Spider-Man

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Marvel Movie News

Spider-Man 3: Tom Holland Teases Highlight Of Career

Tom Holland shows off the Spider-Man suit and teases the day of filming was one of the highlights of his career. “Today was easily one of the highlights of my career. For those of you that were there, you know what I’m talking about and for those of you that weren’t, you better buckle up!!!” […]

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Marvel Video Game News

Spider-Man: Miles Morales Game Tanks; 70% Drop

Following Marvel’s The Avengers, now the Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales video game has tanked completely as it sold 70% less than the first game.  The sales info comes from Super Data, a Nielsen Company, who reports the numbers where the first Spider-Man game sold 2.2 million copies at launch, but Miles Morales only sold 663k: Spider-Man: Miles

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Marvel Star Wars Video Game News

Spider-Man, Star Wars Up For The Game Awards 2020

The Game Awards, the video game industry’s biggest annual year-end celebration, today announced its 2020 nominees with The Last Of Us Part II, Hades, and Ghost of Tsushima leading nominations, which also includes the Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales game and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Star Wars: Squadrons. Highlighting the games from the past

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Marvel Video Game News

‘Marvel’s Avengers’ Removed From Spider-Man Video Game

Things continue to look really bad for Marvel’s Avengers as now it is learned an apparent reference to the video game has been removed from the remastered version of the Spider-Man video game. The original PS4 Spider-Man video game sees Spidey make mention that the Avengers aren’t around and that they are on the West

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Marvel Video Game News

PS5 Launches This November At $399 With Spider-Man, More

Sony has announced the launch date and price for its highly anticipated PS5 next-gen console system which will be released November 12 priced at $399. Also announced for the PS5 launch includes the new Marvel’s Spider-Man game featuring Miles Morales (watch the 7-minute gameplay demo trailer) and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (teaser and

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Marvel Video Game News

Spider-Man Coming To ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ Only On Playstation

Spider-Man will be joining the Marvel’s Avengers video game as Crystal Dynamics announced the Wall Crawler will be exclusively available on Playstation. “Our own Crystal Dynamics take on Spider-Man is teaming up with Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Black Widow of Marvel’s Avengers,” said Jeff Adams, Associate Art Director, Crystal Dynamics, on the

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Marvel Video Game News

Spider-Man PS5 Box Art Revealed

Sony reveals the box art for the upcoming Spider-Man PS5 video game featuring Miles Morales. “A quick update for our fans — here’s your first look at the box art for PS5 games you’ll be seeing on store shelves this holiday, starring Marvel Super Hero Miles Morales,” teases the Playstation blog. The box art features

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Video Game News

Sony Reveals PS5 and More Than Two Dozen Games

Sony announced details and game for the PS5 on Thursday which includes Grand Theft Auto, Marvel’s Spider-Man – Miles Morales, Gran Turismo, Horizon Forbidden West and more. Most of the games listed below will be available at launch and will be exclusives. Check out the trailer for Marvel’s Spider-Man – Miles Morales here. Check out

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Video Game News

‘Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales’ Announced For PS5

Marvel’s Spider-Man – Miles Morales video game is announced to be coming to the PS5, which is the sequel to the popular Spidey game from the PS4. A trailer and screenshots have been released; see below. “Experience the rise of Miles Morales as he masters new powers to become his own Spider-Man,” teases Marvel.com. The

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Marvel Video Game News

Daredevil Video Game Teased By Marvel Games

A Daredevil video game may be in the works as the VP & Head of Creative at Marvel Games, Bill Rosemann, may have teased its development along with video game voice actor Troy Baker. Baker was asked by a fan what is your dream superhero game and which developer would you want to make it,

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Marvel Video Game News

Spider-Man PS5 Leaks Include Venom, Carnage

A batch of rumors has hit the net regarding the Spider-Man 2 video game for the upcoming PS4 and PS5 that includes mention of Venom and Carnage. The first game was a big hit and was really cool, so let’s hope things continue. Check out the reported leaks below. Spider-Man 2 PS5, PS4 video game

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Marvel Video Game News

Spider-Man PS4 Gets Tobey Maguire Suit

Happy Holidays from Marvel and Insomniac Games as the latest update for the Spider-Man PS4 video game features the Tobey Maguire suit from the Sam Raimi movies. “A very special thanks to the teams at @MarvelGames and @Marvel for helping us work with @PlayStation to bring the Webbed Suit to #SpiderManPS4,” Insomniac Games tweeted. Marvel Games executive creative

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Marvel Video Game News

Iron Spider Announced For PS4

Following the leak from a couple of weeks ago, now the Iron Spider suit from The Avengers: Infinity War is officially announced for Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 game. Pre-order Marvel’s Spider-Man to unlock instant access to the Iron Spider suit inspired by the film when the game launches September 7. SYNOPSIS: Swing into action with this

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Video Game News

Spider-Man PS4 Release Date Revealed

Following yesterday’s reveal, now Marvel has announced the Spider-Man PS4 release date as well as the box art and pre-order bonus info. The Spider-Man PS4 game will be available on Friday, September 7, 2018 and is now available for pre-order. The standard edition of the Spider-Man PS4 video game will be available at retail and digitally

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Movie News Reviews

Review: Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Revisiting a Sticky Situation

A Film Review of The Amazing Spider-Man 2

By Lawrence Napoli

 

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The summer is fully up and running what with a second comic book blockbuster to grace the box office in the much anticipated sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man.  We are almost two exact years to the day removed from The Avengers and the (ahem) amazing things it did by interweaving multiple franchises into a culminating, team-based extravaganza the likes of which have never been seen before.  Marvel Studios, and Kevin Feige in particular, certainly had sky-high ambitions regarding this effort, but they continue to reap the rewards as the trend setters.  Since then we’ve seen every other major studio with comic book rights setting themselves up for the same kind of “Avengers-like” mega film in hopes of duplicating, if not surpassing, $1.5 billion in global sales.  Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel/Justice League, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men and of course Sony Picture’s Amazing Spider-Man franchises all aspire to Marvel Studios’ success, but they all want to get to that Avengers money faster, and they’ve all figured throwing a whole bunch of major characters at audiences in one fell swoop is the key.

