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Mar 272014
 

by Michael Brown, staff writer

Welcome to The Pull List for the week of March 26, 2014. Folders should be emptied and comics read and put away in long boxes. This is your comics water-cooler, and I’m the guy leaning up against it, not getting anything done, on the cusp of getting fired because all I want to do is talk about this week’s comics. Dancing With the Stars?! That’s nothing. Did you see what happened in the new Superior Spider-Man? Whoa, baby. That’s the stuff that matters. Let’s get started, shall we?

Over at Marvel this week, the Sentinel of the Spaceways returns to monthly comics in Silver Surfer #1,  a teenage mechanic from East L.A. channels the Spirit of Vengeance in All-New Ghost Rider #1, New York burns and things get serious in the penultimate issue of Superior Spider-Man, and Jim Rhodes leaves the Secret Avengers and flies solo in Iron Patriot #1.

DC Comics gives us the second issue of Neil Gaiman’s return to Sandman; Justice League Dark and A.R.G.U.S. take on the Crime Syndicate as the Forever Evil event starts to wrap up; and Superman and Starfire must find a cache of alien weapons, if they can stop fighting each other first in Superman #29.

IDW continues the 30th anniversary celebration of Ghostbusters with Part Two of Mass Hysteria, and we reach the end of The X-Files: Conspiracy. And over at the hallowed halls of Image, All Out War continues in The Walking Dead #124.

Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage Penciled by Giuseppe Camuncoli Inked by John Dell and Terry Pallot Colors by Antonio Fabela Letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Penciled by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inked by John Dell and Terry Pallot
Colors by Antonio Fabela
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick this issue up is the thickness. That’s the Black Widow preview in the back. Not more Superior Spider-Man. So let’s get that out of the way.

If you’ve been reading Superior Spider-Man, you either love it or you hate it. In addition to being the penultimate issue of the series, issue 30 is where it all comes to a head. When Marvel says it’s all been coming down to this, they aren’t kidding.

Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man has been all about one-upmanship and redemption. Otto has set out from the first issue to prove that he can be the better hero, and at the same time, honor Peter Parker’s name. We’ve seen Otto take some pretty drastic measures to do just that, including killing his enemies. But the center hasn’t been holding and all of Otto’s deeds are not going unpunished.

Part four of Goblin Nation has Otto Octavius and Spider-Man 2099 fighting desperately to save New York, and themselves, from an army of Goblins and rogue Spider-Slayers.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Goblins have Otto’s girlfriend and are taunting him with her. And Otto’s having trouble with being the hero so he’s having some difficulty making heroic decisions while trying to save the woman he loves. And when this issue’s over, the last decision our Superior Spider-Man makes may indeed be his last.

Writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage, and penciler Giuseppe Camuncoli keep the series’ next-to-last issue fast paced and desperate. New York is burning, things are as bad as they’ve ever been, and Otto is up against the wall with no answers, with what’s left of Peter trying to maintain order in Otto’s head. We’ve pretty much known that Peter was going to fight for a return to his body at some point, and this where all of the speculation comes to an end.

The end of this one will have you grinning and on your feet for the final issue’s final showdown. But let me make myself perfectly clear, here. And I hope I’m not spoiling. If you’re one of those readers who are tired of SpideyOck and you’re just biding your time waiting for Amazing Spider-Man #1, go pick this issue up, anyway. This is where it all starts. Right here.

 

Written by Christos Gage Art by Rebekah Isaacs Colors by Dan Jackson Lettered by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

Written by Christos Gage
Art by Rebekah Isaacs
Colors by Dan Jackson
Lettered by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

This one actually came out last week but it somehow missed my list. Shame on me. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #1 picks up almost instantly where Season 9 left off, with Earth’s magic restored, the zompire menace dwindling, and the repercussions of certain events, like Xander’s betrayal, still weighing on everyone’s minds.

All of the original cast has returned, including Anya, Xander’s former vengeance-demon-turned-human-fiancee, who was killed at the end of Season Seven, and is now a ghost and serving as Xander’s ghostly conscience of sorts. Some new cast members are introduced and it’s a good thing because the Scoobies definitely need all the help they can get against a tougher breed of vampire: able to walk in daylight and shape change. We’ve seen this kind of power before with Dracula, but we are quickly reminded that this isn’t Dracula mojo. This is something else.

This is a good kick off to a new season. Joss Whedon is back on board as Executive Producer, edging Buffy into a more character-driven series that mirrors Season 9, after the harsh feedback received for Season 8, which fans found too fantastical and “cosmic.”  And that’s often the trouble with licensed comics. Publishers and writers realize they’re under no budget constraints, so they feel the sky’s the limit. To a point, that works. And it’s exciting to see licensed characters do things they might not have been able to do under other monetary and special effects constraints.

