Tag Archives: iron man

Tales From the Water Cooler #96

Welcome to Tales From the Water Cooler!

This week the guys are joined by technical difficulties as they play the final round of Super Hero Family Feud and then take a look at Lenore #7, Crow Skinning the Wolves #1, Archer and Armstrong #5 and Iron Man #4.

And don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook!

Tales from the Water Cooler: Episode #96

You can click the link to listen to the podcast or right click “save link as” to download it.

 

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #694 – The 50th Anniversary story arc concludes!

Amazing Spider-Man #694
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Humberto Ramos [Pencils], Victor Olazaba [Inks], and Edgar Delgado [Colors]

If Amazing Spider-Man #692 and 693 were about introducing Alpha, then this week’s #694 is all about setting the character up for his next chapter–whenever that may be.

Deciding to take a break from his research at Horizon Labs, Peter Parker heads out to the airport to say goodbye to his Aunt May and her husband, J. Jonah Jameson Sr., before they head back to Boston.  As is the case when he has something to do or somewhere to be, he’s interrupted.  The Avengers request his help fighting off Terminus, who’s once again intent on taking over the Earth.

The Avengers unfortunately have the bright idea of having Spider-Man summon Alpha, and the egotistical teen hero with more power than everyone else present darts across the world from Japan to lay the smackdown on Terminus.  This causes problems, as the fight takes place above the airport and Alpha’s irresponsible use of his powers short circuits all of the planes currently in the air–including the jet carrying May and Jonah Sr.  Naturally, the day is saved, but as soon as Alpha leaves, Spider-Man and the Avengers all agree his powers, created in a lab accident by Peter’s “Parker Particles,” must go.

But, irreparable damage may have already been done.

Dan Slott packs a lot of great moments into this issue, continuing to showcase Alpha as an extraordinarily unlikeable character.  At least two recurring members of Spidey’s supporting casts get apparent status quo changes here, as well.  Seeing Peter act in a more stern, almost parental-like manner was different for a change, and I especially enjoyed Dan’s nod to all of the people who are unclear as to whether or not Spider-Man is still a Future Foundation member.  Combine this with Ramos’ art and a nice lead-in to the “Danger Zone” arc and you’ve got a solid conclusion to Slott’s 50th Anniversary story arc.

RATING:  A Tantalizing Tale in the Mighty Marvel Manner!

*ALSO:  If you didn’t notice, this issue’s cover was an homage to a classic cover from when the “big two” comic publishers could play nice every now and then.

“Avengers” Thanos clip

“The Avengers” comes out on Blu-ray and DVD on September 25, 2012 but here is the final clip of the film to get you hyped up. It appears that Thanos will be the villain for the Avengers sequel. Let the story-line speculation begin. For those of you who do not know who Thanos is I have taken a segment from Wikipedia:

Writer-artist Jim Starlin originally conceived of Thanos of Titan during college psychology classes. As Starlin described:

“ I went to college between doing U.S. military service and getting work in comics, and there was a psych class and I came up with Thanos … and Drax the Destroyer, but I’m not sure how he fit into it, just anger management probably. So I came up to Marvel and [editor] Roy [Thomas] asked if I wanted to do an issue of Iron Man. I felt that this may be my only chance ever to do a character, not having the confidence that my career was going to last anything longer than a few weeks. So they got jammed into it. Thanos was a much thinner character and Roy suggested beefing him up, so he’s beefed up quite a bit from his original sketches … and later on I liked beefing him up so much that he continued to grow in size.”

Starlin has admitted the character is influenced by Jack Kirby’s Darkseid:

“ Kirby had done the New Gods, which I thought was terrific. He was over at DC at the time. I came up with some things that were inspired by that. You’d think that Thanos was inspired by Darkseid, but that was not the case when I showed up. In my first Thanos drawings, if he looked like anybody, it was Metron. I had all these different gods and things I wanted to do, which became Thanos and the Titans. Roy took one look at the guy in the Metron-like chair and said : “Beef him up! If you’re going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off Darkseid, the really good one!”

“Iron Man 3” crazy stunt footage

“Iron Man 3” entertained the crowds of Wilmington, NC  while a stunt Iron Man rescued passengers from a plane and dropped them off in the river. Here is YouTube clip from a local Wilmington news station. Shane Black “Leathal Weapon” fame directs “Iron Man 3” and it will be in theaters on May 3rd, 2013.

Marvel’s Phase One Boxset will let you own your very own Tesseract!!

Mike DeVivo here,

For those of you wondering to yourselves “Where the hell is the Super Awesome Special Edition of Avengers?” Here’s your answer. This could be the coolest Box Set I’ve ever seen. Though its going to set you back well over $150 now it looks to have everything you could ever want from the Marvel Cinematic world. You can pre-order the set on Amazon Here . You get IRON MAN 1 & 2 , INCREDIBLE HULK, THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE AVENGERS and an Extra Disc called SHIELD AVENGERS INITIATIVE. You also get Level Seven files, and SHIELD profiles on each AVENGER. The best part however is that it’s all packaged inside of Nick Fury’s Briefcase that contained the Tesseract! Also each disc will have original Cover artwork done by Matthew Ferguson. Check out the images below and geek out over the amazing Artwork!!

