My Top 10 Worst Comic Book Movies

I do have a list for all my favourite live action superhero CBMs already so I might do one for my current Top 10 favourites if I feel like it or it's requested. But with the superhero movie at its all time height in popularity, the critical negativity towards superhero movies of the over the top dark/depressing kind recently and how strongly us fans can feel towards something that we believe doesn't do the character or the comics justice, it's obvious we don't like every CBM that comes out. These are my top 10 worst comic book movies:

And yes the two you already expect me to choose when you saw my blog's title will be on here.

#10: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Guess Stryker finally figured how to shut you up huh?

Just beating out the first two Fantastic Four movies is Fox's first attempt to expand on the origin and backstory of the stand out star, and limelight hogger of the original X-Men trilogy; Wolverine. Origins was supposed to bring out the best for Marvel's most famous Canadian anti hero badass but ended up as a cliche filled, monotonous and disappointing movie about Wolverine's background before the X-Men. I find that my main problems with Origins lie in its acting choices, its uninteresting characters, a generic uninspiring script and its insult to injury with the fanbase. A lot of the actors don't really fit their roles, like what was up with will.i.am as John Wraith? There was no point in casting a hip hop artist with no experience in any kind of film role. Same with Lynn Colins as Logan's love interest Silverfox, she had absolutely nothing to do with the comic character whatsoever and was as generic as love interests get in action movies. I remember thinking the script is like every other action movie ever with one liners that have been done so much better. And it would be remiss not to mention Fox's butchery of Barakapool in the final act that wasted Reynolds' immense potential in playing Wade Wilson. Thankfully that has been rectified by now. There may have been one or two decent scenes like the world war opening and the Weapon X transformation but ultimately Origins is a dull superhero movie.

#9: Man of Steel

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What was I supposed to do? Just let them die? Maybe...

You didn't think I would forget my beef with the genesis of the controversial comic book movie now did you? Of course you didn't, I have expectations to keep up. You probably already know why I have this film on here, for my further thoughts on Man of Steel, see my review of it (Note my thoughts on the action, visual effects, cinematography and Henry Cavill/Kevin Costner's performance as Superman/Jonathan Kent no longer reflect what my review has originally said) but I'll break down a summary for newer readers. This movie intended to introduce Superman to a newer and modern audience and Nolan, Goyer, Snyder and the WB execs believed the way to do this was to make Superman appear more realistic. Unfortunately, Man of Steel's darkness, grittiness and depressing tone cemented it as one of my all time least favourite CBMs. I still believe MOS represents a fundamental misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Superman's character, mythology and reasons he's appealing. What's more, the pacing is shockingly imbalanced throughout the film dragging the overly stuffy lot which is attempting to sound deeper than it really is through fancy buzz words and overt symbolism. The main cast is wooden and never get the chance to present the characters they're playing as because they're slaves to the script and to espousing plot exposition. I find Zack's cinematography to be always trying to go for some intended higher meaning rather than trying to tell a story or a scene. And as for the action, I found it skin crawling over the top violent destruction porn to the point that even Michael Bay might say "Woah Zack isn't this a little too much?" Man of Steel doesn't go for the interesting complexity which lies in Superman's gentle yet staunch selflessness, in doing the right thing no matter what and standing for something greater that humanity can aspire to. Instead, it opts for a bleak, morally ambiguous introspective look at Superman which misses what the character is about. It may be higher than some of the other choices on my list but honestly I personally enjoy watching some of them more than Man of Steel.

#8: Daredevil

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I'm not the bad guy, kid.

I still need to watch the rest of the Netflix Daredevil series and avoid the Netflix related battle board threads because that does a superb job at making a captivating and immersive Daredevil story. The 2003 Daredevil film does not have that luxury to me, along with like 90% of the comic book fanbase if I had to guess. It represents what was most wrong with the early 2000s attempts at superhero movies, being overly dark and dramatic for the sake of it. Whilst other movies like Raimi's Spider-Man and Singer's X-Men learnt how to balance a fun and serious tone, Daredevil tried to play it straight all the time and that's why I think it fell flat on its face. Because trying to make itself seem serious when the audience is unable to take the story and characters seriously. Affleck's Daredevil is waay too melodramatic, I don't recall Daredevil being a mopey emo about the state of his life. The absurdity of the weird bath coffin scene and the shower scene did not help the film's titular character portrayal in the least. Jennifer Garner's Elektra was even worse, I think a skit from The Nostalgia Critic's review of Daredevil summarises Elektra's problem. She's hyped up to be a capable independent badass match for Daredevil but then instantly loses to the first antagonist she goes up against. It undermines all the earlier depictions of Elektra and makes them pointless. Irish Bullseye was a weird and inconsistent choice of villain, Bullseye is crazy but not the kind of crazy like the film thinks he is. I haven't gone into much of the writing, story or action but honestly it's forgettable and generic, at least with other bad or hated CBMs you can remember parts of it and the bits you didn't like. Some people say the Director's Cut is apparently better and fleshes out the characters along with establishing more plot and a subplot that was cut but I haven't seen it and this doesn't get the ultimate edition excuse.

#7: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Mm, Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent. Ah, I love it! I love bringing people together!

When Man of Steel discussion and interest was at its peak on Comicvine, I got more involved in it being the big critic of MOS that I am. And not just whether it was overall good but the many nitty gritty facets that were debated in numerous individual threads made to discuss one part of the film. I haven't done that with BvS so much, at least not the nitty gritty debate for one main reason. I hold MOS in great disdain for what it did to my favourite character and what Snyder started to do to people's perceptions on Superman with MOS. So it did surprise me that I was expecting to only dislike BvS about the same as I do MOS and lo and behold, it exceeds my expectations and manages to be actually worse than Man of Steel. I thought that was quite the achievement. BvS takes everything I disliked about MOS and doesn't just pour salt on the wound, it makes all new wounds on top of that one. The acting is even worse including in characters that weren't so bad in MOS such as Laurence Fishbourne's Perry White. My views on BvS' pacing were that it was even worse at dragging its feet across the ground than MOS, exemplified in the fact that the titular fight doesn't start until nearly two hours into the movie, over 2 hours I think in the Ultimate Edition. I saw the same attempts to be deep and meaningful that were merely superficial and only skin deep in what the film actually conveyed. I read a plot that was clunkier and muddled up than MOS' narrative. Oh and what I thought were misunderstandings of Superman, Lois Lane, The Kents and more in MOS got trumped with Batman, Lex Luthor and Doomsday (to be fair Affleck did try his best and was probably one of the better actors, the problem was the script and Snyder) My god, Jesse Eisenberg was the absolute worst, it's all been said and done so there's nothing you won't have already heard about how badly Eisenberg was as Lex Luthor. I genuinely cannot believe there are those actually willing to defend him, it boggles my mind. I can get the defence of Zod but the Lex Luthor in BvS was only Lex in name, not in action or characterisation. Jesse's maniacal, babbling and shrill portrayal was not the smug, calculating or supremely ego-centric drive of the Lex Luthor I'm familiar with. Doomsday is every bad CGI joke or meme you've already seen. I found the attempted meta responses to MOS to miss the point of why the criticisms were made. The action repeated Zack's flashy destruction porn fetish and attempted to sugar coat it with abandoned battlegrounds (with the exception of the warehouse fight I'll concede that one was good) Of course the increased dark broodiness of BvS was not to my liking for reasons already explained. With the dust settled, BvS represented a fundamentally damaged interpretation of DC's finest characters IMO and made me even surer in how poorly I feel towards the DCEU and its future as another expanded cinematic universe alongside its more successful MCU counterpart. Where that has me invested, BvS has antagonised and pushed me away by the road Snyder and WB have chosen to go down for DC's on screen universe. And it pains me because I love DC Comics and its characters which is why BvS' fundamental failures are all the more painful to me.

#6: Fant4stic

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They're not superpowers, they're aggressive cellular reactions.

I suppose after all I wrote about MOS and BvS you might think there aren't CBMs I dislike more. Admittedly Fant4stic is closely tied with BvS but one of the main differences is the warehouse fight's choreography. In contrast, the action in Fant4stic is lackluster, not immersive enough to overlook the blatant CGI and the final fight is apparently terribly anti climatic. Action is the least of Fant4stic's problems though. Josh Trank' warped versions of Marvel's first family of superheroes represent absolutely nothing of the Fantastic Four I grew up with and loved. I don't buy the Ultimate FF defence either, source material representation was clearly not on Trank or the studio's mind. Worse, the botched mockery of Victor Von Doom in this film is criminal, and that's saying something considering how the first Fantastic Four films made Doom a regular rich corportate tycoon who hooked up with Reed's ex and behaved like a dick with electricity powers who wanted to rule the world. This Doom is a moody lab assistant of Dr Storm who gets telekenetic powers from the Planet Zero dimension and suddenly wants to destroy the world. Moreover, the story just jumps ahead a year for no reason after the FF get their powers, that made no sense The main cast just doesn't feel comfortable in the skin of the FF and most damning of all, I never saw this as an FF film. It feels like a Chronicle film or a Prometheus film but never a Fantastic Four film. Hence why I call it Fant4stic. Even the cheesy and cliched FF films felt like bad Fantastic Four films. This is ashamed of what it was based on, it takes away from the fun and adventure inherent to the FF and as such I've never seen Fant4stic in full. Yeah it's that bad that I never even went to see it at all and damn 20th Century Fox if they're dumb enough to make a sequel to this failure.

