Disney Says Two Marvel Films a Year

by Josh Starnes, CMRO Editor

Disney to produce two Marvel films a year

Based on the success of “The Avengers,” which is closing in on the top three all time highest grossers domestically, Disney plans to keep producing at least two Marvel films every year, CEO Bob Iger said Wednesday.

Talking to the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, Iger likened Marvel with Pixar’s steady stream of successes for the studio, making Marvel on par with animation as a tent pole in the studio’s success.

“We have done well on the animated and Marvel front,” Iger said, adding that “we intend to make two Marvel films a year and that slate is well defined” through 2014.

While Marvel’s slate for the near term has been known for some time–Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 are both due next year–and the studio has several sequels in development, more new projects will have to be developed in order to keep up with that schedule.

Currently Marvel has four active franchises it can develop sequels for but with contract negotiations on the horizon continued production of sequels is not a foregone conclusion.

Disney’s plans for Marvel productions do not take into account Fantastic Four, X-Men or Spider-Man films who’s film rights are controlled by other studios and predate Disney’s acquisition of Marvel.

Properties which have been discussed over the years by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige include Ant-Man, Submariner and new Hulk and Punisher films.

CMRO Update (05/30/2012)

Updated

Added

Fantastic Four #605.1 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Fantastic Four

Issue #605.1

Written by Jonathan Hickman, Art by Mike Choi

Published: July 2012

Marvel has been releasing Point One issues for a little over a year now. The idea behind it is that these issues are good jumping-on points for new readers. They’re self-contained little stories that not only get the reader caught up to speed but they plant the seeds for future storylines.

Fantastic Four 605.1 is a little different. If it’s your first foray into anything Fantastic Four (which is unlikely), it won’t explain diddly. It takes place in an alternate reality where Reed Richards, Viktor Von Doom, and Sue and Johnny Sturm (not Storm) are all nazis, reporting to Hitler himself. Ben Grimm is a Jew, retrieved from a concentration camp when his pilot skills are needed for a mission into space. My initial impressions of the story weren’t flattering. It seems like whenever a writer wants to give a hero (or heroes) the alternate history treatment, they just make them nazis, so it’s not like the premise is real original. Fortunately, Jonathan Hickman is a good enough writer that he can breathe new life into a tired scenario.

Being a Point One issue, it’s an origin story, so it reads almost like a summary. There’s a lot of story packed into these twenty-two pages, so the pace at quick. There isn’t a lot of depth to it simply because there isn’t time for it. What Hickman presents is more of a series of ideas rather than a really fleshed-out story, but that’s alright, because they’re damn good ideas. Fantastic Four 605.1 is clever and compelling, with slickly done art by Mike Choi and Cris Peter. The Point One series supposedly lays the seeds for future storylines, which makes me incredibly excited for the future of the Fantastic Four titles. Hickman has created something very special here, and if this is all we get to see of it, that’ll be a damn shame.

Thor 2 to Get a New Villain

by Josh Starnes, CMRO Editor

Thor 2 to feature new threat

Thor 2 will feature a new, never before presented villain for the Marvel Cinematic Universe when the film bows November 14, 2013.

The character, presumably to be played by actor ads Mikkelsen, will not be Thanos, who was teased during the credits of Marvel’s The Avengers.

“There will be a major new villain. A major new antagonist,” Marvel Entertainment President Kevin Feige said in an interview with Empire Magazine.

Despite the arrival of a new villain to frustrate Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth (most recently seen in “Snow White and the Huntsman”), Tom Hiddleston’s Loki will not be going anywhere any time soon, Feige added.

“[Thor’s] relationship with Loki will continue to evolve,” Feige said, noting that the events of The Avengers, will have “affected Thor for sure.”

The film will also showcase a larger amount of Asgard than the first Thor and it won’t be “all polished and golden in this film,” Feige said. “We’re going to see the other side of Asgard.”

Also hinted at in the interview was the possible arrival of Thor’s love interest, human scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), on Asgard as well.

Thanos, meanwhile, is being held for “the future, future,” Feige said of plans for the classic cosmic villain created by Jim Sterling in the 1970s.

Those plans may include use as a villain for “Avengers 2” which Marvel has announced is in development.