This is seriously the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. Bravo to Marvel and Disney for creating something else for fanatics to blow their money on. Now someone get this for me my birthday is September 18th …thanks.

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

Marvel reboots NOW, but now means October


Marvel Comics Thursday morning announced a reboot of the current universe after the events of Avengers vs. X-Men. This reboot wasn’t much of a secret and now leads to speculation of how AvsX ends and the return of Jean Grey. What strikes me as odd, is why Marvel is announcing it now and not waiting a week to make a grand spectacle at Comic-Con. Also, a teaser image was released as well with character redesigns yet again. Instead of redesigning existing characters why doesn’t Marvel create new characters?

The Future of Comics is Marvel NOW!
Top Comic Book Series ReEvolve With All New #1 Issues Beginning October 2012

New York. NY—July 6, 2012— The most popular characters. The most acclaimed creators. The most ambitious stories. This is Marvel NOW!.

This Fall, the Marvel Universe heads in an exciting all-new direction, as the industry’s top creators join the top Super Heroes– Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine and more– to deliver all-new ongoing series, each beginning with issue #1! Marvel NOW! is the culmination of Marvel ReEvolution, the groundbreaking new initiative to evolve the comic book experience through innovation.

It kicks off in October’s Uncanny Avengers #1, from the superstar dream team of Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Venom) and John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Captain America) and continues with jaw-dropping new Marvel NOW! series nearly every week through February.

“There’s never been a better time to check out comics than Marvel NOW!” said Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief, Marvel Entertainment. “This isn’t a reboot or a reimagining—Marvel NOW! is all about looking forward, building on our rich history of great stories and delivering new ideas.”

In Uncanny Avengers #1, the Avengers and X-Men must join forces to overcome the greatest challenge either team has ever faced, one so devastating that neither can afford to do it alone! Can Captain America’s newly assembled team find a way to peacefully co-exist while also dealing with the game-changing repercussions of Avengers VS X-Men?

Then in November, Marvel NOW! expands to all corners of the universe with launches including All-New X-Men #1 by Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers VS. X-Men, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man) and Stuart Immonen (Avengers VS. X-Men #1 Infinite, Fear Itself); Avengers #1 by Jonathan Hickman (Avengers VS X-Men, Fantastic Four) and Jerome Opena (Uncanny X-Force), on-sale in December; and New Avengers #1, by Hickman and Steve Epting (FF, Captain America), on-sale in January 2013.

“We brought fans the biggest comic book event imaginable in Avengers VS. X-Men and now we’re taking the Marvel Universe to an exciting new place, beginning with Uncanny Avengers #1,” said Tom Brevoort, SVP, Executive Editor, Marvel Entertainment. “If you’re a long-time fan, all the stories you’ve read will give you even more enjoyment of what’s happening now—we’re not abandoning our past. But if you’re a new reader, this is where you’re going to learn just why Marvel comics are unlike anything else you’ve ever read. And no character is left unaffected by Marvel NOW!.”

Every comic book bearing the Marvel NOW! branding includes a code for a free digital copy of that same comic on the Marvel Comics app for iOS and Android devices. Additionally, each issue #1 of Marvel NOW! series features special augmented reality content available exclusive through the Marvel AR app – including cover recaps, behind the scenes features and more that add value to your reading experience at no additional cost.

“This is the natural next step of the Marvel ReEvolution, as we evolve every facet of Marvel publishing,” explained Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer, Marvel Entertainment. “You’ve seen us craft new digital storytelling formats like Marvel Infinite Comics and bring added value to our comics with Marvel AR. Now our print comics leap into the future with a cinematic new look for our covers, exciting new designs for our biggest characters and stories that will send you on the kind of journey you can only get at Marvel.”

This October, “Join The ReEvolution” as Marvel NOW! kicks off with Uncanny Avengers #1, ushering in a new era for comics and the perfect jumping on point for new readers. The biggest creators bring you the biggest characters in the biggest stories…and it’s happening NOW!

To commemorate the historic release of Uncanny Avengers #1 on Wednesday, October 10th, participating retailers can host special advance release parties the night before! That’s right, you can experience the biggest new series launch of the year on Tuesday, October 9th at select retailers, who’ll also have limited edition giveaways exclusive to these events.

This is WAR – Iron Man been shot in the head!

Marvel Comics Wednesday morning released a third “This is WAR” teaser image. This one featured Iron Man with two bullet holes to the head.All will be revealed at the Amazing Spider-Man panel on Sunday, July 15th at 12:30PM PST, during Comic Con International 2012 according to Marvel Comics.

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #687 – As the World Burns

Amazing Spider-Man #687
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Stefano Caselli, Frank Martin Jr. [Color Art] 

HEY!  WAIT A MINUTE!
If you haven’t read the rest of this story arc, this review will spoil a few plot developments, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?  The end of this issue isn’t spoiled, though, so you’re safe there.

Victory is once again within Doctor Octopus’ grasp and the only people who can stop him are Spider-Man, Black Widow, Silver Sable, and Mysterio–who switched sides last issue, natch!  Unfortunately, they’ll have to go through the (mind-controlled) Avengers first.

