped and Aunt May being threatened cause Spider-Man to have second thoughts about being a hero, and the usual happy web swinging double page spread is having a total existential crisis about the cost his double life has on his loved ones. And Mary Jane’s kidnapping and possible death definitely throw gasoline on the current garbage fire that is his superhero life.

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So, Nick Fury shows up in Ultimate Spider-Man #24, and it’s pretty cool once Peter Parker stops jumping around and saying super goofy stuff like “I would like to see some form of identification.” Fury’s presence is an ice cold dose of reality in young Peter’s face and a reminder that he doesn’t do his superhero thing in a vacuum. Even though he’s defeated the Kingpin, Doc Ock, and Kraven the Hunter plus numerous small fry baddies, Spidey has gone about in a sloppy way so it’s been easy for them to keep tabs on him. The appearance of Fury and his little history lesson about the super soldier serum and Norman Osborn make Spider-Man seem small and insignificant in the big picture of the Marvel Universe. However, he’s also kind of a scientific miracle, which is why Fury and SHIELD would be experimenting on him if he wasn’t a minor. For once, Peter’s youth and inexperience do him some good.

Nick Fury’s big plot point in Ultimate Spider-Man #24 is that he and SHIELD can’t take down the Green Goblin unless he has physically attacked a civilian aka MJ or Aunt May. This is because SHIELD aka the NSA with ray guns isn’t allowed to spy on Americans on American soil. This made me laugh darkly because, in 2002, President George W Bush signed an order to allow the NSA to monitor telephone calls and emails of American citizens. Bendis and Bagley do some spot on political satire in the middle of a Spider-Man and Green Goblin story and continue to write Spidey and Peter as a pure example of heroism in a profession dominated by backstabbers, liars, and sociopaths like the cast of Mark Millar’s Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men. Bagley gives Peter some very angry expressions on his face when Fury keeps telling him that SHIELD isn’t allowed to attack Norman Osborn or bring him in. He’s the ordinary human who is hemmed in by a slimy web of deceit and political machinery in cahoots with corporations for mutual benefit so the slap he delivers to Fury when he lectures about “optimism” is well-earned.

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However, Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25 aren’t all about politics, and Bendis fits in Fury and SHIELD’s presence in the story like a well-placed in a superpowered jigsaw puzzle. They don’t wear out their welcome. It makes a lot of sense that a Hulk-level threat would be on their radar. Above all, “Legacy” is a crucial, personal part of Spider-Man’s heroic journey, and the hallucinations in Ultimate Spider-Man #25 plus his repeated use of the word “responsibility”  confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt my theory that Norman Osborn is the dark mirror of Uncle Ben. Spider-Man’s powers came from the Oscorp spider and Osborn’s failed experiments, but his heart and devotion to using abilities responsibly to protect society come from Uncle Ben’s words to him in the first story arc. The only responsibility that Osborn knows is to further his power and rebuild his corporate empire by any means necessary, including kidnapping his son’s friend, hypnotizing his own son, and causing general mayhem. And, in his eyes, Spider-Man is just a means to enforce his will and also physical proof that, hey, maybe this Oz thing actually worked. He thinks Spider-Man owes something while Ben loved Peter selflessly even when his nephew acted like a jerk to him. *Pause for feelings here*

The homage to “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” in Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25 is pretty obvious, and I’ve mentioned it a few times. However, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley also riff off another classic Spider-Man story, the infamous Harry Osborn is a junkie story in Amazing Spider-Man #98 that Stan Lee and Gil Kane published without the Comic Code’s seal of approval. But this time, Norman Osborn is a drug addict, and Bendis and Bagley don’t tell the typical “drugs are bad” PSA and tell the tale of a one percenter whose corporation is flagging so he turns to substance. Except instead of fine grade cocaine, his drug of choice makes him a hulked out psychopath kind of like Jose Canseco with a Marvel twist and no baseball ability. There’s this whole interplay between drugs, power, and corruption that turns the Green Goblin into Tony Montana with horns and is a more interesting, or at the very least, entertaining look at a drug addiction story in a superhero context. Sorry, Stan and Gil.

