Age of Ultron: The Movie that Broke My Love for Superhero Movies

Age Of Ultron:
The Movie that Broke My Love for Superhero Movies

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Age of Ultron is the worst movie to happen to the Superhero franchise genre. Despite its publicity and praises on the script, Age of Ultron was the Transformers release of 2015. It made its bank, but critically it was a bomb.
The AoU announcement came quickly after Marvel Comics finished up their reboot of Age of Ultron story arc, which is arguably the worst Avengers story arc in recent memory. However, Marvel has adopted cross media promotion. Remember the whole, “it’s all connected” thing? So, it wasn’t a surprise when the announcement finally came.
When news was first breaking about the script, it was called dark and cerebral. Early readers praised AoU in its complexity and thought it would be strong enough to stand up next to Winter Soldier’s success. After all, they had a lot of material and foundation to work up from. Also, us Geeks had wondered when the time gem would come into play. Because Ultron story arcs ultimately like to play with time, it made sense that AoU would play into the Infinity Gauntlet mythology. Because the gem grants the user the time traveling power, which Avenger would be worthy or responsible enough to hold on to an Infinity Gem? Often, the comics choose Captain America to hold onto the gems because he is the most altruistic. But, what if they had to go back to 1950’s America to stop Ultron from being developed, as they often do in the comics but Steve Rogers wanted to stay? We even hinted at his longing for his past in previous installment as well as Age of Ultron. Simply put, a moral dilemma would have been a welcomed addition to the franchise. Now, that is just one of many areas they could have gone. However, bestowing the gem to a completely new character creation undermines the Avengers role or purpose regarding the Infinity Gauntlet.
In case those of you who forgot, the Infinity War is something the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building up to for over a decade now and it has now become the slowest moving McGuffin to crawl into the cinematic world. Now, most McGuffins are just there to fuel the plot, yet it should have some sort of impending consequence to the characters involved. However, each time we hit play, all tension surrounding the gauntlet has been subdued and white washed. The gems are somewhere but who cares? Do they matter? None of this became more confusing until Marvel decided to blow their own horn and show all of their Marvel releases back to back to those die-hard fans who inevitably became overburdened by the undeniably loose plot threads. For me, the Ultron/Infinity slap in the face didn’t truly hurt until Thanos decided to break the fourth wall and yell at the audience for the incompetence and mishandling of the Infinity Gauntlet story arc.
Then we must address the overall purpose of this franchise. Within the first five minutes of AoU, I am quickly reminded of Super Bowl America. Scenes of American white male fantasy include the gridiron offense overpowering linebackers, tough Ford trucks overcoming boulders on mountains, and now Avengers beating down some Nazi-esque terrorists. As my fist is pumping and these scenes of masculinities are playing in slow motion through my head, Pauline Kale and Alejandro Inarritu’s words are echoing in the back of my mind. Are these superhero franchises nothing more than immature white boyhood fantasies? Are any of these relatable characters? By the time we leave Hawkeye’s farm, the answer is no. First of all, the family and farm undermined the sexual tension that was not only building between Natasha and Hawkeye since the first Avengers but also building from an earlier exchange of dialogue while Hawkeye was in recovery. Who uses a wife and kids plot twist outside of the romance genre? In fact, I can’t quite think of a sequel undermining its characters relationship since Princess Leia kissed Luke Skywalker. Then there’s Mark Ruffalo’s character and romance. By the way, in the same year Mark Ruffalo is the guy who just came off of doing the three-hour Foxcatcher, which relied on body language to fully explain the complicated relationship between Ruffalo and his drug-addicted brother, and also the guy who may win awards for his supporting performance in Spotlight. So, it wasn’t the acting. It was that the scene had no clear direction or purpose. This is the part of the story which serves as the character development phase, yet it was all too awkward.

