You knew that, sooner or later, Hugh Jackman was going to do this:
Brian Henson and the company formed by his late father, Jim, are taking their talents to a new reality based competition show on SyFy. Brian talks about why he’s doing the CREATURE SHOP CHALLENGE and what his toughest creations have been on the big and small screens. Plus DOCTOR WHO comic fans get some freebies and Fox stakes some claims in the box office.
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So let me get this straight, in order to defeat the villain, the Avengers made a worse villain?
That first villain, Ultron, the living automaton with artificial intelligence and massive daddy issues about its creator Henry Pym, had made things pretty bad in the [[[Age of Ultron]]] mini-series. “Pretty bad” being a euphemism conquering the world, destroying major cities, killing people, and generally not playing well with others. In order to undo the Age of Ultron, Invisible Woman and Wolverine went into the past and visited Henry Pym before he built the first Ultron. They told Dr. Pym that Ultron would destroy the world in the future but also told him he still had to build Ultron so that the time line would stay the same until just before Ultron started the Age of Ultron. So Pym built Ultron, but put a kill switch into Ultron’s A.I. so that Ultron could be defeated at the right time in the future.
Cut to years later and the right time in the future: Invisible Woman visited Dr. Pym again. She showed Dr. Pym, whose memory of the earlier visit had been wiped, a video about Ultron which included instructions on how to activate the kill switch. This occurred just before the events of The Avengers v.4, # 12.1, where, you may recall, the Avengers rescued Spider-Woman from super-villain team the Intelligencia but inadvertently reactivated Ultron. (You may recall it. I had to look it up.)
Because he had been warned, Dr. Pym could change what happened after the Avengers reactivated Ultron. This time Ultron didn’t get away. Instead Pym had Iron Man upload the kill switch activation codes into Ultron. Then, after Ultron shut down, Pym used a computer virus to destroy Ultron. And they all lived happily ever after, no?
Every so-often, the social media circuit regurgitates little worthless surveys. Perhaps your news feed is clogged with them? While I appreciate Facebook’s hide feature… frankly, I just scroll past then without a thought. Except when I – the ego-driven ne’er-do-well I am – determine that yes, indeed I must know which Disney Villain I am. And a few minutes later, I’m delivered output as thorough, reputable, and savory as a strip-mall psychic’s buy-one get-one reading. I figured as I had nothing to bitch about this week (unlike the feminists, legends, and/or afrofuturists that share column space with me) I might as well take a few of the quizzes for you, my adoring public. Allow me to help you figure out the absolute amazing enigma that is Marc Alan Fishman.
I am Randy Savage. Faced with the notion of Which Old School Pro Wrestling Legend Are You? I was quite pleased to be told I am the Macho Man. Aside from being the single greatest pitch man for salty meat sticks ever, Randy Savage was widely known amongst wrestling fans as the smart-mans Hulk Hogan. I’d like to think that I too am more a technical talent – suited more for the thinking my way out of a situation rather than with brute force – and that my passion seeps out of my pores. That… and I’d look amazing in a rhinestone cowboy hat and matching robe with wings. OH YEAH!
I am Michael Stipe of R.E.M. That’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spot. Light. Losing my relig– sorry. When faced with Which 90’s Alt Rock Dude Are You? quiz, it’s fitting I’d get someone considered tame in comparison to the others I could have been. Stipe is a thinker, not a drinker. He and his band represented a shift toward arty music videos, and lyrics that might make you think. He was angsty, which I can be from time to time. But beyond much else? Michael Stipe is a man of solid convictions. I’d like to think I’m getting there. I should note he also wrote a song about Andy Kaufman, and I loved Andy Kaufman. So, there’s that.