The ensuing battle is among the best-written team battles to take place in Spider-Man (or a lot of other books) in recent memory.  Dan Slott takes advantage of the various characters involved, as well as plot points from previous issues in the last few years, to showcase everyone (with the exception of Black Widow and Hawkeye, but they were knocked out early on).  The Spider-Man/Spider-Woman fight and the bit with Thor’s Mjolnir were nice touches, but the turncoat Mysterio was the true standout in these pages as he showcased his mastery of illusion and quipped about leaving the super villain business for television.

This being the final part of the story arc, Spider-Man does finally confront the still-dying Doc Ock in his underwater base (where do these guys get the funds for this stuff?).  Octavius’ intentions are, indeed, to purge the Earth using his Octavian Lens, and with the doctor so close to death and the Rhino still on Ock’s side, Spider-Man’s pact of “no one dies” may finally be forced to end.  The people who (seemingly) die here just aren’t the ones you’d expect.

Overall, Slott gives what is thus far his best Spider-Man “event” story a fitting end.  The action stays on point, the dialogue stays fresh while referencing previous issues, the (seeming) deaths don’t feel meaningless, and several threads are left open for later.  In particular, it will be interesting to see whether or not Horizon Labs was ever able to figure out that a lot of Ock’s tech was developed by them–and Peter Parker, in particular–and what repercussions that may have.  Stefano Caselli and Frank Martin, Jr. continue to deliver the goods as well, especially with what might be the most menacing-looking incarnation of Doc Ock.

As with every other issue of this arc, if you haven’t read it, GO BUY IT NOW!

RATING:  EXCELSIOR!

Iron Patriot photos from Iron Man 3

The craziness of Iron Man 3 has started and it looks like it will be a wild ride. Set photos of the Iron Patriot have surfaced and Ben Kinsley will play the Mandrin. More photos and news will come fast and furious during the not so private filming. ComicBookMovie.com was the source for the article.

The Iron Patriot was introduced after Marvel Comics Secret Invasion. Norm Osborn for Amazing Spider-Man managed to convince the government to put him in charge and he stole Iron Man’s armor and put an American flag on it.

From Wikipedia:
During the events of the “Dark Reign”, Osborn created a new identity, the Iron Patriot (an amalgam of Captain America and Iron Man), to cement his standing as a hero. As the Iron Patriot, he utilized a version of Iron Man’s armor. The armor featured superhuman strength, enhanced durability via a pliable crystalline material with a molecular structure that can collimate into super-hard planes upon the application of an electrical field, flight, magnetic impact blasts, heat seeking missiles, miniaturized lasers, flamethrowers, and a communications system housed in his helmet which allowed him to interface with any U.S.-controlled satellite or computer network. While the original Iron Man armor utilized repulsor technology, Osborn’s design does not; Stark destroyed all but one repulsor, and stated that “Oz is too stupid” to make his own repulsor-based weapons system. The star shaped Uni Beam projector on his chest, because of its shape, also has a less powerful output than that of the original Iron Man model.

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #686 – Something You Expected, and Something You Didn’t

Amazing Spider-Man #686
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Stefano Caselli, Frank Martin Jr. [Color Art]

[SIMPERIN’ SPOILER ALERT:  Reading this rollicking review might spoil certain exciting elements of this book’s pulse-pounding plot for you, oh consummate Comic Vault reader!  You’ve been warned!] 

An entire hemisphere of Earth, including Silver Sable’s native Symkaria, has been destroyed at the hands of Doctor Octopus!

Or has it?

Given the ending to Amazing Spider-Man #685, one might think that Spider-Man, Silver Sable, and the Black Widow had failed in their bid to prevent Octavius from destroying the world once and for all in his final dastardly deed before death.  However, one might think wrong–especially given that two of the other members of the Sinister Six still remaining at that point were well-versed in illusion.  Longtime Spidey fans could probably see where this was going, but it would be a crime not to use such a scenario with Mysterio and Chameleon both on the same team.

That said, as Spidey and Co. continue to disrupt Otto’s dying wish, both sides begin finding that they are victims of wavering allegiances.

Again, Dan Slott provides an issue that stands up not just to the rest of the arc, but to the classics, as well.  While one of the big allegiance shifts here was a no-brainer following the orbital octobot crisis from Amazing Spider-Man #680-681 (plus the cover to #687), the other was a total surprise.

It’s also been nice to see Spider-Man written in a team role as a leader as opposed to comic relief, and the way Pete asserts himself in this arc has been phenomenal.  That’s not to say the old Peter Parker neuroses aren’t there, though.  It will be interesting to see the aftermath of Spider-Man having realized that Doc Ock’s tech has been supplemented by technology he developed as Peter Parker for Horizon Labs–especially if that connection is made by Horizon, as well.

The rotating art on this story has also surprisingly not been as jarring as one would expect.  Stefano Caselli returns for the last two issues of the arc after getting a two-issue break from Humberto Ramos, but the switch barely registered to me either time.  Sure, Caselli’s art veers more toward the realistic than Ramos’ more animated style, but both artists have grown on me to the point that I’m glad to see either on a story.

If you’re a spider-fan and you haven’t been keeping up, you’re missing out.

RATING:  EXCELSIOR! 