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There are some people who scream about social injustice in regards to Ruffalo and Johanson’s character romance. However, I say the social injustice is directed at the homoerotic tension that’s been building up between Chris Evans and RDJ’s respective characters since the first Avengers movie. Don’t the quips between Evans and Downey sound like that of a recently married couple? Wouldn’t it make more sense why Tony Stark is mad at Steve Rogers when he finds out about his secret lover Bucky; therefore, their breakup is kicking off the Civil War? If we don’t want to admit to Avengers being a conservative male fantasy, then isn’t it time Marvel pony up and show their progression by changing the status quo, at least a little?
That is the reason why the Marvel franchise became pointless. Outside of their respective origin movies, nobody and nothing change. The Age of Ultron is about the Avengers overcoming a robot with daddy issues. At the end of the day everyone high fives each other and white washes anything that might kinda affect future plot lines, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to name drop like a sponsored prize fighter. It isn’t cerebral. It isn’t dark and full of character depth. It’s a timid blockbuster and it’s full of product placement for a bloated franchise. Perhaps, if Joss Whedon stuck to the original script or somehow stopped outside influences, we could have experienced what was promised. However, what we received was a 280 million-dollar commercial for a franchise that has overstayed its welcome.

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Overall, what is the relevance of the super hero genre? One issue that sparked debate later in the year was when Spielberg mentioned that the super hero movie will go the way of the western. The western genre back in the day was its era’s blockbuster. That’s where Hollywood threw all the big names in the pot, and they made sure that it was fun for the whole family. However, these days westerns come out much less frequently and aren’t the big dollar maker that they use to be. After Spielberg let these words slip during an interview for Bridge of Spies, which isn’t related to blockbusters or super heros, many reporters asked everybody for a few insightful words. During a press conference for his directorial debut, Before We Go, another movie that has nothing to do with blockbusters or superheroes, the most insightful response came from Mr Captain America, Chris Evans. he mentioned that, “I certainly think that given the fact that technology has finally advanced, they’re always going to be looking for other films to match their technological accomplishments… whether it’s superhero film or fantasy in general”. That argument makes a lot of sense. SuperHero, Fantasy, as well as Sci Fi should be great places to showcase our newest Hollywood technology. However, I can’t think of a single instance in Age of Ultron where the technology particularly stood out, at least Ant Man had the Quantum Realm.
Personally, I now regret ever wanting to see my favorite comic book characters turned into celluloid and keep slapping my eight-year-old self for being slightly interested in the Infinity War and Civil War. Jesus, none of the entries really can come up with an original title or identity.

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Powers: Pilot (2015)

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The pilot for Powers is an immaculate, paint-by-numbers, antihero, melodrama. Being a fan of Bendis for a better part of my life, it has been exciting to know one of his creator owned property will be officially adapted. However, I am not sure this is the adaptation I’ve been waiting for.
First of all, the production design is a little too sterile looking. Even when the scene takes place in an abandoned and tagged warehouse, everything looks like it has been neatly decorated. There’s another scene which takes place at a squatter house which could easily be mistaken for a million dollar nightclub. This set design is accompanied by the overdone CGI of the powers scenes. However, the CGI clearly lacks the same budget and the production quality of Agents of SHIELD. Thus, they should have focused more on practical effects. Although Arrow reshoots its action sequences in the same warehouse district countless times, it still adds to the grounded realism which Powers so far lacks.
The acting is very well done by the entire cast. However, the dialogue and plot don’t compliment the acting. The lines are often mediocre that the well acted lines come off sounding melodramatic, which sadly distracts from the scene. The clearest example is when we meet Eddie Izzard’s Wolf character. Thankfully, Susan Heyward’s ability to shoot wit and sarcasm out of Deena Pilgrim’s mouth keeps the dialogue entertaining.
The plot itself is the same one we have all seen in any antihero cop show. This is completed with the hungover and half naked protagonist contemplating his inner demons while staring out the window. However, this time not only do we get the loss of a partner trope, but also we get the loss of superpowers. In fact, the writers just keep merrily skipping through each noir trope without skipping a beat. Yet, when we peel back that nonsense, we’re left with a plot which focuses on a protagonist, Christian Walker, who is suffering through identity loss and suicidal depression. That could be interesting when flavored with superpowers.
In the comicbook world, the reason why the subgenre which comprise of comics like Powers, Wanted, SEX, Kick Ass and many others is because their subject matter often deals with issues not commonly discussed in the superhero genre. With the proliferation of the Superhero genre in movies and tv, it seemed like a good time for Powers to come out. However, the only original aspect of this show is Walker gets his powers taken away, yet that is a very small part of this show.
Nevertheless, I am only referring to the freely available pilot. It could very well evolve and progress further with the characters and the story. But, there are already other superhero shows which are more widely available which have a firmer grasp on the superhero niche. So far, the only ones who will seek out Powers are comic geeks, like yours truly, or PS fanboys. Otherwise, it’s hard to see why one who only knows about superheros through Agents or Arrow to seek this title out.

