Apr 17, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #15

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Kraven is the world’s greatest hunter, and Spider-Man is the ultimate prey.


POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: First appearance of Kraven the Hunter and the second appearance of the Chameleon. So our villain appearance count is :
  • The Vulture: 2
  • The Chameleon: 2
  • Doctor Octopus: 3
BEN: It's also the first mention of Mary Jane Watson. Is this the first cameo appearance of Anna Watson?

DUY: I think it is, since we had those other neighbors earlier on, just five issues ago. And is this the first time Spider-Man has hung upside-down?



WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN: Stan and Steve must have really started feeling confident in the book, because they started planting seeds for the future. Last issue they introduced the Green Goblin with a mystery identity, and now they’re teasing MJ.

DUY: Like I said above, this is the first time he's shown upside-down, and that would become a staple. This feels like a "Hit their stride" issue. One of the landmarks, even for little stuff.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: A man in leopard print tights that hunts for sport. Although, one of the cartoons made him a reality show star, which immediately makes all that’s ridiculous about him more understandable.

DUY: Do the villains being Russian age badly, or age well? I can't tell.

BEN: Two years ago I would have said yes, but evil Russians are unfortunately back in style.

NITPICKS

DUY: They really weren't playing off the origin yet, because not only is there no mention of Uncle Ben and the fact that Peter could have saved him, there's also a burglar like this just showing up. When they start repeating the origin, you can't just use that combination of clothes arbitrarily.



DUY: It's interesting how certain things take on a significance. You can't just dress anyone up like that anymore. You can't use the Brooklyn Bridge in a Spider-Man story anymore.  They mean something. And also, either this sentiment doesn't age well, or it ages perfectly because it's coming from Aunt May. And we know she's going to be completely wrong about Mrs. Watson's niece.


DUY: Similarly, I don't know if this ages bad or well, but it sure is timeless.


BEN: I completely forgot how much Liz was flirting with Peter in these early stories.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: Jameson calling Peter “useless” made me laugh.




DUY: Right before yours. I love how Jameson is there for this high school drama that he clearly has no patience for.




WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: This city sweeper. "You're blockin' progress!"



BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

Apr 15, 2019

Roundtable: Shazam!

Shazam came out a few weeks ago and opened to $53 million. As of this writing it has made $94.9 million domestic and $221 million international. What did the Cube think? Read on to find out.

Shazam


DUY: Shazam is a franchise that means so much to me; it's literally brought me closer to my nephew and my niece. I will be unable to judge it fairly in any way. Every year I treat my whole family to one movie. This is it this year. Just by virtue of spending that much money, I feel like if even one of us doesn't enjoy it, it'll have failed.  Other franchises that mean so much to me and my family that will make it impossible for me to ever judge them objectively on my own level of enjoyment: Donald Duck, Bone, and Mouse Guard. As much as I love the new Ducktales (and I do), I doubt I would be interested in it if my niece hated it.

JD: Ugh. I hate that I just gave Warner Brothers some of my superhero dollars. I feel dirty.

TANYA: I really enjoyed the movie. Had my attention from the beginning to the end. I would definitely go back and watch it again.

JD: I thought the movie was okay. Some things I loved. Some things I hated.

PAUL: It's probably the most "Geoff Johns" film DC has done, so I think that's going to be a big factor in how much it works for people here at The Cube. For me it means yes, it does work. It has all the strengths of a Johns-penned comics/ It conveys everything it needs to about the story and the characters elegantly, it's got a really strong and consistent central theme that hooked me straight away, and fanboy-pleasing moments are present but used to enhance the story rather than just being there for the sake of it.

TANYA: That's what I thought when I first watched this. I'm wondering if it's because of Johns' involvement that the DC films are getting better.

DUY: So. I really liked it. It was fun. Billy Shazam and Freddy had a great chemistry going. And it was legitimately funny. My entire theater did not stop cracking up, including me.

PAUL:  I found the humour worked, I laughed a lot. The relationship between Billy and Freddy, and Shazam and Freddy is soooo good. Levi and the kid playing Freddie are a great double act. Also, I cried during certain bits but that might be more to do with my delicate emotional state at the moment than the film.

DUY: My only real complaints are that Sivana was generic and the Seven Deadly Sins are kinda lame. Other than that, I... don't have much to say. My niece really liked it, and that was all I really wanted.

