Friday, July 31, 2015

Shocking Deaths In Comics

Most Shocking Deaths In Comics

Every now and then a character comes along in comics that finds a special place to anyone who reads the book they are in.  And sometimes after reaching that special place that character will die a sudden gruesome and shocking death that makes what he or she stand for even more special.  while at the same time shocking anyone who happened to be reading with their sudden death.  Because “Why would the writer ever kill such a great character that means so much to the book and it’s readers.”  This is a list of the deaths that were the most shocking to me.

Agent 355 In Y The Last Man-

When 355 is first enters the life of Yorick Brown she is investigating the stories of a man who survived the event that wiped out everything with a Y chromosome.  Upon finding Yorick 355 promises to protect Yorick to help him find his girlfriend as well as try to figure out why he was the only survivor.  But before long 355 becomes Yorick’s closest friend.  But after finding his girlfriend and realizing she was going to break up with him before the phone went dead, and seeing the person she really is.  Yorick finally admits that 355 is the true love of his life.  So he returns to the hotel room that 355 was waiting in to confess his true feelings, and the perfect happy ending is coming into view.  But just as Yorick and 355 are preparing to leave together to start their new lives together, 355 is shot by the head of an elite Israeli military unit that wants to capture Yorick.  The death of 355 comes out of nowhere.  And just as it appears that Yorick is going to finally get his happy ending with the only woman left on Earth who truly loves him.  And her death destroys Yorick so much that he spends what is left of his life with only his monkey Ampersand.


Glenn In The Walking Dead-

Glenn is the one person who never seems to give up hope for the survivors of the zombie apocalypse.  He is always upbeat and willing to do what he can to help the group as a whole.  And as I read Walking Dead I remember thinking that Glenn is the character that will eventually take over as the leader of the group and even the focus of the series.  But in the 100th issue Kirkman through a massive curveball to all of the readers when Negan gruesomely beat Glenn to death with a baseball bat in one of the most graphic on panel deaths I have seen in awhile.


Ares In Marvel’s Siege-
When Norman Osborn took over the U.S. government in Dark Reign he put together his own version of the Avengers.  So when it came time to fill the spot in the team for Thor he called upon Ares.  A longtime villain of Thor and Hercules, Ares now had a son and was trying to make the world better for his son’s future.  So he gladly accepted the position on the Dark Avengers.  And he never questioned an order given by Osborn until he told them they would be trying to take Asgard.  Ares immiediately voiced his concerns about facing the fellow gods of Asgard and warned Osborn that if he even senses that Osborn’s motives were false he would personally take Osborn down.  The only thing Ares didn’t account for was that Sentry was blindly loyal to Osborn.  So when Ares realized that Osborn was really up to he began living up to his promise, which made Sentry snap and give into his other side The Void.  And it wasn’t long until Sentry graphically ripped Ares in half on panel.  Even though I had heard about the death before I read the event it still shocked me to see it happen.



Headsman Is Shot By Scourge In Thunderbolts-

Headsman and Scourge became members of the Thunderbolts when Norman Osborn took power.  The Thunderbolts at the time were a black ops team designed to do the things that Osborn couldn’t be seen doing.  After a run in with the Agents of Atlas the Thunderbolt team is receiving their new orders from Osborn when suddenly Scourge pulls a gun and tries to shoot Norman Osborn.  But the problem is Osborn is only a hologram so the bullet goes straight through Norman and into the head of the Headsman.  It is then disclosed that during the battle with the Agents of Atlas a subliminal message was placed in scourge’s head to kill Osborn.  That shock of this one is that it is just such a sudden thing.