Hulk #6 Review

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Hulk

Issue #6

Written by Jeph Loeb, Art by Ed McGuinness

Published: August 2008

Originally, Hulk #6 was supposed to wrap up the red Hulk saga. However, sales of this series went through the roof early, causing Marvel to drag the mystery out. If you look closely, you can see where the red Hulk’s identity might have been revealed only to have the carpet yanked out so the series can continue.

Of course, it’s still not much of a mystery. While the Avengers think the red Hulk is Leonard Samson, there is no real evidence to support that. Instead, everything about the red Hulk – his intense personal hatred for the Hulk, his obsession with big guns, his talk of battle tactics, and his calling Bruce Banner a milksop a few issues ago – points toward another character entirely. Writer Jeph Loeb does try to put the mystery back in by having the red Hulk appear next to both Samson (now inexplicably with long hair again) and General Ross, but in a world filled with robots, clones, and shapeshifters, that doesn’t do much to eliminate any of the possibilities.

The meat of the story is the same that it’s been for a few issues now – the red Hulk faces off against somebody while bragging about how badass he is. While we’re left to assume that the Avengers are going to fix the destruction to San Francisco (we spend a double-page spread watching them work, even though the outcome has no bearing on the story), the Hulk and A-Bomb magically track down the red Hulk again. I say “magically” because not only is there no explanation, but the characters point out that they don’t know how it happens. For the Hulk, that’s not a big deal – he’s always had a quasi-magical homing ability. How Thor knows where to find the red Hulk, though, is a bigger question.

Anyway, the red Hulk pounds on the Hulk again, but Thor intervenes to save the day. Despite the red Hulk completely owning Thor precisely one issue ago, this time Thor is about to strike the killing blow. He’s interrupted by A-Bomb, who lets the Hulk finish the fight instead. Supposedly, it’s “for Hulk,” but I really get the feeling that it’s for the Hulk fanboys who are still upset about their guy getting pounded by the red impostor a few issues ago. The Hulk gets madder as the fight goes on, which means he gets stronger. The red Hulk, on the other hand, gets hotter as he gets madder, to the point where he overheats, allowing the Hulk to knock him out.

And then, everybody leaves. How…odd.

One of my niggling concerns with the 2008 Incredible Hulk movie was that the Hulk just jumped away and left the Abomination in the middle of New York City at the end. What happens when the Abomination recovers and there’s no Hulk around to stop him? This time, it’s much worse. The red Hulk is more powerful than the Abomination, and there are no authorities around for miles. Yet rather than imprison him or kill him, the Hulk, A-Bomb, and Thor go their own separate ways, leaving the red Hulk still at large. That’s just really…weird.

Meanwhile, the mystery deepens a bit when A-Bomb turns back to Rick Jones and gets taken out by Doc Samson, who is apparently evil now. And Thunderbolt Ross tells the red Hulk he failed. Then the red Hulk wakes up, telling us that the story will continue whether we want it to or not.

Quality-wise, this series is nothing if not consistent. Once again, the story is paper-thin, the dialogue weak, and the plot almost painfully simple. Once again, the art is fantastic, allowing those who read comics because they are pretty a reason to buy this. If this were just a six-issue miniseries, it would be forgettable but not overly painful. The hard part is that the same formula of the red Hulk fighting people while talking about how awesome he is will be going on for another two years of stories. But at least the Hulk is out of his prison cell and on the loose again, meaning that he gets a little time in his own comic once more.

CMRO Update (05/28/2012)

Moved

Updated

Added

Daredevil #13 Review

by Nick Walden, CMRO Contributing Writer

Daredevil

Issue #13

Written by Mark Waid, Art by Khoi Pham

Published: July 2012

Classic Daredevil erupts on the pages of this solid book as our hero faces off with the new AIM/HYDRA thugs that have combined into the group Megacrime. Over the years Matt has been forced to put the beat down on AIM and HYDRA numerous times. Now they saved him the trouble of making multiple trips by combining into one group (that needs a better name).