PAUL: Yeah, the Sins were okay, but just sort of generic CGI monsters. I wish they'd done them a bit more like Gary Frank's designs. It would have potentially felt quite "Ghostbusters" and contributed to the 80s movie vibe.

DUY: That's what it is, it felt like a solid 80s movie. My friend said Spielberg, specifically ET, but that's not quite right. I think I felt for it like how people remember Ghostbusters (not how Ghostbusters actually was, because it sucked.)

KATHERINE: I don’t think I would go so far as to compare it to ET. ET makes me bawl because it’s so earnest in its emotion, and this one is much more cheeky in its sense of humor and character relationships. But it definitely reminds me of the sensibilities of Ghostbusters and The Goonies crossed with Big. And I thought the movie was great! I’ve always really liked Zachary Levi and loved him in this role. He was funny and goofy while also being charismatic and likable, even when he was temporarily acting douchey. Definitely gave off a young Tom Hanks in Big vibe, where he really did feel like a kid in an adult body. Like Momoa, he’s just fun to watch and you want to spend more time with him.

PAUL: The cast were mostly brilliant. All the kids are really likable, as are the foster parents. This is important as their likeableness stops the sentimental bits from being too mawkish. I knew the family getting powers was coming because of the comic so I'd be interested to hear how much of a surprise it was to people who hadn't read the comic. Was it a surprise or was it really obvious?

KATHERINE: I did not know what to expect with the family getting powers and didn’t see it coming right up until he remembered what the old wizard said about having many thrones to fill. I kind of gasped like OH are they really gonna do that?? Because if they do, that would be awesome. Then it actually happened and our audience genuinely fully cheered. Hands down my favorite part, I absolutely loved that! Plus, Adam Brody as hero Freddie was completely spot-on perfect casting!

PETER: Same thing happened in our theater. There were legit cheers and oohs when the foster kids transformed too. I don't read the comics so this was a very cool surprise to me too.

PAUL: I'm really glad that bit was a surprise! Even knowing it was coming, it was a great moment.

DUY: Yeah, it's such a recent development in the comics that it would take older fans by surprise too.

DUY: The kids all getting the powers is such a great moment.

JD: Seeing a version of the Shazam family was by far the best part of the movie. “Say my name.” “BILLY!!” was my favorite moment.

TANYA: I really liked that he had a mixed race foster family. I particularly liked Adam Brody and Megan Good as the adult versions of their characters. I loved how everything came back around again when Billy was at the family table and embracing them as his family. As someone who knows absolutely nothing about the comics I wondered how they were going to feel those empty thrones and I'm glad it is his foster family.

DUY: So, I didn't like how Mary Shazam didn't do anything in the final fight, especially since in the comics Mary is the most important other member of the Family next to Billy.

TANYA: I'm glad there was no romance between Mary and Shazam. At first I thought they were going there and they didn't. I also wished Mary did more. Darla did a lot and I do like the actress who played here both the kid and adult version.

DUY: Mary and Billy would've been super-weird considering they're supposed to be biological siblings. Though I guess they're not siblings in this universe.

JD: I didnt think they were going to go full-on Shazam family. I thought there would just be a Mary Marvel tease and that Darla would be the "Mary Marvel." I thought they were dropping lots of hints with her "I'm a good sister!" line. So glad I was wrong.

There were legit cheers and oohs when the foster kids transformed too. -Peter

PAUL: I was disappointed in Mark Strong. He was pretty generic. There wasn't much that distinguished Sivana from his bad guy character in Sherlock Holmes. I wonder if it was a deliberate choice not to make Sivana too charismatic so as not to steal the attention away from Billy and Freddie? But still, they could have made him more interesting than he was.

DUY: I'm disappointed it wasn't more classic Sivana, but classic Sivana probably would've been too much.

PAUL: I liked how the film's "real life" bits seemed fairly grounded and they resisted the temptation to set it in a comic-booky world. This made the fantastic bits even more fantastic. But it also has the flaws of a Johns comic — the gruesome bits are so gruesome they seem at odds with the tone of the rest of the story. The slaughter of the Sivana execs is quite upsetting, not because it's particularly graphic but because it lingers on the fear and distress of the execs a lot before they're killed. It just about, kinda works because it contributes to the whole 80s film vibe that's going on but it was my least favourite aspect of the film.