The Avengers: Whedon and Company Deliver One Hell of a Fun Ride

Mondo's Limited Edition Movie Poster

Review By Mike DeVivo

After more than 5 years of world Building Marvel’s The Avengers comes out today. Before watching the film I spent the last few days re watching Iron Man , Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 , Thor , and Captain America . Iron Man aside I felt at some point each of the other films had some glaring issues. My excitement for the film out weighed my concern however and I was looking forward to seeing what Joss Whedon had in store. After all the early screenings and overwhelming positive feedback I was sent into frenzy mode waiting to see this film. So is it any good?The answer is a resounding yes! More on that later , for now let me take you through the film without getting into major Spoilers.

Loki has returned by way of the Tesseract that was found while looking for Captain America. He obliterates S.H.I.E.L.D Headquarters and with the help of some unexpected allies gets away with the Tesseract in hand. His plan is to open up a portal using the Tesseract so that he can unleash an Army upon Earth leaving him to Rule.

Fury out of Desperation decides to move forward with The Avengers Initiative. That is the basic core of the Movie. Joss Whedon focuses more so on character moments over Story which works well for most of The Avengers. He does pay close attention to detail even using all the past films as building blocks to progress the story. Standouts include Black Widow played by Scarlet Johannsen and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk. In fact movie goers have seen a group of Heroes who band together to save the world from certain disaster tons of times before . The plot isn’t what makes this movie so enjoyable its the characterization, writing , and acting that make this movie shine and turn it into Marvel’s crowning jewel along with their first film Iron Man. No one phones this movie in. You can tell of the actors enjoyed working on the project together and it shows in how much fun the movie is.

The action set pieces and Special effects are damn near perfect in execution. There were more than a few moments where the crowd in unison were clapping and cheering together which brought a smile to my face. The Chitauri in the film look great and I love the look of the Hulk in this Film. The last 30 min of this film had me grinning from ear to ear. Each Avenger has more than their share of awesome moments in the film.

There are a few minor complaints I’m going to point out. First I feel like Steve Rogers’ story never really progresses at all. It would have been nice to see possibly Sharon Carter inserted as Steve’s love interest to try to show another side of Steve Rogers. There are some small moments with Tony that could have been fleshed out and I know that Joss had mentioned that he cut at least 30-40 min off the film. Also a minor complaint but they never explain how Thor makes it back to Earth. After watching the films that’s a glaring issue that should be addressed considering how great Joss was with all the other plot lines from the past films and his attention to detail. Again these are minor nit picks about a movie that was nothing short of amazing

I’m honestly quite amazed at how well marvel was able to pull this off. There’s an intent and confidence in the writing that really shows off Whedon’s strengths as a director. Some people may feel like he hijack’s the movie a bit but I couldn’t imagine anyone else capable of delivering such a high quality product. Whedon and company remember that movies like this should have strong characterization first and most importantly showed that a Superhero Movie doesn’t have to just be “Dark” or “Hard Edged” to be good. I honestly cant wait to see this again myself. Oh and the mid credits scene sent me into sensory overload! This is a blue print for how to pull off a Summer Blockbuster in an intelligent and successful way. Run out and see this it will put a smile on your face regardless of what mood you’re in.

Review Score: 9.5/10

Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots

“A Comic Show” – 4.25.2012 A vs X vs Chew!

It’s another great week of comics! We’re all gearing up for Northstar’s Big Gay Wedding (don’t know why David Gabriel is keeping it in the closet). A vs X is still the awesome frosted side of the mini-wheats with Jason Aaron’s VS #1: Magneto vs Iron Man! Aquaman #8 continues Geoff Johns’ sea change for Arthur, and CHEW is the book for A v X and New 52 haters to support. It’s a crazy concept about a detective who can see the history of anything he eats, not a rehash, not a re-imagined story! Experience Creativity!
Bleeding Cool’s own Rich Johnson has two more controversial Avengers parodies out, and in honor of politics making strange bedfellows, any one who preorders all the Before Watchmen issue #1’s from us gets Bleeding Cool Magazine #0 FREE! Who buys Before Watchmen? Probably the same blokes who fancy Bleeding Cool! -acomicshoptv

A Comic Shop
114 South Semoran Blvd.
Winter Park, FL 32792
p. 407-332-9636

Aaron Haaland owns one of the coolest comic book stores in the world – A Comic Shop! Aaron takes comic book related events to the next level. Check his store out on Facebook!

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 – Cyclops has lost his mind

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  John Romita Jr. [Pencils], Scott Hanna [Inks], Laura Martin [Colors]

[We’ve tried our best to be as spoiler-free as possible here, but nobody’s perfect.  Read at your own risk.]

Defying Captain America’s request to take Hope Summers into custody last issue, Cyclops fired the first shot in the X-Men’s war on the Avengers against the Star-Spangled Hero himself.

As the Avengers take Utopia’s beach, Emma Frost moves Hope inside–assuming the girl, with more questions than answers regarding the Phoenix and what its return means regarding her, will stay put.  In short order, the most epic battle in comics since the end of 2008’s Secret Invasion or 2006’s Civil War commences.

Jason Aaron sets up several of the fights to take place in the accompanying Avengers Vs. X-Men: Versus mini-series beginning next week, with several moments in this issue hinting at the outcomes of those fights.  He brings Quicksilver into the fray, revealing where the son of Magneto stands in the fight (HINT:  There isn’t going to be a reunion of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants anytime soon), and teases the entrance of Magneto’s daughter, the Scarlet Witch, with no hint of who she’ll side with.

