Tagged: Loki

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Lights. Camera. Avenge.

So, I just watched the trailer for The Avengers. I had to change pants. Because I pooped them. Why the premature defecation, you inquire? One movie with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Worthless Chick and Bow and Arrow Man… that’s why! In all seriousness (that would be the seriousness of a comic nerd geeking out at maximum dorkatude), it’s because this is the culmination of years of planning on Marvel’s part. And simply put, it looks like they aren’t going to screw it up.

In their own rights, each of the Marvel heroes who have been given a solo movie have done spectacularly well. Iron Man grossed over $318,000,000; Thor nabbed over $181,000,000; and the glorious Captain America took in over $175,000,000. Bob Wayne at DC once said “You vote with your dollars…” and by the looks of it, America (nerd and non-nerd alike) has proven its love for the Marvel movies.

Speaking purely from a fan-boy perspective, I’ve had nothing but mad love and respect for their cinematic endeavors. Iron Man was grounded in reality (for 4/5s of the film), and elevated by a continuously energetic performance by Robert Downey Jr., Thor was able to mix the completely ridiculous with powerful mythology and gave us perhaps one of the hardest to believe Avengers such that we as an audience believed a God could be a superhero. Captain America was able to build a fantastic period piece that gave the world an iconic and fearless leader. And now, Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios is cramming all of them (and a handful of others) into a single picture.

The basic fear most fanboys have had since the idea of an Avengers movie was dropped on our collective consciousness revolved around over-complexity. Rumors of Loki, the Kree/Skrull war, Red Skull, and numerous other villains danced on message boards. And let’s face it. Putting 4 or 5 “A-Types” into a team picture will potentially numb any chance at character building and nuance. If Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk each required their own picture, how can they share the limelight? And on top of it… Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury looks to be far more than just a cameo to boot. In simpler terms, The Avengers could easily become 10 gallons of Superhero in a 5 gallon hat.

If the trailer is to be any indicator of what the final product will be, I feel like Marvel is headed in the right direction. With the origins of every character now “public knowledge,” things feel natural. Iron Man and Captain America are both formidable leaders in their own right. In the trailer, they knock heads almost instantly. Whedon, who wrote the script, has a real clarity of character. Tony’s response is pitch perfect. Thor, while not uttering a word, carries himself as we expect… Regally, with a dash of arrogance.

Other glimpses of the titular characters are equally impressive. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner certainly holds himself with a quiet struggle. And the choice to make Loki the villain creates a real urgency for the assembling. A mad god? Yeah, that’s a job for the Avengers. I know this all seems a bit of a hyperbole of analysis, given that all we’ve really seen is 12,000 seconds of footage (with a solid third of that dedicated to ominous shots of New York, explosions, and Iron Man flying)… but I’ve watched the trailer a couple times now, and each time I retain the same silly grin.

Marvel’s missteps – Wolverine, Elektra, Daredevil (which I actually liked), and most likely one (if not more) of the Blade flicks – all shared a plethora of groan worthy moments. In each, the self-seriousness never felt earned by the fans. That, and Wolverine was given Clark Kent’s origin part-way through his movie. I wish I could pinpoint exactly why the Avengers, with its surplus of superheroes, seems to capture my glee, with no bitter aftertaste of “this could be a train wreck.” Could it be I just want it to succeed too much? With Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor all leading up to this, it may very be such that I can’t fathom this flopping. I’ve dropped far too much cash at the multiplex to see Marvel bellyflop.

At its core, the Avengers is true fanboy porn. An assembling of Marvel’s best and brightest (and Hawkeye, cause, you know…) to fight the biggest of fights, is the stuff dreams are made of. To see it in live-action glory, with a bevy of computer effects and explosions is everything comic fans have dreamed of. I postulate it’s akin to The Dark Knight, where the general masses will appreciate our medium in a new light. It raises our collective mojo up just a notch. And anytime a comic nerd looks better than a Trekkie or LARPer… well, that’s just gravy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do go watch the trailer… and come back here to tell me if I should stave my excitement, or just invest in a few more pair of paints prior to its debut.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers

From the beginning in Journey into Mystery, Thor’s arch enemy has been his foster brother Loki, which Stan Lee lifted directly from the Norse myths. Loki, god of mischief, was an infant when Odin slew his father and took the child to raise as his own. Much of the Norse mythology tells stories of Loki’s schemes and trickery among the gods of Asgard, a rivalry with Thor clear. Stan, Larry Leiber, and Jack Kirby didn’t real mine the sibling relationship in those early years; it had to fall to other writers who added sophisticated psychological thinking to the relationships of gods.