My Disney Best Friend is Pascal from “Tangled”. Well, the Internet can’t be right all the time. Or maybe it is? Frankly, I’ve not seen the Disney flick in question. According to the results though “You’ve got a dream and you just want to explore the world and live a little.” And you know what? That’s actually very true. I do have a dream that The Samurnauts, and my lil’ company, Unshaven Comics, would be successful. And through that success we might just get to see a bit more of the world than we currently do on nights, weekends, and occasional holidays. And if that means a weird spiral tailed lizard is along for the ride? So be it.
I am Ron Weasley. Well, I don’t have a ton of siblings (in fact I have none). But I did wind up with a detail oriented muggle, and our child is adorable. I’d like to think my parents could provide better for me than a busted-ass wand, and rat for a pet. At the end of the semester though, I am a loyal friend, and fierce in defense of them when the going gets tough. Per the quiz I am “the funny one in your group of friends, but sometimes you use humor to hide your insecurities.” And well, what can I say? I am Michael Stipe. So, I’m sure there’s times when I let my insecurities be buried. But hey, Everybody Hurts.
I am Comic Book Guy. Look kiddos, I swear, I didn’t plan this. But in the grand scheme of Springfield? Well, I can’t complain. I am sarcastic when push comes to shove. I covet trinkets, gadgets, and the like. And if I were to have a heart-attack, I imagine I too would envision how to best pose dramatically before kneeling before Zod. Cheeseburgers and loneliness do make for a terrible combo. Lucky for me I married my own Agnes Skinner long ago. I must hope though, that my scion turns out better than Seymour. Best. Outcome. Ever.
I am Leonard Hofstader. Oddly enough, it seems fitting. When I look to Unshaven Comics as my real-life Big Bang Theory gang, it’s clear to me at least that I am leader by default. That being said, that means Kyle is Sheldon, and Matt is Howard. Which is really strange, since Matt isn’t jewish. Kyle, I should also add, may be particular in his nature… but no where near annoying. But I digress. “Straddling the line between sweet and sarcastic, you can transition between social circles with ease.” I couldn’t put it better myself. Growing up, I was a nerd. Hell, I still am. But within any other circle – be they jocks in gym class, my fellow choir-geeks, or the arty-kids… I was never at a loss for words or good humor. I’d like to note though: I can handle dairy products just fine.
I am Kirk. Well, what more would I say to that? Much like Leonard, my Kirk-ness is embolden to my natural leadership qualities. I’d like to think that I tend to surround myself with a talented crew who make me look better. Like here at ComicMix for example. Mike Gold, my Spock – keeping me on the correct path, in his own cryptic ways. Glenn Hauman, my Scotty – always ensuring the ship is operating efficiently (except when he’s stranded somewhere without an internet connection…). And of course, Michael Davis, my Uhura – c’mon, I had to go there.
Suffice to say, I am many things to many people. Clearly, you now know though, who I really am. For the record? I am Marc Alan Fishman, and I am not like any fictional being. I am me, and dag nabbit, I’m happy to just be myself.
Are they father and son? Brothers? Clones? It all depends on which incarnation of Wolverine and Sabertooth you are reading or watching. Their battles have been so frequent that it takes a lot these days to get you to pay attention to the banter and slashing.
Don’t let the title fool you since this is not the Ultimate Universe version of Wolverine but the Marvel Universe incarnation and the story is taken from Wolverine #50-55, one of the first stories written by Jeph Loeb when he returned to Marvel. Set at a time when there were just under 200 mutants on Earth, Sabertooth had been taken in by the X-Men but as one would expect, the Xavier Mansion is not big enough for the two bruisers. So they fight. And fight. And flashback to other fights through the years. And they fight. And they fight Black Panther and get lectured by Storm. And in the end, Sabertooth dies. For a little while anyway.
Loeb and artist Simone Bianchi crafted a fine fight for the duo that fans adored and inspired Marvel to turn into a Motion Comic. Now that conflict is being collected on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory, being released on Tuesday. The resurrection of Sabertooth took place some five years later, pretty long for a dead villain.