Fisk Lets His Son Be Murdered In Punisher Max-

When Jason Aaron took over Punisher Max he began telling the last Punisher story.  And it all began with a mob enforcer named Wilson Fisk putting his plan to to run the New York mafia into motion.  The problem is, Fisk betrays the heads of all of the families on his way to being the head of New York.  A fact that leads to some of the former bosses to show up at Fisk’s home to get back their money and status.  It all leads to a confrontation in the bathroom where one of the mob bosses has a knife to his son’s throat.  They tell Fisk that they won’t harm his son if he gives back everything they signed over to him to create the false Kingpin of Crime facade.  But Fisk refuses to and tells them to go ahead and kill his son.  So Fisk and his wife watch as the man cuts their son’s throat.  This is one of the most disturbing moments in the Punisher Max run.  And that’s saying something considering some of the other events that take place throughout the series.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Archie vs Predator #1-5



Archie vs Predator #1-4
Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Fernando Ruiz
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Archie Comics has been really experimental with their IP over that last couple of years, doing stuff with their most established characters that Marvel or DC would probably never consider.  Even with how far they pushed the boundaries in the excellent Afterlife With Archie series, this was very, very shocking!

The series opens with Spring Break starting for the Riverdale kids and they win a free vacation to a tropical island, thanks to Jughead’s love of potato chips.  And as we’ve learned in Predator 2,
Yes, this reference was made!  The Body would
be so proud.
Predators use our world as a proving ground for their hunters in times of extreme heat.  It just happens to be unusually hot over this spring break and this Predator touches down on the same island the kids are vacationing at.  This sets the stage for the hunt to begin.

Alex de Campi writes a fast paced tale that’s fun and full of lots of little references to the past Predator films.  Some are quite clever and some are so cringeworthy, but they make you smile anyway.  This story takes the “nobody is safe” idea and runs with it to some truly spectacular levels.  Not everything is positive with the writing though.  There’s quite a few panels where the action from panel to panel becomes confusing and you can’t quite figure out how we got from one panel to the next.  I’m not sure if the fault for that is in the scripting itself or the artist’s rendition of that script.  Speaking of the art...

I think Afterlife gets taken more seriously because it takes these established characters and renders them in a different, more realistic way, so you’re able to wrap your head around the fact that you’re not reading a normal Archie tale.  Fernando Ruiz renders these characters in the Archie house style that we all know so well.  In doing so, you can’t help but take this story lightly and half expect it to be a dream or something.

The verdict:  A pretty fun tale overall.  The score is hampered a little be some poor panel layouts that cause confusion for the reader.  I seriously applaud Archie Comics for their willingness to let creator explore new stories and situations for these characters, no matter how outlandish they might be.  I think my next read will have to be the recently release Archie vs Sharknado.  That sounds even more ridiculous than this does!

The score: 3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Biggest Guilty Pleasure Comic Book Movies

Guilty Pleasure Comic Book Movies

In the last decade there have been a lot of really strong movies based on comic books.  But I want to talk about the ones that I realize are not great, but I just love to watch anyways.  Now I know that some of the movies I have on this list are extremely disliked, but please just hear me out on this.


Tank Girl (1995)
Directed By Rachel Talalay

I never read any of the Tank Girl comics, but have always loved the eccentric feel to this nineties gem.  Lori Petty brings the titular Tank Girl to life with all of the crazy edge you would expect from a character who drives around in a tank with a humanoid kangaroo named Booga for a boyfriend.  And Malcolm McDowell plays the head of the evil corporation that controls all of the water in the devastated wasteland Tank Girl calls home.  And I must say that McDowell chews the hell out of the scenery.  All he needs is the handlebar mustache to twirl while he delivers his speech about his plans.  And you can’t forget the appearance of a young Naomi Watts in one of her first roles and Ice-T as the leader of the Kangaroo men T-Saint.


The Punisher (1989)
Directed By Mark Goldblatt

By far the least linked to the Punisher comics.  The ‘89 film starring Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle probably has the highest body count and also is one of the most fun to watch just for how over the top it is.  Lundgren grunts through his lines and never fully gets across the pain that some of the later actors to play the character.  But man does he bring the best performance to the vigilante who will kill anyone who gets in his way to killing the people responsible for murdering his family.  The best part to the movie though is Louis Gossett Jr. playing Frank’s former partner who wants to save Castle before he is lost to vengeance forever.