We all knew the rouge’s gallery was coming.  Every trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 specifically showed us the tech that “belongs” to classic members of The Sinister Six of which Sony has confirmed will have a stand-alone film not to mention a separate film to introduce everyone’s favorite lethal protector, Venom.  Rest assured true believers, references, name-dropping and direct appearances from major characters in Spidey’s universe are part of the very joy that makes ASM 2.  Unfortunately, it is also the major source my criticism for this film as I predict similar problems for future films in other franchises pursuing the character-bomb method.  You see, if a film is trying to sell me on multiple antagonists, then that film better have enough screen time to get the job done properly.  The problem is that ASM 2 is a film primarily concerned with Peter Parker’s struggle with his alter ego, his relationship with Gwen Stacy, his relationship with Aunt May and his search for the truth surrounding the mystery of his parents’ disappearance.  All of that stuff was absolutely great as Spidey’s moments with his girlfriend and Aunt are far and away the most dramatic and emotional high’s (and low’s) of this film.  The screenwriting team of Kurtzman, Orci, Pinker and Vanderbilt carried over the best plot elements from the first film and expanded upon Web-Head’s drama in the second.

Thus, it should be to no one’s surprise that this leaves little old Electro (and everyone else) a whole lot of bupkis regarding screen time to develop themselves as characters, to make their presence meaningful and to compare/contrast with the hero’s motivations to perhaps identify them other than flat, evil and dull.  I simply could not help but think that every one of these supposedly alpha villains was a mere afterthought to Peter’s intimate relationships, and this problem is amplified by their sheer number.  These fellows go through some pretty drastic personal and physical transformations in no time flat that results in some plot gaps here and convenient plot devices there just to get the audience from point A to B as efficiently as possible.  That’s all well and good for animated series and comic books because there’s always the next episode or issue to explain what just happened.  Movies need to get it right the first time around because sometimes a character arc gets fully resolved in the same film he or she is introduced.  Every single villain in this film, regardless of how strong or menacing they appear to be, pale in comparison to the Tyrannosaurus Rex that is Peter Parker’s personal insecurity, guilt and shame.  ASM 2’s villains are vacant spectacles of eye candy and they could have all been replaced with common bank robbers and gang bangers.

If story isn’t your meat and potatoes, ASM 2 has some of the best CG effects at work in the film industry today, and it almost makes up for one of the worst endings I’ve seen in a comic book adaptation to date (but more on that later).  I loved how the virtual camera gets in super close to Spidey’s POV while swinging around NYC. and I appreciated more than just one static angle where the audience only sees his hands, then webs then rinse and repeat.  Spider-Man has never appeared as aerial as he does in this film, and this welcome feature infuses some visually pleasing movement to the frame without jarring explosions or mid flight fisticuffs muddling the flow.  I believe director Marc Webb finds a good balance between real time and bullet time effects for the overall action.  Yes, yes, we all know the “Spider-Sense” is technically “on” all the time, but it would get pretty boring to watch slow motion action in every scene.  The visual aesthetics don’t get any better than the powered up Electro whose CG team were clearly drawing some inspiration from Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan.  Every sinewy, neon bolt pops from every background in both day and night and seeing that character fling lightning and transport from place to place is a sight to see.

Cast performances are all over the map, but thankfully the main roles that are reprised are solid once again.  Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is easily the most charismatic character onscreen, and it’s more than just her good looks at work.  She has a great smile, great energy, comedic timing a notable ability to dial it back for drama and dial it up for anger and all while having some genuine chemistry with Peter Parker a.k.a. Andrew Garfield.  And speaking of whom, Spidey is a perfect blend of smart-ass, hopeless romantic, and indecisive pariah as the charming Mr. Garfield delivers once again while minimizing his ADD nervousness around Gwen when he wishes to communicate his guilt about the relationship in light of the promise he made to Captain Stacy.  Sally Field gives the audience another reliable “mom performance” and continues to keep Aunt May energized with some attitude, which is fine by me because I never want to see that character as a decrepit grandmother ever again.

Everyone else appears to be out-acted by Dennis Leary playing the stoic ghost of Captain Stacy.  Paul Giamatti hasn’t played a more irrelevant character as Aleksei Sytsevich since the fraudulent Rudy he played in The Negotiator opposite Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson.  His appearance in this film as the “Rhino” is nothing more than a paltry down payment for future films which will hopefully evolve into more than a series of snarls and grunts, but don’t hold your breath.  Chris Cooper goes un-credited as Norman Osborn in an absolute throwaway role.  I suppose this is just as well because I too would want to forget that I was criminally underused as perhaps the most talented thespian of the cast in a mega-budget paycheck film.  Dane DeHaan delivers a duplication of the dreary and demented Andrew Detmer from Chronicle.  Seriously, his rendition of Harry Osborn is the exact same character, but with better clothes, and his Green Goblin … well, it could very well end up with the golden razzie for worst character of the year.