As with the other motion comics that have come from Marvel, they have been as dependent on the motion technology as they are with the artwork used as source material. Jae Lee’s fine work didn’t translate well in Origin and Bianchi’s similar work made me question how successful this could be. Thankfully, his dark, painterly style works far better – not great, but better.
The 66 minute slug fest faithfully adapts the story although once more, the vocal casting leaves something to be desired. The score helps a lot.
The disc also comes with a 24:00 retrospective as Loeb and Bianchi recount how they partnered up and struggled to find a fresh way to have these two engines of destruction fight one another without boring the reader. Both speak well and it’s a well-done piece that relies too heavily on clips and has Loeb practically begging you to take Motion Comics seriously.
Despite being one of Marvel’s most insanely popular characters, Wolverine has struggled a bit on the big screen. Sure, Hugh Jackman defied expectations when he first signed on to play the Canadian mutant. After, in the comics, the guy is short and stocky whereas Jackman is over six feet tall. He fit the ensemble in the X-Men trilogy of films quite nicely, playing off James Marsden’s Cyclops as both vied for Jean Grey’s love only to both watch her die in X-Men: Last Stand.
If there was any character ready for a spinoff film, it was Wolverine but X-Men Origins; Wolverine was a bit of a messy disappointment, overstuffed with other mutants and telling his poignant backstory. Still, the character was tantalizing for 20th Century Fox so they went back to the drawing board – and the comics – for inspiration offering up this summer’s The Wolverine, figuring if the article helped define Batman as darker and more serious, it could only enhance the hero’s second outing.
Director James Mangold, who demonstrated he could do character and action in Knight & Day, worked with screenwriters Mark Bomback and Scott Frank to strip mine the first Wolverine miniseries, the best of the lot, you know, the one from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. While they pat themselves on the back for honoring the spirit of the mini, they also left out its darker tones and themes of obligation. About the only things in common is Japan for the setting and the kick-ass women, Mariko and Yukio. Beyond that, give me the miniseries over the overblown film.
I’m told the movie makes more sense in the unrated extended version now available on some DVDs. 20th Century Home Entertainment sent the standard combo pack, containing the Blu-ray, DVD, and Ultraviolet digital copy. As a bonus you can also download a Marvel Infinite Comic, an original digital story although I could never read it as it failed to properly load on both my laptop and iPad.
Since Jean’s death, Logan has isolated himself from humanity and mutantkind alike, speaking only to her phantom image, well handled by Famke Jameson. He’s lured back to the society by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), on behalf of Yashida (Ken Yamamura/Haruhiko Yamanouchi), whose life Logan saved during the bombing of Nagasaki decades earlier. He has since built up the most successful technology company this side of Stark Industries and is now dying. He offers Logan a chance to have his mutant healing ability taken away, letting him live out a normal lifespan. Although he refuses the offer, Logan is on hand long enough to see all the political and familial machinations going on, coiled tight to be unloaded the moment the man dies.
During the funeral, Mariko (Tao Okomoto) is attacked and Logan rushes to her aid as does her lifelong friend Harada (Will Yun Lee). At some point, though, Wolverine comes to realize his healing factor has been compromised and he’s suddenly injured and not getting any better.
While Logan and Mariko are on the run, they fall in love and Logan regains some of his humanity once again. Still, things can never remain idyllic so she’s taken, leading us to several set pieces that skip all attempts at ingenuity and characterization in favor of boring action with a climax taken from the first Iron Man. And while the script starts with the miniseries as a source, it borrows throughout the comics so we get Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) with littler explanation of who she is and what she really wants and the revelation that the claws are actually bone protrusions, something that may be addressed in next summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. The end credits segue from this story to the next film, a gimmick that every studio with Marvel characters now seems obligated to include.
Jackman’s Wolverine is nuanced. A tortured soul who watches everyone he loves die (except for Mariko – for now at least) as he ages past other friendships. The Logan in the miniseries tamed his soul through Japanese culture but that angle is sadly missing from here.
