Tag Archives: Marvel

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Ep 1 – Pilot Review

27 Sep
S.H.I.E.L.D Assembles!

S.H.I.E.L.D Assembles!

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe collided for the first time with its small screen counterpart tonight as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D came crashing through our telly boxes and boy it did not disappoint!

Action packed from the get go, the shadowy government agency which has connected the big screen Marvel films together finally got some room to grow and explore. There was plenty here to tie in to the movies with some cool references to Captain America: The First Avenger and some nifty shout outs to the wider Marvel Universe (Journey into Mystery, Stark Industries and a sneaky Spider-Man half quote) plus a Men in Black II homage which gave me a chuckle.

The pilot served its purpose well, both reminding us of the Shield we know and love whilst teasing themes and plot lines to come throughout the season. One aspect of this show will undoubtedly be about regular joes dealing with life in a post Battle of New York world. In the same way that a post Avengers world has heavily influenced our own culture and thrown superheroes and the comic book community further into the mainstream, the denizens of the MCU are going to face existential questions about their place in the cosmos knowing there are aliens, gods and monsters out there in the big bad world.

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Our first hero deals with these directly, being influenced by events from the most recent Marvel outing Iron Man 3. It’s nice to see their first hero be black though minus Mike & Agent May there was a distinct lack of ethnic representation (Where on earth was Agent Sitwell?) Mike Peterson is a great first choice and J. August Richards does a great job desperately trying to be the hero despite factors beyond his control.

The other main theme as a series will be Agent Coulson trying to turn his team of agents into heroes and teaching them that all the superpowers in the world mean nothing and that the true hero is within. That team however is a mostly unremarkable one, with some being utterly unlikeable and unmemorable (Fitz & Simmons seem there literally for the one pun) though Brett Dalton as Agent Ward was a better fit than he first appeared. The less said about Skye the better. Hey Skye the 90’s called, they want their “cute hacker girl” trope back. As nice as it is to look at attractive or ruggedly handsome actors for an hour I would much prefer to see some older, average looking or “non hollywood” faces round out the team.

SAM HARGRAVE, MING-NA WEN

A nice cameo from Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill seemed to make up for some of the weaker characters as did Ming-Na Wen’s calm and collected Melinda May. If any of the shows cast gets a chance to appear in a future MCU film or vice versa I’d hope Melinda May & Natasha Romanoff get some screen time together.

Joss & Jed Whedon have done well to keep a cinematic feel, helped by a great score by Bear McCreary (Bear also scores The Walking Dead) The hand off as writer from brother to brother will hopefully go smoothly enough that big brother Joss won’t have to step back in anytime soon.

Verdict: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is the perfect companion to the MCU and a great distraction whilst waiting for the next big blockbuster. Joss Whedon sets a new corner of the Marvel U loose while keeping the much loved Coulson comedy and some familiar faces (Ron Glass or Book Shepherd to any Browncoats out there). The big question still remains. What happened to Coulson? Life Model Decoy? Android? Clone? Skrull?! We’ll just have to keep tuning in to find out.

9.0/10

Shield

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Hawkguy – Earth’s Mightiest Dude

9 Mar

Screenshot_2013-03-09-20-07-41-1Okay, this looks bad. Really bad. Copying the start of Hawkeye for my intro. Cheap. I really should be original. Screw it.

I’m not going to mess around. Hawkeye is amazing. If you’re a fan of comic books, if you read comic books, if you know anything at all about comic books then Hawkeye is for you.

Before I begin lets just get one thing straight. I am a comic noob. There I said it. It has been almost a year since I started reading comics regularly. In that time I have read almost 80 unique titles. Based on my bank statements I have spent exactly…far too much on comics in such a short span of time. However I don’t claim to be an expert, I’ve mainly read mainstream Marvel and select Image gems. So my thoughts on this are from the point of view of a casual fan wading in up to his neck in the bizarre but hugely gratifying world of comics.

Written by Matt Fraction and stunningly brought to life by David Aja, Hawkeye is the story of one of the Avengers most loyal and longest serving super heroes. Hawkeye, the guy, is special in many respects. He stands up to Captain America when others tend just to follow. He has more charm than James Bond despite being a quite a jerk and still ends up with more than his fair share of the Marvel ladies. Perhaps most importantly he doesn’t actually have any super powers.

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And that why this series works. Unlike most of his cohorts, Clint Barton is just a dude. He’s neither a billionaire like Tony Stark, a King like T’Challa nor is he a demi god like Thor. Clint lives in the real world and when he’s not saving it he is just getting by like everyone else.

In Hawkeye, Clint deals with everyday issues such as untangling audio cables or helping a dog to the vets after a car accident. Of course he has his villains, and occasionally the odd cameo from a friendly face, but for the most part he is helping out his neighbours or organizing his trick arrows.

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The other major factor to the series is the Student/Master Father/Daughter element in the form of Kate Bishop. Kate, also dubbed Hawkeye by none other than…Hawkeye, plays the straight face to Barton’s clown-like antics. She is endearing and the perfect balance. She helps him in more ways than he likes to admit and he truly loves her for it, perhaps because he sees so much of himself in her.

With the release of the highly successful Avengers Assemble (Or simply The Avengers as it’s know everywhere else) Hawkeye has become a household name and Marvel would have been brain dead not to have capitalized on that in some fashion. With casual fans dipping their toes into comics Hawkeye is a great platform from which to dive right in.

I’ve not, at least knowingly, read any of Fraction’s other works, but I really enjoyed the story he has to tell in each issue and more importantly the dialogue and character interaction. There are some moments which are filled with explosions and gunfire and huge action sequences, but all you care about is what Clint is saying to Kate. Comic books, like any form of storytelling, is about the characters. You can have the most epic backdrop but unless you care about the people on the page, until they feel real its just really great art.

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Which is a huge understatement. David Aja’s artwork is, at least to me anyways, breathtaking. I recognise that art is a very subjective thing, but I am in love. Aja doesn’t choke the panel with texture, yet somehow still managed to get an insane level of detail.

Much love also has to be given to one very special pooch. Pizza Dog, Hawkeye’s new sidekick, is getting his own issue. Yes, an entire issue from the perspective of the dog. And I guarantee it will out do a fair deal of other releases that day, both financially and critically.

Clint Barton may be a mighty Avenger but on his days off he is also a mighty guy.

Lack Of Female/Minority Superheroes In Comics

1 Mar

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Here’s a great article from Devin Faraci (@devincf) on badassdigest.com explaining why there is a massive lack of real female and/or minority superheroes in comics.

The article references a post from Kelly Sue DeConnick, the Marvel writer behind the current run of Captain Marvel starring former Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers.

http://badassdigest.com/2013/02/26/marvel-comics-writer-explains-whos-to-blame-for-lack-of-female-superheroes/

 

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