Perhaps it was silly of me to expect more out of an academy award winning actor like Jaime Foxx because quite frankly, those actors are usually not filling out these kinds of “popcorn” roles.  He definitely overplayed the hokey nature of Max Dillon almost as if he was mimicking Jim Carrey’s Riddler.  I understand he did this to accentuate his obsessive compulsive social disorder which in turn makes him a more pathetic target for everyone else to push around if not completely disregard.  It explains the anger he lets loose as a severely pissed off Electro, but it also left open a moment for Electro to be a sympathetic villain which almost happens in the Time Square sequence.  Due to time constraints and the pre-designation of that scene being a “fight” scene, that moment vanishes as quickly as it’s suggested as whatever character he had left loses all dimensionality and transforms as another, ho-hum (I’ll get revenge on Spider-Man!) villain that’s about as cookie-cutter as comic book villains get.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a film that suffers from way too much going on at the same time for the duration of the entire film that it lessens the emotional impact of every moment as a result.  Peter Parker’s internal struggle was conveyed well at the expense of trivializing his external conflict.  This would not have been an issue had Electro been the sole villain which would have (potentially) expanded Spidey’s ability to talk down a would-be villain or find some way to reason with him or her to resolve the conflict other than knocking them out.  Alas, that option literally goes up in smoke as what seems like a natural end to the film after a climactic battle drags out into a half-hearted, amended ending for no other reason than squeezing in a couple more characters for the last precious minutes of screen time.  It’s the kind of moments you would see shoehorned into a post-credits or mid-credits teaser (of which there is none, so once you see the X-Men thing, you can leave the theatre).  What’s worse is that these token battles bookend a major (and somewhat expected) plot twist that simply does not deliver the emotional outburst it damn well should have accomplished.  It was a disappointing end to an already slumping third act that I kept shaking my head over and over seeing how the first 2/3 of the film was shaping up so well.

Spidey fanboys will go nuts over all the references in addition to all the dramatic placeholders left in this film that expanded universe films might eventually deliver upon.  There is plenty of action and special effects to satiate the average audience member looking to take a mental vacation for a couple of hours.  But if you’re looking for a real character-driven, action-adventure, set in an ever expanding cinematic universe, you might still be able to catch a screening of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier.  This Spider-Man suffers from too much tacked-on, especially at the end.  Topher Grace knows exactly what I’m talking about.

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Comic Book News Marvel

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man #1

Spinning directly out of his best selling book Superior Spiderman, Dan Slott, puts Peter Parker back in the tights and unleashes enough hilarity and intrigue to satiate any Spidey fan!

Dan Slott has been both scathed and praised for his tale of Dr. Octopus as the Superior Spiderman. Personally, I was in awe of the way Slott created a story revolving around one of Spidey’s greatest villains, one that both destroyed and exponentially enhanced Peter Parker’s life simultaneously. From that very first issue, I pondered the possible outcomes and how Slott would hopefully make Peter’s return one that would be wrought with challenges he never saw coming. Today, all those thoughts come true as Peter emerges into a world he never created but now has to deal with.

Dan Slott writes a tightrope of a tale, balancing between the two things that make Spider-Man work — humor and consequence. From page one, Slott, makes an opening sequence that will shock you, one that will have lasting ramifications for years to come and will start a fresh controversy all over again! From there we are immediately thrust into an all out action sequence rife with comically infused banter that Spidey fans have been missing. The humor goes over the top (“spidey skivvies” anyone) before we are jettisoned into a press conference regarding Peter’s role at Parker Industries. Slott continues this pattern of humor and intrigue throughout the remainder of the first story, and we are left with a scene between Peter and Anna Maria Marconi that will change their relationship forever.

From there we are given small vignettes from Chris Yost, Peter David, Joe Caramagna, and Christos Gage, as well as Slott again, that hit on particular characters that will be stirring things up for ol‘ Peter in the new series and beyond. With a multitude of artists in tow, these writers give us tantalizing tales about Kaine, Black Cat, Electro, and someone new, that show just how Spider-Man has changed their lives whether it was Doc Ock or Peter behind the mask. The build-up is intense, and it will leave you clamoring for more!

Overall, this was a great read that gives you all out action, amazing art by Humberto Ramos, plenty of hijinks and of course, the always needed — screaming of J. Jonah Jameson!

Slott has begun a new era of Spidey tales in classic fashion and fans will be delighted by every page!

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Comic Book News

COVER SHOOT: The Top 5 Comic Book Covers For 10/30/13

COVER SHOOT

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

 

This weekly feature will take a look at THE most visually compelling comic book covers on the market today. Whether they be rare variant editions or just your standard fare, these are the top 5 covers that stand out amidst the bevy of books released each week. They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”  but these covers are worth more than that! No matter the storylines behind them, these covers compel you to at least check them out, which can be worth exponentially more than just words to the companies that publish them! Enjoy!

 

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1.  Sandman: Overture#1 (DC): Fans have long awaited the return of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed series and today, they not only get their wish but this amazing cover to go with it! Done by the talented J.H. Williams III, this cover is filled with a myriad of vibrant colors surrounding the dark and shadowy central figure, creating  a vortex effect that is stunning. This is a true work of art!

 

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2. Captain America: Living Legend #12 (Marvel):  Adi Granov is known for his visually perfect, photo-realistic covers and this one is top-notch. The faded background lets the eye focus it’s attention solely on the central figure, one that embodies all the facets of a perfect Cap picture. Steel nerves, honor and relentlessness in the face of great odds, fans can feel all of it with this single image. Perfect!