Constantine (2005)
Directed By Francis Lawrence

This movie gets a lot of hate, and I understand why.  Keanu Reeves was a horrible cast for the character of Constantine.  Now that said, I love this movie for what it is.  A fun action movie about the constant battle between Heaven and Hell.  And while he doesn’t do a good job as the Constantine of the comics he plays a fun movie version with his dry, monotone delivery.  Rachel Wiesz brings some legitimacy to the movie playing a doctor whos twin sister says Constantine’s name before committing suicide.  And the long list of side characters help to flush out the world that Constantine lives in.  Djimon Hounsou as the voodoo shaman Midnite, TIlda Swinton as the smug angel Gabriel, Gavin Rossdale as one of the slimiest demons ever Balthazar, and Peter Stormare as the devil himself Lucifer.  After reading the trade the movie was based on Dangerous Habits I realized just how much the movie fell short, but I still can’t help but watch this one when it comes on.


Spawn (1997)
Directed By Mark A.Z. Dippe

I saw this movie the day it came out in theatres.  I knew that the movie made Spawn way more of a hero then he was in the comics.  And that if the studio wanted to make it true to the way the comics were, the main the story would probably follow the two cops Sam and Twitch and not Al Simmons.  But even with all of those downfalls I still really love this movie for what it is.  And the cast is pretty strong too.  Michael Jai White plays Al Simmons/ Spawn a soldier that wants out of the business of killing, but is betrayed and killed by his boss.  So he makes a deal with Malebolgia to lead the armies of Hell if he can go back to earth to be with his wife again.  Martin Sheen plays the boss who betrays Al because Hell wants his soul.  But by far the star of Spawn is John Leguizamo as Clown, the demon that is left on Earth to be Al’s watcher.  Leguizamo was the true standout in Spawn.  He had a delivery that made all of his lines work no matter how cheesy they are.


Batman Forever (1995)
Directed by Joel Schumacher

The first of the Schumacher Batman movies, Batman Forever was a better balance of the Tim Burton movies that followed it with the over the top wacky that got a little too much with Batman & Robin.  Starring Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne and bringing in Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson, Forever doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Which is why it works so well to me.  And I always loved that there was never a mention to the fact that suddenly Bruce Wayne has blonde hair.   Then you get to the villains.  Jim Carrey as Edward Nigma/ The Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/ Two-Face.  Both Jones and Carrey chewed the hell of the scenery for the full 90 minutes.  And Carrey really channelled the inner Frank Gorshin.  It was just a bonus that Batman Forever also features Nicole Kidman at the peak of her hotness.


Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Songs With Comic Book References

Songs With Comic Book References


I have always loved it when I am listening to music and an artist makes a reference, subtle or not, to comics.  So I wanted to make a list of my favorite songs with ties to comics.  Now I know I probably haven’t heard every song that has made comics references so please be nice if I miss a good one.

Song: “Kryptonite”  
Artist: 3 Doors Down
Album: The Better Life (2000)

It’s not a very subtle reference to the green rock that can drop Superman by just being within his presence.  But it is a great song from 3 Doors Down, and it still remains the band’s biggest single.  Of course I have always felt that in the confines of the song Kryptonite is an analogy for a weakness within.  Just look at the first line of the chorus.  “If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman?”  Of course that’s the funny thing about art, it has different interpretations for different people.

Song: “I Am The Law”
Artist: Anthrax
Album: Among The Living (1987)

I have never read a Judge Dredd comic, but even I know that Anthrax’s hit from their 1987 album is a reference to the catchphrase of Mega City One’s greatest officer.  Unfortunately it also brings to mind the horrible memory of Stallone yelling the line in the horrible 90’s movie.  I have never found any deeper meaning to the song other than to pay tribute to a comic character that the band really likes.