Ultimate Spider-Man #24-25 are solid middle chapters of the “Legacy” arc as Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley show the world from the Green Goblin’s POV for a few pages and add some political satire and big picture stuff in a Nick Fury guest appearance. The ending of issue 25 is very “Women in Refrigerators” as Bendis goes from developing MJ’s character to victimizing her although luckily there are two issues left to possibly improve on this…

Back to School: Ultimate Spider-Man #22-23

Back to School is a weekly issue by issue look at the beloved superhero teen comic Ultimate Spider-ManIn this week’s installment, I will be covering Ultimate Spider-Man #22-23  (2002) written by Brian Michael Bendis, penciled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, and colored by Digital Transparency

Ultimate Spider-Man #22 kicks off with a nice cold open as Spider-Man tracks down some roller skating purse snatchers and easily defeats them before he has to rush back to science class. This is because he’s still grounded, and his lunch period at school is the only time he can be a superhero. He and Mary Jane have a very animated conversation about his grounding and his battle against Kraven the Hunter and Dr. Octopus ending in a joke about kissing underneath the bleachers and the surprise return of Harry Osborn. Harry is excited to see Mary Jane and Peter and invites him over to have dinner with his apparently not-dead father. The limo that Norman Osborn sends for Peter impresses Aunt May so much that she puts his grounding on hold for a night. However, this dinner is very much a trap as Peter and Harry go from chatting about girl to Norman telling Peter that he needs to stop being Spider-Man and transforming into a new, improved Green Goblin, who is verbal and can glow fire.

Ultimate Spider-Man #23 goes a little non-linear opening with Spider-Man freaking out about the Green Goblin and flashing back to Norman Osborn saying he keeps Harry docile with hypnotherapy and showing Peter up and close and personal his transformation from the Green Goblin back to Osborn. He also threatens to kill Aunt May and Mary Jane if Spider-Man doesn’t do as he’s told. Then, they watch Harry and Norman’s Dateline interview where they pin the attack on Oscorp on the now dead Justin Hammer, which is Norman Osborn’s lying reason for coming back to the public sphere. This causes Peter to freak out and run home where he has a touching conversation with Aunt May about how he had a bad time at the Osborns and feels bad lying to her. May chalks up his lies to him feeling nervous about his first girlfriend, and Peter is about to tell Mary Jane about what went down at the Osborns when Gwen Stacy knocks on his door. She has nowhere to stay because her dad’s working all night, and her mother has left them. Aunt May lets Gwen stay over and makes her and Peter eggs and has a nice chat with John Stacy in the morning. At school, things are a little weird, and the issue ends with the “grief counselor” Miss Bradley talking to Peter frankly about his life as Spider-Man and Norman Osborn’s new Green Goblin form. It’s implied she works for SHIELD.

In Ultimate Spider-Man #22-23, the opening issues of the “Legacy” story arc, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, and Art Thibert show that Norman Osborn is scary apart from his Green Goblin persona. He is a master manipulator who uses a lethal cocktail of gaslighting (He tells Harry that his mother’s death warped his perception of reality.) and hypnotherapy disguised as regular therapy to keep his son Harry compliant. This manipulation extends to the Parker family as Peter accepts his dinner invite even though he is extremely uncomfortable meeting with someone who tried to kill him and greets him with video clips of his last battle with Dr. Octopus. Bagley draws Norman Osborn as towering over Peter like some kind of stern, well-built father figure, and Thibert goes to town on the thick, dark inks on his face. He isn’t off the wall crazy like he was in the first arc of Ultimate Spider-Man with every move, media interview, and threatening word carefully calculated. Osborn’s transformation to the Green Goblin is still monstrous and Hulk-like, but he has power over it. This combination of brains, brawn, and general sociopathy easily make “Green Goblin 2.0” Spider-Man’s most formidable foe yet because if Peter suits up to fight him, his loved ones could die.

In contrast to Norman Osborn’s manipulative bastard of a parent, Aunt May exhibits a more even measured and empathetic approach  to parenting in Ultimate Spider-Man #23. She cares about both Peter’s well-being and privacy providing a listening ear and warm hug after he returns early from the Osborns and even goes easy on him with the whole grounding thing. On paper, that might make her sound like a pushover, or a move from Bendis to give Peter more time with Mary Jane or as Spider-Man. However, the intensely detailed close-up art of Peter and May tells a different story showing Peter as a vulnerable young man, who needs support in a world where powerful, evil men want to kill him.

