Fantastic Four Targeting Spider-Man as its Goal

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is not the only big superhero film 20th Century Fox has on tap as production continues to move forward for their FANTASTIC FOUR reboot which writer-producer Simon Kinberg (who is quite busy with Fox superhero films at the moment) noted that shooting on the reboot starts in two weeks during his WonderCon appearance.

According to Kinberg (and is likely obvious by its much discussed cast), the tone of the film will be much different from Tim Story’s original entry’s in the mid-2000’s or even of some currently successful superhero films, with the bulk of the film focusing on the group’s origin.

“In this one we tried to ground the science as much as possible and make it feel like it could take place in our world before it cantilevers into other worlds,” Kinberg said. “Josh Trank’s instincts are to be as realistic and grounded and real with this stuff as possible … It’s still in the direction of Spider-Man. It’s not like Dark Knight …  in future movies you’d have them on sort of splashier adventures to some extent.”

With the success of the AVENGERS, and the upcoming SUPERMAN/BATMAN film from Warner Bros., the exact shape of those future adventures and whether they will include a crossover with Fox’s X-MEN franchise is very much on the filmmakers minds, though they are not going down that road until after FANTASTIC FOUR and X-MEN: APOCALYPSE are well under way, Kinberg said.

“Because of what Marvel’s been able to do, and because of what the comics have done for decades now, the idea of having a crossover movie is very appealing but we’d have to figure it out because there’s an inherent challenge to combining the Fantastic Four and X-Men in the movie universe because they sort of exist in different planes or dimensions.  In the Fantastic Four world, it’s a contemporary world but there’s no mention of mutants – otherwise they wouldn’t be that fantastic. And in the X-Men world as we’ve seen there aren’t famous celebrity superheroes. So that’s a challenge.”

Days of Future Past to Take X-Men Back to its Roots

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

Five weeks out from the release of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and the PR machine is going into overdrive to pump up fans of the series for the return of the original cast, with the latest round coming courtesy of writer-producer Simon Kinberg who was making the rounds at the WonderCon over the weekend.

“It’s our attempt to right the wrongs of the past,” Kinberg said during the DAYS panel, referring not just to the plot of the film but to the general disappointment of the last film in the series with the original cast: X-MEN: THE LAST STAND.

“We probably should have done better with Dark Phoenix, so this is our attempt to do better with ‘Days of Future Past,” he said.

And he should know as he was one of the two writers on THE LAST STAND.

Kinberg also spoke in depth about the lack of Rogue in the film and stated that although she will be appearing and is integral to the plot, she does not have as much screen time as in the initial script as much of her plot was a digression to allow Kinberg to do something he had always wanted.

“It was a subplot that I created sort of as an appendage to the movie because I wanted to do something else that didn’t serve the main plot of the film … I just wanted to see Ian [McKellan] and Patrick [Stewart] on a mission together. So I took them away from the main plot of the movie so that they could go off and do something, and she was the MacGuffin of that mission. It was a perfectly fine 10 minutes of the film that didn’t fit the film,” he said.

Kinberg was a last minute addition to the panel following director Bryan Singer’s decision to withdraw from the convention after he became embroiled last week in a lawsuit over underage sexual abuse.

X-MEN Director Singer Slapped with Abuse Lawsuit

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

Not coincidentally just a month before the opening of the gigantic X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, veteran director Bryan Singer has been added as a defendant to a civil suit alleging sexual abuse against an underage boy, The Wrap reported today.

“Defendant, BRYAN JAY SINGER, manipulated his power, wealth, and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage Plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries. Defendant Singer did so as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring. A Hollywood mogul must not use his position to sexually exploit underage actors,” the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit, filed in Honolulu (where the statute of limitations had not yet run out, compared with California where the much of the abuse is alleged to have happened) states that the abuse arose from the defendants—Michael Egan, who was 17 at the time—was attendance at parties at the M&C Estate where he was victimized by several men under promise of acting roles and help with his career, and later threats that his career would be hampered.

Egan’s attorney Jeff Herman—who previously brought law suits against Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash over similar events—vowed to file more lawsuits.

According to the story, Singer’s attorney has responded that the lawsuit is “completely without merit,” and that “It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan’ s new movie is about to open in a few weeks.”