#5 Green Lantern

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I'm gonna make you look good up there. Don't worry, okay? Now let's get these pants off and fly some planes.

The thing about Green Lantern is I have to admit I may have been looking forward to it when we only had the trailers to go on. It was a different time, I was more foolish and not as wise on CBM quality and it looked like it would draw heavily from Geoff Johns' Green Lantern run which was a new benchmark for the Green Lantern mythology at DC Comics. Unfortunately what we ended up with was a colossal disappointment. Right when Marvel was setting up its cinematic universe, DC throw a stinker with this movie. Its effects are terrible considering the standard of CGI technology available to films and the result was a cringeworthy Green Lantern uniform. Blake Lively gave a tone deaf performance as Carol Ferris, I only need to remind you of "Hal, this test today. It's important" as the most bland delivery in this movie. Hector Hammond and Parallax were the most disappointing villains, Hammond because of his non-fleshed out motivations and rushed power up and Parallax for just being a giant CGI monster only there to fight before BvS' Doomsday was a thing. It is a shame as there were a couple all right performances from Michael Clarke Duncan as Kilowagg and Mark Strong as Sinestro but that's nowhere near enough to save this boring, underwhelming film. The story makes little sense even to those who are familiar with the comics and the ending makes no sense to anyone unfamiliar with Sinestro's villanous backstory because there was no indication Sinestro was going to turn rogue. It was just sequel baiting which has turned out fruitless. It's the disappointing lack of expectations and what the movie actually was which is worst about GL to me.

#4: Elektra

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I got nothing, this movie doesn't have any memorable one liners I could find.

Elektra sure was bad in Daredevil but she was worse in her solo movie. Even compared to the other bland and disappointing CBMs, Elektra goes one step further in how generic and uninteresting it ends up being. It deals with Elektra being brought back to life by Stick and trained in a secret martial art but gets kicked because of her dark feelings, becomes a contract killer, doesn't kill a father and daughter, has to protect them from the Hand yadda yadda. The plot's already been done before and Elektra doesn't know how to add anything new to this wheel of 'action hero protects someone they care for' storyline. It tries to do something with The Chaste and her martial arts training but the arc around is resolved without any pathos or nuanced development to it. The acting is useless with all of the actors, the action devolves into pointless slow motion too many times and the plot goes round in circles from flashbacks to present day ultimately being forgettable. I know this isn't as long as some of my other posts but being forgettable might actually be more of a sin than being memorably bad or rage inducing. I know parts of what made Elektra a bad movie but even know I can't remember everything, that counts as a failure on the movie's behalf.

#3: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

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And there will be peace. There will be peace when the people of the world, want it so badly, that their governments will have no choice but to give it to them.

There's no shortage of criticism against the current movie version of Superman and rightly so in my book. Unfortunately there is one movie which is a reminder that there may be something even worse than a dour, unsure and ambiguous Superman. Superman IV is one of those apocalyptically bad cheesy films that try and dumb down a complex issue into a black and white answer. This movie tries to spoon feed some moral of the story lessons to you and fails in every way to create a story with a moral. Superman just up and disarming the world's nuclear missiles without any complaints is completely unrealistic even with a solar powered super strong flying alien requiring the suspension of disbelief for enjoyment. And it's only because Superman gets guilt tripped into doing it by some kid, what a legitimate reason for enforcing worldwide nuclear disarmament. Gene Hackman's once brilliant rendition of Lex Luthor is wasted next to the absurdity that is Nuclear Man. He's supposed to be the menace yet comes off flamboyant and dumber than a bag of hammers. Which leads to some of the worst effects I've seen in a comic book movie. Repeated uses of the same Superman flying shot, more faked fight scenes than a WWE match and Great Wall of China vision. Which is stupider than Superman throwing his S shield in Superman II. Such a ham fisted attempt at a greenpeace environmentally friendly message sabotaged an already terrible movie. Despite my strong feelings towards MOS and BvS, Superman IV is objectively the worst Superman movie to date.

#2: Catwoman

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Cats come when they feel like it. Not when they're told.

Where to even start with why I can't stand this one. Its butchery of Catwoman's character from the comics, replacing Selina Kyle with a new character altogether named Patience Phillips, the laughable excuse of a story, the random ass unexplained mystical source of Catwoman or Catwomen prior, the god awful special effects when Catwoman was swinging across the city, the horrifically bad acting, take your pick. I could fill a book with all the things Catwoman did wrong but I imagine other people have done so better than I can. Oh what about the stupid leather costume that isn't as well designed or useful as the other Catwoman costumes, the corny fashion designer villain, the played out "Patience and nice cop date whilst Catwoman causes a ruckus and nice cop chases her whilst figuring out who Catwoman is." Or the randomness of this female scholar who just happens to know everything about the Catwoman blessing after some cats lead Patience to her. Or the stupidity of Halle Berry acting like a cat and getting high off catnip. Ugh it's no wonder this film won a Golden Raspberry award. As far as bad comic book movies go, this film would be the runt of the litter were it not for one universally despised CBM.

#1: Batman and Robin

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This is why Superman works alone.

From bat credit cards to Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering painful ice puns to bat nipples, there's no shortage of reasons why I find Batman and Robin to be the worst CBM of them all. It tries to do the silliness of the 1960s Batman TV show but lacks the charm of the 60s show to pull it off. Consequently, what we get is a camp, silly and over the top display of how not to do a comic book movie. The special effects are ridiculous, the action is as corny as the 60s biff, pow and bam sound effects, the acting is atrocious from Clooney to Thurman and Schwarzenegger is ridiculously miscast as the supposed to be tragic Mr Freeze. The villains' plot is as Saturday morning cartoon corny as it gets and not in a charming good way either. More like oh god that was so dumb kind of way. There's no real story or character growth, Alfred getting Macguffin Syndrome is the most forced bit of tension in a CBM which happens to be resolved in a face palm inducing ending of the utmost convenience. I'd say all that and more gives good reason why Joel Schumacher is much maligned for creating this turd of a CBM. However, I believe the terrible quality of Batman and Robin and its hatred by the fans does give the film one underlooked strength. That it will be a memorable film for a long time to come because we love to hate, mock and criticise this masterpiece of a failure and in its failure, Batman and Robin will be infamous for that bad quality.

That's it for my blog, feel free to post your thoughts on it or your least favourite CBMs in the comments. Or possible BvS banter I predict. Thanks for reading.

107 Comments

Thoughts/Mini Review Summary of Captain America Civil War (Spoilers duh)

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Despite living in the UK and being able to see Captain America Civil War since April 29th, I only got around to seeing it today due to work towards my final essay for university taking up my time. Now it's done, I treated myself to Civil War to see if it would live up to my hype. I'm just back from seeing it the first time as I write this small blog up. Full disclosure, this won't be a full review like another certain review of mine, this will be more of a bullet pointed summary mixed in with small analysis and criticism where I feel like it. Oh and obviously SPOILER WARNING: Full Spoilers will be discussed below.