May’s empathy also extends to the Stacy family, and she sees John as a good-hearted man and honest cop, who is in over his head with the whole single parent thing, especially when that daughter is the firebrand Gwen. She goes from almost lecturing Peter about having a girl over to putting on her house coat and whipping up some tasty eggs for everyone because even the Ultimate Universe Aunt May slays at making breakfast. Gwen popping in on Peter in his basement while he’s wearing his boxer shorts and giving him an attack hug right in front of MJ does make Mary Jane slightly jealous although Gwen’s line of “Hold on to this one, M.J. Solid gold.” assuages her fears a little bit. Bagley tilts Mary Jane’s last panel in Ultimate Spider-Man #23 as Peter gets sent to the principal’s office, and this silent image shows how uneasy she feels about him being Spider-Man, his grounding, and the whole Gwen Stacy showing up at his house in the middle of the night.

Before this awkwardness and the whole return of Norman Osborn drama, Bendis and Bagley give Peter and Mary Jane some fantastic romantic chemistry turning the middle part of Ultimate Spider-Man #22 into a scene from a teen comedy. (Their chat at the football bleachers is yet another example of Marc Webb taking a scene featuring Peter and MJ from Ultimate Spider-Man and using it for Peter and Gwen.) Bagley shows their budding romance through body language and positioning as Mary Jane is glued to him for seven straight pages while they discuss his superhero fight and the overall suckiness of his grounding. He does close-up of Mary Jane’s eyes when Peter talks about how he wants to respect his aunt and not have her sneak over, and it makes you feel really bad for them although Peter definitely deserved his punishment. And they have a shared moment of happiness when Harry makes his big return that is kind of overshadowed by some really juvenile gay jokes about Flash Thompson even though it’s nice to see his toxic masculinity and objectification of women (See panels where he’s pawing at Liz Allen.) taken down a peg.

Usually, Bendis and Bagley are on the same page with the quick fire dialogue and easy to follow panels featuring characters’ faces and big body movement with some speed lines to spice up action sequences. However, they really drop the ball in a fairly crucial double page spread in Ultimate Spider-Man #23 where Harry, Peter, and Norman watch Norman Osborn’s big comeback interview. Thematically, it’s cool to see yet another villain manipulate the press and spin the events of the “Double Trouble” arc in a way that makes him look like the victim unlike Justin Hammer’s inept attempts at lying to the media. However, the reading order of the page goes left to right, right to left, and some horrific panels of Peter sweating and freaking out stuck under a wall of text. Norman’s rise to power, and Peter’s return to powerless is trapped under an onslaught of a couple pages of really bad storytelling. Luckily, Bendis and Bagley salvage things with the Gwen Stacy subplot and an incredibly trippy SHIELD (without saying those words) cliffhanger showing that the Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin isn’t just a mere grudge match, but affects the big picture of superhumans in the United States.

However, Ultimate Spider-Man #22-23 don’t fall into the trap of the “interconnected universe” like Iron Man 2, and Norman Osborn works as a villain because of his personal connection with Peter, who is in a way his son because he got his powers from his Oz formula. Norman also still admires his scientific mind and intellect that was much greater than his biological son Harry, who he sees as weak and spoiled so he makes him docile with hypnotherapy. Spider-Man doesn’t fight the Green Goblin in any of these issues, but the fact that he can be Norman Osborn, ruthless and corrupt businessman, and a more powerful version of the Green Goblin definitely increases his threat level. As both Norman and the Goblin, he towers over Peter and taunts him with his new powers. Like the Kingpin in the second arc of Ultimate Spider-Man, this is a man, who thinks he’s untouchable, and he might be able to back it up with those creepy flame abilities.

After “Double Trouble” introduced three villains (Two were jokes, to be honest.) in rapid succession, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley go for a more focused approach in “Legacy”, which is influenced by the classic Spider-Man/Green Goblin stories of the late-1960s when Harry Osborn was a drug addict. They use the board clearing plot of the last arc to pave the way for Norman Osborn’s triumphant return and immediately put Peter on the defensive spoiling the return of his friend Harry. A villain with the Hulk-like brawn of the Ultimate Green Goblin and the mind of Norman Osborn is much more formidable one than the non-verbal Green Goblin that appeared in the first arc of Ultimate Spider-Man, and it’s exciting to see Peter cope with a foe that knows the people he cares about. And speaking of those people, Bendis and Bagley are careful to include scenes with Mary Jane, Aunt May, and even friend/potential love interest/general wild card Gwen Stacy, and with his grounding in Ultimate Spider-Man #22, there is plenty of time for interactions and character development.