JD: Two kids almost kill a disabled boy with a pickup truck, then assault him, in front of a hundred people, fifty feet from the front door of a school and no adult came to confront them. They’d be arrested. Took me right out of it for a minute. Then Djimon Hounsou won me back. I thought he was perfect as The Wizard. Y'know. Maybe I liked this more than I thought.

TANYA: The level of violence in the beginning surprised me. I could not imagine that PG 13 films now throw people out windows and eat their heads. I guess if Venom can get away with it so can Shazam.

DUY: It didn't really bug me, specifically because it was a comedy. When you have a lighthearted tone, you can get away with more stuff. Brave and the Bold was a Batman cartoon that was unbelievably silly, comedic, and lighthearted, and it had a whole episode where Joker kills Batman over and over in various ways. I get that the tone is confusing. But that's par for the course in the Golden Age... you'd sometimes have whimsical storylines with the Marvel Family and then BAM, out of nowhere, a skeleton because someone died there.

JD: Did anyone else think Asher Angel’s serious Billy was a bit too contrasting from Levy’s slap sticky Shazam?

JAY: This was my thought as well but you said it better.

DUY: I actually did feel a disconnect between the two. He's too "cool" as Billy and too frazzled as Shazam. It's understandable, and easily explainable, but it did take me out of it.

Did anyone else think Asher Angel’s serious Billy was a bit too contrasting from Levy’s slap sticky Shazam? -JD


TANYA: What did you all think about the mid-credits sequence? I read initially Black Adam was suppose to be the villain, but they want to do a stand-alone film with him first.

DUY: I'd just introduced Zha to Mr. Mind the day before, and when she saw the midcredits, she went "OH MY GOD, I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY'RE GOING WITH THE WORM!" I spotted Mr. Mind in the opening sequence and thought that was it. No way they'd go with him. BUT THEY ARE AND I'M SO HAPPY.

JD: I AB-SO-LUTE-LY loved Mr Mind. I would have liked to see them lean more in to the ultra-quirky Captain Marvel stuff. The Mr. Mind scene reminded me of the sorcerer fight in A Sword in the Stone. Intentional or not that was my favorite reference.

DUY: We saw the crocodile men really quickly. I hope we see more of them. Maybe we will with Mr. Mind.

TANYA: Much has been made about having superheroes who enjoy being superheroes. How important is that to you?

JD: I've never thought about it. My instinct is that it should be important.

DUY: I think there is a time and a place for it — and Shazam should absolutely be one of those heroes. If you're a kid and you have the ultimate wish fulfillment fantasy, turning it grim and gritty... well, it gives you the critically acclaimed series called Miracleman, but that only really works in contrast to what it's supposed to be.

TANYA: Another thing that surprised me was Billy's relationship with his biological mom was not neatly resolved. When she said she intentially let him go because she thought another family could better provide him was like a punch to the gut. I expected a happy reunion like Aquaman and his mom. That's one of the things that is being pointed out as the difference between MCU and DCEU is MCU focusing on fathers and DCEU on mothers.

DUY: I did think that was neatly resolved. That was the resolution.

Let’s leave them on the floor and let the fresh blood play for a little while. -Katherine


PAUL: Imagine if at the end Superman had sat down and you saw this face... They missed a golden opportunity to make the 'stache canon!!!



PAUL: Regarding Cavill, just to clarify, I'm joking (any excuse to share that picture). I think the Supes cameo was just right. It paid off the joke nicely and made for a perfect ending. If we'd actually seen Cavill it wouldn't have worked.

TANYA: I read that he was suppose to be part of it, but because of a commitment to another film he wasn't able to do the cameo.

KATHERINE: Not sure if I’m reading too much into what might’ve just been a cute little self referential joke, but I thought it was great when the little kid was playing with his Superman and Batman toys and dropped them both when he saw Billy and Sivana battling outside his window. And I kinda hope it was emblematic of what Warner Bros is planning to do with those two characters for now. Let’s leave them on the floor and let the fresh blood play for a little while.

JD: Had a funny conversation at drinks after the show. In this world, who owns the licenses for all those Batman and Superman backpacks/shirts/posters? And where is all the Wonder Woman merch? No young ladies at his school had WW merch. I think that's sad.

DUY: Freddy wouldn't own Wonder Woman merch. She has cooties.