 

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3. Witchblade #170 (Variant Edition) (Image):  Marc Silvestri pays homage to himself with this amazing cover! Returning to his early days as an X-Men artist, Silvestri mirrors his fan favorite cover for Uncanny X-Men #251, with this amazing pencil sketch of Witchblade. You can see every detail in this cover, from subtle fades of shade to bold crisp lines. Sketch covers are where you can see the true talent of an artist and this one exceeds every expectation!

 

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4.  Superior Spider-Man #20 (Variant Edition) (Marvel):  Few artists are more well known for drawing the female form than J. Scott Campbell and this cover further proves the reason why. Bringing back Spidey’s favorite “bad girl” would have been missing something if Campbell hadn’t been involved! A stark white background makes you focus solely on the central figure and Campbell’s fun, stylistic sense of the female form. Plus, Halloween is tomorrow and you always need a Black Cat around for that!

 

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5. Infinity #5 (Variant Edition) (Marvel):  Scottie Young covers have become some of the most coveted things out there in recent years. Baby versions of Marvel characters may seem silly to some, but my daughter and I love these things and try to get as many as we can. Not only cute and amusing, Young is a fantastic artist bringing his “cartoon” style to the front of comics today, letting it be known that ALL styles of art should be used in the medium. Plus, read what Cap is saying on the cover, it sums up all of Marvel Cosmic in one blurb!

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Comic Book News

COVER SHOOT: The Top 5 Comic Book Covers For July 3rd

Cover Shoot

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

 

This weekly feature will take a look at the most visually compelling covers on the market today. Whether they be variant editions or standard ones, these are the top 5 covers that stand out amongst the bevy of books that are released each week. They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” these covers are worth more than that! No matter the storylines found behind them, these covers draw you to at least check them out, which can be worth exponentially more than just words to the companies that publish them! Enjoy!

 

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1. Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #10 (DC): A constant addition to COVER SHOOT, Jae Lee, creates eerily alarming covers that draw the eye to a central image by diluting the background and using stark, contrasting colors. Through his meticulous line work and expertise at using shading to accentuate the image, Lee has created some of the most awe-inspiring covers to date. His skill makes the images he creates transcend past the realm of “comic art” and into the plane of just Art!

 

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2. Next Testament #2 — Variant Edition (BOOM! Studios): Haemi Jang creates a stunning modern art cover than will overshadow any book on the rack! Using a myriad of colors, Jang fascinates the eye, all the while drawing it into the center of the book where he sums up author, Clive Barker’s, horrific tale with two famous quotes. It is a great juxtaposition between the color and prose that does exactly what it needs do to stun the buyer into grabbing a copy for a closer look.

 

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3. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1 — Variant Edition (Marvel): My daughter and I just love Scottie Young’s “Baby” variant editions he has been doing for the past few years. They may seem simplistic, but his line art is some of the best “cartoon” style renderings on the market today. These covers have become so popular that other companies are now doing their own “kid’ version covers, but none breed the sheer hilarity and enjoyment that Young’s do! Try to find them at your local shop — if you can!

 

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4. Shadowman #8 — Variant Edition (Valiant): David Mack, creator of Kabuki, gives fans an amazing “collage” style painted cover that exudes so much emotion — it’s scary. This is a stunning cover, filled with layer after layer of exquisite detail and hue. It conveys the overall tone of the book perfectly, dark and morose and laced with a heaping helping of fear! Everything David Mack creates is just astounding and instantly gallery worthy!

 

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5. The Shadow #15 (Dynamite): Alex Ross is the pinnacle of “life like” comic art and this cover shows off his skill perfectly. From the use of angle to show velocity and depth, to the perfectly painted facial features, Ross gives fans the raw emotion and fun of great comic covers with the skill of “high end” art. Everything is done perfectly to convey action with absolutely no action at all, making it as stunning as it is skillful.

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Comic Book News

The “DOC’s” Top Of The Pile for 5/1/2013

 

 

The Top of the Pile

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

 

This is a “quick pick” look at the Top 5 comics that EVERYONE should be reading this week! Whether it’s rife with astounding visuals, has top notch characterization, is filled with emotional strife, has a bevy of high octane battle sequences or is just a plain ol’ great read — these books belong at the “Top Of The Pile!” (In no particular order!)

 

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1. Shadowman #0 (Valiant): Fan favorite, Justin Jordan, truly out does himself in this melancholy origin tale of Valiant’s biggest bad of all time — Master Darque! From birth to his “re-birth,” Justin Jordan weaves sympathy, angst and hatred into the very fabric of the Master Darque character, creating a book that far outshines everything Jordan has done thus far in his career! Although Shadowman isn’t in the book at all, you are so enthralled with his greatest villain you won’t even mind!

 

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2. Ten Grand #1 (Joe’s Comics/Image):  Written by, CBN creator Matt McGloin’s favorite comic scribe, J. Michael Straczynski and drawn by fan favorite Ben Templesmith, not only is Ten Grand is a moving tale about loss and what you would do to regain everything, it is also the relaunch of the Joe’s Comics imprint created by JMS! Though this style of tale about choices and the ultimate ramification has been done before, it is the art of Templesmith that astounds the reader with every page. Come for JMS’ morality play, stay for a true masterpiece by Templesmith. That’s if you can find it! The buzz surrounding this book has led to instant sell outs at numerous shops, so be vigilant or the world of second printing awaits you!