With the exception of a goose egg of a double page spread in Ultimate Spider-Man #23, Ultimate Spider-Man #22-23 is a fantastic start to the “Legacy” arc with Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley setting up Norman Osborn as Spider-Man’s physical and intellectual superior. It’s also nice to see a genuine heart to heart between Peter and Aunt May as well as the slow build romance between Peter and Mary Jane, which gets complicated by his double life, grounding, and the return of Harry Osborn.

Entertainment Earth Spotlight: Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Legends Figures Wave 7

The Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Legends Action Figures Wave 7 bring back generations of Spider-Man in an awesome 6-inch scale action figure form. Each figure includes awesome accessories and amazing detail, plus a build-a-figure piece which you can build Sandman with. The case features. 1 Green Goblin, 1 Shocker, 1 Spider UK, 1 All New Spider-Man 2099, 1 Ms. Marvel, 1 Jackal, and 2 Symbiote Spider-Man.

A case costs $159.99 and is out early 2017.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Dollar Bin Review: Green Goblin #3

green_goblin_vol_1_3Oh the dollar bins, that place where comics go to languish into nothingness when stores think that nobody cares about a certain issue (which is partly true), or they over ordered on a comic and have little choice but to drop the price to a dollar and hope they can get something for them.

It was in a bin like that, a bin that almost every comic shop has, that I found Green Goblin #3 from 1995. Why did I pick this up? Honestly because of the Scarlet Spider on the front cover, and I was curious to see how a comic about the Green Goblin would read.

Before I get into the story, the comic I picked up was bagged (but no board), and in surprisingly good condition. I’m not a grader by any means, but the spine is barely cracked, and there’s no creases anywhere. While the back cover isn’t a pristine white any more (and you can make out finger prints in something on the back) it’s condition is such that if I collected this series then I’d be happy enough to bag and board it to fill a hole. As it is? I have no idea what I’ll do with comic once I’ve finished reading it (which I haven’t done yet).

Before we start: there’s going to be spoilers. I doubt you care, but I feel obligated to tell you.

So, shall we begin?

Written by Tom Defalco with art by Scott McDaniel and colours by Joe Rosas, the comic is lettered by Jim Novak. We start off with Phil Urich, the Green Goblin, having an internal monologue that makes me hope whatever villain is in the issue will give him a severe beating. Also, when dd he become the Green Goblin? My memory of Spider-Man comics around this time is foggy at best… and three pages in that makes sense.

The next couple pages have the  Goblin pretending to be Batman in order to convince some kids help him find a woman’s hotel room that he’s crushing on. The bloke seems more than a little unhinged at this point, and not exactly the most heroic person, which I suppose makes sense given who the first Green Goblin was. At this point as I’m reading his internal monologue, I’m waiting for the villain to arrive. Or the Scarlet Spider. Either way, I’d like someone to hit him.

That said, there is a nice nod to the Concorde jet here a couple pages later. I’d half forgotten about that plane after it was decommissioned more than a decade ago. So that was cool.

But then we have several more pages of the Green Goblin  being a bit of a numpty, somewhat stupid and almost entirely annoying. This is a dude who broke into a woman’s hotel room because he was “in lust” with her (sounds lovely, eh?) before falling for a somewhat simple ruse from sad woman who’s intent on fighting the Scarlet Spider.

As a comic this was quite forgettable, in all honesty. The artwork had a nice feel to it, and presented well on the more newsprint-ish paper the comic is printed on, which has a far dfferent feel to the comics printed more than twenty years later. But despite it beng forgettable, and despite my desire for somebody to hit Phil Urich (yeah, Ben Urich‘s nephew. Which means there’s another Uncle Ben in the Spider-verse) for his stalkerish, and somewhat sociopathic inner monologue, this comic was almost worth a dollar.

Maybe the next one I pick up will be worth a buck (maybe two!), so find out what piqued my curiosity the next time I go looking through the dollar bins at my local comic shop. Will be utter tripe with a cool cover? Will it be a hidden gem? Who knows! But for a buck it’s hard to go wrong.

Comic: Green Goblin #3
Story: Tom Defalco Art: Scott McDaniel
Colors: Joe Rosas Letters: Jim Novak

Rating: Worth A Dollar

Sideshow Collectibles Green Goblin Premium Format Figure

“We’ll meet again, Spider-Man!”