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Warren Ellis’ Moon Knight

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Within six issues, Warren Ellis decided to bring Moon Knight back to something that reflected the original vision of Doug Moench. In particular, Ellis wanted to shift Moon Knight away from the awful multiple personality that had predominated much of Moon Knight’s character of recent years.
These six cerebral issues haunt the existence between the land of the dead and the living.
In issue four, Ellis commentary on death begins to take form and cast its macabre shadow beyond the comic book boarders and into our world. The surreal and psychedelic depictions in this issue question the setting of Moon Knight and whether or not any of the events taking place are actually happening.
Each antagonist Moon Knight faces is a twisted reflection of Mr. Knight. In the first issue, the first piece of new information Ellis gives is Moon Knight having an imaginary argument with Wolverine and Daredevil. Not only does this establish Moon Knight as an unreliable narrator, but also he believes he’s at odds with Marvel’s superhero community. This issue progresses to Moon Knight tracking down an ex Shield agent who had also been casted out of the organization. The antagonist tracks down and medically cannibalize his victims in hopes to make himself stronger and worthy of being an agent again. Who can better understand this morbid logic than the insane antihero who seeks redemption through his own insane acts?
Each issue begins with a piece of prose depicting the origin of Moon Knight. Marc Spector was a mercenary who did horrible things until one day he found himself left for dead at the feet of a Khonshu statue. Since the night Spector died, he has vowed to redeem his past transgressions. In issue two we are introduced to six seemingly unconnected people finishing up their business day. However, when each person falls victim to a sniper’s bullet, the story begins stitch itself into a single narrative. When Moon Knight begins the chase, the story collapses into a single narrative about a mercenary who took revenge on his former employers who left him for dead. Ellis bring this chapter to a poetic close. Although the distant projection of death is power, these weapons are never suppose to come back to punish their owners.
These parallels don’t become as blatant until issue three where Marc Spector fights specters haunting the streets of New York, or in issue six when Black Specter wants to become Moon Knights mirrored reflection. In order to defeat the specters, Mr Knight had to fully embrace the personification of death. In a brilliant and well paced fight, issue five is a Game of Death style plot showcasing Moon Knight defeating five floors of gangsters. By the issue’s conclusion, we see every action of Moon Knight’s has a cold and unstoppable finality.
In this series, we have drifted away from the multiple personality disorder. Instead Ellis had taken an eloquent and gothic approach to crafting a story about a man who was traumatized by his own actions. In order to cope and survive, he killed off Marc Spector and became Moon Knight or the personification of death itself. Like his ex lover said Marc Spector rather didn’t exist or never came back from the dead. Now, Because Mr Night still carries massive amounts of guilt and trauma, he views every villain as his own personal antagonist. Ellis’ has rooted Moon Knight once again and gave Brian Wood and other future writers plenty to work with.

