2012 turned out to be a pretty darn good year at the movies. There were two films which I gave perfect scores to this year, one of which the majority of the country won’t be seeing until early next year. I’m breaking my own rule of including it on the list, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Between these two films, which naturally open and close the list (as it’s presented alphabetically), are eight other films rounding out the class of 2012.
Cutting down my list to ten means I need to speak for a moment on films that barely missed the cut. John Carter was the year’s most under-appreciated film, The Cabin in the Woods turned the horror genre on its ear, Ang Lee delivered an amazing journey with Life of Pi, Wreck-It Ralph was this year’s best animated feature, Safety Not Guaranteed was a terrific little sci-fi flick almost no one saw, and Moonrise Kingdom was director Wes Anderson‘s best film since The Royal Tenenbaums.
Enough with what didn’t make the list, let’s get down to discussing what did:
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Although I’ve grown disinterested in Marvel’s Avengers titles as of late, with the fallout of AvX and the newly relaunched title by writer Jonathan Hickman (neither of which I enjoyed), I have been a fan of Marvel’s animated The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon and the cover of this issue promised the kind of Avengers story I was interested in reading. I wasn’t disappointed.
The first story involves Thor and Ms. Marvel (wearing her classic costume) taking on a long-dormant Skrull killing machine who attacks the pair when it recognizes Ms. Marvel’s powers come from Kree origins. The one-upsmanship between the mighty Thor and the mighty Ms. Marvel is a lot of fun.
The back-up story involves the Black Widow and the Wasp sneaking into Doctor Doom‘s laboratory to rescue a pair of scientists whose work Doom is corrupting to turn into a biological weapon. Complete with insane escape, quarreling scientists, and Doombots, it proves to be just as much fun. Worth a look.
With the launch of Marvel Now!, Marvel Comics gives us yet another rebooting of the Avengers (which was last rebooted only two years ago). The initial team apparently was chosen solely for their big screen appearances, although the issue teases a much bigger (but perhaps not really more interesting) roster.
For our opening issue we’re given a team of Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, the Black Widow, Thor, and the Hulk, of which only Cap and old Shellhead really are given much to do. The threat involves a weird group of aliens terraforming the surface of Mars, led by what appears to be a Jack Kirby villain that even Dynamite Entertainment wouldn’t be interested in, who have now turned their attention to Earth.
First, let me say I hate, hate, hate the obvious amount of influence the Marvel Studios films have had on this title from the get-go. Not only are we stuck with the, somewhat limiting, movie team, but the comic even finds a way to put Captain America into something far closer in style to the character’s movie costumes than I’d like.
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In deep space the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy come across Thanos who has control of a Cosmic Cube (okay, it’s not a real Cosmic Cube). Turns out the power in Thanos’ hands was made by the United States Government and could very well mean the end of everything as the Mad Titan expels Thor and the rest of the two teams into the Cancerverse before making his way to Earth.
On Earth the Fanatastic Four and renaming Avengers including Ms. Marvel, War Machine, the Vision, and Captain Britain prepare for a final stand. Inside the Cancerverse the heroes meet with the Elders of the Universe who Thanos trapped in the alternate dimension as well. With the Elders help, and a little Stark know-how, the teams return to Earth to help stop Thanos.
The end of the arc works well, and gives us two full pages of the two teams beating the crap out of a de-powered Thanos. There is still the matter of the Badoon armada on their way to Earth, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a few months to see how that plays out when the Guardians return in their new monthly comic in February. Worth a look.
Honestly, I wasn’t looking to get into another Avengers title (especially after being discouraged by the recent AvX tie-ins in the other comics), and, even after reading it, I’m a little unsure in what version of the Marvel Universe the title actually takes place. But if you throw in Thanos and the Guardians of the Galaxy I’m going to give it a shot.