Song: “Iron Man”
Artist: Black Sabbath
Album: Paranoid (1970)


When Sabbath wrote the song Iron Man I’m not sure they were writing it as a nod to the Marvel character by the same name.  After all Tony Stark/ Iron Man made his debut seven years earlier in Tales of Suspense #39.  It has however become tied to the character through the trailers for the movies in the Iron Man franchise.  Whether the Back Sabbath hit has anything to do with Stark or not Iron Man is still one of the biggest hits Sabbath has ever recorded.

Song: “Superman Is Dead”
Artist: Our Lady Peace
Album: Clumsy (1997)


One of the first big hits from Our Lady Peace, “Superman Is Dead” is probably one of the best songs on the band’s first major release.  Throughout the song it tells the story of Clark Kent being an outsider in his early life because of his powers, and even a little about Lois Lane being on a train witnessing Clark running next to the train.  Our Lady Peace really seems to nail the the feel of all of the great Superman stories.  And the couple lines before the chorus are the most standout to me.  “An ordinary boy.  An ordinary name.  But ordinary’s just not good enough today”.

Song: “Ghost Rider”
Artist: Rollins Band
Album: The Crow Soundtrack


I know that the version of this song that I chose is actually of a cover of a song by Suicide from 1977, but it is also the only version of the song that I have ever heard.  And to me there is just something about the way that Rollins belts out the lyrics that makes it bad ass.  As anyone who has ever heard a song by Henry Rollins either in Rollins Band or from his time as the lead singer for Black Flag knows.  Henry Rollins has such a voice when he sings that it sounds like he his channeling the Spirit of Vengeance into the mic.  And that is why the Rollins Band cover of “Ghost Rider” is on this list.


  

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Twisted Villains In Comics

Twisted Villains In Comics

There are just some villains that stand out above the rest of the crowd because of their motives, beliefs or even methods.  I wanted to make a list of the top villains that are so twisted that they make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and a chill run down your spine.

Lex Luthor-






Often Luthor is portrayed as being a wacky villain looking to rule the world through some hair brained land scheme.  Especially in the Superman movies.  Just look at Gene Hackman in the original movie series and Kevin Spacey in Superman Returns.  But when he is written by the right person, Lex Luthor can be a great human opposition to the “Big Red Boy Scout”.  At Luthors best he is a man trying to protect his planet from an alien threat that cannot be stopped.  And he sees himself as the only person who can stand in between the threat and the world he loves.  In fact at times I actually believe that he is the good guy in the scenario.  He just wants to make sure there is someone or something to stop the unstoppable alien threat that Superman could become if he were to ever snap.

The Joker-


It’s not hard to explain why the Joker is on this list.  The only interpretation of the character that isn’t truly twisted is the Cesar Romero Joker from the 1966 Batman series.  Whether he is a man with a twisted sense of humor doing what he finds funny or just a highly disfigured psychopath wearing clown paint and killing people without even blinking.  When the Joker enters the fray it is almost guaranteed that something disturbing isn’t too far behind.  My personal favorite Joker story is Brian Azzarello’s Joker OGN, because it takes the look of the Heath Ledger Joker and shows just how unhinged he could possibly be.  Which is scary.

Bullseye-


The man who killed Elektra.  An unhinged assassin who can turn anything into a dangerous weapon.  Most of the versions of the character I have read are pretty tame, but anyone who has read the Jason Aaron Punisher Max run will know that Bullseye can be just plain scary.  He doesn’t have the costume that he is known for in the Max run, instead he has a bullseye scarred into his forehead.  And when he takes the contract for Frank Castle he goes to extremes to take out his target.  Starting with trying to live the same life that Castle had after coming back from Vietnam.  That means kidnapping multiple families to live with them and have them die(often at his hands) so he can try to figure out how Castle felt when his family was killed in front of him.  And it goes to show you how far gone Bullseye is, when even the Kingpin is squeamish about his methods.