Singer’s attorney also noted that he had not been officially notified of the lawsuit by the plaintiff but had learned of it through the article from The Wrap.

It is also worth noting that the plaintiff has opted to file a civil case but not file a criminal complaint.

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 04/20 – 04/26

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 04/20 - 04/26

 

Original Sin #0
Written by Mark Waid with Art by Jim Cheung, Paco Medina, Mark Morales, Guillermo Ortego, Dave Meikis, Juan Viasco and Justin Ponsor
I thought 0 issues were supposed to be short introductory comics, but this is a monster of a book (by modern standards at least.) To be fair it is a book which does not have a lot of plot, nor does it introduce a lot of information for anyone who has even a moderate understanding of the Marvel universe, but what it does have is an innocent charm, a calm before the storm which is to come.

I really enjoyed this book as Nova tries to understand who the Watcher is, posing questions to the Avengers which only a child could ask, but which shows how rigid their own thinking is. I understand why this book was pushed back a week because they needed to get the appearance out of the way in All-New X-Men before this kicked off and this was definitely worth waiting for. The only question is, can the rest of the series live up to this?
4.5/5

Elektra #1
Written by W. Haden Blackman with Art by Michael Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso
There is a saying which goes ‘all bark and no bite’ or as my Dad used to say, ‘all trousers and no underpants’ (no I am not certain how that works either); this comic really makes me think of that. There is a lot of style here, the art and the words chosen and placed to provide the maximum impact, but in the end it all feels a bit weak. Part of that might be the colour palette which is intentionally pale and muted, but from a character who is so well known for her crimson outfit, it is a bit odd to see her in red-brown shaded with green.

This book is full of coloured text, almost every character has their own, and while I understand it is done to assist with reading compression, I do feel that if things had been made clearer in the first place the colour would have been unnecessary. My other criticism with the book is this is a repeat of the Black Widow series with Elektra taking on assassination missions from an uninvolved source and then going off to perform her task. This may well turn out differently, but right now everything about it from the art to the concept seems to be aping that series exactly.
2.5/5

Daredevil #2
Written by Mark Waid with Art by Chris Samnee and Javier Rodriquez
This book is still re-writing my expectations of a Daredevil comic. I have found him to be so dull in the past, but this change of scenery has improved everything about this book. Having been struck off in New York Matt has been forced to move to the only other area he can practice law in, San Francisco. Unlike New York which he could swing around quite literally blindfolded, here he is lost relying on his assistant Kisten McDuffie and Google Maps to guide him around.
We see the reintroduction of ‘The Owl’ and a new caped crime fighter ‘The Shroud’ who basically appears to be a chin in a blue cloak. Daredevil does his now usual hilarious deduction as he manages to predict who has arrived by how heavy they sound on his roof and then everything goes wrong for him, again.
4/5

Iron Patriot #2
Written by Ales Kot with Art by Garry Brown and Jim Charalampidis
Of all the new series Marvel has released this year it is a toss-up between this and Doop as to which one I dislike the most. Doop suffers from being unfunny when it needed to be funny and this suffers from being boring when it needed to be nail bitingly exciting. There is a double page spread where Rhody is drowning in his suit and it should feel panicky and tense, whereas this just feels lazy and sleepy and ends with a technical note about the Iron Patriot suit. Oh and then they blow it up. Two issues in and Iron Patriot is no more, it would not be so bad if this was called ‘James Rhodes,’ but it is not, it is Iron Patriot and this comic contains not enough of him.

If I could drop a series and not have to review it anymore, this would be it, but I will stick with it until I cannot stomach it anymore.
1/5

Avengers Undercover #3
Written by Dennis Hopeless with Art by Timothy Green II and Jea-Francois Beaulieu
I have one negative comment to make about book and I want to get it out of the way first; including the villains henchman there are 5 women in this comic all of whom have dark hair and are wearing black dresses. When you are struggling to tell the characters apart and are resorting to ‘who has the most cleavage’ you know they made a mistake with the artistic choices (it is Hazmat by the way).