JD: I said Lex Luthor owns the licenses some how and WW wouldnt sell out like that.

KATHERINE: I like that explanation. Plus, if Lex owns the licenses, maybe he's just a misogynist asshole who didn't make WW toys because he didn't believe there was a market for a female superhero. "Look, I'm not a sexist okay, I'm just saying, look at the research. Nobody is asking for this!!" Especially believable when it's Jesse Eisenberg Lex.

PETER: We just realized now that one of the grown up superpowered foster kids is Reggie from Riverdale!

DUY: Yeah, the first Reggie.

PETER: Also, It wasn't obvious to me because I hadn't seen the film it was referencing, but my wife told me that the stepping on the piano keys scene was from Big.

DUY: Favorite moment? I think mine is the Shazam off the rooftop, followed by when all the kids get their powers.



KATHERINE: Without a doubt, all the kids getting their powers. People were cheering but I think I actually said "AWWWW I LOVE THAT" out loud.

DUY: And who's everyone's Val-Kilmer-in-Tombstone winner?

ZHA: Santa Claus! Stealing the show every chance he gets!

DUY: He's mine too.

JD: Faithe Herman (Darla Dudley) or Djimon Hounsou (The Wizard).

DUY: Having said all that, I do think Jack Dylan Grazer (Freddy) was the MVP of the movie.

JD: He was definitely the glue. A good guide to introduce us to this world.

PAUL: Overall, I loved the movie just as much as I wanted to.

DUY: For comic recommendations, I'm gonna have to go with the Convergence series by Jeff Parker and Evan Shaner. However, this movie is very specifically drawing from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Curse of Shazam, so that needs to be mentioned as well.

Apr 10, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #14

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

The Green Goblin tricks Spider-Man into a confrontation with himself and the Enforcers, but they’re all surprised when the Hulk appears. Plus, who is the Green Goblin?



POINTLESS TRIVIA

BEN: First appearance of the Green Goblin. Second time they use a mystery villain, only this time they don’t reveal his identity at the end. And this classic Goblin trope was there from panel one:

DUY: I think this is also the first mention of the "proportionate strength of a spider."


WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

BEN:  I think they probably realized the wasted potential of revealing the Big Man so soon, and so keeping the Goblin’s identity a secret was a great plan. The way Peter thought his way out of the fight with the Hulk, step by step, was a real highlight.

DUY: Spider-Man just saying, eff it, and just tossing the Enforcers away from him is also a highlight. The idea that he has so much strength and he just holds it back makes for great moments. And hey, how about that random Hulk appearance?  I think this was definitely something Marvel had over DC at the time, just this sheer small world feel of their universe. It really feels like a shared universe.

BEN: It’s never an intended meeting either. They’re always running into each other by happenstance, which helps make it feel even more natural and real.

WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: This is a really unnecessarily convoluted scheme by the Goblin.

DUY: Thank God he gets the glider soon after, because that broomstick is dumb.

BEN: Goblin glider rolls off the tongue better.

NITPICKS

DUY: How does his Spider-sense not go off around the Enforcers? Or the Goblin for that matter?

BEN: His spider sense has always been a bit inconsistent.

FAVORITE PANEL

BEN: This one, for me.



DUY: Jameson hears you. Jameson don't care.


BEN: Jameson is the cranky old man with a big heart buried deep underneath. Wait, JJJ is Uncle Scrooge, no wonder you like him so much. Wait, is that why you like me?

DUY: Who said I like you?

WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: JJJ, for being a giant troll.


THE GREEN GOBLIN

DUY:  Okay, so let's talk about the Goblin for a second. Right away, they build him up as a mystery. By the very rule of mystery-writing, that's got to be someone we know. They've already done this once, where they introduce the character and reveal him to be the villain in the same story. It's impossible, I think, for the Goblin to just be anyone. The very laws of narrative writing makes it feel impossible.

BEN: But they broke that rule anyway.

DUY: With Crimemaster, or the fact that we technically didn't know Norman?

BEN: That Norman hasn’t been introduced. Hell, Harry hasn’t even been introduced.

DUY: True, but I think they just have to introduce the person before the reveal. Technically speaking within the context of the one issue, wasn't Foswell introduced after The Big Man?

BEN: If this myth was actually true, then I have to side with Stan on this one.

DUY:  I don't think it's true, but yeah.

BEN: Do you think they ever planned on him being Jonah?