Sideshow Collectibles has debuted their Green Goblin Premium Format Figure, Spider-Man’s most infamous and iconic villain!

With pumpkin bombs at the ready, this devious foe terrorizes the city from above all while striking a treacherous pose. The figure features the Green Goblin atop his glider with a base of billowing clouds.

The figure retails for $519.99 or you can get it for a monthly payment of $58.50/month.

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

When Comic Book Film Costumes Stray

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of comic book-based films. New stories are optioned often, and the wait usually isn’t more than a couple of months for the next theatrical release. Part of the fun of following these adaptations is witnessing the choices made in transferring the bold costumes of the printed page to the silver screen. In any adaptation of material from one medium to another, changes are bound to happen, and sometimes for the better. Of course, it can also be disappointing when the choices unnecessarily stray from the established lore. Let’s take a look at a few of the most drastic examples of unfaithful costume choices in comic book films, and whether those changes were appropriate, or way off base.

In writing this article, I made a few rules to help keep things focused: 1) No animation, only live-action projects. 2) Nothing before Superman: The Movie in 1978, just to keep the comparisons relatively similar. 3) Any cases where the alter-ego of a comic character was introduced but not exhibiting powers (such as Dr. Curt Conners in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy; he never became The Lizard) was not eligible. 4) Characters created with heavy CGI (like The Hulk) were also in a different category, so they were out.

comic-punisherTHE PUNISHER, Dolph Lundgren, 1989.

1) Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher, The Punisher (1989): A cornerstone of most iconic superheroes is a symbol that sums up their mission and their persona. In the case of The Punisher, this is especially true. The skull emblazoned on his costume is a harbinger of death. And yet, in the first feature adaptation of The Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren, his black tactical gear featured no skull at all. There were tiny skulls on the knives that he used as weapons, but that was all. While this film debuted at a time when comic book films (especially those few licensed by Marvel) were not even a shadow of what they have become, it still doesn’t excuse the omission. Beyond the skull, the other parts of the costume are negotiable and variable, but the skull really ties it all together (to paraphrase The Dude). Whatever you may think of the 2004 and 2008 versions of the character, the filmmakers at least had the good sense to include the skull.

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2) The Main Cast of X-Men, X-Men (2000): After Blade became a surprise hit in 1998, Marvel upped the stakes by adapting the much-beloved X-Men. Under Bryan Singer’s guidance, the key word was realism, and that extended to the costumes. For the X-Men team, Singer decided on black leather uniforms with hints of color. While the idea of coordinated battle uniforms remained from the earliest comics, otherwise they were quite different from anything seen on the characters before. While at first it seemed that Singer’s choices unnecessarily toned down the bold world of the X-Men, it proved to be a wise choice in the bigger picture. X-Men was a pivotal film in legitimizing the comic book film to worldwide audiences. While Blade may have cracked the door, X-Men pushed it further so that 2002’s Spider-Man could kick it open. Viewing it through that perspective, the care that Bryan Singer and his team took in creating an X-Men film for the masses seems downright prophetic. A film that completely tackled all the outrageousness of the X-Men comics could have alienated some viewers, perhaps causing a much different comic movie landscape.

comic-witchbladeWitchblade Complete TV Series on DVD, starring Yancy Butler as Sara Pezzini

3) Yancy Butler as Det. Sara Pezzini/Witchblade, Witchblade (2001 – 2002): Of all properties to be adapted to basic cable television, Witchblade must have been far down most people’s list. But it was adapted for TNT, where it aired for two seasons. While the show had a decent share of fans, the realization of the Witchblade itself left a bit to be desired. While in the comics a self-aware organic gauntlet/armor, the Witchblade of the show took on the look of a medieval knight’s armor. Perhaps it was inevitable on a television budget, yet the result was still disappointing. The subsequent anime adaptation presented a truer version of the Witchblade, though it wasn’t Sara Pezzini wearing it in that series. Plans for a feature film reboot have been floated, but nothing has yet landed.

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4) Ashley Scott as The Huntress, Birds of Prey (2002 – 2003): Smallville debuted in 2001, and proved to be a decade-long success for the WB network (which became the CW). In response to the success of that show, Birds of Prey came along one season later. While some aspects were very faithful to the comic book series (Dina Meyer as Oracle, formerly Batgirl), others were wildly divergent (Dinah Lance as a psychic teenager rather than martial artist Black Canary). In the latter column was Ashley Scott’s Huntress, a curious mixture of old and new versions of the character. Her costume, however, favored neither version. A strange mix of club wear that included no mask or other source of identity concealment, this Huntress looked like she had just finished crime-fighting and was headed downtown to blow off some steam. While on the show Batman was her biological father, he obviously never instructed her in the importance of anonymity.