One such rumination of that relationship was Robert Rodi’s 2004 [[[Loki]]] miniseries. Released under the Marvel Knights imprint, it echoed the core Marvel Universe’s interpretation of the characters but offered up entirely fresh takes on the characterizations and look of the deities. Painter Esad Ribic eschewed Kirby’s science fiction-blended imagery and costuming in favor of a look the Norse themselves would have recognized. About the only things shared between the two universes was Loki’s horned helmet and Thor’s blond hair.

Rodi picked up the story some time after Loki triumphed as has enslaved not only his “brother”, but all who would oppose him including Odin, Balder, and Sif. The weight of rule grew heavy on the trickster, who found no mirth from the throne. He was unhappy and unmoved by the forces that demanded his time and attention including Norn Queen Karnilla and Hela, ruler of Hel. The story is strong, aided by Ribic’s powerful artwork in its somber tones.

To promote the forthcoming Thor movie, Marvel turned the miniseries into a four-part motion comic, [[[Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers]]], which was released throughout the spring. Now, the adaptation is being released on Tuesday by Shout! Factory. They have not been edited together into a seamless whole so each chapter comes complete with opening and closing credits which can be tedious. Worse, this is being marketed as an animated project when it is most definitely a motion comic. (more…)

Guest Reviewer Doc Hermes on DESERT DEMONS!

Guest Reviewer Doc Hermes on DESERT DEMONS!

In November 1993, the last of Will Murray’s new Doc Savage novels, THE FORGOTTEN REALM, was published. I wrote in a review a dozen years later, “It has been twelve years since THE FORGOTTEN REALM was published. Right now, it looks like we will not see a new Doc Savage novel on the stands ever again. But…. that’s what we thought in 1949, too.”

And against the odds (as we might expect from him) the Man of Bronze has returned yet again. Will Murray has begun a new “new” series of Doc adventures and I’m signing up for the ride. I had to order a copy from Altus Press: Barnes & Noble were no help and I’m not much for using Amazon or eBay. (And frankly, $24 is a bit of a gouge for a trade paperback this size but of course I’ve paid more than that for an old pulp or out-of-print books, it’s my choice).

THE DESERT DEMONS is just fine. It’s not as good as the very best of the original pulp stories like METEOR MENACE or THE SARGASSO OGRE, but then neither were most the pulps. There were many original Docs that ranged from passable down to atrocious, and DEMONS is a lot more fun than most of the wartime issues. The book is based on an unused outline Lester Dent left behind. I appreciate the respect Will Murray shows for Dent and understand why he incorporates as much Dent material as he can. But I would be perfectly willing to read a new book that is all Murray, I have trust in his integrity and his own storytelling.

Okay, it’s 1936 again and yet another mysterious menace has surfaced for our hero to investigate. Out in Hollywood, a phenomenon called the Copper Clouds has been killing people. They’re a sort of red cyclonic masses that swoop down from the sky as if targetting individuals, then turn black and evaporate, leaving only white ash, bleached brittle houses or cars and an occasional piece of glass. This is exactly the sort of threat Clark Savage Sr raised his little boy to handle. All five of the aides are on hand, plus Patricia and even Chemistry and Habeas Corpus, and there are enough “hair-raising thrills, breath-taking escapes and blood-curdling excitement” (as the old Bantam paperbacks promised) to more than satisfy. The gadgets are fired off with abandon, science detection is used and there’s even a dirigible. It’s Thirties to the core. References to the then-new phenomenon “smog” and the then-recent Florida land-bust add to the atmosphere.

Of COURSE I have a few complaints. It’s inevitable, there are always a few flaws in any piece of work. Coming in at 239 pages, this is more accessible than the unweildy 300-pagers like THE FORGOTTEN REALM or THE WHISTLING WRAITH. I like my pulp novels around 120 to 150 pages, enough to finish off on a snowy Sunday afternoon without real breaks. They seem to work best when you plow through them at a good clip like riding a roller coaster. Even so, while THE DESERT DEMONS is well paced and doesn’t drag, it can’t be as crisp and headlong as the original pulps. With the extra space available, I hoped to see Renny or Long Tom get a few chapters to themselves with room for them to shine but instead we got more incidents and incidental characters. The other place where I think THE DESERT DEMONS misstepped is that nearly all the story takes place in Hollywood and at the very end we go to Florida for the wrap-up. My preference is for the classic two-part structure with mystery and intrigue in New York, then a trip to Tibet or Brazil or Samoa for a blast of all-out action. So I’d like to see that structure return, but it’s not mandatory for every adventure.