The Blu-ray transfer is lovely along with fine sound so watching is a pleasure and the story makes as much sense as it needs to. There are a handful of extras including “The Path of a Ronin”, a multi-part, 53:44 Making Of documentary that explores many facets of the character and the film’s production. You also get a brief alternate ending (1:34) where we see him presented with the yellow and blue costume. Finally, Bryan Singer turns up for a set tour (2:47) for the next installment. There’s also a Second Screen App for those who want additional content.
1. Yukio: The Body Guard
2. Viper: Toxin Immune “Doctor”
3. Jean Grey: The Ex
4. Mariko: The One to Save
Originally, Mariko plays hard to get, she doesn’t think she needs The Wolverine’s help. Well, let’s just say she was wrong. Not only did Logan save Mariko from being killed, she also fell in love with him. I think it’s safe to say he loves her too.
Closing windows on my computer so you can open them up on yours. Here we go:
- He’s the best he is at what he does, and what he does is oh so pretty: Proof that Wolverine is the greatest Disney princess of them all
- ‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff Ideas From the Cast, Creators
- The Worst Reviewed Highest Grossing Movies Of All-Time
- Calvin and Hobbes’ dancing. The kids they dance, they shake their bones…
- Rescuing Sci-Fi Tales From the Ravages of Time – WSJ.com
- Neil Gaiman to Join Bard College Faculty as Professor in the Arts. It’s only Bard because Hogwarts has a hiring freeze on.
- Macmillan Publishers Expands Film Division
- This is the amazing Lockheed Martin SR-72—the space Blackbird. In other words, what the X-Men will be flying next year.
- Marvel Comics Introducing a Muslim Girl Superhero – NYTimes.com and Marvel Announce Ms Marvel Series from G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona — The Beat. The countdown to the paranoid backlash about Muslims changing shape to blend in and infiltrate America starts in 3… 2… 1…
- Coming soon from Ronald D. Moore and Javier Grillo-Marxauch on SyFy: Helix Season 1.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIthI2sKfu4
Anything else? Consider this an open thread.
This highly anticipated Marvel Knights Animation adventure boasts unparalleled storytelling combined with rich visual animation and insightful bonus content. This deluxe DVD is collected in a unique comic book style packaging that bridges the comic book to DVD concept. Marvel Knights Animation’s WOLVERINE VS. SABRETOOTH DVD is priced to own at $14.97 SRP.
An exclusive behind-the-scenes bonus content feature provides an intimate and retrospective look at the development and production process of this amazing story. Marvel Knights Animation remains true to the heritage of panel-by-panel graphic storytelling, boasting groundbreaking illustrations, sensational soundscapes, and of course, the explosiveness of the mighty Marvel universe. Behind every image and every word lies the genius of Marvel’s celebrated creators.
Superstars Jeph Loeb (TV’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Simone Bianchi (Astonishing X-Men) team up for the biggest, best and, quite possibly, last battle between Wolverine and Sabretooth! These sworn foes have been locked in an endless grudge match that goes back longer than either can remember – or even imagine. The key to victory is eons old, and it’s certain to rock their world. Think you’ve seen Marvel’s fiercest go toe-to-toe before? Those were just warm-ups!
Bonus Features Include:
Brand new retrospective featurette includes interviews with Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi.
Total Feature Running Time: +/- 66 minutes
For those paying close attention to the racks these days (which I admit I’ve not… but more on that later), they’d note that within the big two, no issue is numbered over the forties. Between Marvel NOW and the New 52, the industry has taken a shine to newness as the gimmick du jour. Gone are the long-running series that toppled in the hundreds before they were relaunched into new volumes. Serious collectors would amass each issue into their glorious bags and boards, stacks, and boxes.