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5) Dominic Purcell as Dracula/Drake, Blade: Trinity (2004): When the third Blade film rolled around, he had already battled and defeated Deacon Frost and a horde of mutant bloodsuckers. So what could up the stakes? How about Dracula? Yes, I know Dracula isn’t originally a comic book character, but he was published by Marvel in Tomb of Dracula in the 1970s, and that comic was where Blade debuted (he didn’t headline his own book until after the original Blade film became a hit). Marvel’s version of Bram Stoker’s big bad took a page from Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and even Jack Palance, whom his facial features were based upon. He also had a jaunty mustache. But in David Goyer’s take on him, Dracula (here using the name “Drake” as an alias) wore no cape, nor evening wear, nor even a mustache. Instead, he settled for a silk shirt and leather pants like he was shooting a 90’s R&B video in the desert. He did have another, more demonic-looking form that was cooler, but it was underused. Couldn’t they at least have kept the mustache?

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6) Halle Berry as Catwoman, Catwoman (2004): It felt weird typing “Halle Berry as Catwoman”, because this film is a concrete example of using a familiar name to sell an unfamiliar character. Berry’s character in this film, Patience Price, has no affiliation to Batman or any previous version of Catwoman. And then there’s the costume. A goofy mask that sits too high like a trucker hat, a bikini top with mismatched straps, and ripped leather pants create a look that doesn’t make sense even in the weird pocket universe of the film. At least there is a whip involved; as much a trademark of any Catwoman as of Indiana Jones. A creative misfire added to the list of misfires that comprise this deeply misguided film.

comic-dark-phoenix film-dark-phoenix

7) Famke Janssen as Dark Phoenix, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): After the exciting tease for The Dark Phoenix Saga at the end of X2, fans were piqued to see Jean Grey take a walk on the wild side. Unfortunately, the combination of two major plotlines in X-Men: The Last Stand left only half the space for the Phoenix story, and so her debut wasn’t all it could’ve been. That included to her costume as well. The comic story featured a maroon and gold bodysuit complete with a gold sash and a flamebird emblem. For the film, Famke was outfitted with a red dress that alluded to the comic costume, but without the gold, sash or emblem. A choice that paid a bit of service to the look, but minus any of the detail. Would something a bit more bold have worked better to sell her character as a being of incredible power? It couldn’t have hurt.

comic-green-goblin film-new-goblin

8) James Franco as New Goblin, Spider-Man 3 (2007): The film costumes of the Green Goblin have always been offbeat choices, from Willem Dafoe’s shiny lime-green armor to Dane DeHaan’s grotesque cyborg combination. But perhaps the most off-the-wall was James Franco as the New Goblin. Harry Osborn’s turn to super-villainy had been progressing for two movies, and by the third film the idea was ripe. If only the execution had been better. The New Goblin opted for a suit based on extreme sports, including a flying snowboard-like glider and a modified paintball mask. While Dafoe’s suit was on the goofy side, it did possess elements of intimidation. But the New Goblin simply came off as the drunken creation of a pissed-off ski patrol douche. Hopefully in the future a more traditional route may be attempted.

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9) James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson, Wanted (2008): Now this choice runs perilously close to breaking my rule of “no alter-ego characters”. In the original Wanted comic series, Wesley was outfitted with a very tactical costume that looked like a high-tech cross between Snake Eyes and SWAT team. Because of the change from super-villains to assassins for the film, he never wears anything other than street clothes. However, since he uses and exhibits his skills in those street clothes, he is in full “super” mode. It is definitely the most unfaithful costume choice on this list, since there was no particular attempt made to replicate the comic’s costume. It’s a shame, too, as that costume would’ve looked slick onscreen.

comic-deadpool film-deadpool

10) Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009): I feel much the same way about Deadpool in this film as I do about Halle’s Catwoman – i.e., I just wish they were named something else. In my opinion, the Wade Wilson scenes in this film were good – funny, while also showcasing the character’s powers. But then there’s that troublesome climax, with the eyebeams, the teleportation and the absence of a mouth. It isn’t enough to awkwardly suggest the look of Deadpool’s comic costume. If it’s only half-Deadpool, then it’s not Deadpool. Thankfully, it really does look like Fox is correcting their mistakes with the upcoming solo film. Ryan Reynolds is great casting, but there has to be commitment to the character.