What I Liked

  • I imagine this might be a topic of contention on some of the spoiler boards on CV and beyond, but despite the sprawling cast in CW, I didn't feel like it was overbloated or crowded. Every major character of the Avengers had their own moments, their own perspectives and contributions to the overall narrative of the story. Sure the focus was on Tony and Steve's ideological clash of values, but everyone had their own thoughts and feelings on what was going on. It wasn't like two gears turning the clock so much as it was all the gears meshing together if you'll forgive the metaphor. That was just how I felt about it.
  • Almost all the actors gave their characters great motivation, assisted by a tight and polished script. Evans especially keeps on impressing me with his well rounded and versatile depiction of Captain America. He can make Cap staunchly principled, vulnerable, a moral paragon or a concerned friend at will, definitely a personal favourite CBM performance. Downey Jr was also given more room to flesh out his depiction of Tony Stark in a manner he hasn't really had a chance to do since Iron Man IMO. We see how Tony's sensibilities have changed in a more conservative manner through the statesman's son's death in Sokovia, how he's willing to work with the government and put in check and that he's not willing to be totally unreasonable about Cap's motivations for going rogue.
  • Again, the supporting cast get some great moments. I was particularly fond of the Vision's scenes as I felt left wanting more after AOU. CW continues his journey of understanding humanity and his logical motives for siding with the Pro Sokovia Accords side made perfect sense, even though Vision was on the Anti Reg side in the comics. Wanda goes through her own neat mental journey in the film, Rhodey is ever the military man, Sam is Steve's reliable wingman, Widow has a complicated relationship with the Sokovia accords to say the least, it's all good. No one feels truly wasted from my first watch.
  • I was glad to see that the Russos continued what they did with the Hydra and The Winter Soldier backstory (although I had to take a 'break' at the Sam/Steve interrogation scene so my dad had to fill me in) Adding the trigger words, the existence of more Hydra super soldiers who were hard to control (thus accounting for why Hydra didn't just use them to overthrow SHIELD and take over the world) as it felt narratively organic for their approach to the Captain America films.
  • Speaking of narrative, a great deal of it flowed just as well as it did in Winter Soldier. From Rumlow's biological weapon heist resulting in the death of Wakandans, to King T'Chaka's support of the Sokovia Accords and his death, there were a few such connections that paid off as the film went on. Just like any good story told by film should. Moreover, the Russos applied the grounded tone of TWS and did so effectively to superhuman characters. The Vision felt just as human (in a robotic way) as the other characters for instance, just that he was a synthetic being with a cosmic power source in his head.
  • I suppose it will be asked in the few comments this blog gets given my position on MOS' approach to collateral damage, so to pre-answer those questions, I much preferred this approach on collateral damage to the other one. When Wanda moved the bomb from the street but couldn't avoid it blowing up a large part of the building, people died and the consequences were addressed. When the Sokovia Accords meeting was bombed, the consequences and loss of life drove the narrative on. It wasn't just an colossal number of deaths or a massive amount of CGI/real explosions, this felt like a battle of superheroes had consequence. The heroes, government and villains had different ways of dealing with it and both sides had fair and decent arguments, Clint's get off your ass line and Tony's put in check speech in particular. I'll be up for clarifying further if needed.
  • And that brings me neatly onto the Sokovia accords. Unlike with the Civil War comic, where frankly Tony comes off like an authoritarian fascist and the Pro Reg side does some seriously questionable actions, here the Pro Sokovia and Anti Sokovia sides both have justified arguments. And no punches are pulled in the clash of ideologies and worldviews, there are points to both sides, even if you don't agree. I think I saw one thread 'Iron Man was right, Cap was wrong' or something, but the point is neither side is outright villified. Sure Tony keeps Wanda under lock and key and Cap focuses on personally protecting Bucky but there are serious ideas that aren't discussed pretentiously or trying to be more than they are. The debate is plain for the audience to see.
  • Plainly, it's the two guest stars which make this movie even more special. Boseman won me over on his Black Panther I have to say, his accent is solid and shows he did do his research as said, his motivations are much different to the MCU characters we're used to seeing, his fighting style and suit are absolutely badass and ultimately his arc is handled with the care and attention it deserved of Black Panther. On the other hand, the Wonder Woman of Civil War is just as cheerworthy as she supposedly was. God damn Marvel, you got Spider-Man right. Not just Raimi right, true to comics right. Holland surprised me greatly and stole the show, even with funny man Paul Rudd around. It's probably been said a lot already, but obviously this is probably the best live action Spider-Man to date. The set up of his amateur vigilante exploits was explored uniquely, the jokes and quips are the most Spider-Man like to date, he moved and fought like Spider-Man and I think I detected a bit of a Queen's accent as well. That really sold me and I look forward to seeing both characters in the MCU.
  • Obviously one does go and see a Marvel film for the action as well as story and the action is easily the best to date for me. The fight scenes were superbly choreographed, the special effects on each character's powers were brilliant, the action was kept tense and well paced and that made the best fight scenes in a CBM I have ever seen. The airport fight is undoubtedly the most comic book fight fanservice that has ever been put into a CBM fight scene. Even with the Battle of New York in Avengers, the highway fight in the Winter Soldier and the Battle of Sokovia in AOU, this fight still did things that wowed and surprised me. Spider-Man and Ant-Man's contributions were a big part of that excitement obviously,. And the final fight was just as satisfying due both to the choreography and intense action, but also the intensity of emotions and personal reactions to what Zemo revealed. It gives me high hopes for what to expect in The Infinity Wars or whatever they're going to be called.
  • Oh yeah and the twists were great too. I saw one of them coming from the beginning (and was glad they followed through with it) but the other did catch me out.

What I didn't Like

"Oh no, this review is too positive, you're clearly a DC hater and an MCU fanboy" says the imaginary critic of this piece. Although I really liked this movie, not everything can be perfect. As I shall concede below.

  • So let's get Zemo out of the way. I don't actually think he's a weak or a bad villain, I actually think he was a decent villain and he succeeded where others failed. I just didn't really see him as Zemo, or that the outcome of the movie couldn't have been reached without Zemo's interference. One way or another, I think the Sokovia Accords would have been introduced and that Tony would have found out Bucky killed his parents as the Winter Soldier. So yeah sort of contradictory, but that's my opinion on it.
  • The Sharon Carter romance felt tacked on, came out of nowhere and added absolutely nothing to the film. Not to mention it was kind of creepy what with Steve having a thing for Sharon's aunt back in the day. Honestly the best romance in the MCU has been Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne, which is weird.
  • Likewise, I felt the exclusion of Pepper wasn't really addressed convincingly, it was just tacked on to try and reconcile the end of Iron Man 3 with AOU and CW. Can't say I'll miss Paltrow or Portman from the MCU but it
  • Nothing really came of Martin Freeman's character of Everitt Ross unlike William Hurt's General Ross. He was more of a placeholder when he was rumoured to have a bigger role.
  • There were probably a few plot holes too, like how Bucky couldn't be found for two years and then suddenly he's found when he hears about him being framed for the bombing of the Accords meeting. Or why Zemo left the body of the psychiatrist in the freaking bath instead of burying him somewhere secluded. Fortunately you have to look for them in this film.
  • Although Captain America was the main focus of the film, it is essentially Avengers 2.5 in the most obvious way compared with Iron Man 3 and The Winter Soldier. They may as well have called it Avengers Civil War to boost box office profits. It is a shame Captain America's third film got hijacked to be Avengers 2.5.
  • Lastly, as a battle boards debate, I did feel it was a little inconsistent for Iron Man to be in as much trouble as he was against Steve alone. Don't get me wrong, there were actual justifications such as the multiple damages to his suit and didn't affect my enjoyment, but Friday stating "You can't beat him in hand to hand combat" felt a little off to my battle board sensibilities and believability of how the fight would go. Tony's Mark 1 took a tank shell to the chest and was fine for instance.

Verdict

Despite the larger cast, bigger story and potential to make things overcrowded, I didn't feel that way about Captain America Civil War. It was a near perfect balance and storm of enjoyment. It was a political thriller when it wanted to be, it was a superhero ensemble when it wanted to be, it was a discussion of freedom of choice vs government oversight when it wanted to be, it was funny when it wanted to be, it was serious when it wanted to be, it could be about values and freedom versus vengeance and collective good. And it didn't hurt it was a damn fine superhero brawl when it wanted to be. Ultimately it was an incredibly satisfying movie that was just what the MCU needed after AOU and Ant-Man, a helluva strong start to Phase 3. Despite the aforementioned potential pitfalls in the first sentence, it's easily the match of The Winter Soldier as my joint favourite MCU film, knocking the first Avengers off the second place spot.

Score: 9/10

Hope you found this waffling rambling 'review' a decent read, feel free to share your thoughts about Civil War in the comments.

39 Comments

Can Jeff Lemire continue writing JLU?

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DISCLAIMER: This isn't based on an official announcement or news article from DC, this is based on my opinion and conjecture from the number of comics and projects Jeff is working on.

With that out the way, just take a look at all the comics Jeff will be working on in 2015 thus far:

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  • The Valiant with Matt Kindt and artist Paolo Rivera
  • Bloodshot Reborn with Mico Suayan
  • Hawkeye with Ramón Peréz
  • Plutona with Emi Lenox and Jordie Bellaire
  • AD: After Death with Scott Snyder
  • Descender with Dustin Nguyen
  • Black Hammer with Dean Ormston

Feel free to inform me if I missed anything out. Although The Valiant will only be a limited series, Lemire made a blog post stating that 4 of these comics would be ongoings; Hawkeye, Descender, Bloodshot Reborn and Black Hammer. Coupled with the After Death graphic novel with Scott Snyder and another 2 series for Image, I fail to see how Jeff can continue working on Justice League United when all is said and done.

If my predictions turn out to be true, I honestly think that would be a real shame. Justice League United has been a really fun, entertaining and classic feeling team book. It's like a mix of Justice League International, Legion of Superheroes and a Bronze Age tone to it. The roster is an eclectic and unique mix of B-C list heroes who deserve a comic to star in outside of the Batman obsessed marketing DC is exhibiting. The sci fi/fast pace/light hearted levity compared to the rest of the New 52 has been a welcome break from the grim and grittiness of the rest of DC's New 52. But I'm calling now that after the weekly Future's End concludes and Lemire wraps up The Infinitus Saga arc in Justice League United, there'll be some upcoming article where Lemire or DC announce his departure from the series and a new creative team on it.

Hopefully they can continue Lemire's consistent trend on the series and match his tone and vision the series has shown thus far. Or even better I'd really like to be wrong about this and Lemire can somehow still work on Justice League United alongside 5+ other comics. But even if Lemire won't be writing JLU anymore, I'm glad he'll be following his own creative projects for the most part. I'm a big fan of Lemire's mainstream and non mainstream work so I'll try and check some of these comics out if I can. But for now I'm happy with a solid Justice League and team book from DC thus far. Two good story arcs are better than none at all.

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72 Comments

Made it up to 20K Posts...Woot

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Now that the randomness is out the way, thanks to the cool cats of Comicvine who make this a fine place to come to in order to vent on too many events, who wins against who and why MOS is one of the most divisive topics on the entire boards. Here's to 20,000 more folks!