With that out of the way, this is an absolutely awesome comic. I love the idea that they have infiltrated this rich party where people are trying to emulate them in murder world (hence the black dresses and penguin suits) and this book is stuffed full of character moments and development. However like with much of Avengers Arena it is the end of the book which is what you read for and this comic does not disappoint in anyway.
4.5/5 (lost .5 for the confusing outfits)

Fantastic Four #3
Written by James Robinson with Art by Leonard Kirk, Karl Kesel and Jesus Aburtov
It is interesting that were other comics are ever pressing forwards, the Fantastic Four seem to always be looking backwards. While they may be into their second new costume in the last 5 years they still draw on events from over 50 years ago. Thor has moved on from Jane, Spider-Man has moved on from being a teenager, but the Thing is forever on and off with Alica and the covers are still as misleading as they were in the 60’s.

Having said all that this is the most interesting Fantastic Four series I have read in a long time, perhaps ever because it relies less on technobable and more on the character relationships.
3/5

All-New Invaders #4
Written by James Robinson with Art by Steve Pugh and Guru-eFX
This book is certainly a slow burner, which is not necessarily a bad thing unless you work in a medium which has a 50% sales drop off after the first issue, more if people did not immediately take to it. I was really unconvinced by the first two issues; it felt old for the sake of it and was missing a spark. Well that spark certainly was kicked off straight away when the Kree shot Bucky in the chest.

All my initial issues with the art are completely gone now, so much so that I just had to check they had not changed artists. The story is much tighter and more dynamic now and while there are still a lot of flash backs, they are much punchier than before. Overall this is one of the most improved books out now and also one of the most potentially interesting storylines.
3.5/5

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #12 (Final Issue)
Written by Kevin Shinck with Art by Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema, Marco Checchetto and Rachelle Rosenberg
This is one of those comics I should have seen coming. We spent such a long time with Peter’s ghost it was almost required that we would now see Otto’s. I am not entirely sure what this comic is trying to do; obviously the Superior Spider-Man could not team up with anyone seeing as how he is now gone, so this is a team-up inside Peters mind of Otto and the Goblin from Otto’s memories. Yes, it is just about as confusing as it sounds.

With so many artists on this one it is obvious that there is some change in styles throughout this book, however unlike usually, they got this one spot on. The team up in done in a style very reminiscent of 60s-70s marvel comics so that it feels of that era, but when it comes back to the present day the art jumps from ink shaded block colour through to full painted panels and those last few pages are really quite special.
3/5

Guardians of the Galaxy #14
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett with Art by Nick Bradshaw, Jason Masters, Todd Nauck, Walden Wong, Justin Ponsor, Phil Jimenez, Livesay, Antonio Fabela, Gerado Sandoval and Rachelle Rosenberg
This is a double length issue with three stories, hence the extended credits and for the most part, this is a very impressive comic. The main story carries on the story of the Guardians bumbling their way around the Galaxy trying not to upset everyone they come into contact with. It explains something that I had been wondering about which was why Venom left the Thunderbolts. Well the answer is so he can come and join Drax and have his masculinity questioned. This comic would have been enough on its own as there is a lot going on in this book with far reaching consequences for the team.

The second story is how Groot came to be away from his people. The only question I have is if the only thing he can say is ‘I am Groot’ which is clearly said in English, what does ‘I am Groot’ mean in his own language because it is the only thing his people say. Logically it makes no sense unless that phrase has a completely different meaning to the tree people. Either way, this comic is cute and a little heartbreaking given what happened to the poor young sapling.
The final story is basically an Avengers/Guardians crossover in the year 3014 with a super hero team called the Guardians saving all the poor earthlings. I have a feeling that this may well come into the main storyline because of how this ends and that is not entirely an unwelcome event.
4/5

Uncanny Avengers #19
Written by Rick Remender with Art by Daniel Acuna
I want to kill Remender. Seriously just when I got the impression that this series had turned a corner and was going to get interesting, they go and mess pretty much the entire comic up. We all knew that this 6 year skip into the future after the destruction of the Earth was a temporary thing, mainly because if it was not, they would have to cancel every other book they are currently publishing. We left the last issue with the moral decision for Havok of saving the world, but losing his child in the process (as she would not have been born) so straight away in this issue they handwave that away as Krang appears.