DUY: Was that an actual rumor?

BEN: I don't think so. I'm just speculating.

DUY:  It's hard to say, because on the one hand, Stan is the "illusion of change" guy. But when did that actually start? They have him graduate high school.

BEN: At this point in the series, he’d be the only suspect, and like you said, they weren’t exactly planning on this series lasting forever. But, I also believe they already knew that Jameson was pure gold as he is.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!


Apr 8, 2019

Deadly Class: The New Gold Standard in Comic Book TV

Deadly Class recently finished its first season on the Syfy network, and its one of the best television adaptations of a comic book ever created.  For my money, it’s the best ever.  It’s based on the Image Comics series created by writer Rick Remender and artist Wesley Craig (with letters by Rus Wooton, and colors by Lee Loughridge).

Deadly Class: The New Gold Standard in Comic Book TV
Ben Smith

The story doesn’t break any new ground, it’s a pretty obvious allegory for the feelings of danger and isolation all kids experience in high school.  Obvious doesn’t mean it’s not good however, and it quickly expands beyond that base concept by focusing on the adventures of the main characters.



The foundation of the story is an assassin training school called the Kings Dominion School of the Deadly Arts.  Inside, students learn from various different experts in the art of combat, poisons, stealth, and other such useful assassin skills.  Students are primarily enrolled based on legacy and/or their affiliations with powerful organizations from the outside world. Those organizations include the racist Dixie Mob, the Soto Vatos, the Final World Order, and the Kuroki Syndicate (among others).


Occasionally, students are enrolled for a variety of other reasons, like having a visible talent for murder.  But without any specific affiliation, school is much harder for them to endure.  They are referred to as rats by the other students, and spend most of their time hanging out with each other on the roof of the school.  (Another fairly obvious allegory for the kids that considered themselves outcasts in school.)

Our main character is Marcus, who is recruited into the school because of his reputation for setting his boy’s home on fire and killing everyone inside.  Marcus is plagued by a past of trauma and tragedy, spending his days on the streets after the death of both of his parents, and the aforementioned fire.



He is recruited to the school by Saya, the most talented assassin at the school, and the leader of the Kuroki Syndicate.



Willie and Marcus bond over a love of comic books early on, and develop a friendship.  Willie is the leader of the Final World Order, and the son of a highly respected Los Angeles gangster.  There’s a lot more to Willie than his tough exterior would suggest, however.



Maria is the girlfriend of Chico, who runs the Soto Vatos.  Chico is extremely deadly and mean, and the son of the most powerful boss in South America.  Unfortunately for him, Maria has taken a liking to Marcus, and flirts with him constantly.



Billy is another kid that would become one of Marcus’ best friends.  A mohawked punk rocker by appearance, but kind and funny by nature.



Brandy is the leader of the Dixie Mob, and is more of an antagonist than a part of the group. 
Other characters appearing in the first season of the TV show, but not the first trade paperback collection of the comic, are the goth girl Petra, and the Russian brute Viktor.  Petra hangs out with the rats, while Viktor is a frequent antagonist alongside Brandy.



Marcus, Billy, and Petra are the rats, but Saya, Maria, and Willie begin to hang out with them a lot more since Marcus arrived.

Maria and Saya are the two of the most talented assassins in the school, and are good friends.  However, their competitive friendship quickly evolves into a love triangle with Marcus, making the relationship between the two even more complicated.

Maria is trapped in a relationship with the controlling Chico, who is physically and mentally abusive.  She sees a way out in the form of Marcus, but despite that does appear to have a true attraction and interest in him.

From there, the class is given an assignment to find and kill a victim worthy of death.  An adventure to Las Vegas, involves some LSD and the murder of someone’s parent.  Wesley Craig is very adept at drawing psychedelic scenes as Marcus’ trips off an overdose of acid.



The comic series and the television show of Deadly Class are well worth your time.  I discovered the show first, and then went back to buy the comic.  The show is over, for now, but I look forward to reading more about these great characters in the comic series.  I highly recommend you try both. 

Apr 3, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #12

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8
Spider-Rama
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Spider-Man is committing crimes. Has Peter gone crazy or is it the menace of Mysterio?


POINTLESS TRIVIA

DUY: This is the first appearance of Mysterio, who is, of course, the villain in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home, where he will be played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

BEN: This is the second time a villain has impersonated Spider-Man, the first time being the Chameleon in Amazing Spider-Man #1.