And the menace turns out to be more outright science fictional than usual. I’m good with this. The original series, after all, featured everything from genuine invisibility to fifteen-foot tall Monster Men to the Blue Meteor and earthquake-making machines. The wilder more implausible stuff was usually explained away as hoaxes and misinterpretations (“so the giant spider was a marionette?” “Fraid so,”) but Doc Savage was always borderline science fiction. I think I would draw the line at time travel as going too far, but I’d be fine with seeing Doc tackle things like someone rediscovering Dr Jekyll’s serum. Nothing of the outright supernatural, though… I think Doc Savage’s world just wouldn’t have real werewolves or vampires.

I have come to count on Will Murray to throw in many delightful bits almost as asides. Ham Brooks shows some actual legal knowledge for once. (He says,”In the absence of a corpse, California law allows a grace period of a year before someone may be declared dead.”)Doc can look at a revolver held on him and see that it’s loaded with blanks. Long Tom finally gets useful application for his electronic bug-repelling machine he always seemed to be getting nowhere with. When Doc grapples with someone, the person’s actions seem to be in slow-motion because the bronze man is moving so quickly. (This has the ring of classic Lester Dent to it!)

That’s it, I’m convinced. It would take an awful lot to keep me from getting the next book in the series. I’m so glad how things have turned out for Doc Savage fans. The pulp ended in 1949, which was then thought to be the last the characters would ever be seen. Then in 1964, Bantam started a few reprint paperbacks and the usual event would be to see a handful appear but no… eventually all 181 of the original novels were available, as well as a previously unpublished story. Ah well, that was good but it had to be the end. No. Then Philip Jose Farmer wrote ESCAPE FROM LOKI and starting in 1991, Will Murray turned out seven new books. In 1993, putting down THE FORBIDDEN REALM, I hoped that I would live long enough to see a few more authorized Doc Savage adventures come to be, and here we are.

Official D23 Announcements Focus Mainly on Pixar

121543352_ae_6447_5d35477db6385687b17058f1f58245b5-300x201-4377421For those of you who missed out on Disney’s fan fest, D23, the studio provided us with a recap which we will run intact below. But we know what you really care about is what was said and shown about next year’s The Avengers. Well, there were some clips, another blindingly fast set of clips. According to a report over at Newsrama these included “a conversation between Tony Stark and Loki — with Tony Stark notably appearing behind a bar. Stark details the Avengers lineup — ‘a couple of master assassins, a demigod, and a living legend that actually lives up a legend’ — and Loki retorts back, ‘I have an army.’ ‘We have a Hulk,’ Stark replies.

“The montage sequence also included a monologue from Fury, detailing the purpose behind the Avengers — that they were organized to take on the threats that S.H.I.E.L.D. can’t.”

121543352_ae_6354a_5c434f0cb1f223cf95e6cbd59835890f-300x215-3394201Bleeding Cool added, “In the clip, Loki is shown trapped in a cage on the helicarrier. It’s a cage built to hold The Hulk, and he’s told that if he’s too much trouble, they’ll just drop it out of the botttom of the helicarrier, 30,000 feet to the ground below. Maria Hill and Steve Rogers watch from the bridge on a monitor while Tony Stark and Nick Fury step up to Loki and have a little threatening banter with him.”

“At the start of Feige’s presentation,” Newsarama continued, “a reel was shown of the five previous Marvel Studios films — Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (no Edward Norton footage was shown), Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. The clips focused on the interconnectivity of the movies, scenes like Tony Stark appearing at the end of Incredible Hulk and Johann Schmidt discovering the Tesseract at the beginning of Cap. That vignette ending with the tagline ‘assembly begins next summer’.”