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78 Comments

Superman Matters: A blog dedicated to the Man of Steel

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Hey there fellow Viners, me and @squalleon are back for another blog on a subject and character close to both our hearts. After his disappointing results on August's Character of The Month polls, coming in at 9% and second last to Cyborg, it seems apparent more than ever that Superman doesn't have the best rep on the Vine. He may be the most iconic of superheroes but having an iconic status doesn't equal popularity obviously. There are many misconceptions, unfair criticisms and flat out incorrect assessments of the first, original template for superheroes that is Superman. On this blog, we intend to show why Superman has been a compelling, complex and intriguing character in a fitting world for over 75 years now.

1. Why Superman matters.

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Sq: He is one of the most popular characters in any medium. The personification of humanity's highest values, a champion of truth and justice and the ultimate male power fantasy. The countless elseworlds, homages, pastiches and plain old rip-offs that spawn by the months show that people still want to read about Superman. He is the unstoppable force and the immovable object, because of his unbreakable will, unshaken ethical code and unlimited power. A character that is deep and simple at the same time. Providing the reader countless questions about how a being like that would act and think. Why does he do what he does? Can he exist? How much would he change the social and political structure? And when does his mission stops before he becames a threat? Superman has reached the stage that he isn't just another character in tights but THE Super-hero, one whose only equals are the heroes of myth and legend.

Lv: Nice job Squalleon, now I have to match that awesome treatise. (clears throat) In light of the world of 1938 where the Depression hung like a black cloud over the working class citizens of America, two Jewish boys with a dream created a character that would fight back against corrupt landlords, greedy criminals and sleazy politicians for the rights of the common man. That character was the hero recognised as the iconic and legendary paragon of moral virtue and upstanding humanitarian goodness that we call Superman. The character has been through many shifts and interpretations; from the rough vigilante of the Golden Age to the family friendly but overpowered Silver Age incarnation to the modern version with determination and guts in his Clark Kent persona whilst also possessing an unbreakable moral compass and adhering to the highest virtues. That strength of character and of morality is something that, for some makes Superman too much of a goody goody boy scout. To those that actually take the time to learn about Superman, they know that Superman's morality makes him both a simple character with plenty to love about him whilst also allowing for deep, thoughtful if not philosophical stories to be told. How would an alien god on Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men be treated? What would the people's reaction be? How would governments react to him? Does he have the right to do what he does? These and many more questions also raised by my partner make Superman the head of the modern day superhero mythology. That's something I think we both agree on.

2. He is as "Super" as he is a "Man"

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Sq: Many think Superman is unrelatable but how can that be? He is constantly burdened by the destruction of Krypton the planet he will never be able to live in or see with his own eyes. He feels like an outsider, doing good not only because of his kind heart but because he wants to be accepted, to stop feeling like an alien in another world and even when he is the most respected man of that world he still feels a hole inside his heart because he deep down knows he will never truly be a kryptonian or a human, destined to be an outcast everywhere and forever. He has to give up personal relationships for his duty. He always has to choose between what is right and what is legal. More importantly he wants to have a family, a normal family but he knows he can't, he can't have a child with the woman he loves and even if he could he can't bring a child to that lifestyle because he is afraid to expose it to the dangers lurking out there(like every parent in the real world). He can't have a happy ending as long as the never ending fight is happening. Many stories touch those subjects and show why Superman is more complex than people think.

Lv: There are those that think Superman is too "Super" to be considered much of a real "Man." But I fail to see how that can be the case. He's grown up on a farm, had to work hard doing his chores on the farm and in controlling and growing his strange powers and abilities. Clark has often felt alone and outcast despite his upbringing from the Kents making him act just as human as any other human being. But that dichotomy of calling Earth home yet never truly belonging there is what makes Superman so compelling. He acts as much of a man as any human does yet his superhuman abilities and alien heritage are a constant reminder that no matter how many human values he adheres to, he will never be one of them. To round this off, I'll use the constant example that Batman is supposed to be more relatable than Superman. Batman is a psychologically tortured, practically has an obsessive disorder with expunging crime and protecting the innocent, is a billionaire playboy in his secret identity and spends every night fighting crime in Gotham sending fear into the hearts of criminals. If we take out Superman's alien heritage and powers and compare their personalities, who sounds more relatable? The guy raised on a farm with a strong work ethic and moral compass to use his gifts and abilities to better himself and to help others? Or the guy who dresses like a bat every night to scare criminals non stop?

3. What exactly does OP mean?

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Sq: Ok, lets be clear, what exactly does OP mean? Does it mean he can't be beaten by low-mid tiers and street levelers? GOOD because he isn't meant to fight them. Superman's enemies are either world-threatening, having the power, smarts or technology to counter Superman's incredible powerset or challenge his morals, will and heart. And in a world were genius phychopaths, monsters, demon overlords and alien emperors exist Superman WON'T have a problem to find a threat. Plus why are people always complaining about Superman and not Martian Manhunter,Captain Atom, Shazam, Silver Surfur or The Flash, heroes that are either on par or MORE powerful than Supes. The answer is because they want an excuse to hate Supes,even when thats not a good one.

Lv: I agree my friend, this is exactly the kind of criticism that is a real urban myth as to why Superman is not as popular as he should be. The overpowered claim is rooted in the Silver Age when, admittedly, Superman was vastly overpowered and was basically God for lack of a better term. But the modern version of Superman has been nowhere near this level of power for ages yet people still complain when he moves planets or tanks a supernova. This is the power level Superman is supposed to be written at, he's been a powerhouse character for many years now. The trick is not to make him Silver Age levels of OP whilst also showing Superman as a mighty being. Consequently, the counter to this point is "But that means there aren't powerful enough threats for Superman to face." That's a misconception of the threats and dangers Superman faces on a regular basis. In his regular rogues gallery, there's the tyrannical alien overlord Mongul who is usually strong enough to give Superman major trouble in a fight. There's Parasite, a power drainer who can take Superman's powers and use them against him. There's Hank Henshaw, a deranged technopath with Kryptonian and technological abilities surpassing Superman's own. And there's Lex Luthor who is not Superman's most powerful foe but tests Superman's physical might with his near unparalleled genius and vast resources. This doesn't even cover the JLA/other foes that are definitely more powerful than Superman in a pinch. Despero, Darkseid, Amazo, Doctor Destiny, Shaggy Man, Doomsday, the list goes on and on. So if people really think Superman is overpowered in a universe teeming with vastly more powerful beings, that's their misconception to make.

4.Superman's villains are awesome.

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Of course, a hero can only be good as his villains and whilst they're often underrated, Superman's rogues galleries are among the most compelling and threatening antagonists in the comic book business.

Lex Luthor: None are known more widely than Superman's arch nemesis, human antithesis and ultimate rival that is Lex Luthor. Lex is a self made man, someone who has clawed his way to the top of the food chain by any means necessary and was living the high life as Metropolis' so called favourite son, despite his amoral and unscrupulous nature. But all that changed when Superman arrived on the scene. Everything Lex can do and all the property he owns seems to pale in comparison to the ultimate man from the heavens. Someone who Lex feels is a parasite leeching from humanity and depriving them of the will to act on their own accord. If Superman represents the best of humanity, Lex represents our worst demons and vices. Lex has deluded himself into thinking his obsessive crusade against Superman is justifiable instead of using his mind for more worthwhile purposes. This is because he feels it’s more important to focus his efforts on wiping out humanity’s apparent false idolisation of Superman. But outside of the tussel between Superman's brawn and Lex's brain and vast resources, this polar opposite dynamic is at the heart of their antagonism. Lex is driven by sheer ambition and hatred of Superman and endeavours to transcend beyond humanity’s limitations. In contrast, Superman lives his life according to a moral code instilled in him by physically and intellectually inferior beings. Lex wants to be more than a man whereas Superman wants to be less of an alien outcast. Such a dichotomy makes their clashes all the more intriguing.

General Zod: Outside of Lex Luthor, Superman's next biggest foe is the ruthless General Zod. A former Kryptonian General turned rebel outlaw, General Zod was banished to the Phantom Zone for his treacherous crimes against Krypton. At least, this is the mainly accepted version of his origin thanks to Superman II which was also maintained in Pre New 52 and Post New 52 comics to some degree. Just like Luthor represents the worst of humanity to contrast Superman's best of humanity, General Zod stands as the worst that Superman's home planet of Krypton has to offer. Though there have been several versions of Zod in the comics; the Pocket Universe Zod that was killed by Superman or the strange Phantom Zone Zod that showed up in For Tomorrow, the most recognisable version can be found in the Last Son storyline by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner. Although that version first started off as the obvious villain with plans to take over the Earth with Phantom Zone criminals, Zod has been developed as a more sympathetic figure, particularly in Superman: World of New Krypton where Zod's motives and drives are explored further. Though Zod is a meglomaniac despot in power, he does hold the interests of his fellow Kryptonians first. It's why he rebelled on Krypton and, in last year's Man of Steel, it's why he wanted to terra-form the Earth so that his people could survive. This version of Zod is obviously the best way to depict the character, one who is a clear antagonist with powers equal to Superman's under the light of a yellow sun but also with understandable, if not appreciable motives at the heart of his actions.