 

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3. Superior Spider-Man #9 (Marvel):  So, I believe that Dan Slott is actually addicted to controversy! Well, he will definitely get his fix after this issue! By now you have probably all heard about the ending of this book, but that is not the reason it made it on the Top of the Pile. The internal struggle between the consciousness of Peter Parker and Doc Ock is what drives this book — and it is astounding! Peter having to place his memories in the line of fire against his own fears was extremely jarring. Seeing Uncle Ben being shot again and the Green Goblin slaughtering Gwen Stacy with a laser was highly emotional, but it is the frailty of Peter that makes this issue great even if it will drive fans crazy!

 

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4. The Victories: Transhuman #1 (of 5) (Dark Horse):  Dubbed as being “Super F$%#!d Up!,” Michael Avon Oeming’s super hero team tale is exactly that! This second installment of The Victories stories has the team dealing with a new villain that is more powerful than anything they have seen before! Even if they do save the world, are they strong enough to overcome their internal demons in order for all of them to survive? Graphic, vulgar and overtly amazing, this is a book that you should not miss!

 

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5. Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible #2 (Dark Horse):  Mike Mignola and Scott Allie converge on this unnerving tale of Abe Sapien’s journey to not only find where his altered form fits in to this new and frightening world, but also to see how far this world has changed humanity in it’s wake! Rich and deeply jarring, this tale of fear of the unknown will make you question just how “human” humanity can be in a mob mentality. Fascinating! Plus, be sure to check out the CBN exclusive interview with Scott Allie regarding all things Dark Horse with our very own managing editor, Byron Brewer!

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Comic Book News

Review: Superior Spider-Man #6

Jester and Screwball make their hilarious, yet diabolical, debut this issue. Too bad Superior Spider-Man doesn’t throw out one-liners like the old Peter Parker, he prefers to throw his fists! Plus, Humberto Ramos is back in the saddle on art chores — Spidey has never looked better!

After the shocking events of the last issue I was surprised that this one should not really mention what had happened. True, there is a scene where a group of individuals discuss what should be done (Mr. Slott says NO SPOILERS — so I listen!) but it was such a fundamental break from the “norm” that I thought it would dominate the nature of this issue. Alas, Dan Slott has other plans in store for us and it’s quite a doozy if you ask me!

We are given two new “villains” in this issue, internet sensations that publicly humiliate high profile “marks” in order to boost their hits and make some cash on the side. To Dan Slott’s credit, they are quite enjoyable and bring some of that old tongue in cheek, pun laden fun back to the book since it has been removed with the introduction of Doc Ock living in Peter Parker’s body. Not to say that these characters will become fan favorites in any way but they are fun to read and hard to watch later as the book unfolds. 

I am truly enjoying the contrast Slott is making between the Doc Ock persona and the old Peter Parker one. Fans are upset that,”This isn’t their Peter Parker, he would never do these things,” and that is exactly right! This book, in my opinion, works because it ISN”T Peter Parker doing these things, it is a villain that has lived with years of emotional and physical scars and now he has the means to dole out justice as he sees fit. There are no qualms about what he does, as much as he is a genius, his actions are mostly derived from instinct and reaction which makes him very dangerous. The character, however, is also creating things Peter Parker would have never dreamed of, making his dual live as human and hero much more manageable than it ever was prior. It is the culmination of these smart, believable choices that Slott has made that makes this book such a great read.

So, swing on down to your local shop and snag a copy of the most controversial book Marvel is putting out today! I won’t even mention the other one, it’s not worth your time!

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Comic Book News

The “DOC’s” Top Of The Pile for 3/20/2013

The Top of the Pile

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

 

This is a “quick pick” look at the Top 5 comics that EVERYONE should be reading this week! Whether it’s rife with characterization, filled with emotional strife, has a bevy of high octane battle sequences or is just a plain ol’ great read — these books belong at the “Top Of The Pile!” (In no particular order!)

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1. Harbinger #10(Valiant): The Harbinger Wars storyline begins within the pages of this very book! Our heroes are beaten and overwhelmed but all you need is Faith to get you through the toughest of times. This series is one of the most compelling, action packed and emotional stories on the shelves today so, why isn’t it on your pull list? Well, if you don’t know — what are you waiting for!

 

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2. G.I. Joe: Special Missions #1(IDW): This used to be one of my favorite series back when I was a little DOC and now, thanks to IDW and -the legend himself- Chuck Dixon, it can be a favorite again! Centering on select groups of the “All American Heroes”, this series gets fans reconnected to the Joes and can focus on their individual talents. So, grab some gumbo and a Yo Joe Cola and get ready for some nostalgia!

 

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3. Superior Spider-Man #6(Marvel): The most controversial series on the stands today, Dan Slott continues to push the envelope with his hero/villain tale. This issue introduces two jokester villains, Jester and Screwball, that get a kick out of mocking heroes. Too bad good ol’ Doc Ock/Spidey isn’t a fan of a joke at his expense! Plus, this issue sees the return of fan favorite Humberto Ramos on artistic chores! 

 

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4. Constantine #1(DC): Okay, this isn’t the Hellblazer book from Vertigo that we all knew and loved, but it is the New 52 version of everyone’s favorite con man — John Constantine! What makes this series even better is the fact that it is being written by fan favorite scribe Jeff Lemire! Known for dark and completely engrossing tales, Lemire(Green Arrow, Sweet Tooth, Animal Man, Justice League Dark) is sure to get those heart rates pounding with a tale of black magic, demons and more than a little sleight of hand! Plus, no Keanu Reeves, folks!

 

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5. All New X-Men #9(Marvel): Bendis may be missing the mark with his jaunt into the cosmic realm but this series revolving around the original X-Men traveling to the future to set things right, is pitch perfect! The juxtaposition between the past and the future, young and old, hero and villain is done with astounding ease and reminds us what great comics are supposed to look like. Mystique and Sabertooth try to sway the naive young Scott Summers to take down his future (current) self in an issue that reminds me of the good ol’ Chris Claremont days! 