 

 

It’s got to be a tricky assignment for costume designers to create the film version of characters with such striking ensembles. You have to pay homage to the source material to please the fans, but you can’t make beloved characters look goofy for their mass-audience debuts. The most successful projects seem to walk the thin line of heightened reality leavened by common sense and real-world input. But make no mistake, it doesn’t take much more than a misstep to lose that line. Still, much of the outside wrappings can be forgiven if the structural integrity of the characters’ personalities are intact. When both are missing, you have Catwoman or the first attempt at Deadpool. When both are present, you have Iron Man or Hellboy. We can only hope that as comic book-based films continue to evolve, more filmmakers will find ways to exhibit both in a satisfying way.

Diamond Select Toys On Sale This Week: Predator, Green Goblin and the Comic Book Men!

With Comic Book Men slated to return for a fifth season in the fall, there’s never been a better time to celebrate, so why not do it with some of the geekiest bottle openers known to man? This week, three new items hit comic shops and specialty stores from Diamond Select Toys: the Comic-Book Men Minimates Box Set, featuring all five of the Men; a metal bottle opener of the Green Goblin on his glider, and a metal opener of the Unmasked Predator! Read on for more details, then pick yours up at your local comic shop, or order through your favorite online retailer!

Comic Book Men TV Minimates Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! The gang’s all here! The five stars of AMC’s hit reality TV series Comic Book Men combine to form the most powerful Minimates box set in the galaxy! Kevin Smith, Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Ming Chen and Mike Zapcic each get their own 2-inch Minimates mini-figure in the first five-pack dedicated to the Comic Book Men. Each figure stands 2 inches tall with 14 points of articulation, and features interchangeable parts and accessories. Packaged on a full-color blister card. Designed by Art Asylum! (Item #FEB152151, SRP: $24.99)

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Predator Unmasked Metal Bottle Opener

A Diamond Select Toys release! Predators love the heat, and nothing beats the heat like a cool, refreshing drink. Whether you’re slogging through an impenetrable jungle or hiding out in a Los Angeles barrio, use the mandibles on this metal Predator bottle opener to pop the cap off of your favorite bottled beverage. Plus, magnets on the back will hold it fast to your refrigerator or trophy case, so you’ll never have to “hunt” for an opener again! Packaged in a full-color slipcase. (Item #FEB152158, SRP: $18.00)

PredatorBottleOpener

Marvel Green Goblin Metal Bottle Opener

A Diamond Select Toys release! Unmask your beverage with this sculpted metal bottle opener of Spider-Man’s greatest foe! Measuring 3 inches tall, the Green Goblin stands atop his famous Goblin Glider, his legs forming the lever to remove the bottlecap from your bottle. And magnets on his back keep him hovering on your refrigerator until it’s time to strike! Comes packaged in a full-color slipcase. (Item #JAN152174, SRP: $18.00)

GreenGoblinBottleOpener

Fashion Spotlight: Krypton Knight, Goblin Card, and Gotham Knight

Ript Apparel has three designs today that take some of your favorite characters and mixes them in some playing card designs. Krypton Knight, Goblin Card, and Gotham Knight from Harantula will be for sale on January 7, 2015 only!

Krypton Knight by Harantula

Krypton Knight

Goblin Card by Harantula

Goblin Card

Gotham Knight by Harantula

Gotham Knight

 

 

 

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Diamond Select Toys in Summer 2015: Wolverine, Cthulhu, the Big Fat Kill and More!

The season of giving may be over, but now it’s time to treat yourself! These new toys and collectibles from Diamond Select Toys were just solicited in the new issue of Previews, from Diamond Comic Distributors, and are scheduled to ship in Summer 2015. They can be pre-ordered now!