Brainiac: Another excellent Superman villain for me anyway is Brainiac. A Coluan with a 12th level intellect, Brainiac scours the universe in search of planets and shrinks one of its cities to add to his collection of captured worlds. What really makes Brainiac work is his cold, apathetic and detached mindset from everything but his task of collecting more bottled worlds to add to his knowledge, technology and power. Brainiac is basically the worst of alienkind, our greatest fears and worries about the dangers of other extraterrestrial lifeforms rounded up into an alien cybernetic package. He's a villain I've always wanted to see appear in a Superman film, and no Superman III does not count just because the original villain was meant to be Brainiac :P He can pose a physical, psychological and ideological challenge to Superman all at once and when treated right, it's clear to see why Brainiac is one of Superman's greatest villains.

Mr. Mxyzptlk: Probably the most powerful of Superman's rogues is Mr. Mxyzptlk. His origin is usually very simple, he is just an immortal imp from the 5th dimension("just" hah?), seeking amusement, he often challenges the Man of Steel, who he finds interesting. He is more of a prankster rather than an enemy and he has found himself helping Superman or even giving him life lessons without any gain. But his new 52 origin is quite different. Mxy was an adventurer of the 5th dimension, who learned that the king was sad and no one could make him smile. Mxy managed to make him happy by pulling a universe out of his hat, tricking heroes from around that world, the king's and Mxy's favorite trick was Superman, the only one who outsmarted Mxy every time.

Parasite: Another dangerous foe is The Parasite. A slave to his natural needs, no matter how many people absorbed the life force from, Parasite couldn't satisfy his hunger. Then Superman came along an almost endless source of energy, when the two came into contact Parasite grew stronger and bigger than before. Parasite hunts Superman to satisfy his eternal hunger. His origins are almost never the same but usually end up with him being dosed with chemicals, which made him the always hungry monster.

Bizarro: The loveable monster of Superman's rogues, he is part humor, part confusion. Depending on his origin Bizzaro is a twisted copy of Superman or an alien from Bizarro world a planet similar to earth but backwards. He does everything Superman does just backwards, usually he speaks in broken sentences and he says the opposite of what he means. He is often created by Lex Luthor and his current New 52 origin is another one of those. Bizarro appeared in Forever Evil where he had some of the most hilarious and emotional scenes of the New 52 along with Lex. His powers are always a twisted version of Superman's like Flame breath and Freeze rays.

5.Superman's supporting cast is awesome too.

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Lois Lane: Fellow reporter at The Daily Planet, Lois Lane has been many things to Clark Kent over her 75 year history. Reporting partner, friend, lover and eventually wife to the visitor from another planet. Lois is a constant throughout Superman's many interpretations, Elsewords and alternate versions of the character as a representation of what Superman loves about humanity. Now I know some Superman fans and people on here aren't a huge fan of her but there is a reason Lois is a mainstay in the Superman franchise. She might not make Superman more human, a popular belief amongst Clois shippers that annoys those not so fond of the pair but Lois' personality represents a lot of what Superman loves about humanity. Determined, passionate, gutsy, capable yet caring and compassionate as well, Lois is a resourceful role model for women and an ideal contrast to Clark's personality.

Pa and Ma Kent: If ever there were parents who deserved the Parent of The Year award, Jonathan and Martha Kent fit the bill perfectly. It was them who discovered baby Kal-El's rocket in a Kansas cornfield and, rather than hand the strange space baby over to the government, the Kents took the child in and raised him as if he were their own. From then on, Clark Kent was raised by ordinary humans who instilled a strong work ethos and an upstanding moral compass into their upbringing of young Clark. They helped him control his abilities, gave him guidance on who Clark was and where he was from, advised him about what he should do with his abilities to make the world a better place and most importantly, gave much parental love and emotion to Clark Kent. It was the Kents who shaped Clark into becoming not just a man, but a Super-Man. And regardless of whether they live or die (RIP Jonathan and Martha Kent) their role in making Superman cannot be underestimated.

Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van: The desperate scientists of a doomed planet. They are two of the most inspiring and tragic figures in Superman's lore. With their planet destined to die, Jor-El and Lara had to take the ultimate risk of sending their child to earth, dying without knowing their son's fate. That part can be quite metaphorical, as it is a passing, sending your child to face the world alone. Jor-El was one of the most respected scientists of planet Krypton, often called the greatest, Jor-El was the youngest kryptonian to be part of the scientists council in some versions. He is one of only two people to actually repel the multitude(the other being Kal-El), he is the one who discovered and utilized the parallel plane of existence called Tha Phantom Zone He first found out that Krypton was dying but no one from the Kryptonian council believed him. Lara Lor-Van is Kal-El's mother, she is a brilliant scientist, who meet Jor-El at a young age. She, together with Jor-El created Kal-El's spaceship. In the New 52 version she is also an accomplished member of Krypton's millitary force as skilled with the blade as she is with the pen.

The Daily Planet: Metropolis' prime newspaper. The Daily Planet is one of the biggest mainstay's in Superman's lore in one way or another. Most of Superman's supporting cast is connected to the planet or was a part of it at one point. The main characters that work there except of course Lois Lane, are Perry White, the hard-boiled, ex-reporter editor-in-chief, Supeman's Pal Jimmy Olsen one of the few characters from Superman's supporting cast to get their own ongoings and get the Kirby treatment. Depending on the version Jimmy is either an awkward teenager or a dynamic photo-reporter ready foor action. He had many stories dedicated to him even the modern years. He is known for his transformations and disquises. Other members of the Planet are Cat Grant, the lifestyle reporter of the Planet, who currently owns a blog together with Clark, Steve Lombard the brash and overly self-confident Sports Reporter of the Planet and Ron Troupe a level-headed reporter who is also ready to take risks when the he hunts a story.

Superboy: A genetic clone from Superman's DNA and a human doner (originally Lex Luthor but changed in the New 52 to Lois Lane) Superboy emerged after Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday due to Cadmus' desire to create another Superman under their control. But the clone escaped, developed tactile telekinesis powers, met up with Superman in the ruins of Coast City and helped him defeat the evil Cyborg Superman. For the most part, Superboy wasn't really connected with Superman as his own series set him on his own path. But in the mid 2000s, when Superboy joined the Teen Titans, he learned that Lex Luthor was the other doner of his DNA. After a bout of mind controlling, Superboy took up a relationship with Wonder Girl, stayed with The Kents, sacrificed his life to stop the evil Superboy Prime and was brought back to life in The 31st Century. It's the mid 2000s where Superboy has really gained his popularity IMO because his character was made to be much more likeable without Connor becoming a Superman clone in personality. He's his own hero and has crafted his own legacy that makes him a very appealing and unique character.

Supergirl: Many have doned the mantle of Supergirl but the original and most famous of all is Kara-Zor-El. Kara was send from Krypton like Superman but she was at her teens when she did. Because of a meteor shower, she was stuck in suspended animation. Unlike Kal, Kara lived on Krypton making her tragedy, maybe, even worse than Kal-El's. Often hot-headed, Kara has a hard time adjusting on earth because of her kryptonian nature and upbringing. From the clutches of Darkseid to her Amazonian training, Kara got into many troubles before she finally became a full member of the super-hero community.

Krypto: The dog of Steel! Krypto is a kryptonian guardian dog. His courage and loyalty led him to protect the El family from the The Phantom Zone criminals but he was trapped as a result in it. He watched over Kal-El for years from the phantom zone like a ghost. He was there keeping the Man of Steel companionship even if Clark couldn't see him. A fan-favorite member of the Superman cast, Krypto is part of some of the most emotional and moving stories of Superman.

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Even if this humble blog hasn't convinced the haters and critics who are reading this that Superman isn't a bland and boring character, at least you can see why there are those of us who like the character for what he is. And to fellow Superman fans reading this, hope you enjoy reading this piece by us. Apologies to those who were hoping their comments might appear in this section but our thread didn't get enough traffic and comments so we scraped that section and talked about the supporting cast instead. Still, feel free to share your comments and views below.

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Super Speculations: DC,The Finches and Wonder Woman

Hi there guys and gals, this is Lvenger and Squalleon here. After a PM suggestion from my co-writer here, we've decided to do a weekly blog for the next few weeks where we detail our thoughts on a piece of comic book related news. It could be DC, Marvel, Image, films or games or anything else that takes our fancy. Since we're both big fans of Wonder Woman as well as a certain Man of Steel, we decided our first blog should be about the strangest yet pre-predicted (thanks to Bleeding Cool) creator change in comics since JRJR came to on DC. I am of course referring to Meredith and David Finch taking over the Wonder Woman series from #36 onwards. After another one of their recent interviews on CBR, we thought we'd write our first blog on this changing of the guard. Read on to see our thoughts!

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1.Why the Finches?

Sq: If DC wanted to minimize potential losses they would go with writers and artists that have a fanbase behind them. David Finch while popular he is often critisized for his work on women's faces and proportions, so he certaintly isn't the artist you would think, when you think Wonder Woman. Although in David's defence, he said in SDCC he spends 75% of his time fixing his flaws,like females, which are the majority of the characters in a Wonder Woman comic. Meredith is almost -if not completely- unknown, very inexperienced to say the least. So this change doesn't make sense in a business perspective, it is a huge risk even with the good editors DC put behind them. But if everything works out this would be a double win for DC, fixing a known artist and potentially introducing a strong new writer, which DC has done very successfully in the recent past.

