Well done Joss Whedon. Ensemble casts aren’t always the easiest to deal with, especially when you’ve got stars of several franchises who all need to be showcased. Not only does the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer succeed in giving each hero their own moment to shine, but he crafts what is inarguably one of the best super-hero movies of all-time. I don’t know if The Avengers is going to be the best movie of the summer, but if it’s not I can’t wait to see what could possibly top it.
One thing Whedon and the numerous special effects experts used on the film get just right is scale. From the first time we see the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier to the film’s final battle (which can only be described as epic) the size and breadth of it are awe-inspiring. I viewed the film in IMAX 3D, and while I think a regular screening will still be quite good, the IMAX certainly helped sell the larger-than-life aspects of the script (which Buffy fans should be glad to hear is peppered with classic Whedon one-liners and humorous asides).
For an entire issue that only covers a handful of minutes this one’s full of action. Picking up right where issue #1 left off the Avengers invade Utopia and throw down with the X-Men as Captain America tries to talk some sense into Cyclops before the Phoenix Force arrives from deep space.
There are quite a few interesting match-ups as we get Cap vs. Cyclops, Iron Man vs. Magneto (which isn’t as over as fast as you might assume), Colossus vs. Red Hulk, Storm vs. the Black Panther, and Wolverine sneaking into Utopia through the sewers to assassinate a teenage girl… you know, for the good of humanity.
But it’s bad news for the Avengers as it seems Cyclops has bought Hope enough time as the Phoenix has indeed started to rise. The fallout of this issue, in two weeks, should be very interesting. Worth a look.
How far would you go to protect your planet? How about your entire species? With the Phoenix Force returning to Earth for the obvious chosen new host of Hope Summers, the Avengers and the X-Men find themselves with opposing viewpoints that aren’t going to solved by mere words.
Captain America wants to take Hope and sequester her away from the Phoenix Force before it arrives. Cyclops wants Hope to embrace the power, and with it help Mutant-kind back from the edge of extinction. Not surprisingly, given the stakes, neither man cares much for what Hope wants for herself.
The rise in tension leads to Cap and Cyclops having a frank discussion on the shores of Utopia that ends far from peacefully with Cap blasted back into the sea, the Avengers assembling overhead, and the X-Men preparing to defend their homes and Hope from the invaders (who include former X-Men Wolverine and Beast) who have arrived to kidnap a teenage girl from a sovereign nation.
Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel Comics’ big 2012 summer event begins here. With a Zero issue. Really? A Zero issue? Apparently Marvel didn’t learn from DC’s mightily bungled New 52 that things which happened in the 1990′s should stay in the 1990′s.
The comic is broken into two stories. The first (written by Brian Michael Bendis) is the reemergence of the Scarlet Witch who, with the help of Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman, helps save a United Nations ambassador from M.O.D.O.K. and A.I.M. Despite her concerns the pair convince her to return to the Avengers mansion where she receives a chilly reception.
The second story (by Jason Aaron) focuses on Hope‘s growing violent outbursts as she waits for the Phoenix to arrive to either embrace her or destroy her. The story begins with Hope’s altercation with Cyclops over his overprotective nature and ends with her nearly beating the Serpent Society to death before looking longingly into the sky for something just beyond the horizon.
Although it’s still giving away nothing about the threat, other than the presence of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), I’ve got to say I’m pretty positive on this second trailer for this summer’s big budget super-hero flick The Avengers. Sure Captain America’s (Chris Evans) costume still doesn’t quite look right, and, more importantly, the action looks far too Michael Bay for my tastes (and even includes a giant Depticon-ish looking monstrosity in the final shot), but that shot with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) bringing down his Hammer on Captain America’s shield? Yeah, that looks pretty cool (and a hellova lot better than that awful new poster). Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Cobie Smulders, Mark Ruffalo, and Samuel L. Jackson also star. The fun stars everywhere on May 4th.
Seriously? Take a look at this and tell me it doesn’t remind you of countless examples of photoshopped characters, all staring in different directions, and always against random destruction in the background, that has become a staple of Justice League since the New 52 reboot.
The final issue of Secret Avengers by writer Warren Ellis isn’t bad, but then again it isn’t all that great either. I won’t go so far as to say he phoned it in, but this is a rather lackluster end to his run on the comic.
Steve Rogers as his team fake an emergency to break into the Office of National Emergency and rout out a high ranking traitor who has been finding intelligence to the Shadow Council.
The team learns the Super Soldier experiments taken from Paraguay and brought into O.N.E. have been activated by the traitor once the Avengers appeared. The creatures have been unleashed in the bowels of the building.
Rogers interrogation of the traitor works okay, but the team fighting the (rather generic-looking) monsters in the basement is far from thrilling. The comic also ends with a thoroughly unsatisfying ending as Captain America either allows a woman five feet away to commit suicide or was simply too stupid or too slow to stop her. I don’t know, maybe the years are finally catching up with him? Hit and Miss.
The second Annihilators mini-series ends more with a whimper than a bang. I thought the main story stayed more interesting this time around (even without the Silver Surfer), as the Avengers and Annihilators banded together to stop the return of the Magnus and the rise of the Universal Church of Truth.
Sadly, poor Rocket Racoon and Groot‘s B-story with Mojo peters out in the few pages. If these mini-series are going to continue Rocket Racoon and Groot need to be given a bigger role, brought in on the main storyline, or given their own comic.
Much like the first mini-series Earthfall was fun, but not as good as I hoped it to be. Here’s hoping the next one knocks it out of the park (and gives us at least twice as much Rocket Racoon and Groot). I AM GROOT!