The next problem with this issue is that they have to send back the consciousnesses of all the members of the unity team to save the world from being destroyed. It is just too convoluted, there is no intrinsic reason why they have to now spend issues finding the missing members other than that is what he writer wanted. It would make a lot more sense to simply send back who they have now rather than risk killing everyone they currently have on a fool’s errand.
Finally, and most importantly, they tell us very clearly that 6 years have passed. If that is the case why does Scott Summers look 55 and old enough to be Havok’s Dad or Cable look 60. None of the ‘hero’ team have aged like this and it is really hard to look at it because it is so clearly wrong, the words do not match the pictures.

This book has ruined it for me now, it is clear there will be no lasting consequences from this series (save for perhaps Havok and Wasp having a child) as all that is going back in time are their consciousnesses. Like Captain America spending 10 years in another dimension, it will only be relevant if the future writers want it to be, otherwise, it will be business as usual once this ends.
2/5

Thunderbolts #25
Written by Charles Soule with Art by Paco Diaz and Israel Silva
Am I the only one who is slightly grossed out by a young woman kissing General Ross? I do not think this is intentional and she is supposed to be quite a lot older, but most comic artists seem to only be able to draw 19 year old women. This book has really gotten me confused, but in a good way, because this issue starts dramatically, gets more so and then ends in a most gruesome fashion. This comic gets full marks for grabbing my attention, but it has a long way to go next issue in order to get it to make sense.

The Generals mission to discover what happened to his lost soldiers looks set to ensure that he loses a few more along the way, but more worrying is the Red Leader. After 20 issues of him being confused and docile, he finally seems to have gotten his mojo back in dramatic style.
4/5

Moon Knight #2 Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

Moon Knight

Issue #2

Written by Warren Ellis, Art by Declan Shalvey

Published: June 2014

Moon Knight #2

I am my own worst enemy sometimes; I never take my own advice. I reviewed Moon Knight #1 two weeks ago and I was hugely positive about it. In fact I was so pleased with it I gave it one of the few 5* reviews that I have given. When it came around to picking the books this week I wanted to review I put this in because of that issue. Then as it came closer I thought I might let it slide because I had a load of other reviews to get through (including some DC trades that are going to sap my will to live) and surely this could not be as good as the first issue was. Well I was right on one part; this is not as good as the first issue, it is far better.

Having read the first four pages of this book I honestly thought they had completely lost the plot. 8 panels per page, nothing seemed to link up, half a conversation in each panel, weird colouring, less panels on each page. I had no idea what was going on. I am going to have to spoiler it, so skip out the next paragraph if you want to read it, but to paraphrase it; persevere, it is worthwhile:

**Spoiler**

There are 8 panels per page because there are 8 different characters being followed. On each page is a red panel with a black ‘splash’ on it and that is the character that has died. As you turn the pages those panels wink out one by one as those people are taken out page by page and in their place is a small text box that gives just enough back story to tell you what is going on. It is the best 8 pages of a comic I have ever read, not because of the script or the art or the story, but taken as a whole the entire concept and the execution of it is fascinating, beautiful and so damn clever. I keep flicking through it, trying to piece together the conversations, to see if any of them were actually talking to the other ones. It does not matter in the slightest, but it is like a mini-murder mystery and I want to see if any of the clues match up.

**End Spoiler**

Moon Knight does not even appear until mid way through the comic and actually I rather preferred he had not appeared at all; not I hasten to say because he spoilt the book in anyway, but because it marked the moment the book shifted from unique and interesting to merely a normal comic. To be honest, even that is not fair because it shifts to something I hate every time it is used, except apparently here. Moon Knight glides out of the sky to engage with the antagonist of the story and across 9 pages there are 6 panels with text. I hate dialogue free comic books for a couple of reasons; firstly a comic book is words and text, otherwise it is just a picture book, but also because they read so quickly. Films can be quiet for long periods because they pace themselves, they do not get quicker when no one is talking, but comic books tend to. The only thing that stops you from looking at each page for a few seconds and moving on, is that you need to process the text much slower than the pictures and that produces a reading speed for the book. This silent sequence does not ‘read’ quickly and for me that is a gigantic success all to itself.