DUY:  A good portion of the comic takes place at the Brooklyn Bridge, a setting that would never be indiscriminately used again in Spider-Man stories after 1973.

WHAT'S AGED THE BEST?

DUY: Spider-Man going to the psychiatrist probably seemed silly then, but I can easily imagine them doing it in a superhero movie or TV show now.

BEN: DC has been centering a whole event around it.

DUY: That's Heroes in Crisis, shamelessly available on Amazon.


WHAT'S AGED THE WORST?

BEN: Literally every single aspect of Mysterio. His costume, his gimmick, his former occupation. Him pausing the fight to monologue his real identity and origin.

DUY: Mysterio feels so out of place among Spider-Man's rogues' gallery. He's not old. He's not ambitious or unambitious. He's not really a genius. He's not connected to him whatsoever. He's not based on an animal.

BEN: Surprisingly, based on the Far From Home trailer, it appears that the fishbowl might actually look great in live action.


BEN: But even though everything about Mysterio is ridiculous, I enjoyed him even more now. As I get older, some of the goofier stuff becomes more endearing, and you don’t get goofier than a fishbowl helmet. Despite all that, I feel like he could actually make for a great movie villain, if you give him actual reality warping powers.

DUY: He feels like a pure Ditko villain too. Like if he'd created him for Dr Strange, the only difference is that he wouldn't be an illusionist, it'd be real.

NITPICKS

DUY: Okay, so Mysterio had special effects to help him frame Spider-Man,climb walls, all that.... Sure. But how did he get the athletic ability to swing from a web? Or, okay fine, he used to be a stuntman, so he actually is athletic... what happened to that?

BEN: I mean, even the idea that Spider-Man can be replicated by gadgets.

FAVORITE PANEL

DUY: This makes me laugh more than it should, meaning that it's J. Jonah Jameson again for me for the second week in a row.


BEN: Here's a peek at my nightly bedtime routine.



WHO WON THE COMIC?

DUY: Liz Allan. You go, girl.



BEN: Almost every friend Peter has had, hated him initially. Mary Jane is the only one that likes him from the beginning.

DUY: Also, the Flash/Peter rivalry starts getting really fun. It's not going to last much longer once Ditko leaves, and it's weird how it didn't really last long. So enjoy it while it's there.

BEN: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

DUY: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

BEN: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next week!

Apr 1, 2019

War of the Realms: 10 More Moments from Jason Aaron's Thor Run

So after last week's post, in which I outlined the 10 best moments in Jason Aaron's epic Thor run before War of the Realms, someone told me that I missed out on a lot of moments, and proceeded to name some. And you know what? I had no problem with the moments he named. That's how great this run has been for me, and it's definitely one of my favorite runs of all time.

And you know what else? War of the Realms is still upcoming — this Wednesday, to be exact. So that's an excuse for me to name ten more moments from Jason Aaron's Thor run, in case I hadn't convinced you yet.

Before I get into it, though, let's take a look at this variant cover by Walt Simonson.



Here's the thing: this was drawn in 1986, back when Walt Simonson was still on Thor, building up to a story called The Saga of the Vengeance of Thor, which would have focused on a God-Giant War.



It's a similar concept to War of the Realms, although obviously the latter is wider in scope and not relegated to gods and giants. (Why is the image flipped? Because Thor has to be on the actual cover — the right side for it to work as a cover.)

Now let's get to it.

Jane Meets the Thunder Goddesses

Soon after Jane Foster loses Mjolnir and the ability to become Thor, she gets visited by the Goddesses of Thunder — Atli, Ellisiv, and Frigg — the granddaughters of King Thor in the far future. They pay their respects, tell her she's awesome, and take her for a flight on Stormbreaker. Very touching, and the Goddesses of Thunder are awesome and should show up in War of the Realms.

Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla, 2018. Art by Jen Bartel


Thorlief dies

It's the linewide Secret Wars event, and the multiverse is dying. One universe, the Ultimate Universe, popular in the early 2000s, is about to end. The miniseries Thors stars various versions of Thor as space cops, and focuses on Thorlief, the Ultimate Thor. I've never been a fan of him — or this universe —until this series. After uncovering corruption and working with the Unworthy Thor Odinson and meeting Jane Foster Thor, Thorlief dies in battle, his universe with him, leaving behind only his version of Mjolnir...