Lv:Though I definitely agree an unknown creative team might not be the best way to drum up support for a new run on Wonder Woman, there have been times when Finch's art does look good. For instance, his Siege one shot combined detailed pencils with gritty inking making for an aesthetically pleasing issue. And his early Batman stuff (before he did the writing as well) fitted the gothic, grim tone of the series well. And Wonder Woman has received a much darker, horror inspired twist since Azzarello took over so perhaps Finch's style might carry over to Azzarello and Chiang's vision for Wonder Woman. Having said this, one need look no further than Forever Evil to see how messy Finch's pencils can be.

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2. Is it really a risk?

Sq: For DC to take such a risk they must either believe in their product or plain not caring. Considering how hard they are promoting WW now and considering that WW's popularity is very fragile at this point, I don't believe it is the second option. So Meredith must have a very strong vision for Diana and since she is a new writer she can be easily manipulated by the editorial(another double win for DC). By putting David an experienced artist who has worked in the industry for a long time, Meredith has a 24/7 editor to reach out too. The co-operation will be strong since they live together and they know each others weaknesses and strengths. So DC doesn't really have any humongous risk here I am pretty sure the editorial will have a strong grip over the final product until Meredith proves herself and some elements of the new creative direction show that, the moment DC sees that the new team isn't working they will make quick work of it and change the direction once more.

Lv: As for DC taking a risk, I can see why they might be willing to place so much trust on what Meredith Finch plans to do to Wonder Woman. But here's my main problem with this move, if you go to her Comicvine page, you can only see a grand total of 3 comics that she's written before. I repeat, 3 comics. Now maybe she has some writing experience outside of comics, I don't know. But for an inexperienced writer to be given the reins of one of DC's most iconic characters and one of the most well known female superheroes ever, it's just not something that you give to an unknown writer. I'm willing to bet that Finch's standing in DC helped push the move along a bit. And as my writing partner has already mentioned, there's a strong probability that editorial control will be ever present from the very beginning of Meredith's run. Azzarello negotiated a 3 year, uninterrupted arc for his take on the Wonder Woman mythos. Whilst I haven't stressed enough on here how beautifully brilliant Azz's run is, it's come at the cost that Wonder Woman has not interacted with the wider DCU in her own series. Something DC seem to want to fix given the preview pages for Wonder Woman #36 where the Justice League and Swamp Thing show up in a few pages.

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Swamp Thing; jobbing since 1971!

3.Thoughts on Meredith

LV: I'm still teetering on the fence myself in regards to what Meredith will bring to Wonder Woman. Though in her defense, she does say some of the right things in a recent CBR interview such as her gaining an understanding for the voice of the character and combining the little girl idolisation of Wonder Woman as well as a human personality too. Whilst this treads on the toes of the best depiction of Superman, it is not a bad idea to have both an icon and a human combined into one. The best heroes are such combinations of mixes between fantasy and reality. Plus, as a huge Azzarello fan, Meredith does say that she'll continue to include some of the characters from Azz's run whilst also fleshing out her own story. I'm glad that this certain part of Wonder Woman is not being cast out in favour of a totally mainstream series. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that one of Meredith's inspirations for her series, aka the 1970s Lynda Carter Wonder Woman TV show, is a highly outdated and corny take on Wonder Woman. Bringing it back to the comics does not equal character growth or development for Princess Diana.

Sq: Meredith mentioned she wants WW to be a character every woman can relate too, she is a working woman, a warrior, a hero, a loved one and a lover. For me thats great news, WW is someone who girls must admire and relate too and boys must fall for.But lately that has been lost to say the least and WW became a very fluctuating character, often staying alive only because of her iconic nature. Meredith could finally make her both a solid character but without losing her iconic, archetypal status. And maybe her being new to the industry is exactly what Wonder Woman needs. As someone new, she will not try to redefine WW like big names did for the last decade. Instead she might build on what came before and add to that. Characters that aren't rebooted regularly are the ones with the most stable fanbases in the industry and the ones you don't have to worry about for example Batman and Daredevil.

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4. Wonder Woman in the DCU.

Lv: Moreover, it seems as if the Finches are being tasked with catching up on all the time the Wonder Woman series has been separated from the DCU. This will probably mean more inclusions of characters like Superman who's still in a relationship with Wonder Woman (ugh) as well as guest stars like Swamp Thing. My concern with this is that the transition could be too instantaneous and rushed not to mention that the original Azzarello tone of the series could be lost amid the race to connect Wonder Woman to the New 52 DCU. Not to mention all the possible crossovers -_-

Sq: I think a more DCU connected Wonder Woman could be a good thing. Trying to do what Azzarello did would only look like a bad immitation. Also we don't really know anything about Wonder Woman and her relationship with the world. Does the world respect her, fear her, hate her or doesn't care for her? And a more DCU connected direction is also good for Meredith's vision, without the general DCU you would have a really limited view on WW's roles in life, something Meredith wants to focus on. Plus including some big names here and there would really give WW a sales boost, which the Wonder Woman title will need, especially for those first issues until the Finches can find a balance and hit their stride.

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5. What We want from Wonder Woman.

Sq: What I want from Wonder Woman is pretty simple: consistency. Wonder Woman is even worse than Superman when it comes to reboots and direction changes. What I hope Wonder Woman will try to accomplish is a consistent world for Diana to live in. Its pretty hard for the casual reader to stay in a character that is rebooted all the time, yes as weird as that sounds. Consistent characters are the ones with the most stable fanbases and the richest worlds. Take Daredevil for example, he hasn't been rebooted since Miller's spectacular run, of course the character had some dark times like all heroes had, with mediocre runs or forgettable ones but Marvel didn't instantly rebooted the franchise. An even better example is Batman. The character who has the most stable continuity in the comics world. His supporting cast may be the richest in the industry and the consistent continuity provided DC countless spin-offs to gain money from. But thats not all because the character is consistent, the writers have a pretty clear version of the character in their head as opposed to characters like Wonder Woman who are difficult to define and capture down to the core. This is a perfect opportunity for DC to stay consistent and give Wonder Woman a status quo. They have a version the general audience loved and Wonder Woman is on an all time high, throwing all that out would be a waste. Also I really like what I hear about Wonder Woman being a character that every female can relate too. Wonder Woman needs the female audience to love her for something more than her iconic nature. She is the ultimate female personification, its a shame if the people she was meant to reach out too, doesn't empathise with her.Lastly, I want David Finch to be awesome. The guy has done some very good mainstream art back in the day. I want him to channel that grittyness, he had back in the Moon Knight days. And finally fix the barbie heads on females :P

Lv: What I want from Wonder Woman can be boiled down to simply not throwing out the old when moving in with the new. Azzarello has paved the foundations for a new era of Wonder Woman and regardless of the puritan critics, Azzarello's run marks the beginning of something new for Wonder Woman. For too long in the Pre Flashpoint era, Wonder Woman has bounced around creative teams and directions with no anchor holding her down. Now that Azz and Chiang have crafted a new world and mythos for Wonder Woman to live in, it would be completely foolish to abandon this developments just to get Wonder Woman back to the mainstream canon. The best thing that can be done is to combine the two into a coherent mixture. Retain Azzarello's gritty, Greek Horror mythology inspired take on Wonder Woman whilst bringing in the Justice League, Swamp Thing and whoever else they want to crossover with Wonder Woman. Build upon what you have and bring the two together organically. Finally, hopefully Wonder Woman can be combined into an iconic character and with a human personality fans can connect to. Bring those two attributes together and Wonder Woman can still retain her literal God Like status whilst also exhibiting a personality, emotions, feelings and desires in the story. That's what Azzarello has achieved and this is what The Finches need to maintain in their run.

Well that wraps things up for our first blog of Super Speculations. Hope you enjoyed reading it and feel free to share your opinion in the comments below. See you next week for more Super Speculations!

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Lvenger's Thoughts on The New Female Thor Announcement

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The New Replacement God of Thunder.

As most of you reading this blog know, the news broke that Thor was being replaced by a female character having no longer been found worthy of wielding Mjolnir. Instead, a female character will take over from Thor and, for some reason, actually be called Thor instead of Thor (even though Thor is Thor’s name rather than an identity) Confused much? That’s what Marvel’s latest PR stunt seems to be causing, mass confusion. So I’ll just share some of my thoughts and opinions on this change via several areas of consideration.

1. Why the gender change?

I fail to see why Marvel are making this change in the first place. It’s just change for the sake of change and that is never a good way of introducing something new. To keep things in perspective, Aaron’s other changes in the Thor run have WORKED. Introducing the Past, Present and Future Thor has worked wonders in making for a compelling character overlook at who Thor is and where he’s going. Gorr and The Necro Sword have been awesome additions to Thor’s rogues gallery as has Dario Agger. These are creative changes which have actually fit into Thor’s universe. The decision to make Thor a woman has come straight out of nowhere and seems to fly flat in the face of Aaron’s plans such as introducing new love interest Roz Solomon, making Thor’s world more cosmic and teasing a 9 Realms war. What place does a female Thor have other than Marvel’s attempts to pander to the rising female demographic in the comic book audience?