Devotees of the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Action Comics, or Detective Comics would “ride the run” as it were. Through the high times and low, the collector made a simple statement: I want all of this. When the volume ended, a new line in the Overstreet is made and thus, said geek has the ability to opt out and move on. It might also be appropriate to hypothesize that when a volume ended, it did so not at the height of its quality or popularity. As my buddy Triple H might say? It’s always about what’s best for business.
Let us dive into that then, shall we? As a retailer, a #1 is a boon for business. It’s the universal jumping on point for a reader. Sales charts proclaimed that the New 52 was an initial success. As were several gimmicks revolving around funny numbers. Marvel NOW got into the same tactics, albeit under slower pretenses. At the end of the day though, all the ongoing series now sit in their infancy, and it is perhaps leading to an antsy fan base changing titles the way they surf the Internet. Keep producing #1s and you spark the base for a quick jolt of sales each time. The same way TV launches their seasons of new shows. The same way movie studio reboot and relaunch franchises when they want guaranteed money.
I personally am not getting any book with Wolverine in it. I freely admit though that when I see a new Wolverine #1 with a new team I stop and think “maybe I should get in on that kooky Logan business…” Hell, whilst driving home from the New York Comic Con, my Unshaven cohort declared that Matt Fraction was going to write a new Silver Surfer series. Given that I loved the new Defenders mini he did (which I bought, oddly enough, because it was a #1 and I was low on books to buy that week it debuted…), there I sat, hands on the wheel thinking that it’d be worth a try. By the way, I hate the Silver Surfer. He defeated Kyle Rayner in Marvel Vs. DC in the 90’s and I’ve never forgiven him. Yet, the allure of a #1 and a creative team I like is enough to sway my snarky heart. Scary, no?
My unnamed pal noted his sadness that his newer customers would “never get to experience of watching a series / character / creative team grow”, and those words ring true. Ron Marz’s run on Green Lantern anchored my teen years. By watching Rayner grow from a newbie ring-slinger to the true torchbearer of the corps, I built a life-long love of the character. Do I feel the same way about any character I’ve read in the last several years? Hardly.
I love the Superior Spider-Man right now, but I know that love is entirely fleeting. Much as I’d hoped Dick Grayson would hold the cape and cowl of his mentor for more than a hot minute, I knew that the industry I wallow in is one of transitory entertainment. Nothing lasts longer than the sales figures allow them to. When Walt Disney’s petulant corpse and the unseen Brothers Warner loom in the darkness with gluttonous desire, the idea that a paltry four dollar rag be given years to find a voice and mature is as impossible as a mouse actually piloting a steamboat. It’s a small world after all, and it doesn’t run on dreams and candy. It runs on movie and merchandise revenue. Comics these days serve their purpose more for maintaining rights, and collecting otaku for monetary tribute. The business model for doing that simply doesn’t take into account anything more than a bottom line in the black.
One thing I’d be remiss to mention here is how my very own studio has thought of production. Our Samurnauts concept was built to be presented as a maxi-series of mini-series… if that makes any sense. Knowing our audience as we did when we started, it was hard to not want to make everything last only long enough to make it into a trade. Then slap a new #1 on the next mini, and make everyone start back at the beginning. Simply put? When I walk past an indie table, and see a series past even four issues? I’m already walking past for fear of the costly barrier to entry. While the series itself may be absolutely amazing, as a fan, I freely admit that I’m always less likely to buy-in when I know there’s a backload of material to catch up on. Comics aren’t seasons of shows on Hulu or Netflix; they’re commitments of dollars, and as such I’ve ended up becoming a slave to newness.
I open the argument to you, the people of the court. Are Marvel and DC doing you wrong by continued experimentation, relaunching, and ADHD production? Or do you like the idea that you’re never too far away from a jumping on point? Do you find the pulp of today to be too transitive, or do you like to consume your sequential fiction one micro-series at a time?
SUNDAY: John Ostrander
MONDAY: Mindy Newell