Thunderbolts: Faith in Monsters (Review)

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Writer: Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis once wrote a haunting Thunderbolt’s story arc called Faith in Monsters. This story tied directly into the Marvel’s Civil War era. Marvel’s United States had been rocked by the Superhuman registration act. This law required all vigilantes to “unmask” themselves and register their identities with the government. Because this paralleled with similar laws of Nazi Germany, a schism formed between Captain America and Iron Man which lead to Captain America’s assassination by Bucky Barnes. During this time, Norman “Green Goblin” Osborn has been given the chance by Tony Stark to form a new team of Thunderbolts. They are given the task of enforcing the mutant registration act. This is the context Warren Ellis’ new incarnation of Thunderbolts takes place. The Thunderbolts are a team unlike other Marvel Teams because its ranks only include B-list villains. Ellis version is no different. This team is comprised of Venom, Songbird, Penance, Moonstone, Radioactive Man, Swordman, and Bullseye while having Green Goblin as its director. However, unlike other incarnations of this team or other antihero mashups, Warren Ellis’ team is brutal and uncompromising. Warren Ellis style of writing often incorporates real world psychological profiles for his characters, and that style adds an extra element of horror to this story arc. Each member has their own unique sociopathic identity which are all revealed over the course of interviews with each member of the team. Bullseye achieves a rush of euphoric emotions whenever he kills no matter who it is or the reason why he does it. This creates a perverse and godlike affinity which is also void of any sense of morality. Then there’s the Swordsman who crafted a fetish by wrapping the hilt of his sword with his dead sister’s flesh. With this incestuous tinged belief that this bond grants him power, the sword is used to slay his victims. Moonstone is a psychologist who is a master of manipulation and had made several of her patients commit suicide for her own sadistic enjoyment. The masochist Penance wears a suit similar to an iron maiden and believes his power stems from the pain he inflicts upon himself. Venom’s description of his relationship with his symbiotic alien sounds similar to a burnt out junkie describing their need for angel dust, complete with the homicidal rampages balanced with feelings of inadequacies and paranoia. Then there’s Songbird who would be simple B-list superhero if it wasn’t for her attraction towards genocidal psychopaths like Baron Zemo. What’s interesting is how Ellis is able to pull the reader into the morbid and oppressive world of these killers. These are all psychological profiles pulled from real life serial killers, which have been featured on countless news programs. What is worse is Norman Osborn is the puppetmaster of these sociopaths. It’s a what if tale about someone like Hemler having control over an elite military unit comprised of people like Ted Bundy, Albert Fish, and Charles Manson. So why does the U.S. Government allow such a situation to happen in the first place? It’s the old fallacy of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. After all, who would know how to challenge the Masks better than the villains? As the story progresses Ellis uses his FIX news broadcast to make satirical comments about the governments morally questionable decisions and how its laws affect the citizens it claims to protect. One section highlights how S.H.I.E.L.D. renamed Superheroes as Unregistered Combatants. This is similar to the real world example of the C.I.A. arbitrary use of Freedom Fighters versus Terrorists. This sounds like a hard pill to swallow for millions of Americans who have been saved countless times over the years by people like Captain America and Spider Man. However, Ellis rips a page from Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop, and he employs the use of news sensationalism and marketing as weapons against the Superhero community. For example, interspersed among the news segments are toy commercials promoting the Thunderbolts. This along with the government’s bias spin in their public statements assures the public that these unregistered combatants are a threat to American citizens. Now, it’s quite natural for the readers to feel the dissonance between themselves and the oppressive and villainous regime. In order to make this story connect, Warren Ellis also employs C-list superheroes such as American Eagle, Jack Flag, Steel Spider and ShadoWoman. These are the if you blink you may miss them heroes of Marvel’s continuity. Why use these heroes instead of the VIPs we’re all use to? While Captain America and company carry an aura of fame, C list heroes are everyday nobodies from Main Street. This allows us to see how the moral weight of such laws like the Registration Act would burden everyday people. American Eagle is a retired hero who is lured into stopping his community forming a lynch mob, ShadoWoman is a heartbroken metahuman simply trying to find a source of income, and Steel Spider is a lonely but disturbed individual with an answering machine full of messages from worried loved ones and obsessive bill collectors. Not only does each one have relatable personalities, but also each one is morally challenged with doing what is right versus breaking the law. For example, Jack Flag and his wife Lucy are a lower class couple struggling to survive in their urban neighborhood. Jack and Lucy witness a gang harassing a female victim, and we’re lead to believe this isn’t the first time they’ve witnessed this gang commit such atrocities on women. If someone was to call the cops, they wouldn’t reach this part of the ghetto in time, even if they did bother to show up. Although Jack Flag’s glory days are long gone, Jack Flag isn’t going to stand idly by in fear of the consequences and watch another innocent become victimized. After all, everyone probably is or knows someone who has reached out or intervened in a situation in hopes of stopping a violent escalation. Therefore, Jack is no different than any of the readers, and this is when Ellis finally humanizes the story. Before Ellis could reveal the first heroic moment of the series, the readers had to understand that the consequence is being hunted down by government sanctioned sociopaths. Jack Flag is no different. After witnessing a well paced and beautifully illustrated stand off between Jack Flag and the Thunderbolts, Jack Flag is left paralyzed and sent to a Guantanamo Bay for masks. Although this is a traumatizing moment, Ellis goes on to sprinkle some dashes of hope on top of the bleak nihilism. Remember no matter how much the readers want to cheer for the underdog superhero, the chilling fact remains this is a Thunderbolts series. By incorporating different writing styles and capitalizing on the medium, Warren Ellis crafted an ageless political commentary.