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I'm really gonna miss Aaron writing stories about actual versions of Thor you know...

2. Why make the New Thor a Woman?

When you look at this move critically, exchanging Thor's gender really doesn't make sense. In mythology and in the comics, Thor is iconically recognised as a long blonde haired guy with a hammer in the comics and movies. Not only that, Thor is his literal name. You can’t just pick up the hammer and be Thor. You only have his power, not his name. It isn’t an identity or a mantle like Captain America or Iron Man that can be passed along. Thor is the intrinsic identity of the God of Thunder and this replacement is just as obviously out of place as Eric Masterson was as Thor’s replacement. Not only do Marvel make the mistake to remove Steve Rogers from the position of Captain America just to put a temporary Falcon in place for a token's character sake, they now have the misguided notion to promote the female sex by replacing Thor's brilliantly written series by Jason Aaron with a female lead. So I guess Tony's brother Arno is going to be the new Iron Man because Marvel's reasons are sooo enlightened on these matters. And there’s one ultimate nail in the coffin for Marvel's misguided attempts at promoting gender diversity; that the new female Thor will still be defined by being a female version of Thor. Call me old fashioned if you will but I like Captain America as Steve Rogers, Tony Stark as Iron Man and Thor Odinson as Thor. These shoehorned replacements can never match the appeal or history that the originals have. You can't beat the originals as they say.

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The real Marvel 'Trinity' so to speak. No exceptions or replacements can beat The original Source Material.

3. Why pull this PR stunt and try to appeal to gender diversity?

As I mentioned in my first paragraph, this is a blatant PR stunt on Marvel’s part designed to pander to feminist calls for women to have greater roles in comics. The only problem here is that most fans don't want different Thor's or Captain America's, we just want good stories with the same old heroes. Change things up a little, introduce some interesting plot points, bring in some solid characterisation and entertaining action, add in some extra elements and you have the recipe for the right kind of comic. That’s what Aaron was doing before and that’s what has made Thor: God of Thunder one of the best comics Marvel are currently putting out. But editorial interference seems to think that it’s a good idea to promote 'gender equality.' If I was directly addressing the Thor creative team and editors who seem to want gender equality in the Thor line, this is what I'd say. Make a damn effort to promote Thor's female support cast; Jane Foster, Roz Solomon, Lady Sif, Valkyrie, hell even Angela since you're bringing her in (and I have the feeling Angela is going to be the new Thor now.) Believe me when I say female characters need more promotion and treatment in comics but make them new characters or flesh out the old ones you have. Don't shoe horn a female character into a male hero's position as, at the end of the day, she's still defined by the male character, not her own legacy. I know Marvel are going for the “anyone can wield the power of Thor, even women” approach but this is ultimately detrimental to the female hero. Why? Because making a female version of a male hero demeans the male hero and leaves the superheroine being solely defined as a female replacement of the male hero.

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At the end of the day, this new Thor will probably end up being defined by her contrast in sex to the male Thor. Not as her own original character separate from Thor.

4. Why make it a new or existing female character?

From the sounds of the press release, Marvel seem to be hinting that this is a Pre existing character, not a new one. And my best bets on who the new female Thor will be stick mainly at either Angela or Thor Girl. Angela is the angel from the Spawn comics created by Neil Gaiman who sold the rights to Marvel. She’s been introduced into the Marvel Universe in Age of Ultron, has interacted with The Guardians of The Galaxy and is now officially Thor’s retconned sister thanks to Original Sin. Although her hair is ginger, it’s entirely possible she could be dying her hair to look more like Thor. And she has the power and potential worthiness criteria to wield the hammer but I have my doubts as to whether it’s Angela. But it could be Thor Girl based on a teaser that this new character “was saved by Thor and made herself look like him.” Both points fit the description of Thor Girl, an alien called Tarene who was once associated with Thor back in the 90s. From what I’ve heard, she’s ascended to a higher plane of existence so her coming back just to be the new Thor seems highly unlikely. That leaves the problem that, if this is a new character, what’s the point of their existence?

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Will Angela be the new Thor?

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Will Thor Girl make a return to the Marvel Universe and take over from The Odinson?

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Or will it be an entirely new character?

Which brings me to:

5. What’s the point of temporary change?

Unlike some people who are literally taking Marvel and Aaron’s statement that this is the new Thor period, I have my doubts that this will last longer than a year. It’s stereotypical, derivative, unoriginal and screams of a PR stunt to try and win over the female demographic of comic readers. But whilst this is temporary change easily reverted, that doesn’t make it any less of a bad idea. Not only is Thor at one of his most popular times with two solid movies (in terms of box office revenue and critical acclaim) he also has a critically praised comic series adored by the fans. Which makes it all the more confusing as to why Marvel are changing Thor for a new female character. The simple answer is shock value and generating a stir for the sake of it all over comic book fandom. That is not good enough for justifying a change in the first place. Change for the sake of change is not the right reason for doing it. This idea isn’t going to be fondly remembered among Jason Aaron’s excellent Thor series prior to this unfortunate announcement.

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Does anyone know how long Eric Masterson was Thor? Because I'm pretty sure he wasn't a popular or well loved addition to the footnotes of Thor's comic book history.

Bottom Line

Can we jump to conclusions about the quality of this series? No, a Twitter conversion with Mat Elfring showed that much for certain. The perspective about the quality of this series is, for now, up in the air. Can we justifiably go ape **** about it? Only to an extent. Reasonable criticism and utter disbelief at Marvel’s inane decision making and slapped on PR is at least warranted. Losing one’s mind over this is not permissible however. But for me, it is the straw that broke the camel’s back. So, after Thor: GOT 25, I’m dropping that series and ending any Marvel related purchases on my pull list. Call that extreme if you want but Thor was the only series at Marvel I was willing to buy consistently without delay. Not to mention the only series I was truly interested in. I’ve been perfectly civil in my reasoning and given logical critiques of why I don’t like where this series is going. And that’s what’s needed, not irrational fanboyism. There are fortunately many reasons why this is clearly a bad move from day one of press release and if expressed in the right way, you can demonstrate why this series is a bad idea.

Finally, I hope the feminists and pushers for women to have greater roles in comics don't jump down my throat by proclaiming this a hate speech. It's an impassioned plea to Marvel pointing out the errors of their ways and, whilst it is just one opinion, is probably going to be shared by loads of die hard Thor fans too. If people like this then...good for you I guess, it's your call. But I most certainly do not. And I support a greater diversity in female leads such as Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel, Wonder Woman etc in comics. I just don't see the plausibility or sensibility in this foolish temporary change for the sake of change that is being proclaimed here. Cast this as an angry rant if you must but at least it'll be a rant where I've made some critical and fair points of this ostentatious change. That will be reverted in a year as all other Marvel changes are. And it will be a pointless, empty change all the same.

But this is just my one single opinion. Do you think Marvel have flown the coop making the new Thor a woman? Or is this a much needed change that will freshen Marvel's line and promote women's role in comics? Feel free to discuss, agree, disagree and contrast below in the comments.

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Lvenger's List of Debates

Stolen shamelessly from TheTrueBarryAllen's list of debates blog, I figured I would do the same thing for my debates and future ones I have. I'll update this blog with different sections and new additions to my CAVs and tourney debates. This is meant to show the calibre of debaters I've had the privilege to debate against as well as show my different styles of debating and how I've conducted my argument in each debate.

Currently Ongoing: 4

Victories: 13

Losses: 4

Postponed/Cancelled Debates: 3

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Lvenger's 5 Most Anticipated Comics in the Future

I have some time to spare for a change so I decided to write another blog whilst I still can. Again, I do have ideas in mind for blog topics in the summer. Like Did The Cold War Influence the Comic Book Genre? or A Comparison between Atticus Finch (from To Kill A Mockingbird) and Superman so I'll work on those after my first year of university has finished. For now, I'll just write about some comics I'm looking forward to picking up in the future. My university constraints led me to restrict my pull list down to 4 comics (Superman Unchained, Thor: God of Thunder, Wonder Woman and Indestructible Hulk) but I already have in mind which comics I want to pick up in the future. So here's my rundown of 5 of my most anticipated choices in no particular order.

Fantastic Four by James Robinson and Leonard Kirk

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It probably isn't common knowledge that I actually have a soft spot for Marvel's First Family. All of the Fantastic Four are in my top 20 favourite superheroes list and I watched a couple of their cartoons when I was younger. Both the 1990s one and the mid 2000s cartoon as well (the latter was overall better IMO.) Anyway I adored their family bond through both good and bad times in their history, the zany sci fi adventures the team went on and the uniqueness of each member of the team too. From Reed's brilliant but detached personality to Sue's maternal and protective instincts to Johnny's hilarious banter and relaxed attitude, my favourite was Ben Grimm's rock hard personality concealing a heart of gold. Although the FF have had some great runs in recent years, Matt Fraction's latest tenure on the FF has been utterly terrible for me. Retconning Ben into causing Doom's accident, taking them to the near breaking point unnecessarily all the while writing the team severely out of character with a convoluted plot to boot. When I heard Robinson's first arc was "The Fall of The Fantastic Four" I was initially put out by what seemed to be another repeat of history. But after listening to James on the podcast a few weeks ago, my tune changed for once. Robinson seemed genuinely enthusiastic and understanding of the FF's rich history and he promised to bring a positive and upbeat tone to the series. And that's what the FF is all about. It's not grim or gritty, the Fantastic Four are all about a family at the end of the day and they're a much more light hearted title. Like Superman or Spider-Man. And Robinson's promise of that has me truly appreciative of what Robinson is doing. Although this series has started, I'll be picking it up at issue 4 in May.