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Comic Book News Marvel

Review: Superior Spider-Man #5

When Dan Slott first started his arc of replacing Peter Parker with the consciousness of Doc Ock, fans were enraged! I, for one, welcomed the change but thought Slott didn’t push the envelope enough. Instead it seemed like a watered down tale that amped up Doc Ock’s annoying persona more than anything!

Today, with the release of Superior Spider-Man #5, my hunger for a stronger tale has been satiated, though fans will be even more enraged than they were before! 

The tale itself, Massacre going on a murder spree in downtown Manhattan just to glorify/defamate product placement, seems a little forced and contrived. Slott does however create interesting moments as he continues to build upon the genius that Doc Ock brings into the world of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Using advanced technologies and what may appear as laziness, but in all actuality is a heightened sense of time management, this “superior” Spider-Man may actually live up to the moniker. Slott has this “new” character conceptualizing things the “old” Peter Parker never would have and it is quite intriguing seeing things through different eyes.

Although Slott creates a solid tale, it is the ending that is going to change how both fans and the entire Marvel U. see Spider-Man from now on! Slott pushes the boundaries of what the persona of Spider-Man would and would not do. “With great power comes great responsibility” is the corner stone of the Spidey mythos, but what if doing the responsible thing sometimes leads to more hurt and death? Are the lives of the innocent worth more than the life of a single murderer? Or, in this case, is the life of a murderer worth trying to save just because he finally shows some form of emotion after being caught? 

It is a tough road that Slott has positioned his character on. One that will see ramifications throughout the rest of the series and throughout the Marvel Universe. It is a tale that I am completely intrigued for, one that has actually made me truly interested in following this character till the bitter end.

Well done Dan Slott, you have turned a cynic into a fan!

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Comic Book News

The “DOC’s” Top Of The Pile for 3/6/2013

 

The Top Of The Pile

By: Chris “DOC” Bushley

 

This is a “quick pick” look at the Top 5 comics that EVERYONE should be reading this week! Whether it’s rife with characterization, filled with emotional strife, has a bevy of high octane battle sequences or is just a plain ol’ great read — these books belong at the “Top Of The Pile!”

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1.  Hellboy: In Hell #4 (Dark Horse): Mike Mignola’s triumphant return to art chores on his creator owned character, Hellboy, has sent fans into a frenzy for this book! Mix in a deep, dark look at the history of where Hellboy truly came from and you have one of the best looking and powerfully story driven books on the racks today. 

 

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2. Green Arrow #18 (DC): Jeff Lemire’s second issue of the floundering series, Green Arrow, has turned the book and it’s fan base on it’s head! Taking away everything Oliver Queen ever had as a crutch in his life, has made the character one that fans can now empathize with and root for. Lemire has pulled away all the pomp and flashiness that muddled this series and has created a book that is streamlined, gut-wrenching and completely enthralling! Become a fan all over again — today!

 

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3. Animal Man #18 (DC): Jeff Lemire hits the Top of the Pile for the second time this week with a harrowing tale that will change Buddy Baker’s world forever! After surviving a horrible possible future, Buddy gets a second chance to set the world right. Too bad not everyone will be able to see this new, brighter future! Jae Lee’s fantastic cover DOES NOT lie, folks! This one’s a doozy!

 

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4. Shadowman #5 (Valiant): Justin Jordan has put his new Shadowman character through the ringer in the first four issues! Well, now it’s time to learn more about the past and just what a Shadowman is. New characters [ like the return of Dr. Mirage after twenty years!] and ancient, deadly foes are introduced as well, creating the perfect amount of drama and intrigue. A fantastic read and the perfect jumping on point for any reader wishing that their comics were laced with perfection!

 

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5. Superior Spider-Man #5 (Marvel): Dan Slott has finally done what I have been hoping for since this book debuted — he pushed the character over the edge! Yes, this “new” Peter Parker might think he is superior but he just did the one thing the old Peter would never do and things will never be the same again! Let the roulette wheel of fun begin and let’s see how drastic Slott will change the status of Spider-Man in the Marvel U.! This one goes out with a BANG!

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Comic Book News Marvel

Advanced Review: Superior Spider-Man #3

Dan Slott has been under fire since he unleashed the biggest sacrilege in comics history — killing Peter Parker! As frenzied as fans were over it, they became ravenous after it was revealed the Superior Spider-Man was actually Doc Ock in Peter Parker’s body. Personally, I excepted the change but wished that Slott had not revealed his hand so quickly at the end of the first issue. Peter’s ghost was already back and Superior Spider-Man became a comically unbalanced version of the movie Ghost throughout issue two. I had wished Slott’s vision for this book would have relied more on the “revenge of Doc Ock” aspect, truly letting the villain unleash with his newly acquired powers and destroy the good name of his archnemesis. Well, today, we get a glimpse of that unleashing and my dismay over this book is slowly abating.

I will give no spoilers (sorry Mr. Slott, we all don’t do that) for the ending is something I think you will all enjoy. There is a moment in this tale where we see into Otto’s past, a brutal life that even his biggest foe can empathize with, and it becomes a catalyst for what occurs. The cracks in this faux hero’s facade begin to deepen, not only threatening his secret but the very lives of those who ponder something is amiss with Peter Parker.