 

What if DC Presents the Inevitable Return of Wolverine?

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In September 2014, comicbook readers are going to see The Death of Wolverine which follows the current Wolverine series Three Months to Die. Charles Soule will be spearheading The Death of Wolverine arc which will conclude with the Legacy of Logan. Previously, Fatal Attractions ripped adamantium from his bones, Battle of the Atom recently took away Logan’s healing factor, and Jason Aaron at one point turned Wolverine into a Marvelized Dante and sent Wolverine to Hell and Heaven. However, we’ve yet to experience Wolverine being killed off in such a way that merit a macabre six month long marketing campaign. After all, why not? What else are writers supposed to do with an invulnerable super soldier other than hack up the aforementioned plot devices? We’ve already created doppelgangers in the form of Daken, his son, and Sabertooth, his sometimes relative, just to have Wolverine kill them again and again.

So why should we care? As comicbook readers should know, ever since Superman came back to life no hero has ever stayed dead. Unless you’re a civilian or a love interest, it has become an unspoken rule that heroes will come back again and again no matter how many times we confirm the dead body. Currently, we’re looking at it taking three months for Logan to begin dying, another month before we declare him dead, then another two months of talking about Logan being dead before Logan will most likely come back from the dead.

Or, will he? There are some conspirators out there who think this is the start of canceling the X titles altogether. This is stemmed from the announcement that Marvel is currently making plans to cancel the Fantastic Four series in September. One of the possible rumors behind the cancellation is to snub the licensing agreement between Fox and Marvel. By the way, Fox is the same studio who is responsible for the X Men franchise. In addition, rumors from undisclosed sources say writers and artists are no longer allowed to make new characters for the X titles. The reason being that it will give Fox more creative properties to potentially work with in future movie installments. Despite Brian Michael Bendis dispelling these rumors with reason and logic, he doesn’t completely address all the issues. In fact, in a recent interview Bendis contributes the success of Marvel to the Ultimate Marvel titles and Sony’s Spider Man Trilogy. However, Fox’s X Men also coincided with this time frame. It is unclear what naïve deal Marvel made with Fox while going through bankruptcy, but give credit where credit is due.

What if DC Presents the Death of Wolverine: Legacy of Logan? For those of you who are out of the loop Charles Soule in recent years had done a phenomenal run on Swamp Thing and Superman/Wonder Woman and the best parts of Forever Evil’s Villain Month were usually penned by Charles Soule. Now, it isn’t unusual for us to see creators consistently bounce back and forth between the big two. However, each issue of Legacy of Logan has a different creative team which consists of Charles Soule, Ray Fawkes, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins,Marguerite Bennett, and Tim Seely. This may seem odd because this is the same creative team who is currently behind DC’s major crossover events, Batman Eternal and DC’s Future’s End. Currently, Marvel is backing this event with a great deal of marketing. In fact, Marvel crossovers are mainly done by their in house writers and staff. Doesn’t it seem hypocritical to pull properties because they don’t want to support their competitors; meanwhile, they’re hiring the competitors talent pool? Now, the reason I find this simply amazing isn’t because I believe that Charles Soule is a not-so-secret double agent who is currently administrating a coup against the Marvel HQ in the name of DC. Hail Hydra … err I mean rather, What If this is setting us up for another DC/Marvel crossover which will be used to bring Logan & Co. back from the dead? Previously, when creative teams jump back and forth between the big two it wasn’t long before we’d see this exact team up. Although I’ve grown tired of the industry killing off popular characters in order to make a quick buck like they were some gun for hire, I have to admit every team up needs some sort of motivational factor and maybe this is as good as any. 