Batman Classic TV Series Logo Cookie Jar

A Diamond Select Toys release! Holy ginger snaps, Batman! The newest DST product inspired by the Batman Classic TV Series may be their most tantalizing yet! DST has taken the famous Batman TV logo and turned it into an approximately 12″ wide ceramic cookie jar – remove the inset lid at the top to fill it with cookies, treats or evidence! Comes packaged in a full-color box. (Item #JAN152173, SRP: $39.99)

BatmanCookieJar

Cthulhu Idol Vinyl Figural Bank

A Diamond Select Toys release! Save some money for the mother of all rainy days with this vinyl bank of literary and cinematic deity Cthulhu! Originating in the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, the octopus-faced enslaver of worlds is now an 8-inch vinyl bank. Display him on your desk or shelf to signify your devotion to the Elder Gods! WARNING: Idol possesses no supernatural properties. Comes packaged in a clear polybag. Sculpted by Eli Livingston! (Item #JAN152172, SRP $22.99)

CthuluBank

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Select Action Figures Series 2

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s an all-new assortment of 7-inch action figures from the popular Kevin Smith movie, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back! Comedy duo Jay and Silent Bob dress up like their alter egos, Bluntman and Chronic, and face off against the villainous Cock-Knocker! Each figure comes with an energy-sword weapon and part of the Bluntcave set – collect all three to re-create the famous climactic scene of the movie! Each figure comes packaged in a display-ready Select blister card, with spine artwork for shelf reference.

Bluntman Figure (Item #JAN152166, SRP: $24.99)

Bluntman

Chronic Figure (Item #JAN152167, SRP: $24.99)

Chronic

Cock-Knocker Figure (Item #JAN152168, SRP: $24.99)

CockKnocker

Marvel Cloth Retro Wolverine Action Figure Limited Edition Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! The third Mego-style Marvel action figure to make a comeback is none other than… Wolverine? But Wolverine never got an action figure in the 1970s! Well, DST has re-created what a 1970s Wolverine action figure would have looked like, and built a whole box set around it! The vintage-style figure  wears his classic blue-and-yellow costume, with removable mask, and you can switch it out for a more modern-style brown costume or Logan’s civilian togs, each with their own unique head sculpt! Plus, the interchangeable hands have detachable claws! The set includes a vintage-style window box, as well as a booklet about the history of Wolverine in comics and toys, all packaged in a displayable gift tray. This set is limited to 3,000 pieces. Designed and sculpted by EMCE Toys! (Item #JAN152171, SRP: $80.00)

RetroClothWolverine

Marvel Green Goblin Metal Bottle Opener

A Diamond Select Toys release! Unmask your beverage with this sculpted metal bottle opener of Spider-Man’s greatest foe! Measuring 3 inches tall, the Green Goblin stands atop his famous Goblin Glider, his legs forming the lever to remove the bottlecap from your bottle. And magnets on his back keep him hovering on your refrigerator until it’s time to strike! Comes packaged in a full-color slipcase. (Item #JAN152174, SRP: $18.00)

GreenGoblinBottleOpener

Marvel Select Avengers Age of Ultron Thor Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s time to put the hammer down! Thor, prince of Asgard, returns to Earth in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and DST is revisiting their sold-out action figure from Thor: The Dark World with an all-new paint scheme and an all-new base! Standing almost 8 inches tall, this Thor figure sports 16 points of articulation and a spot-on likeness of Chris Hemsworth from the film, and comes packaged in Select-style display packaging, with spine artwork for shelf reference. Sculpted by Gentle Giant! (Item #JAN152175, SRP: $24.99)

ThorMarvelSelect

Sin City Minimates Series 3 Big Fat Kill Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys release! Sometimes, sticking up for your friends means having to kill a whole lotta people. At least, in Sin City it does! The third storyline from the groundbreaking 2005 movie is now a four-pack of Minimates mini-figures, including Dwight, Gail, Miho and Jackie-Boy! Each 2-inch Minimates mini-figure features 14 points of articulation and interchangeable parts and accessories. Comes packaged on a full-color blister card. Designed by Art Asylum! (Item #JAN152170, SRP: $19.99)

SinCityMM

View Askew Golden Mooby Vinyl Bank

A Diamond Select Toys release! Who’s a friend to the king of all the monkeys? Who’s a pal to the duck who won’t fly south? It’s Mooby the Golden Calf! We’ve turned our 10-inch vinyl bank of director Kevin Smith’s fast-food mascot and children’s entertainment fixture into a true idol! With a new, all-gold paint job, a coin slot, and an access door underneath to dispense your spare change, he truly is a Golden Calf! Comes packaged in a clear polybag. (Item #JAN152169, SRP $22.99)

GoldMoobyBank

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