Now I will fully admit that this issue drops down a bit in overall quality compared to just about all of the previous books in this series re-launch. But that being said, Daredevil is still one of my top 3 picks each month because of the overall quality and storyline. The only things that bugged me in this issue were a little plot and the art. For the plot DD is using the same tactic he did before to draw out the bad guys; if it ain’t broke don’t fix it I guess. Also Foggy starts to find a few things out at the beginning of the book that are never really addressed and I assume shall be in the next book or two. The placement felt off.

For the art Khoi Pham did an okay job. The problem is that he follows up some incredible work by the other artists like Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera. While some of the up close and personal work was good, the overall tone just wasn’t what I was used to and generally paled in comparison.

So this issue slips to a 7.5 on the reader scale mainly due to the art. The plot was still decent and there is a nice twist at the ending so series readers need to grab this book. Overall I still love the way that Waid is working within the character of Daredevil and really showing his core style in the way he acts, fights, and the way Matt has to deal with problems. That alone makes this entire re-launch a must buy for the hardcore Daredevil lovers like myself.

Amazing Spider-Man #686 Review

by Nick Walden, CMRO Contributing Writer

Amazing Spider-Man

Issue #686

Written by Dan Slott, Art by Stefano Caselli

Published: July 2012

Wow this series is getting dark and dirty! Spiderman is really being pushed into a whole new area of tension while fighting the Sinister Six. One of the things I have enjoyed the most about this arc is how far out of the normal character comfort zone Spidey has been pushed. Now he is really being placed in the ‘global hero’ type of role that a Thor or Iron Man faces regularly. It makes sense as the character is being used all over the place with his inclusion in the Avengers. But for his solo book it always seemed a bit weird that he would keep going back to New York and occasionally fight weaker villains after taking on the baddest guys on the planet.

After the big cliff-hanger in the last issue I was so excited for this book and Dan Slott did not disappoint. Really I can’t say too much here because the book is really that great and I don’t want to give anything away to people who haven’t picked the book up. There is a lot of great dialogue and things come crashing together at a great pace that kept me glued to each panel.

The art is very good with Steffano Caselli jumping in for this issue. He does a great job with character expression with is perfect for this issue as we see a lot of emotion and interaction. The color work by Frank Martin Jr. was fantastic and he gets a shout out for making each page pop.

This issue isn’t a perfect 10 but comes close at a 9.5. I have absolutely loved this series lately and this arc is a must read for any comic fan because it truly has been amazing. From the high rating you can see that this is a must buy issue.

Venom #18 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Venom

Issue #18

Written by Rick Remender & Cullen Bunn, Art by Lan Medina

Published: July 2012

Venom hasn’t been a perfect title, and that whole Venom/Ghost Rider/Red Hulk abomination was something of a cluster-eff, but I’ll be damned if it hasn’t quickly become one of my favorite current series. Flash Thompson, notorious for being a total douche to one of the most beloved superhero alter-egos of all time, has been crafted into a truly likable hero. Of course if you’ve read Venom you know this, but this issue really hammers it home. Thompson has shunned those close to him in an attempt to keep them safe from harm. His ex-girlfriend Betty Brant, who knows nothing of his Venom persona, is angry at him for pushing her away. That’s the superhero tragedy. There’s a beautiful little moment in issue 18 where Betty confides to her good friend Peter Parker about her relationship troubles. This could’ve come off as Remender being too blatant with the Spider-Man parallels, but instead it feels perfect.

This issue is practically wall-to-wall action (with the exception being Peter and Betty’s scene), and while I’m usually a stickler for maintaining the plot-to-action ratio, it’s all very well done and incredibly exciting. The scene with Jack-O-Lantern is creepy and suspenseful. Venom’s race to save Betty is real edge-of-your-seat stuff. Carnage is genuinely terrifying. Then there’s the very end, which is devoid of any action whatsoever, but is one of the most effective cliffhangers in recent memory. I’ve come to love the Flash Thompson character a lot and it wasn’t until that ending that I realized how much I’m invested in his story.

I know people were initially apprehensive about the new Venom title, with good reason. It really felt like Marvel further milking a property and in a way it certainly is. Fortunately they put the title in capable hands. Remender may have gotten in over his head with that Circle of Four storyline, but when he brings it back to the real character driven stuff, as he has with this issue, it’s a fantastic title.