Is this Marvel event the beginnings to a Big 2 Crossover Event, is this another blow to Fox, or is it simply a gimmick? Only time will tell.

PhxCC2014: Spotlight on James O’Barr

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During the 2014 Phoenix Comic Con, James O’Barr sat down for a panel in which he discussed the history and future of The Crow and himself. The following are only a few of the many topics O’Barr covered during his presentation and Q&A.

At the age of eighteen James O’Barr experienced the most profound and tragic event of his life. After all these years, it’s still difficult for O’Barr to talk about the loss of his fiance who was killed in a drunk driving accident. In order to escape from this reality, O’Barr enlisted in the military. Because O’Barr knew Latin, he worked as a translator. During his tours of duty in France and Germany, O’Barr picked up local graphic novels and was inspired to painfully scratch out his first graphic novel, The Crow. James O’Barr explained it took eight years to finish because, “it felt like fucking an open wound”.

It’s fascinating how the iconic crow was almost a rabbit because James O’Barr was fascinated by the Alice in Wonderland phrase, “crazy as a march hare”. However, his artistic representation of the rabbit didn’t fit the style and mood he was aiming for. Instead, O’Barr settled on using The Crow. Because crow feed on the dead, he felt they more symbolically represented his tormented protagonist Erik Draven and himself.

When discussing his philosophy towards himself and his work, James O’Barr talks about how everyone is damaged to some degree. He just wears his on the outside. He further explains that in order to grow as an artist, one must learn to fail. It’s only through failure we learn to grow as a person. When looking back, failure, anger, and self destruction had defined most of O’Barr’s life.

During the Crow’s publication O’Barr also worked at Spin Magazine. He would go onto befriend brooding musicians, such as Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. Reznor and other artists would often talk highly of The Crow and it came as no surprise that record stores rather than comicbook stores would carry issues of The Crow. One can’t think of The Crow movie without remembering the moody soundtrack. With the exception being The Cure, everybody on the soundtrack was a personal friend of James O’Barr.

O’Barr is still an angry old man, but he may have finally found peace with some of the ghosts which have haunted him since his youth. He has learn to focus his self destructive energy into his art style. In addition, he is developing a kinship with his fans. James O’Barr understands that The Crow has resonated with millions of people around the world by helping his fans through their own darkest moments. Unlike the times from his youth when O’Barr’s brooding and anger made even his contemporaries like Mike Mignola nervous, O’Barr welcomes people to approach and engage him in discussion and opens his panels thirty minutes early with dick jokes and laughter.

So, what about the Crow reboot? James O’Barr is hopeful. As great as the original was, this time the audience may get a more faithful adaptation of the original Crow graphic novel. There is no doubt the original Crow movie was a great representation of the underground 90’s culture, but it would be nice to see a truer adaptation of The Crow. To make that happen O’Barr has kicked away royalty checks in favor of being an executive producer. O’Barr is currently entitled to work closely with the director, screenwriter, and production staff. They have also agreed to let him call back his musician friends to help with the soundtrack. The look and style is suppose to emulate 70’s movies such as Taxi Driver. So much so that they are currently looking for 70’s film stock. Nevertheless, perhaps one of the important aspects is the reboot’s depiction of violence. As O’Barr spills out another anecdote about driving to the hospital with his stomach bleeding out, he reminds us that the depiction of violence and pain should be brutal and honest. Besides, isn’t that why we love The Crow after all these years?

