Saturday, 18 February 2012

Issue 17: 2012 movie preview edition

I’ll steer clear of the story of the week in comicsland, as I’m not really one to concern myself with legal battles between publishers and creators.  Instead, I thought I’d get excited about what’s shaping up to be a shit hot year for movies based on comic books.

Impossible to ignore, Chris Nolan’s take on Batman reaches it’s conclusion in The Dark Knight Rises.  Now I do have a little beef with this.  Bane is not just a big guy, he is massive.  The kind of massive only CG can create effectively.  Bane also has a Mexican wrestling mask.  No mask, and under ten feet tall = not Bane.  And I get the feeling that Catwoman is being chucked in there, kinda like Sandman was chucked into Spider-Man 3.  Still, we saw the Bane On A Plane footage that played on the start of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol at IMAX, and we were left staggered.  Fuck all those fuckwits on the net (like me) that are kickin’ this thing.  This movie will be awesome.  It’s Nolan with probably the biggest budget ever.  I’ve enjoyed all of his movies since Memento.  Bring this shit.

There’s reason enough for me to embrace The Amazing Spider-Man as an acceptable reboot.  Spider-Man 3 gives me the shits.  This series gets Peter’s girlfriends in the right order.  The very beautiful and very capable Emma Stone plays Gwen Stacy.  There seems to be a less playful, darker tone.  The long flirted-with, never-realised villain The Lizard makes his big screen debut.  Now, let’s just hope Andrew Garfield’s agent is less demanding than Tobey Maguire’s, and we don’t have to have Spidey’s mask conveniently ripped off in act three so he can get more exposure.

I’m hoping Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance can be a successful underdog this year.  While the “save the little kid” plot might be a bit crappy, the total nailing of the visual effects that bring Ghost Rider to life should make up for it quite nicely.  I’m hearing they are letting Johnny Blaze be more of a hard drinkin’ badass, and I like Nic Cage when he’s well directed.  I’m tipping this as not too bad a way to entertain one’s self for less than twenty bucks.

I think it was a recent episode of Melbourne podcast Noncanonical that someone suggested that a movie of The Avengers is such a culmination of things luckily falling into place that by rights it should not exist at all.  I tend to agree, and if you subscribe to the idea of multiple universes, each with a unique difference, then be thankful you live in the universe where this movie will see the light of day.  It’s a shame that the chance for Edward Norton to return as Bruce Banner fell through, but this is a dream come true for people such as you and I.  Buy a ticket and make this a hit, and we can all watch Cap, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow kick butt on the big screen for a long time yet.  Go on, watch the fucking awesome trailer again!

The Incredible Hulk #4   As mentioned a couple of weeks back, this issue of The Incredible Hulk sees Whilce Portacio take over pencilling duties, and I feel his style may take a little getting used to because while the other characters all look great, Hulk himself seems to be a little off.  Bah, maybe I’m just spoiled lately and coming down from Silvestri’s all-too-brief run.  I can appreciate the tinges of early Image works shining through in the occasional panel, like the one above, which almost looks like Todd McFarlane stepped in for a second.  Very nice indeed.
What I most enjoyed though was a strong story courtesy of hot/cold writer Jason Aaron, who plays with the crazy scientist role of Banner to excellent effect, being careful not to create a caricature and not overplaying the reader’s sense of pity either.  The best lines belong to Banner, especially as his psychosis is revealed almost layer by layer as he speaks.  I hope this whole angle of The Hulk and Bruce Banner being separate beings isn’t over too quickly, as there is plenty of depth left to exploit story wise.  The Incredible Hulk post-Greg Pak is still a monster mash, just done a little differently, and it’s good.   –Jem

Superman #5   This issue begins with emergency services and media rushing to a scene where the combined might of Superman’s three previous alien attackers hold Supes in a tornado of fire and ice, which he seemingly absorbs.  As onlookers collectively wallow in a WTF moment, Superman flies off to clean up Metropolis…. but something’s not quite right.  Lois picks up on his “messiah complex” right away, and Superman’s efforts grow increasingly sinister as he destroys all trace of some defeated robots, wipes out mutants, and executes a group of terrorists in custody.  Metropolis is scared and as the citizens begin to speak out, Superman decides even disapproving voices are a threat.  Just what the fuck is wrong with the son of Krypton?  The last pages provide an explanation and left me hanging for the next issue.  I like Nicola Scott’s artwork here, particularly her full page stuff, and some quick wiki-ing revealed she’s Australian.  Awesome!  If nothing else, this DC relaunch has prodded me to pay attention to a few artists and writers I should be more familiar with.   –Jem

Resurrection Man #2 - #6   While Resurrection Man #1 didn’t totally win me over last year, as I dropped more DC titles to get my monthly intake down to a lean dozen I sometimes wonder if I let a few good fish off the hook.  Recently I went back to The Flash, and lately I’ve wondered if Resurrection Man is worth revisiting.  A free digital preview on Comixology piqued my curiosity enough for me to return.  The result?  Well, the story meanders through the next few issues a little, as two pervy hitwomen hunt Mitch as part of some mysterious contract.  Unlike most close calls in which our main protagonist narrowly dodges bullets/leaps from exploding vehicles/blocks a flaming meteor with his big toe, Mitch bites it in almost every issue, sometimes in some pretty awesome ways!  Just check out the plane engine liquification in issue #1!  He can do this, obviously because he’ll return to life, ready to keep punching, and with a new super power to boot.  This is the really cool thing about this book, as the reader never knows what freaky power Mitch will wake up with.  As I read on though, I wasn’t really finding anything that spectacular about this book, until I got to the sixth issue, where Mitch ends up in Arkham Asylum, muttering about needing to die to live, and generally tempting others to murder him to prove he’s not crazy.  It’s here this book really hit it’s stride, and I’m glad I did this multi-issue smash today because if I was collecting it monthly I would have dropped it by now.  If you’re curious, pick up #6 and check it out.  Hell, there’s even a strong Batman reference that doesn’t lose it’s guts by actually having Bats appear in the book (see earlier Burgers for my opinions of this).  Well done.  -Jem

Thanks again kids.  Lots more lined up to read.  Back with more soon.


  1. Re: Movie Trailers, surprised you didn't make a cheeky comment about the prevalence of sweeping shots of urban sprawl in each.
    Personally, I have my reservations about Nolan's last Bat film, but I agree - he's likely to slay it.
    Ghost Rider, I HATE Nic Cage with a passion and the plot looks hokey, but I can't deny that badass CGI and action. More chase sequences with flaming bikes please.
    Garfield looks like a much better Peter Parker than Maguire. That one scene in the car with the robber brings most of my Spider-Man fantasies to life. But for every positive, there appears to be a negative.
    Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey. tick.
    The Lizard as a main villain. cross.
    The friction of Parker's origins has sort of been done, still could be ok.
    And Avengers? I really want to like this, particularly with cultural uber-god Joss Whedon at the helm, but after the trailer? Meh.
    ...except Downey Jr.'s line about The Hulk. Boom.

    1. Yeah, Spidey's origin doesn't really need to be covered again... UNLESS they feel it's necessary to make it truer to the comic ie: Gwen is his high school love interest, MJ comes along later. I'm hoping that a sequel will jump forward to Peter's adult life. He was only a teenager in the comics for a short time! And Andrew Garfield is 28! Let the character grow up.
      The Avengers trailer doesn't do it for you? I'm shocked. Perhaps if I lent you the five films that set it up....