This is the first issue of this series that I did not cringe out of the sheer annoyance of the Superior Spider-Man character. There was no hokey dialogue that feigned hilarity, nor was there any overt creepiness over M.J. and the mere thought of bedding her. This issue was pure action from the opening salvo but it wasn’t just a “good ol’ slobber knocker” either. Slott laced his tale with hints of characterization that actually solidified the character as opposed to hindering him, making this reader finally feel truly interested in his further development. 

Ryan Stegman continues to make this Spidey, or any for that matter, a complete treat for the eyes. His darker tone for this book is completely stunning, but it his constant effort to bring new and intriguing visual aspects to the fight sequences that push his art to a higher level. From high flying punches to an emotionally distraught child, Stegman makes the page pop with pure electricity!

Though this might not be your cup of tea, I am slowly coming around to Slott’s overall vision. I can do without “ghost Peter” for awhile, but I get it and it’s worming it’s way in. I must say though, kudos for the creative team for printing both positive and negative reactions to Slott’s tale in the letters column. The negative comments are unabashed slams and it takes guts to publicly print the sheer amount that they have. Color me impressed.

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Comic Book News Marvel

Review: Superior Spider-Man #1

Dan Slott has garnered more buzz  in the last three issues of his Amazing Spider-Man run than anything in the previous two years on the book. So much so, that fans and celebs, especially Kevin Smith, have taken to all forms of media to talk about the life changing events that occurred to Peter Parker and Doc Ock. While most of the press has been negative, including death threats against Slott, some of us have been intrigued as to how these changes will affect Spidey’s world. Today we find out if Dan Slott’s gamble is worth your hard earned cash!

Slott poses an interesting idea of a highly intelligent villain taking over one of the most beloved characters in all of comicdom. The question has been posed as to whether he will be a hero or a complete menace to those closest to Peter Parker and the general public?

Unfortunately, Slott decides to ride the middle ground on the question almost through the entire issue. There is an almost Jekyll and Hyde scenario at play in the mind of Peter Parker, which ninety percent of the time has the “villain” win over the “hero” trapped in his head. This aspect makes complete sense and is better than a stylized “tug of war” over his actions. But what makes this book falter, is the complete pomposity of the “new” Peter Parker persona. Arrogant, creepy and completely loathsome, this character is an utter diatribe to Spider-Man! And I could live with that, he is Doc Ock underneath after all, but it is the lack of pushing the character over the top that makes it hard to read. If the gloves were off of this character and Slott used it in order to have him do some irreparable damage to the name of Spider-Man, finally destroy the hero that he so desperately wanted to for all these years, it would have made for a better read. Then, when the real Peter Parker eventually returns, there would be a bevy of great stories just waiting for us about the build up of Spider-Man as a hero again.

Instead we received another look at how socially pathetic and obnoxious Doc Ock is via a more chiseled physique!

All the hokey outbursts (“Because I AM PETER FREAKING PARKER!”), snide remarks and eerie, leering looks at M.J. make this a character piece that just annoys readers instead of intrigues us. By the time Slott truly lets Spider-Man show just how inherently “bad” he is, it is abruptly stopped by the “shocking” ending (spoilers). It is one that I wish would have not been revealed so soon in the series, and especially not in issue #1! If you are going to try and build something different – regardless as to what fan reactions may be – then do it! Do not stick a “shock” ending in the first book!  Build to it, let the new status quo permeate the senses for awhile before revealing your hand. Let the “new” tale find it’s footing before giving it an easy out scenario.

Some will despise this book, others may enjoy the “jerk” of a hero that Dan Slott has created. Either way, there will be a buzz and Marvel, regardless of the fans, wins again.

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Movie News Reviews

Amazing Spider-Man (2012): Movie Review

Unfortunately, This Reboot Was Amazing

A Film Review of The Amazing Spider-Man

By: Lawrence Napoli

 

Make no mistake.  The Spider-Man reboot is a win . . . and it completely, emphatically and unequivocally pains me to admit this for the pure and simple fact that it is a reboot of an iconic trilogy that began a mere 10 years ago that yielded immense success for all those involved, but none more so than Tobey Maguire.  People knew who Tobey was before 2002’s Spider-Man because the late 90’s and early 2000’s saw the young actor’s career catch fire: Pleasantville (1998), The Cider House Rules (1999) and Wonder Boys (2000).  It was a big deal to see this up-and-comer get a signature franchise for which he will forever be recognized so long as he didn’t screw it up; and he didn’t.  Love him or hate him, Maguire embodied Peter Parker in the best ways as well as the worst and he breathed charisma and believability into Marvel’s single most important IP which made a lot of “important” people plenty of green. 

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2166:]]I hate the concept of reboots, and I continue to express this opinion time and time again because (by definition) it inspires those who control the means of entertainment production to revisit the past instead of looking ahead to the future.  Yet Marvel still needs to make money and using Spider-Man to do it has never failed before.  Suddenly, the fact that Spider-Man 3 was universally recognized as the weakest link didn’t seem as bad when it could be regarded as a convenient excuse to start over.  Thus, the reboot was set in motion with no promises save for “it will be different” and “no Mary Jane” – not very convincing arguments for any audience to invest in a “new” Spider-Man when the “old” one’s last appearance was 5 years ago.  As a result, this movie had to show me something more and make me feel something deeper than I did for Maguire’s rendition to allow me to acknowledge (let alone enjoy) Andrew Garfield’s attempt. 