Update

Due to inaccuracies, the information on Gary Reed and his Caliber Comics has been retracted. If you would like to know more about Gary Reed and the History of Caliber Comics, please visit Reed’s blogs where he discusses Caliber Comics in great depth

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Professor Seedy’s Weekly Progress Report for 5.21.2014

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Because there was a delay, a sneak peek at 5.28.2014 is also included. Enjoy

Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Archer Coe 12 & 13 + + + + + A
Like a good song on repeat each time though we discover more than before
Artifacts 37 + + / / / B-
Modern numerology is used in a spell binding lovecraftian tinged manhunt
Avengers World 06 + / + / / B-
Thought provoking existential crisis for hyperion
BPRD HonE + + + / / B
Chapter ends with a dark and murky stale mate between humans and demons
Bad Dreams 02 + / + / C
Spectaculary colored bad dream is fouled up by state the obvious word balloons
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Superman & Wonder Woman / / / / D
Wonder Woman tracks down her no good cheating bf Superman by contacting all his ex’s. Yeah, that happened.
Batman/Superman + / / / / C
trapped in the phantom zone, everyone decide to think like Clark although that lead them to this situation in the first place.
Batman & Frankenstein 31 + + / / / B-
Bruce & Frank reconcile the whole torture rip frank apart to find his souls essence transgressions made from grief
Batman Eternal 07 + + + / / B
Blood + Chaos begins to floods the streets while the Falcone chokes Gotham back into submission.
Batwoman 31 / / + + / B-
Too many sides stories with no payoff.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Birds of Prey 31 / / F
Nightcrawler dude tries to kill commissioner. Simple but the writers repeat this over and over and… Gordon lives of course.
Brain Boy & GESALT / / F
too much time spent on lovers realizing they dont know each other. Not even the psychic nor his girlfriend.
Cyclops 01 + / + / + B
Relatable story about a son reconnecting with is father by going on a space pirate adventure.
Danger Girl Mayday 02 + / + / / B-
Part exploitation part 80’s action hero about a hero remembering her past life by kicking ass.
Daredevil 03 + + + / / B
A smart balance of daredevil + murdock infiltrating the owls hideout.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Deadpool Annual 02 + + + / / B
When Spidey’s paranoia isn’t enough, he gets help from his favorite paranoid schizophrenic
East of West 12 + + + + / A-
If only the UN peace talks where this exciting
Elektra 02 + + + / / B
A literary antihero tale as elektra confronts lady bullseye
Flash Gordon 02 / / + / / C
Not even Flash’s logical comrades can stop him from leaping into be the best man.
Ghosted 10 + + + / / B
The end of each arc is a new nightmare for our poor SOB protagonist Jackson
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Green Hornet 12 + + + / / B
Everything great about the new wave of pulp/noir can be summed up in Mark Waid’s Green Hornet
Green Lantern New Guardians / / / / / C-
a morally ambiguous save the planet story that failed to pull any heart strings or urgency
Harley Quinn 06 / F-
Panel one starts off with a 69 between Syborg & Harley. The rest is a really bad slapstick refractory period.
Henchmen 01 / + + + / B
A fun kickstarter indie take on an average Joe becoming a henchman
Hulk 03 + + + + / A-
Banner’s Jigsaw mind is slowing piecing itself together after Zombified Abomination Smashes Hulk into sleepytime
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Invincible 111 + / / / / C
No one is invincible as Image favorite writer Robert Kirkman steps in for some gory surprises
Justice League 30 + + + / / B-
Can Lex rebuild the ignorant Justice League before it is too late.
Justice League America 14 + / / / / C
A catch up and debrief acts as a prelude to Justice League United
Knowledge 04 + / / D
The Pious and Angst tone of Cradle as been done a million times & bludgeons the plot down to a crawl
LOLA XoXo 02 + / / / C-
Well that merry go round of a plot was fast but pretty.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Magneto 04 + + + + / A-