Justice League United by Jeff Lemire and Mark McKone

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Although the New 52 has given us some absolutely duff and terrible creative teams, there have been diamonds in the rough. One of the most praised 'diamonds' DC currently have would be Jeff Lemire. Originally a writer for Vertigo, Lemire's mainstream work has earned great critical praise from DC fans. Animal Man has been widely applauded for its supernatural tone and exploration of family whilst his Green Arrow work has literally cleaned a turd into a shining bastion of comic book storytelling, resulting in its roaring critical success. Whilst it's too early to tell for certain how well this series will do, I have a very good gut feeling about Justice League United. Lemire is truly a quality writer and he plans to take a diverse roster of B lister characters including 3 of my favourites (Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow and Supergirl), set the team in the unique location of Canada allowing stories to be told away from the rest of the DCU and then give it a fast paced cosmic feel to the series. All these qualities are superb constituents for what should make a great series. If Lemire delivers strong characterisation, well oiled team mechanics, suitable sci fi plots and correct pacing then this could be the fresh new series the New 52 has been needing. For too long, fans have complained about the New 52 being recycled stories focusing mainly on Batman, Superman or Justice League titles without diversity or organic variation. And so if enough people get behind this unique title, this could be the gateway to opening up the New 52 DCU into something bigger and better. If not, it still looks like a quality title nonetheless.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz

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"But Lvenger, aren't you already reading this fantastic, consistently well written and original series from IDW?" Well dear reader, I unfortunately made an error in judgement when I chose which comics to keep buying for uni. Indestructible Hulk has been a major disappointment and I'm only reading it till the series' end. I now see I should have stuck with what is easily one of my favourite comics currently out in the industry today. The recent Northampton arc was an emotionally charged cooldown to the epic City Fall saga and truly focused on the ramifications the last arc had on the characters. This is exactly what I want to see in my event stories; real consequences on the cast I care about. And Waltz' script is handled expertly with Eastman's gritty tone and lore to the TMNT franchise. This series delivers some of the best writing in comics today. Whether it's hilarious one liners, dark twists, in character dialogue or fast and frenetic action, TMNT can do almost no wrong on anything it tackles. I'll be jumping back on for issue 33 for the next arc and will most likely keep this comic on my pull list for next year. Unless another title steals the spotlight, TMNT is too good to go without again.

Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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Another non DC or Marvel comic? Surprised aren't you? Well out of all the titles Image are putting out, only 3 have really captured my interest enough to consider buying. And this is one of them. The immensely popular Saga. A blend of sci-fi and fantasy on the Romeo and Juliet catapulted beyond any reader's wildest imaginations. I admit, even though I'm unfamiliar with Saga lore, this might serve as a footnote of what Saga is about. I have bought Saga Volume One in my London Comic Con trip last Sunday (shameless plug of my blog) but I'm reading Wonder Woman Volume 2: Guts and Kraven's Last Hunt first. Nonetheless, I imagine people will advise me to read more of Saga and maybe I will if I have time to spare. Admittedly, I do want to see what the fuss is all about for this title. Saga has blown away many people on here with its tight focus storytelling, uninhibited maturity on levels that would make Fredric Wertham incessantly enraged if he were still alive today and utterly unique characters like this Lying Cat I keep hearing so much about. This is as strange and yet enthralling as comics are supposed to get and the solicits, images and discussion about Saga have made me decide to pick up this series from issue 19 onwards.

C.O.W.L. by Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis

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Yes another Image title on my pull list. Whatever is the world coming to? When I heard Image's January announcements, this was the title I was most interested in. Higgins delivered an intriguing premise based in 1960s Chicago where the focus of the story is on a superhero union which struck a contract to work for the city in exchange for payment for their services. I was fascinated by Higgins' pitch of a combination of the history of the rise of the union movements in the 60s, a noir flavoured story with crime fiction and the superhero genres thrown in as well. These influences pulled me into the appeal of Higgins' university project on which the series is based on. Plus it's a fresh new series with little lore behind it making it easier to dive right into this intriguing title. With its roots in America unionised history and a crime noir story with superheroes in it to boot, I'm really excited for what C.O.W.L. promises to bring to the table. Since Higgins has done an excellent job on a brilliant Nightwing series, I figure he's a writer who can definitely be trusted on an independent project where he can tell the stories he wants to tell.

So that makes for my most anticipated comics in the months to come. Hope you liked it. What are your comics you're looking forward to reading in the future? Feel free to comment below.

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My Time at London Super Comic Con 2014

As you might have noticed, I wasn’t online on Sunday since I was at London Super Comic Con 2014. I haven’t had the time to write a proper blog for a while now. I do actually have ideas in mind for blog topics though. Like Did The Cold War Influence Comic Books? or A Comparison between Atticus Finch (from To Kill A Mockingbird), Stalin and Superman. Such topics may have to be saved for the summer holidays but on this, I can at least spend some time writing down what happened at my third outing at this particular comic convention.

On this occasion, my dad and I travelled into London by both car and the tube. Last time, we’d been hit with the full force of the London Expo traffic delaying my arrival to Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man panel (which in hindsight wasn’t such a bad thing really) so we decided to come in via the tube to cut time down. Thus, I arrived at the London Expo centre just before 1pm to the London Comic Con. And I was immediately greeted with the sight of Doctor Octopus casually chatting to Rogue and Rorschach. An obvious sign of where you are could not be made clearer. Man oh man were there loads of people there this time. Saturday had Jonathan Ross giving a panel so who knows how busy it was then?!

Anyway upon arriving I ventured off into the wilderness of the convention room to scout out some comic books. I came in with…in between £50-60 or over $100 in American currency and left with…significantly less than that. Seriously, I spent money on comics faster than Stan lost his money in this infamous South Park bank scene.

So you can tell I spent a lot of money on comics and graphic novels. And here’s the full list in case anyone is wondering what I bought

Graphic Novels:

  • · New 52 Wonder Woman Volume 2: Guts
  • · The Amazing Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt
  • · Saga Volume 1
  • · Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of The Foot Clan
  • · The Mighty Thor: The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill

Comics

  • · Silver Surfer #2 and #4 (from Pak’s run
  • · Avengers #16 (volume 2)
  • · Avengers Classics #6
  • · JLA #47-48
  • · Gotham Central #13, 15
  • · Star Wars Legacy #10
  • · Fantastic Four #494-495
  • · Detective Comics #747, 753
  • · Action Comics #788-789
  • · Nightwing #30
  • · Green Lantern #50-52, #55-56 (first appearance of Kyle Rayner
  • · Ion: Guardian of the Universe #1, #2, #8

As you’ve probably guessed, carrying all these comics around was quite a heavy burden. So I decided to rest in a seated area and the closest seating to me was an open panel hosted by Avatar Press. Many of you guys on here might know of this company but basically they’re another indie comic book company based in America and founded by William Christensen, described by fellow writers at the panel as “the last shoe maker amongst a mass of shoe factories.” An apt analogy to say the least. And although Avatar Press is a company few have heard of, they had their top notch writers at the panel. There was Kieron Gilleon, better known for his Marvel work on Thor and Journey into Mystery discussing his latest work called Uber as well as other sci fi titles he was working on. There was Simon Spurrier, writer of Saren/Citizen Bane’s favourite Marvel title X-Men Legacy (this one’s for you :P) who discussed his latest web series called Disenchanted. And the well known (I think?) Max Brooks, whose father I probably don’t need to tell you about based on his last name, spilled the beans on his new comic series Extinction Parade which is basically Vampires vs Zombies. But it also breaks down the vampire genre and shows how the reasons why people admire vampires are actually weaknesses of the vampires. All framed against a zombie invasion the vampires initially approve of but then realise the horror of the situation. All of these projects sound genuinely interesting and intriguing and this is from a company that isn’t even on the map in the way other indie companies like Image or Dark Horse are. And to think I only went in there to read my comic stash I’d bought at the panel.

On an extra side note, amongst the myriad of creators present at LSCC, guess who else was there? That’s right, the notoriously ‘controversial’ Marvel writer to say the least, Dan Slott. Suffice to say, I restrained myself mentally from walking over to Mr Superior and giving him a piece of my mind on SpOck. That wasn’t why I’d come to Comic Con and I didn’t want to ruin my day nor his nor the people who wanted to speak to him. Come to think of it, I actually saw another notable for the wrong reasons comic face there. Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool fame. I didn’t recognise him at the time but photos posted on the site showed me that the guy who was with Dan Slott for most of the time I was there was actually Johnston himself.

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Two greater stirrers and twisted faces are hard to find in the comic book industry.

All in all, I had a nice time at the Con on Sunday. Not quite as memorable as the last 2 times but still plenty of fun. I’ll round off with some of the photos (mine were of exceptionally poor quality) taken at the con of cosplayers and costume wearers alike. Hope you liked reading this blog and what you see afterwards of the cosplayers! :)

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