Here’s the formal release: (more…)

Review: ‘Thor: Tales of Asgard’

Produced in 2009 but held until this week to capitalize on the live-action adaptation of Marvel’s Thor, Lionsgate releases [[[Thor: Tales of Asgard]]], a 77-minute animated feature that harkens back to the Thunder God’s youth. The title harkens back to the beloved back-up feature that ran behind the main story in Journey Into Mystery for several years as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby explored the earlier days of the Asgardians or told stories adapted from the Norse myths. This approach is a clever one for an animated feature and certainly freed the writers and designers from aping whatever the current look of the hero was.

Still, watching this largely entertaining film still feels like it was inspired by some other universe’s Thor comic. Everything is familiar but just off a shade from personality to the look. It’s certainly not an Asgard Jack designed nor does it really take its visual cues from the Norsemen of days gone by. Instead, the architecture and costume design seem taken from your generic high fantasy book. There’s even one sequence that feels lifted whole from The Two Towers film, which takes away from the overall strength of the story.

The story, by animation veteran Greg Johnson, is an original story exploring the prideful Thor’s first steps into manhood. After realizing he has been sheltered far too long by Odin, Thor convinces Loki to join him as they stowaway aboard a vessel the Warriors Three take away from Asgard. They reveal themselves and the group wind up entering Jotunehim, land of the Frost Giants. The group manages to obtain the revered Sword of Surtur, which brings the Giants and Asgardians to the brink of war.

Thor, Sif, Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg are entirely familiar in terms of personality and act according to character, albeit far younger versions of themselves. Interestingly, Loki, the lord of mischief, is actually the least recognizable as he is a loving brother who is struggling to master magic (with a nice cameo from the Enchantress). There are some nice hints to the fans that Loki’s Frost Giant origins remain intact but he remains ignorant of it here. (And as usual, Balder the Brave is absent which is a damn shame.)

The Frost Giants look generic and their leader is merely an albino version of the Maestro from Hulk: Future Imperfect. The Giants and their land are unimpressive as is Algrim the Dark Elf who has a sympathetic but inexplicable role in the overall story. (more…)

Mee the Animated Asgardians

Mee the Animated Asgardians

Last year, we got a glimpse of Thor: Tales of Asgard, which looked incredibly promising as an animated feature film. Lionsgate is released the film, at long last, direct-to-DVD on Tuesday, while everyone has Norse gods on the mind. For those less familiar with the comic, they have provided a slideshow to introduce audiences to the cast of characters, ranging from Thor, his foster brother Loki, Allfather Odin, the fierce Sif, the valiant Warriors Three, Amora the Enchantress and the legendary Frost Giants, among others.


Here are the product details:



He’s waged battles in Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, Next Avengers and Hulk Vs., and now one of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe is ready to strike out on his own this May. See the young “God of Thunder” as Marvel Animation and Lionsgate Home Entertainment team up to release Thor: Tales of Asgard! Hitting Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital Download and On Demand on May 17, 2011, the newest Marvel Animated Feature is the perfect companion to the May 6th release of the live-action theatrical film Thor. The title builds on the strength of more than 40 years and 10 million copies of Thor comics, and the timelessness of The Mighty Thor to create a truly epic adventure that both lifelong fans and those new to the story will love. Packed with special features such as audio commentaries with the film creators, a “making-of” featurette plus a bonus TV episode of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Thor: Tales of Asgard will come to Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD for $29.99 and $19.98, respectively.


Before he ever lifted his mighty hammer, there was the sword. Fantastic journeys beckon from the mysterious nine realms. Places of dark mists and fiery voids. Of winged creatures and giants in the ice. And the most alluring quest of all – the search for the legendary Lost Sword of Surtur. Hungry for adventure, Thor secretly embarks on the journey of a lifetime, joined by his loyal brother Loki, whose budding sorcery equips him with just enough magic to conjure up trouble, along with the Warriors Three – a band of boastful travelers reluctant to set sail on any adventure that might actually be dangerous. But what starts out as a harmless treasure hunt quickly turns deadly, and Thor must now prove himself worthy of the destiny he covets by saving Asgard itself.


• Audio commentary with Supervising Producer Craig Kyle and Screenwriter Greg Johnson

• Audio commentary with Supervising Director Gary Hartle, Animation Director Sam Liu and Character Designer Phil Bourassa

• “Worthy: The Making of Thor: Tales of Asgard” featurette

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Bonus Episode from the new hit TV series


Review: “Thor”

Review: “Thor”

Chris Hemsworth as Thor as depicted in the upc...