Director Marc Webb and writers James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent deliver a refined vision of Spider-Man that chooses to more fully explore Peter Parker’s formative, high school years, unlike its predecessor.  Other aesthetic changes see Peter Parker as less of a nerdy dork and more of a grungy sk8ter boi, a dedication to the puppy love angle with his first girlfriend Gwen Stacey and making his parents actually relevant to his character’s development.  Of course there are others, but these changes are by no means drastic enough to be described as stark departures from the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire trilogy.  Yet, these subtle differences present Peter Parker as being genuinely troubled (beyond bullying), less of a lapdog to Aunt May and Uncle Ben and simply more interested in “doing his own thing” than being obsessed with acceptance and popularity.  Envisioning Peter Parker in this way may present him as a selfish teenager at first, but it also makes the character less hokey and more in tune with reality.  This sets the tone for the rest of the cast in addition to the plot that carries a much more serious tone [the pain of loss] than the happy-go-lucky sentiment that pervades the original trilogy.  I never liked how every Spider-Man film seemed to go out of its way to create a sympathetic connection between Peter and every villain that wanted to eviscerate him.  Thankfully, Amazing does no such thing which allows more screen time to go to his positive relationships with his aunt, uncle and girlfriend.  Yes, this does contribute to a slower pace in this film’s first act, but it allows the audience a wider birth to identify with the protagonist and accept the character’s motivation for engaging[[wysiwyg_imageupload:2167:]] in a life of action, adventure and danger. 

The action and effects in The Amazing Spider-Man are quite satisfying.  Once again, I must note how we’ve all seen the same type spider maneuvers before, but the fact that this film almost exclusively uses CG for Spidey while in full swinging/battling mode gives this film a decided advantage over its predecessor.  Normally I would shutter at neglecting practical effects like wire-work, but these never impressed me for depicting how Spider-Man would swing around, especially when getting off the ground in the first place.  There’s not much hand to hand combat with the Lizard throughout, but the fully CG rendered sequences look absolutely great.  I particularly enjoy the focus that was placed on Spider-Man’s webs being featured in his combat style as opposed to a simple garnish.  CG continues to evolve at an exponential rate, but Spidey as a character has an advantage over other action heroes in that his body and face are fully covered by a spandex skin that computers should have no problems making appear as real as an actor in a suit.  Every frame that features CG looks very sharp, but also very natural despite the fantastic scale, camera angles and visual effects that are occurring in the background.

The supporting cast of The Amazing Spider-Man features a litany of veteran actors that plays to their individual (type-casted) strengths.  Denis Leary has made a career out of playing cops and firefighters so why not once again for police Captain Stacy, father of Gwen?  Rhys Ifans produces an admirable villain and his rather threatening voice is ideal for the Lizard.  Sally Field is not someone I would normally think about when casting for Aunt May, but she produces a most welcome performance as May that defies her decrepit portrayal in every way from the comic books.  Lest we forget the Illusive Man himself, Martin Sheen.  Plug him into any father/mentor/wise elder role and expect nothing less than cinematic goodness.

Emma Stone, alone, is a reason to see this film.  Yes, she’s beautiful, sure she seems awfully fun, but the absolute strength of her performance is the chemistry she has with Andrew Garfield which reflects their real life romance on the big screen quite well.  Not to draw yet another comparison to the original Spider trilogy, but the ever fizzling chemistry between Dunst and Maguire was the final nail in that franchise’s coffin.  Emma is a very compelling actress, but it remains to be seen how professional she can remain if difficulty in life could potentially affect her work.  For instance, if she and Garfield break up before this new Spider franchise wraps, it presents a very volatile situation for these two. 

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Real life, cute couple.  Hopefully it lasts.

Naturally, the same can be said for Garfield who has an equal, personal and professional stake in the performance of this reboot.  It isn’t fair to ask Andrew Garfield, still fresh off his success from The Social Network, to step into this role with the franchise’s recent history, to pull publicity stunts at conventions to prove how much he cares about Spider-Man and to make people forget about Tobey Maguire all together.  That’s exactly what Sony Pictures and Marvel have asked him to do and so far, he’s doing an adequate job.  Andrew’s performance as a rather fidgety Peter Parker brings a new take on the character’s introverted nature.  I like how he plays up his insecurity repeating gestures and reluctance to maintain eye contact with the rest of his cast.  However, when he locks into a mutual gaze, it makes those moments even more poignant which begs the audience to crawl into his character’s head and learn how he ticks.  He too benefits from the chemistry he has with Emma Stone, but his connections with Martin Sheen and Sally Field resonates with the audience just as effectively. 

Giving a reboot my official stamp of approval is a dangerous proposition because it gives this kind of production a free pass to remix popular IPs ad infinitum and that isn’t a good thing.  Two principals are at odds for me: the one previously stated and the principal of evaluating a single film for its own merits.  A reboot is not always going to be better or worse than the original, but if the studios have little regard for a cool down period between releases, we the paying audience will soon be inundated with too much of not just “the same” but exactly the same in a very brief period of time.  I can only hope and pray that this reboot is a fluke and its genuine quality is an exception to the rule so that future reboots will not fail to disappoint so they can be curb-stomped at my leisure.  Next on the list is Total Recall!

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Movie News

The Dark Knight Rises, Amazing Spider-Man, MIB3, G.I. Joe Toys Arrive Today! (Images)

That’s right folks, as of today at 8 a.m., all your favorite retailers will be filling their shelves with a bevy of blockbuster movie toys!

You want your Dark Knight Rises toys? Well, now you got ’em!

Looking for a few Andrew Garfield as Spidey figures from the Amazing Spider-Man movie? Check!

What about a little Will Smith donning his Men In Black 3 duds? Oh, yeah! 

They’ll even have the now delayed – G.I.Joe: Retaliation – toys that no one will care about for another nine months!

So, get there early before all the “collectors” get the good figures and sell them on EBay! The summer just got a whole lot hotter!

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