The Purple Man-




Zebediah Killgrave has one of the worst names that a villain could have.  Just hearing the name The Purple Man doesn’t inspire much fear.  Until you read the arc of Alias where he makes an appearance, then you see that names can be misleading.   After being accidentally covered in chemicals while working as a spy, Killgrave gains the ability to use his pheromones to make people do what he tells them to do.  And the ways he uses that ability is what earns him a spot on this list.  For example with Jessica Jones he makes Jessica sit helplessly and watch as he uses his abilities to essentially rape other women. 

The Plutonian

What makes the Plutonian really evil in the book Irredeemable is that he used to be the hero.  Then he snapped and turned on all of his friends and tried to kill them, after he destroyed the city he swore to protect that is.  The only person that left alive in his city is the one woman he loved the most, but was scorned by when she found out that he was the clumsy best friend standing right next to her.  The Plutonian even went so far as lobotomising his best friend and side kick when he first snapped.

Norman Osborn-


Osborn is a multileveled villain.  He has been the head of two different evil corporations in Oscorp and H.A.M.M.E.R. As well as being the arch-nemesis to Spider-man as the original Green Goblin.  And what makes him even more twisted is the fact that Osborn and Green Goblin are two completely different entities sharing the same body.  And as demented as Norman is himself even he fears when the Goblin starts to surface again.  For most of his history Osborn has even known that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are the same person, but in a strange sense of honor he never wished Peter any harm only Spider-Man. 

  

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Top Cartoon Shows From My Childhood

Top Cartoon Shows From My Childhood

As a child of the 80’s and 90’s there were a lot of good cartoons that I got to rush home after school to watch.  Keep in mind these are only the shows that were actually originally airing as I got to watch them, not shows long since in reruns.

Ducktales-

The many adventures of Scrooge McDuck, his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Launchpad McQuack among others.  Ducktales was one of the best shows  I got to watch as it aired.  It was part of the disney block every afternoon alongside Darkwing Duck and Rescue Rangers.  But Ducktales was the crown jewel of the shows.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that it was based on the Scrooge McDuck comics that started in the 50’s, created by Carl Barks.  Ducktales ran from 1987-1990 and even earned itself a full length animated movie in 1990, Ducktales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp.


X-Men: The Animated Series-

While I admit that this series didn’t hold up well in my more recent viewings.  X-Men: The Animated Series was one of the shows I would get up extra early on Saturday mornings to guarantee I would have control of the TV so I could watch it.  And I remember being really upset if it were a repeat of an episode that I had already seen.  Which did seem to happen a lot.  As I would start to read more of the X-Men comics I realized that the shows stories were changed a lot from their original tales.

Animaniacs-

One of the most intelligent cartoons to come out in the 90’s Animaniacs was a must watch for it’s 5 seasons.  From the Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister, Pinky and the Brain, or Mindy and her dog Buttons.  You were guaranteed to find solid entertainment in an episode of Animaniacs.  I have recently revisited Animaniacs on Amazon, and the show holds up on completely different levels than when I was a kid watching it.  Much like the Pixar movies there are jokes for kids, but then you can watch an episode as an adult and realize that there were jokes that were designed for an adult sense of humor.


Tiny Toons Adventures-

Tiny Toons was another gem in the 90’s cartoon landscape.  Designed to introduce the next generation of Looney Tunes characters, Tiny Toons had a strong cast of characters and some really great segments that gave the show a strength.  My favorites were always the skits to do with baby Plucky Duck and his need to make things go “down the hole”.  But the other standouts included Buster and Babs Bunny, Dizzy Devil and Hampton J. Pigg.


Gargoyles-

Another great cartoon from Disney.  Gargoyles focused on the on a group of Gargoyles cursed in medieval Scotland to remain in stone who are awakened in modern day New York City after a thousand years of being petrified.  After being awakened, the gargoyles take up protecting the city by night and return to stone at sunrise.  Another strong point to the show was the voice talent involved.  Jonathan Frakes, Kate Mulgrew, and Keith David just to name a few.