Buffy and crew are getting back to basics, with vampire-slaying the norm this season rather than the exception. Christos Gage is excellent as the startup writer for Season 10, and the good thing about Buffy is that Whedon manages to pull some great talent for this book. Writers like Gage, Brian K. Vaughan, Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard, who wrote for the TV series, and novelist Brad Meltzer have written story arcs in past seasons, and even Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander in the TV series, will write an issue of Season 10. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

 

And that’s The Pull List for this week. As always, I encourage you to comment below or email me. What was in your Pull List this week? What books totally bombed this week? Are you excited about Captain America: The Winter Soldier? What’s better? Arrow or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Happy Reading, Kryptonics!

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Jan 262014
 

voiceoflegendConceptRev5Panavision640by Robert Seutter

Greetings and welcome to Voice of Legend.

We are surrounded by folklore, myth, and strange bits of history. And this wonderful weirdness often ties in to interesting insights into modern day media. Movies, video games, and modern sci-fi and fantasy often have some interesting back stories. In The Voice of Legend, we’ll be looking at current topics, taking the odd tour here and there to meet interesting characters, and examining some of our holidays and traditions from a geeky (sometimes snarky), modern viewpoint. If you have questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, please feel free to contact me. Now, on with the show!

Marvel Avengers: Your Basic Storyteller Six Pack

Or “Thor: Drag Queen of Thunder”

(Warning, some Thor: the Dark World spoilers)

I loved Avengers (2012). After watching the movies—and I mean all of them: Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008) [sigh], Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Iron Man 3 (2013)—I was delighted with the Avengers movie. Quick! Everyone to the car for shwarma! But as a storyteller, I can tell you that Joss Whedon is playing with archetypes that are near and dear to heart of any tale-tellers of old.

Seriously, let’s look at the starting line up: Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, Hawkeye, Thor, and Black Widow. Or in other words: A knight who drank a magic potion, a wizard with magical armor, a wizard who became possessed by a powerful demon, a guy with magical arrows, a God of Thunder, (look, no change!), and a deadly redhead.

See? Your basic storyteller six pack!

And in this version of the story: A trickster god shows up to steal a magical artifact and summons nasty creatures from another plane to help him take over the world. Ease peasy, lemon squeezy. We’re not even breaking a storytelling, Joseph Campbell™-approved sweat. Trade out the high tech for a few wands and some armor, then we could easily tweak this for the middle ages.
Now as a myth-ing person, I find the treatment of Thor particularly interesting. In the animated series, “The Avengers-Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” (why, oh why, does everything I like get cancelled?) I notice that Thor got a slight demotion. He’s not called the God of Thunder but has been re-dubbed “The Prince of Thunder” in the audio teases. Although, on their website, they get it right: Thor Odinson, God of Thunder, Asgard’s greatest warrior.

In Thor: The Dark World (“Thor 2,” 2013) we see Tom Hiddleston come back as Loki (who, by the way, now owns the role—lock, stock, and barrel—check him out on YouTube at San Diego Comic Con 2013 “Say MY NAME!” http://youtu.be/toPstPIcGnI). I should point out that the movies got some things right. In the Thor/Marvel comics, Loki was not drawn handsome, while in the myths he was very handsome. Thor, on the other hand, looked more like an old school biker in the comics. In the movies, both Thor and Loki make the fangirls (and guys) swoon.

This movie-Loki is actually pretty close to the traditional Norse Myths. Loki in the traditional myths was an agent for change—as befits a trickster—both for good and evil. His ability to shape-shift and knowledge of all the hidden ways proves particularly handy in the movie story. He helps avert the menace of the moment… for a price. Very traditional in my book.
But I should point out the Norse have a particularly open-minded view of their myths. In the “The Lay of Thrym,” Thor has his mighty hammer Mjolnir (mew-mew!) stolen by the giants, and he has to dress up as a bride to get it back. I can’t wait to see Disney approve, “Thor: Drag Queen of Thunder” or possibly, “Thor: My very SMASHY wedding!”

But wait, there’s more. Loki, although very charming, is (how shall we say?)… being a shape-shifter puts a whole new spin on transgender, trans-species, or however you want to define it romance. In the traditional myth of “The Walling of Asgard and the Birth of Sleipnir,” Loki is the hero again, although a desperate one. He ends up becoming the mother of Sleipnir, the marvelous, magical eight-legged steed of Odin (which you see a glimpse of in the first Thor movie, by the way). I have no idea if Hasbro is going to release a very special issue of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic—Little, eight-legged Sleipnir gives his Mom-Dad a very special Mother’s Day card,” but you can be darn sure I would record it!