Image via Wikipedia

For a Marvel movie geek, three things were inevitable about Thor: 1) The Stan Lee cameo scene, 2) the post-end credits scene, and 3) nitpicking. Nitpicking is going to happen with any comic book related movie, and I’ve grudgingly accepted it as a necessary evil that certain sacrifices would need to be made in any translation of a story from one medium to another. Thus, certain things will have to be overlooked IF the end result is successful.

Marvel’s version of Thor in its many incarnations has tread a delicate balance of Norse mythology and something flashy thanks to Jack Kirby’s glorious art. In Kenneth Branagh’s movie adaptation of Thor, there are elements of the Prodigal Son, Arthurian mythology, and of course, grounding in Marvel history.

For his arrogance and defiance of his father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), King of otherworldly Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is stripped of his considerable power and warhammer Mjolnir and banished to Earth. Making matters worse, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is beginning to discover things about himself, and let’s say he starts some trouble, now that Odin is in a coma. While on earth, Thor is tricked into believing that his father is dead (and three guesses as to who tricked him).

There was the requisite love interest in Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), a scientist investigating atmospheric anomalies. As with recent Marvel movies, the shadowy government agency SHIELD was behind the scenes, and this being a Summer movie, there was the requisite amount of wholesale property damage.

While formulaic, Thor is refreshingly entertaining. Comic book movies rely heavily upon reverence for and adherence to the source material. The result must look and more importantly feel like the comic books. Kenneth Branagh’s Thor succeeds and entertains although the progression from arrogant bastard to superhero wasn’t deep enough, and I could have done without Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), Dr. Jane Foster’s ultra-annoying assistant.

If you still have no idea what the movie’s about, here’s a brief featurette:

ComicMix Six: The Best Major Battles of THOR!

This week, [[[Thor]]] comes to theaters! With a director like Kenneth Branagh, stars such as Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins, and rave reviews happening from advanced screenings, many fans old and new can’t wait for this latest film from Marvel Studios and Paramount. It stars Thor, god of thunder, who in the Marvel Universe divides his time between living in Asgard, traveling through other dimensions, and acting as a superhero on Earth.

Over the years, Thor’s had some pretty epic adventures. So let’s take a look at six tales that any new Thor fan should check out.


Thor vol. 1 #145-153

For his impudence, Thor is banished to Earth without his powers. As he continues to act as a superhero as best he can, Thor’s allies plead to Odin, the All-Father, to return his son’s full abilities. This story keeps building up the stakes as Thor’s sometimes lover and constant ally Sif inhabits the powerful Destroyer armor. Meanwhile, Loki arrives to make another bid for power and Ulik the troll shows up to cause more trouble. Elsewhere, Hela, goddess of death, watches and waits. An epic storyline that highlights both Thor and Don Blake as heroes and is a classic tale of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby days.

Reprinted in “Essential Thor, Vol. 3”

‘Thor: Tales Of Asgard’ Preview clip

‘Thor: Tales Of Asgard’ Preview clip

As long as we’re in the spirit of mischief, here’s a bit from the God of Mischief and his loudmouth brother.

In this new video clip from the upcoming THOR: TALES OF ASGARD,  Loki plays a prank on the wolf Fenris in the Port Hole Pub while Thor and the Warriors Three look on.


THOR: TALES OF ASGARD debuts on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download from Marvel Animation and Lionsgate Home Entertainment on May 17, 2011.

Playing with Toy Fair 2011: Recap, Part I

lion-o1_wr1-137x300-7377489lion-o2_wr-91x300-4630422Having fun at Toy Fair is hard work.

OK, So I’m not likely to get much sympathy about the “hard work” bit, but Toy Fair is an overwhelming experience at which toy manufacturers will show off their wares for retailers, wholesalers, and the press from around the world. Anything and everything from yo-yos to high ticket collectibles and everything in between. But on to the fun stuff.

The venerable cartoon “Thundercats” is getting  a reboot soon, and Bandai showed off a complete line of  4″ figures. They also had 8″ figures done of classic “Lion-O” and “Tygra.” Take a look at the difference between new and classic “Lion-O” (again – keep in mind that the Classic figure is really twice the size of the New one).

The 4″ figures have a magnet embedded in their backs that activate features in  other playsets & accessories. Of course, if you want Snarf, ya gotta get the ThunderTank. Ain’t that always the case?