Batman The Animated Series-

Okay I saved the best for last on this one.  Batman the Animated Series is still the best interpretation of Batman of the character and his large cast of villains and side characters outside of the comics.  Paul Dini and Bruce Timm put together four seasons of amazing tales that both re-imagined pre-established characters and created new characters that were later made a part of the main comic continuity like Harley Quinn.  And who could forget the episodes that completely changed the face of what a cartoon show can be like “Heart of Ice” or “Over the Edge”.


Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bad Events In Comics

Bad Events In Comics

I have already covered what I considered to be the best events that have occurred in the history of comics.  So now it’s time for me to cover the events that I was not so impressed with.  And there are plenty of them that fall short of their potential.


Flashpoint-



This is the event that kicked off the New 52.  The world around Barry Allen is turned upside down when he wakes up one morning to find that the Amazons and the Atlanteans are at war with each other over the death of Aquaman's wife Mera and Barry doesn’t have his powers anymore.  And the war between the two nations is destroying the world around them.  The world that exists in Flashpoint is a product of Reverse Flash messing with the timestream.

Flashpoint was a three issue event with a large group of three issue side books.  I only read a couple of the side series and the main story myself, but the event as a whole was a complete mess in my eyes.  The only shining moment that I found was the Deadman and the Flying Graysons tie-in.


Avengers Vs. X-Men-

Another event that was a prelude to a new comic universe.  In fact it ran at about the same time as Flashpoint.  This event started fairly strong, but really meandered its way into being just ridiculous.

The story starts with an all new Nova crashing to Earth to tell the heroes that the phoenix force is on its way and destroying everything in its path.  So the Avengers go to Utopia to take Hope Summers into custody assuming that she will be the next host for the Phoenix.  But the X-Men lead by Scott Summers refuse and accuse the Avengers of attacking their land.  And just like that the heroes are fighting amongst themselves again.   The Avengers try everything they can think of to protect the planet until Stark comes up with a machine to dissipate the Phoenix before it can reach Earth.  But much like most of his hasty plans, it backfires and splits the force among five of the X-Men.

Avengers Vs. X-Men was the end to everything that started back in House of M.  The curse of Scarlet Witch is lifted and then the dumbest part happens Scarlet Witch and Hope team up and together and say “No More Phoenix” and just like that the Phoenix Force is gone.


Age Of Ultron-

This is one of those events that was just a mess from the beginning.  It was ten issues of nothing but mistakes in storytelling.  Time travel, alternate realities, and characters acting way out of character.  

The rough idea of the event is that Ultron now controls the world with an army of Ultron Sentries.  All of the heroes are either dead or in hiding while they try to find a way to stop Ultron.  Some want to make one last major attack on Ultron and his minions and others want to use time travel to stop the creation of Ultron from ever existing.  But as always time travel just makes the situation worse.  And after the conclusion Angela is in the Marvel Universe due to all of the tears in the reality.


Forever Evil-

The event that just would not end.  It essentially started with DC’s villains month and went for and ran for 14 months.  14 long months of Meh! that completely derailed almost every book from the publisher.  

A portal to Earth-3 opens and the Crime Syndicate (The Evil Justice League) comes through to the main DC earth and quickly dispatch the Justice Leaguers and take the world for themselves.  But This event bothered me so much that I only read the first two issues before I decided to try to erase it from my memory.  In fact this event had so little impact in the long run that the only change to DC coming out of it was Dick Grayson giving up the mantle of Nightwing after being publicly unmasked to the world.


Battle of the Atom-

When Battle of the Atom started I thought that the curse of the Marvel events of modern day was finally over.  But around the halfway point the train jumped the rails once again.  

The X-Men from the future comeback through time to make the original five X-Men return to their own time, because their presence in the present is causing horrible repercussions in the future.  But then another team of X-Men arrive from the future claiming that the other team of X-Men are actually the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  And that is where the event starts spiralling out of control in my eyes.  


Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!