For your extra, special trivia bits: In Thor 2, that’s not Natalie Portman in that final smooch scene. That’s actually Elsa Pataky (Chris Hemsworth’s wife) in a wig. Natalie could not make it due to a schedule conflict, hence the very real heat. Also, in a nod to Norse tradition, watch the movies that have Thor in them. You’ll spot two ravens flying through. Those would be Huginn and Muninn, who finally show up the Dark World movie. In Norse, their names mean “Thought” and “Memory / Mind,” and it’s said that they are Odin’s eyes to all the worlds. I always cheer when I see them on screen. Hey, I’m a storyteller, mythic geek trivia for the win!

Be Legendary! R.S.

 

Oct 242013
 
Juliet Landau as "Drusila" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Juliet Landau as “Drusila” of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

This Halloween season wouldn’t be complete in Los Angeles without a fan favorite charity event being hosted by Whedonopolis.com.  Special guests this year include television actress Julet Landau (“Drusila” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Eisner Award winning Buffy comic book artist Georges Jeanty. The whole thing happens at Los Angeles’ historic Barnsdall Park, at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater, at 4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90027.

What began as a simple charity screening of Joss Whedon’s Doctor Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog has blossomed into a full day of activities, starting with the Firefly movie, Serenity After that, it’s Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s new horror classic, The Cabin In the Woods. Each year they feature screenings of fan favorite movies and web series, focusing on the works of Joss Whedon but expanding in recent years to include various cult web series and films.  Season 3 of the quirky web series hit Husbands follows that.  followed by the 6th & final season of Felicia Day’s web phenomenon, The Guild.   The night ends in classic form with Doctor Horrible!

Did we mention Krypton Radio will be there too?  Come meet us and get a free Krypton Radio button to wear – bring your Android phone and scan our banner, and you’ll get the free Krypton Radio player app!

This year’s event will benefit Journey House  . The proceeds from the Serenity screening will benefit Equality Now. Canned food drive to benefit SOVA Community Food and Resource Program. Screening attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable foods to donate.

It’s not too late to BUY YOUR TICKETS, but they’re going fast, so you’d better hurry.  Tickets On Sale NOW!

TICKET PRICES
Section 1: 1pm
Serenity – $10
http://www.itsmyseat.com//events/672626.html

Section 2: 3:30pm
Cabin in the Woods – $10
http://www.itsmyseat.com//events/833248.html

Section 3: 6:30pm
Dr. Horrible/The Guild/Husbands – $20
http://www.itsmyseat.com//events/872124.html

The Wonderflonium Pass
ALL DAY (Limited availability) – $40
- Includes commemorative poster, snack & drink ticket
http://www.itsmyseat.com//events/835440.html

* At the door ticket prices are $15, $25 and $45, respectively.

See you there!

UPDATE:  We’ve just gotten word that Felicia Day will be there as well!  It’s going to be a great day at Barnsdall!


SCHEDULE-
12:30pm  Will Call opens

Section 1:

1pm       Serenity

3:00pm   Break

Section 2:

3:30pm   Cabin in the Woods

4pm      Food Trucks arrive (on location until 7pm)

5:05pm   Dinner Break

Section 3:
6:45pm   Husbands-Season 3

7:30pm   Break

7:45pm   Charity Presentation

8:00pm   The Guild-Season 6

10:00pm  Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog

10:45pm  Drawing Giveaways

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Sep 232013
 
shield-logo-marvel-movies

It premieres on ABC Television tomorrow night, folks – and to show just how seriously ABC is taking the debut of the new Joss Whedon show, they staged this public event in Mexico City, where the Agents of Shield took a building in the Condesa.

The technique is called “building mapping”, and in this case it was accompanied by physical real world actors, vehicles and props to help sell the fiction as real.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s first episode airs Tuesday night (tomorrow) at 8PM Pacific.

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Jul 182013
 

If you’re a dedicated gamer, and a dedicated Browncoat , you may want to make sure you have a little extra cash set aside.  Two games based on Firefly are coming out, and they’re both debuting at GenCon this August 15-18 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  A third is coming for summer of 2014.

Firefly: The Game

The first one’s a high end board game, with cool miniatures, character cards and a trip around the galaxy.  In Firefly: The Game from Gale Force Nine (GF9), players captain their own Firefly-class transport ship, traveling the ‘Verse with a handpicked crew of fighters, mechanics and other travelers.  As a captain desperate for work, players are compelled to take on any job — so long as it pays.  Double-dealing employers, heavy-handed Alliance patrols and marauding Reavers are all in a day’s work for a ship’s captain at the edge of the ‘Verse.