Thors. Art by Chris Sprouse.

Thor Odinson finds Ultimate Mjolnir

So now you'd think, oh great, two hammers. That solves the problem of two Thors, right? Yeah, we all did. In a series called Unworthy Thor, we see Thor Odinson fight his way through the Black Order, Thanos, Hela, and the Collector to get to Ultimate Mjolnir. When he finally touches it, memories rush back, and we're treated to this beautiful splash page by Olivier Coipiel...


...and then Thor Odinson lets go of it, believing he still isn't worthy.


It's a textbook case of how to do an anticlimactic plot twist, and it works perfectly. You spent this much time building up the most obvious thing, and then you refuse to pull the trigger. Thor Odinson's doubt in himself will not be fixed by the finding of a new hammer with the same name. Lifting a new hammer will not cure that. Only he can fix that. And that's his journey.

War Thor

Meanwhile, that means Ultimate Mjolnir is available, and the Ultimate Universe being a more violent place than the regular Marvel Universe means that the person who picks this up is going to be a more violent kind of Thor! And ironically, it goes to the voluminous, vibrant Volstagg, whose time as Senator on The Congress of Worlds has severely jaded him and broken his spirit.


It leads into this wonderfully meta exchange between Amora the Enchantress and Ulik the Troll.



Volstagg ended up in a coma thanks to the Mangog, but who knows what condition he'll be in in War of the Realms?

Young Thor meets Gorr for the first time

When Young Thor first meets the God Butcher, he is severely outmatched, and comes close to dying, except for an ace up his sleeve. This scene would be directly referenced in Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor, God of Thunder #2, 2012. Art by Esad Ribic.
Cue Led Zeppelin.


King Thor vs. Galactus

In the far future, King Thor faces off against Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, who is still alive and is looking to devour the Earth one last time.

Thor, God of Thunder #22, 2014. Art by Esad Ribic.

As if that isn't epic enough, the All-Black Necrosword gets brought into the fray, and the stakes get even higher.

Thor vs. The Phoenix

Mighty Thor #19, 2017. Art by Russell Dauterman

Thor (Jane Foster) stuck in a war between Asgard and the Shi'ar, as if that isn't bad enough, all of a sudden has to deal with the Phoenix, that cosmic force that destroys stars.



Suddenly, a familiar face shows up to help her, coming off his Unworthy Thor series. And then she asks a very leading question.

Mighty Thor #19, 2017. Art by Russell Dauterman. 

Eventually, it's revealed that an Asgardian has in fact dated the Phoenix. it's just not Thor.


Generations: The Unworthy Thor and The MIghty Thor, 2017. Art by Mahmud Asrar.

Roz Solomon kills trolls

Roz Solomon, Agent of SHIELD, was introduced as an environmentalist, not a field agent. But in a battle against trolls in Broxton, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands.

Thor, God of Thunder #23, 2014. Art by Esad Ribic.

And with that, Roz Solomon became a prime suspect in the mystery of who the woman holding Mjolnir is.

The Reveal

Thor Odinson compiles a list of virtually every woman he knows to figure out who the new Thor could be, and then uses that list to raise an army to help her against the Destroyer.  The army includes his mother Freyja, his sister Angela, the Lady Sif, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Captain Marvel.



He's sure it's not Jane Foster, because of the cancer, and the only person left on the list after crossing out everyone who showed up to help him is Roz Solomon. And then... this happens.

Thor #8, 2015. Art by Russell Dauterman.


Like Thor Odinson not getting Ultimate Mjolnir, this is an example of a very simple plot twist that Aaron just gets to work. And of course, the person it is is the most obvious person, the one it should have been in the first place: Jane Foster, who was always worthy.


Thor #8, 2015. Art by Russell Dauterman

You're Thor! You hit it with hammers!

And this moment, so primal, so powerful. Young Thor, King Thor, and Thor the Avenger have Gorr the God Butcher cornered. Thor the Avenger, our Thor, is at a loss as to what to do. King Thor has the solution.

Thor, God of Thunder #10, 2013. Art by Esad Ribic

"And for one moment that stretched across time, every god in the universe closed their eyes... and prayed to Thor."

Thor, God of Thunder #12. Art by Esad Ribic.

Damn, this run is so good, guys. Go read it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...