The highlight of this issue is arguably Aaron’s insights into the match-ups, like calling Emma Frost’s organic diamond form punching Tony Stark’s multi-billion dollar armor the “most expensive punch in history,” playing up the marital dramatics in a fight between Storm and the Black Panther, or pointing out that Wolverine is fighting against an island of characters he once called family.

This initial battle is all for naught, but it does skirt on the idea that Cyclops might potentially become a villain.  Much of what he says in this issue sounds like things reformed X-Men über-villain Magneto would say, and he does have his own Juggernaut now in Colossus.  With 10 issues to go, the only things that are certain are that several characters are bound to switch sides, Civil War-style, (Hell, it’s even teased in the Cap vs. Wolverine cover for AVX #3) and that things will spiral further out of control.

At this point, my biggest hope (aside from wanting a Cyclops villain turn) is that we at least get a Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 video game out of this in a year or two.

– Roger Riddell

Follow me on Twitter @RRiddell3 

Mike DeVivo’s take forthcoming

Alright Roger Ive Assembled here!

So, two issues into Avengers Vs. X-Men and I can say I’m underwhelmed. What I thought was largely going to be a collaborative effort in bringing two different teams and their vantage points to light has thus far turned into “Cyclops is crazy and the Avengers aren’t.” I don’t buy the angle that Cyclops is losing his mind, or that he’s taking things too far. It paints every X-Man and woman as blind sheep fighting for the cause of a crazy man. Maybe I’m rooting for the little guys, in which case i feel the X-Men are warranted to protect one of their own. The characterization feels off, especially with Cyclops and Wolverine. Again, maybe it’s because I’m in Cyclops’ camp here, but I can’t help but feel like this story feels off.

I do love John Romita Jr.’s work in this series so far. His facial work with females has improved very much. His pencils give all of the energy and intensity you’d expect between a battle of the two most recognizable factions in Marvel.  Aaron’s script does provide great narration as Avengers and X-Men beat the hell out of each other. Also, kudos for him creating the Magnetic Fastball Special. Those moments are what I’ve enjoyed about this series so far. He also gave Emma the best line in this issue reflecting the tone I think most X-Men have towards their Avenger counterparts. After Iron Man refers to Hope as “the girl,” Emma responds by telling him that the girl’s name is Hope and that they never requested help in the first place.

We get quick glimpses of Quicksilver and Wanda ,with Quicksilver rushing to join his Avengers team and Wanda walking away from her journal not joining the fight just yet. The journal by the way is called “Wanda’s Dream Journal” (slap forehead with hand) there are more than a few of these moments in this issue that make you cringe. As I said in my opinion this book hasn’t delivered the goods just yet with the story. It’s a pain to see characters like Quicksilver, who was actually  insane (anyone remember House of M?), fighting along side Avenger’s while Cyclops is characterized as a mad man losing touch with his reality.

I’m hoping next issue improves a bit and makes the reason for this fight a bit less one-sided. With the cover to issue #3 showing Cap fighting Wolverine, it will be interesting to see why he defends the X-Men after dropping down and beating up the same students he defended during Schism.  As I said, as a fight book this is fun. As an event that is supposed to change Marvel’s landscape for the next year…not so much.

– Mike DeVivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots


 

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #684 – Saharan Sandman!

Amazing Spider-Man #684
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba [Inks], Edgar Delgado [Colors]

Certain that he had thought of everything possible while preparing to fight the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six (Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Electro, Mysterio, Rhino, and Chameleon), there was one thing Spider-Man didn’t account for–Doc Ock doing the same thing and making short work of the Avengers.

Despite taking out one of the Sinister Six when Thor shot Electro into orbit, the Avengers–Captain America, Iron Man, Red Hulk, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, and the aforementioned God of Thunder–are taken down quite easily and their Quinjet, with Black Widow inside, is crashed.  Spider-Man, with his new spider armor crippled, is left at Octavius’ mercy.

Fortunately for him, Symkarian mercenary Silver Sable has been following him and the Avengers since the G8 Summit and is able to rescue Spidey and the Black Widow.

The Sinister Six escape with the rest of the downed Avengers in tow and Ock begins negotiating with the world’s leaders.  In exchange for clean records and $2 billion for each of the other five members of the Sinister Six, Octavius will stop global warming with the “Octavian Lense” his octobots can create in Earth’s atmosphere.  Spider-Man, Silver Sable, and Black Widow are able to patch into these transmissions via help from Horizon Labs and the Symkarian prime minister, and head off to an abandoned AIM facility in the Sahara Desert that they figure out is in use by Doc Ock.

The AIM facility ends up being a trap, however, and the three are left to face Sandman, who has the entire Sahara Desert at his disposal.

Dan Slott continues to weave his epic event, keeping Ock’s true intentions in the dark, as well as what he has promised various members of the Sinister Six in exchange for their help.  Additionally, the Sandman battle in this issue is by far the most interesting in years.  Typically, Spider-Man stops Sandman by using a nearby water source to wash him away or turn him into mud, or bakes him into glass.  It’s one thing for Spider-Man to fight the Sandman on a beach or in a quarry or construction site, but another beast entirely in the middle of the world’s largest desert.  The means by which Slott has Spider-Man, Silver Sable, and the Black Widow defeat the Sandman (with help from Horizon Labs) here is fairly brilliant.