GF9_600px_Firefly_Game_Box_MockUp_01We spoke to Robert Villnave of the U.S. division of GF9 briefly: “It encompasses cards and miniatures in the game mechanics. Get back to your home base with your ship intact, profits and losses are compared and whoever does the best, wins.  It’s about who makes the best captain.  All the original characters are accounted for, and figure in the gameplay mechanics.”  Firefly: The Game is a high-end thematic tabletop board game from Gale Force Nine (GF9).  It will be the first in a series of tabletop hobby boardgames and miniatures games from GF9 set in the Firefly Universe – and since GF9 is known as much for its gaming accessories as its games, it’s bound to be an  ongoing temptation for Browncoat gamers.

This isn’t GF9′s first foray into table top gaming by any means. They started publishing their own titles in 2005 with Flames of War, and followed it up with Spartacus: Game of Blood & Treachery and its Serpent and the Wolf expansion pack, then produced Operation: Bagration and Operation: Market Garden.  GF9′s strong background in tabletop gaming and gaming accessories suggests that Firefly: The Game will be a good solid game with well engineered game play mechanics and a lot of nice features and add-ons to go with it.

Firefly: The Game will make its debut at GenCon, with games running through much of the four days.  A limited quantity of them will be available for purchase, but probably no more than a thousand.  Keep your eyes peeled and your wallet ready, and you just may get your own copy.  Shiny.

Our verdict?  Definitely Joss.

Firefly RPG

genconpreviewIf you like tabletop gaming a little less, and RPG’s a little more, your prayers have been answered.  From Margaret Weis Productions comes the Firefly RPG.  This is a rulebook, art directed by Daniel Solis with contributors from all over fandom.  There’s an anthology of gaming goodies for the Firefly RPG universe called Gaming in the ‘Verse available now for pre-order prior to GenCon.  They’ll be running the Shooting Fish and Wedding Planners adventures at GenCon.  The events are already sold out for GenCon, but if you want to you can go over to Games On Demand and ask for Rob Wieland, who’ll be running Shooting Fish there. Games there will be first come, first serve, so be sure to get there quickly.

You can get a copy of the Firefly

  • Limited Number Of Copies – We are *only* releasing 200 softcover copies of the Exclusive per day at GenCon. The final page count was 268 of full color, awesome fun. If you want to pre-order a copy, I recommend that you do, otherwise we cannot guarantee you will get one. This game book will not be available through distribution.
  • Firefly RPG Game Events — SOLD OUT! We will be running both Shooting Fish and Wedding Planners at GenCon. These adventures are the first two official Firefly RPG scenarios; we’ve been in contact with our friends at GenCon and it’s our understanding they’ll replace the descriptions that are in the program book.
  • Games On Demand — Since the events are sold out, you can head over to Games On Demand and ask for Rob Wieland,

There are three ways to order the Exclusive. You do not have to attend GenCon in order to pick this up.

 

Considering MWP’s reputation for making great games, and the care and attention being paid to this one, we think it’ll be a winner.

Joss or not?  Definately Joss.

Firefly Online

This one had us excited at first, until we read the description from Fox: “a multi-user, social online role-playing game that will initially be available for smartphones and tablets, including those based on iOS and Android operating systems.”

And that sets it apart from a quadrillion other multi-user social online role-playing games for smart phones and tablets in what particular way again?  Is there even any Firefly in it?  The trailer for it includes no gameplay, gives no suggestion of what the game might actually be like, and the computer animation is cheesy.  Given the Fox pitch, it sounds like Farmville in a wig and a dress.

Firefly Online is being developed by Spark Plug Games. Some of their previous games have been Dairy Queen Tycoon and Plight of the Zombie.  The game will be out next year, and you can sign up here.  Watch www.keepflying.com for news and updates.

Joss or not?  So far, it doesn’t sound thrilling, Fox.  Surprise us.  We beg you.

What We Think

We can’t help but notice that the first two games are obviously being done by game companies who really understand gaming.  The last one is being done under contract to Fox, by a game company that knows how to make good phone games – but this one is being directed by suits at Fox, not gamers. There’s a huge difference in the vibe these three games are giving off, and that vibe can make or break a game before anybody even sees it.

Discuss!

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Jun 202013
 

Contractual Debate is Over, Fans Won

robertdowneyjrFresh from the Marvel web site, we learn this morning that Robert Downey Jr. has signed a new two-picture agreement to appear as Tony Stark / Iron Man in Marvel’s The Avengers 2 and Marvel’s The Avengers 3.    The last two films he did, Marvel’s The Avengers in 2012 and this years Iron Man 3 rank as two of the top five grossing films of all time, collectively earning over $2.7 billion worldwide to date.
That’s billion with a ‘B’.
Considering how much was on the line, it’s a bit less surprising that it took so long for Marvel and Downey’s attorneys to reach an agreement.

Marvel’s The Avengers 2 is being written and directed by Joss Whedon. Featuring favorites from the first Avengers film and new Marvel characters never before seen on the big screen, Marvel’s The Avengers 2  is slated to begin production in March 2014 and open in theaters May 1, 2015.

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