The issue opens with most of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy slowly dying in the vacuum of space as their attack on a Badoon warship didn’t go exactly to plan. The team regroups and makes another attack (the issue certainly isn’t light on action), but they find themselves out of the frying pan and into the fire as the issue ends with them confronting a super-powered Thanos with his own Cosmic Cube.
The use of the Badoon is a nice touch (given their importance to the original Guardians of the Galaxy) and although Thanos omnipotence and brashness to the Elders of the Universe is nothing new, it’s presented well. Worth a look.
- Title: Item 47
- IMDB: link
About a week ago Entertainment Weekly broke the story of Marvel’s new short film Item 47 which will be included as an extra on The Avengers Blu-ray. In the film Lizzy Caplan (Party Down) and Jesse Bradford (Flags of Our Fathers) star as a couple who find one of the discarded alien guns from The Avengers and “proceed to make some incredibly bad decisions.”
Today EW debuted the short film’s official poster and confirmed Titus Welliver and Maximiliano Hernández (reprising his role as Sitwell from Thor and The Avengers) will be appearing as well as the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents called in to take down the modern day Bonnie and Clyde.
Item 47 will make it’s debut at Comic-Con and will be available on The Avengers Blu-ray September 25th.
Super-heroes, aliens, character studies, parents and their children, time travel, the Scottish Highlands, young love, monsters, and the end of the world. Halfway through the year we take a look back at the ten best movies from the first-half of 2012.
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If you were wondering how Marvel Comics was going to draw out Hope Summers becoming the Phoenix over a twelve-issue maxi-series, issue #5 answers that question with an unexpected bait-and-switch.
On the moon where the Avengers and X-Men battle and the Phoenix Force arrives, Iron Man and Giant Man create an ill-explained kamikaze robot created to disperse the the Phoenix Force before it can completely merge with hope. However, their plan doesn’t quite give them the expected outcome.
Although Hope Summers is denied the Phoenix Force, it instead it finds itself dispersed among five of the X-Men – Cyclops, Colossus, Magik, Emma Frost, and Namor who take Hope “home” to save here, heal her, and prepare her for what is to come.
Honestly, as twists got this one is pretty damn dumb, but having the power dispersed among five different X-Men may create some unusual battles over the next few issues before Marvel finally relents and gives us the only thing we’re reading this comic for – the new Phoenix. Hit-and-Miss.
The fourth-issue of Marvel’s big summer event only moves forward the larger story in a minuscule way as the Phoenix Force awaits in space above Earth. However, Avengers vs. X-Men #4 does give give us a face-to-face confrontation between Hope Summers and Wolverine as the mutant messiah attempts to convince the man who wants her dead that she should be given the opportunity to try and control the Phoenix Force.
With frozen beers and a well-reasoned argument Hope convinces Logan to help get her to the moon where she can confront the looming cosmic entity. Although Logan agrees, he proves to have other motives leading to another confrontation between Marvel’s two marquee teams on the surface of the moon.
The comic does a good job by showcasing how powerful the Phoenix Force is (it takes down Thor and the rest of the space-fairing Avengers with little effort), and Hope’s early scenes with Wolverine work really well, but Logan’s multiple turns are a little awkward and far too rushed.
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Round 3 finds Hope on the run, the X-Men surrendering to the Avengers, and a big throwdown between two old friends. Cyclops and the X-Men’s surrender is a feint that allows the group to escape and begin a search for Hope. Meanwhile the Avengers split into five groups to find the young girl before the Phoenix Force finds her.
Although we get very little of Hope in this issue (she makes little more than a token appearance hiding on the streets of San Fransisco) we do get Cyclops outsmarting the Avengers and Captain America and Wolverine coming to blows over Logan’s plan to murder Hope before the Phoenix Force can claim her. We get far less story progression than I’d like, but the fight between Wolverine and Cap makes up for it.
By the end of the issue we now have three distinct groups. Cyclops and the X-Men who want to keep Hope away from the Avengers, the Avengers who want to keep Hope away from becoming the new Phoenix, and Wolverine who just wants her dead. Worth a look.