Aside from being a great premise for a fight in this story, the Sahara Desert fight also offers a huge opportunity for impressive visuals and Humberto Ramos doesn’t disappoint.  I know I’ve said this before in other reviews, but Ramos’ work grows on me every time I see it.  It’s honestly gotten even better in the last year and a half, becoming a combination of his older style (which, to me, has more of an anime feel) and traditional comic art.  Some of his faces even bring Todd McFarlane to mind.  Like Stefano Caselli on the first two issues of this arc, Ramos brings his A-game here.

In a year that has Amazing Spider-Man #700 on the way, as well as at least two more big story arcs, I’m wondering how Dan Slott and Co. can top what they’re doing right now.

STORY AND ART:  Excelsior!

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #683 – Spider-Man punches Al Gore!

Amazing Spider-Man #683
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Stefano Caselli, Frank Martin Jr. [Colors]

[SPOILER ALERT: Reading this review might spoil certain plot points for you, oh noble Chicago Comic Vault reader.]


Close to death, Doctor Octopus has–with the help of the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six–set his final master plan in motion, developing technology that can destroy the ozone layer.  Ock, however, has convinced the world’s leaders and greatest scientific minds that his intentions are altruistic and that he simply wishes to preserve the Earth with an artificial ozone layer.

Spider-Man, who has spent the last several months developing all-new spider armor specifically for taking on the Sinister Six, rallies the Avengers and they travel to an emergency G8 summit in Rome to try to talk some sense into the world at large.  Among those shown debating Octavius’ intentions are Stephen Hawking, Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Al Gore–who Spider-Man punches squarely in the jaw for voicing his support of Doc Ock.

That’s right.  Spider-Man gets a Cap-punching-Hitler moment.

Take that, Global Warming!

Or does he?

As it turns out, “Al Gore” is really just the Chameleon in disguise.  His hand played, Doc Ock is forced to reveal the full potential of his “Octavian Lens”…to stop global warming.

Convinced even more of Doc Ock’s Grinch-like altruistic turn, the world leaders let the Chameleon go–but the Avengers aren’t fooled so easily.  With the aid of a spider tracer, they follow him to a remote beach where he is met by the Sinister Six.

Spider-Man hasn’t been the only one preparing for this battle, though.  Doc Ock has had Electro, Rhino, Sandman, and Chameleon steal StarkTech, the fang of Jörmungandr, and Hulk-busting technology developed by the Leader.  Making quick work of the Avengers (but not without losing Mysterio and Electro), Doc Ock now has Spider-Man right where he wants him.

Overall, this issue continues what is sure to become (until he outdoes himself again) Dan Slott’s magnum opus on Amazing Spider-Man.  Not only is this fun, but the story feels like it has weight to it.  At the heart of this story is a battle of figurative chess between two of the Marvel Universe’s greatest minds.  That it takes place on the world stage instead of just New York adds that much more to this.

Stefano Caselli produces more of the best work of his career here, as well.  When you see Doc Ock in these pages, it’s believable that he’s really dying.  Characters pop off of the pages.  The facial expressions are spot on.  And the detail!

It’s another perfect issue, and a damn good time to be a Spider-Fan.

STORY:  10/10
ART:  10/10 

Review: Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 – ‘Nuff Said

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Art:  John Romita Jr. [Pencils], Scott Hanna [Inks], Laura Martin [Colors]

After what has felt like an eternity of build-up (but was really more like just over six months), the event to end all Marvel events has finally arrived on shelves–but was all of the hype worth it?

So far, it’s a toss-up.

The premise, in case you’ve been living under a rock or reading some other company’s books, is that the Phoenix is coming to Earth and has chosen the would-be-mutant-messiah Hope Summers as its host.  Hey, she looks like Jean Grey, so who else is it gonna pick, right?  Anyhow, the Phoenix is a cosmic firebird that leaves devastation in its wake on a planetary scale wherever it goes in the Universe.  It chose Jean Grey as its host once and she almost destroyed Earth, but that’s “The Dark Phoenix” saga and you can read about that elsewhere.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 opens with the Avengers hanging around Avengers Tower doing the sorts of things you’d expect powerful people in tights to do (but not those things, sicko!) when all of a sudden, the intergalactic superhero Nova conveniently crashlands in New York City after falling from space.  He warns the Avengers that “it’s coming,” and Iron Man deduces that he’s referring to the Phoenix.  He and Captain America then brief the President on the danger.

Meanwhile, Cyclops–who has known all along that the Phoenix was on its way back–is training Hope and trying to prepare her in the hope that she’ll be able to control its power when it does return.  This entire conflict centers around the Avengers’ belief that the Phoenix will use Hope Summers as its vessel to try to destroy the world again versus Scott’s belief that if Hope can somehow control the Phoenix’s power, then she can undo the “no more mutants” spell that Scarlet Witch decimated the mutant population with.

Scott believes that Hope is the savior of the mutant race, and he’ll stop at nothing to see her fulfill that destiny–perhaps to the point of taking things too far during his particularly ruthless training sessions.  During the time that has passed since he joined the X-Men, Magneto has pointed out that Scott is growing more and more like him than his mentor, Charles Xavier.  This trend continues here, as Magneto–watching the training from a distance–comments to Emma Frost regarding the difference between “taking it seriously” and “compulsion,” perhaps foreshadowing things to come.