Although we’re given a reason for his rampage, Erik’s cold lack of remorse and empathy never asks for our sympathy
Magnus Robot Fighter 03 + + + + + A
Magnus moves from being a myth to a hero in this smart and well paced action satire
Mind the Gap 17 + / / / + B-
Act 2 is off to a slow start but we’re already given plot twists to wet our appetite.
Monsters & Madmen + + + C
Niles beautifully stitched together a plot about Frank’s Bride but the ending tragically fell apart.
MPH + + + / + A-
Slick dialogue & relatable characters help us slide into this rise of the Anti-Hero story arc
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Nim 01 / + + / / B-
This reads like a fun smashup between an afterschool special and lil’ Red Sonja
Nova 17 + + + + + A
A somber break about a a cosmic boy learning his powers can’t help the reality and problems of a single parent household
Original Sin 02 + / / + / B-
A bunch of fun, banter, chases, and other busy work which leads up to an anti climatic reveal
Powers the Bureau 10 + + + + + A
Well played, Bendis. Christian’s interrogation was slick, smart and one of the best in the comic medium.
Prophet 44 + + + + + A
A mesmerizing odyssey which respects and fears the loneliness of exploring the new and unknown.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Red Hood & The Outlaws / / + / / C
The not Lobo Pulls a bond villian moment and loses to the Outlaws while putting himself in real Lobo’s crosshairs
Rocket Girl 05 + + + + + A
Rocket Girl blasts through the finish line of the first arc and leaves us charged for more.
RogueTrooper 04 + / + / / B-
War is Hell and Rogue feels why
Saga 19 + / + / / C
Something different this one reads. We’ve stepped away from smart fantasy and into boring melodrama sitcom.
Sinestro 02 + + / / / B
Sinestro kills off his darlings in order to promote growth and unity in his corps.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Solar Man of the Atom + + + + /
Erika learns how to kill giant goo spitting robots with E= MC motherfucking Square.
Supergirl 31 / / / / / C-
Not exactly a raging Red Lantern issue, more of supergirl being a naïve kryptonian.
Superman Doomed 01 + + + / + A-
Holy Doomsday, Batman. Did Supes just rip Doomsday in half and inhale his bloody remains?
Future’s End 0 + / + / + B
The Eye has decimated everything so let’s defeat time, death, Batman, Superman, Frankenstein… Yep, that’s the plan
Future’s End 02 / / + + / B-
The story starts to pull itself together as our hero’s fall apart at Oliver Queen’s funeral
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Future’s End 03 + + / / / B-
Just when we though the DCU couldn’t get more cynical. So far Grifter is the strongest element of this series.
Uncanny X Men 21 + / + / / B-
We circles around a bunch of paranoid subplot without getting anywhere.
Ultimate FF 02 / F-
Ew, the art is an eyesore and the copy and paste dialogue lacks any natural voice or conversational tone.
All New Invaders 03 / / / / D
Everything came together like a campy Hasbro cartoon.
All Star Western 31 + / / + / B-
Hex and Tuhullah have an interesting style of foreplay
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Aquaman 31 + + / / C
Aquaman spends most of his time punching Swampthings treetrunks
Archer Coe 14 + + + + + A
A consistantly smart and well paced conclusion to this years best non hero story
Avengers 30 + + + / / B
We are flung 50 years into the future to learn Tony is still a selfish bastard
Batman 31 + / + / / B-
Some good action but Riddles & Wit were disappointingly defeated by Batman’s brawn.
Batman Eternal 08 + + + / / B
With no allies or law enforcement left, Batman must find Falcone’s linchpin before it’s too late for Gotham
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
C.O.W.L. 01 + + + / + A-
A new Watchman-esque series with brutal dialogue and action.
Captain Midnight 11 / / + / / C
Time and Loss are catching up to Captain Midnight while the plot takes too many easy way outs
Catwoman 31 / + + / / B-
A smart heist involving some easter eggs dropped in previous issues and arcs.
Chew/ Revival + / + / C
Great Character interaction but the plot was very underwhelming and lacked the pull to keep turning the page.