Anyhow, Hope is finally pushed far enough and releases a flare of Phoenix-like energy strong enough that the Avengers notice it.  Traveling to Utopia to see about taking Hope into Avengers custody until the Phoenix situation is figured out, Captain America is greeted by a particularly hostile Cyclops.

Thus, the first shots in the battle are fired, so to speak.

Over all, this is a solid start to the event, but it is by no means perfect.  Despite being packed with action, the dialogue pulled me out of the story on a few occasions, most notably during the conversation Captain America has with Wolverine regarding the Phoenix.  Given Wolverine’s history with Jean Grey and how he felt about her, I have a hard time believing that he wouldn’t just refer to her by her first name.  Using her entire name felt a little unnatural, especially after the previous scene already established her history.

Aside from that, though, anything else I noticed here would just be nitpicking.  Bendis’ first chapter draws you in and gives new readers a primer on what’s going on, and the art here is phenomenal.  The facial expressions of everyone standing in the vicinity when the first blow of this battle is landed were perhaps the highlight of the entire issue.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, especially when your bluff is being called, and that panel alone sells that idea absolutely.

After event fatigue had fully set in following last year’s Fear Itself (which, no offense to Matt Fraction, fell short of expectations), I swore I’d never drop $3.99 an issue on another “event” book again.  Despite being highly skeptical of the idea of Avengers Vs. X-Men, I have to say I’m impressed so far and actually looking forward to where this goes from here.

STORY:  8/10
ART:  9.5/10 

Con-Quest

It’s that time of year when convention season is starting up and our local Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) is in a little over a week. Personally, I love conventions. I have been going since I first officially moved to Chicago in 2001 with the Wizard World show out in Rosemont. That first convention was mind blowing for a first time convention attendee. There was so much to see and do that it was hard to really accomplish much of anything. Since then, I have attended multiple shows a year as both an attendee and on the other side of the tables as both a retailer and helping out artists. And over that time, I have gotten better at accomplishing everything at a show through careful planning and preparation. This has also made the conventions more manageable and most of all, fun.

The first and probably most obvious thing is to make a list. Do you want to meet creators? Do you want to shop? What panels do you want to see? Etc. Write it all down. The nice part is that most shows put up programs ahead of time for the show. They have where creators will be, what panels are going on and when, and other various maps and information. I cannot stress enough to use this. Write down where creators will be either in artist alley or where their publisher booth is so you can check signing times. Take note on where and when panels are so you can plan accordingly when you have to get there and allow enough time to get from where you currently are to there. Write down what you want to buy. I don’t know how many times I have left a show and remember that one issue I forgot to look for and probably could have gotten a dozen times.

I usually write everything on a piece of paper. Others use a notepad or you can use you your electronic devices of various types. Either way works, just use what works for you. I use a piece of paper because it nicely can be folded up and put n my pocket. Or I keep it in a folder with my comic lists. I have a Savage Dragon and Iron Man completion list going and it’s easier to keep everything together. Also, the folder is nice when I buy smaller prints or get random fliers and cards at the show.

Of course, what I deem the second most important thing is the carrying bag. I, like many other convention attendees, carry a small shoulder bag with them throughout the show. It’s packed with a variety of things and varies from person to person. However, each one is suited to that person’s goals for the show.

Now the most important thing will determine what you prioritize in the bag. For me, I love meeting artist and writers. Thus, a good portion of my bag space is used for a sketchbook, and the books I am bringing to be signed. I bring one of two of titles that creators work on for a few reasons. First, I only pick a few of each issue that are important that I want signed. Second, creators usually limit the amount of books they will sign. And third, I have found that creators will talk more and be a lot more sociable with fans when they have smaller stacks. I met Greg Rucka years back when he was on Wolveine. The guy in front of me had a large stack of books to be signed. Greg kindly asked him to pick 10. The guy was in shock and slightly taken aback that he had to choose. But he did and took his books and left. I walked up next and commented that I only had one book for him. He laughed and we ended up chatting for more time than it would have taken him to sign the previous guys stack. Just something to keep in mind.

Anyway, if you are a shopper, the main part of your bag might be space. If you anticipate buying a lot, you need to leave room or have a shopping bag to carry. Either way, remember to keep in mind what you are buying and how you are going to carry it.

Another thing about a show is that it is all day. You have to eat but also, it’s nice to carry snacks and a bottle or two of water. You can buy this stuff at a show but the convention center prices are going to be significantly higher. I usually have a box of granola bars and a few bottles of water or Powerade/Gatorade for the day. This year, I picked up a water bottle that snaps to my bag and the powder packs to make my own Gatorade. They do not take up space like a full bottle does and I can make multiple drinks throughout the day.

Also, do not forget the little things. Have you ever heard of Con-crud? It what is refereed to as being sick after a convention due to the convention itself. Remember that it is a huge space packed with lots and lots of people You may be a very clean person but unfortunately, some others are not. A small bottle of hand sanitizer is a good idea, also maybe a small travel deodorant. Both go a long way to battle germs and keep you feeling much better.

And one last tip I want to pass along. A show is big and there are lots of people attending. Many have similar goals and not every one will be achieved. So first and foremost, have fun. Try to do as much of what you want as possible. But also, and more importantly, do not get discouraged if you do not accomplish everything. Sadly, I have been there and the first time, it felt bad. But then I took a step back and saw what I did accomplish. I ended up meeting a lot of people and had a really good time.

You can take away from this what you want. This is your show. Come prepared, but make sure to relax and have fun. You will look back and enjoy the experience that much more.

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #682 – ‘Ends of the Earth’ Begins!

Amazing Spider-Man #682
Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Stefano Caselli, Frank Martin Jr. [Colors]

On the verge of death, Dr. Otto Octavius has initiated his final diabolical plan. Using a towering structure that rises from his base beneath the sea (Where do these guys get the funding and materials for these things?), he has positioned an array of satellites in Earth’s orbit to create an “Octavian lens” that will…stop global warming?

After threatening to burn the half of the world currently facing the sun (and giving Chicago a sweet cameo), Octavius pulls a 180 and tells everyone via satellite feed that he is merely showing them the Earth they are leaving to their great-grandchildren and actually intends to preserve the planet as his final act. It would seem noble enough, if the other five villains rounding out the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six (Sandman, Mysterio, Electro, Rhino, and the Chameleon) weren’t smirking behind him.

Though many of New York’s citizens (and even a few Avengers) are buying the idea that perhaps Doc Ock might have good intentions for a change, Peter Parker–who has spent the last several months preparing new gadgets for just such an occasion in his lab at Horizon–isn’t convinced.

Meanwhile, New York’s Mayor, J. Jonah Jameson, has vowed to shut down Horizon Labs at any and all cost following the peril his astronaut son was in onboard the company’s space station in Amazing Spider-Man #680 and 681, setting up a subplot that could potentially complicate Peter Parker’s life again and expanding Jameson’s personal crusade against Spider-Man to include Horizon founder Max Modell.

Overall, this is a great first issue to Dan Slott’s much-hyped “Ends of the Earth” saga. Not only do we see yet another cool new suit that Peter has designed to help him as Spider-Man, but Slott establishes a sense that the technology Pete developed has been put to practical, “real-world” use in the Marvel Universe. This, of course, keeps in tradition with the idea that the book is just as much about Peter Parker as it is about his alter ego.

Furthermore, Stefano Caselli’s art feels as briskly paced as the story without sacrificing detail. The opening pages, with Spider-Man stealing a few tricks out of an old enemy’s bag, are especially fun.

If the rest of this arc is this good, “Spider-Island” will have tough competition for “Best Spider-Man Event of the Last Decade.”

STORY: 10/10
ART: 10/10 

Japanese “Avengers” trailer with new footage!

The Japanese “Avenger” trailer has hit the internet with new footage. You can watch the helicarrier take off for the first time! The other stand-out of the trailer was a Pepper Potts sighting.

The Avengers (titled Avengers Assemble in the United Kingdom) is an upcoming American superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is the sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast, which includes Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, and Samuel L. Jackson. In The Avengers, Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, and Captain America to save the world from destruction.

AMC Theaters is Bringing you the Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon !

I just stumbled upon this awesome bit of info today and had to get it out into the world. Apparently there has been a meeting of the minds between Marvel Comics and AMC theaters and they decided that it would be a great idea to show all of Marvels films that lead into the Avengers on May 3rd and cap it all off by showing The Avengers at midnight to put a nice cherry on top of your ridiculously large Marvel Sundae. Now they haven’t released an AMC theater in Chicago yet that’s showing it but a full run down of Theaters and show times is coming March 16th . The One sheet and official press release is below. Damn its cool to live in a world where this is happening.There better be a Chicago date in there.

Get ready to watch the greatest Marvel movie event ever held at your local AMC Theatre on May 3rd! Experience THE ULTIMATE MARVEL MARATHON with six movies on one epic day. Watch the heroes’ stories unfold as they assemble for the midnight premiere of The Avengers 3D!

Here’s a list of the six movies being shown at THE ULTIMATE MARVEL MARATHON:

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Thor in 3D
Captain America in 3D
The Avengers in 3D

Limited engagement tickets for both THE AVENGERS and THE ULTIMATE MARVEL MARATHON will go on sale this Sunday night at a select number of AMC Theatres.

The times the tickets will go on sale are as follows:

Eastern Standard Time – 12:01am Sunday night (3/11) / Monday morning (3/12)
Pacific Standard Time – 9:01pm Sunday night (3/11)

Here is a list of the select theatres where you can purchase tickets:

Boston Common 19 – Boston, MA

Burbank 16 – Burbank, CA

Downtown Disney 12 – Anaheim, CA

Aventura 24 – Aventura, FL

Empire 25 – New York, NY

Garden State 16 – Paramus, NJ

Downtown Disney 24 – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Metreon 16 – San Francisco, CA

Alderwood 16 – Lynnwood, WA

Tysons Corner 16 – McLean, VA

Tickets will go on sale for other AMC Theatres on March 16th. The expanded list will also be made available on March 16th.

Don’t miss out on the greatest Marvel movie event ever assembled!!

Mike Devivo

Follow me on Twitter @pandasandrobots