I have nothing but praise for this book and also for this entire series. I cannot think of a single negative comment to make and I have found downsides to books that I almost consider sacrosanct. Anyone who thinks that panel layouts and production design are very dry and boring concepts needs to take a close look at this book. It uses every trick and method possible to either misdirect you, or lead your eye to where it needs to be. This is not ‘clever’ layout for the sake of it; it is planned, designed and implemented to make your reading experience as enjoyable as possible.

I suppose that my only possible negative for this series is that it is destined to fail. There is no way they can continue to make this book as interesting and clever and inspiring as the first two issues have been. It will fall to either being too clever and intricate, or it will devolve into a generic superhero comic. My track record for these sorts of predictions is appalling and in this instance I dearly hope I am wrong again because if they can keep this up it will be something special.

Uncanny Avengers #18.NOW Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

Uncanny Avengers

Issue #18.NOW

Written by  Rick Remender, Art by Daniel Acuna

Published: May 2014

Uncanny Avengers #18.NOW

Sometimes I really hate Marvel’s sense of timing, but I suppose that is a little redundant hating something that I now like. Apologies for that confusing first sentence, but Marvel has a habit of writing comics that I like, just when I am set up to review it because I hate it. Back when Dillon was doing the art for the Thunderbolts I felt the need to put it into my review schedule so I could explain what it was about the art that I felt was so intrinsically bad, and just when I decide to do that, the next issue has a different artist. The same has happened here, but with the writing; I have been getting so much grief for my really negative comments about this series that I wanted to get a chance to put my point across. I stuck this series back in my review schedule for the first time in about 6 months and what do they do? They only go and change everything about the comic so it now makes sense.

However anyone who knows me will realise there is no way I am passing up this opportunity to explain my previous hatred for this series and just why I am now so positive about it. I have been following this series since it crossed over with Cable and X-Force over a year ago and despite how ridiculously confusing it was, I really liked the series and the premise for this Avengers team. Bear with me because this explanation gets a bit involved:

I have an appalling long term memory for events, but actually a ridiculously good memory for facts. This means that while I can remember everything I ever learnt about dinosaurs, I struggle to remember a single birthday or Christmas I celebrated before the age of at least 15. One of the very few things I remember is writing a story when I was 7 because it had a huge effect on how I now read and write. I always got terrible marks for creative writing because my spelling was awful and most of what I wrote was one huge malapropism, but there was this one story about a car being stolen and all these terrible things happening to it and people finding its tires left in a wood, which my teachers were positive about. Not exactly Pulitzer winning material I will grant you, but I was 7, cut me some slack. The reason why this is even remotely relevant was I did not know how to end the story, I just kept making things worse and worse until time ran out and I ended the story with ‘and then the world blew up.’

I hated myself for the cheap way out, for writing myself into a corner which could only be ended with either the end of the world, or someone waking up from a dream. This story actually went one worse and it is worse because this book is only part of a much larger universe, one which is happily carrying on around it as if it does not even exist. I was completely enthralled by this story and learning about Uriel and Eimin and all the Celestials and excited about how they were going to get out of the predicament they were in. I was even accepting of the series when they killed the Scarlet Witch because it had a huge build up and it did not affect any of the other books in the universe. What completely shot this in the foot for me was when they killed Logan, Wonder Man, Rogue, Captain America, burnt off Thor’s arm, transported every single mutant off the Earth and then blew up the entire planet. At that point this book went from being relevant and important to the world, to being another ‘What If?’ style story.

So, how has there been such a quick turn around? This story now jumps forward years into the future, to the planet where the Mutants were all brought to. It is a shining bright world with flying cars and every bit the mirror image to the Age of Apocolypse style future worlds, but intrinsically it is still the same. This is the future where the world is gone and the only people to survive it were the mutants, brought here by Uriel and Eimin and the only people who want to undo that, to bring back the world as it was before are Havok, Wasp and Hank.

This book now works because it is no longer pretending to be something it is not. What the title was doing before was pretending to be current and involved in the universe that all the other books where, but whereas every other title put all the pieces back into the box at the end of each issue, this one kept eating one, shoving another one up its nose and generally spoiling the game for everyone else. Now we know this is the future and their entire purpose is to try and put thing back how they should be I can enjoy the book for what it is, rather than hating it for pretending to be something else.

This issue does throw up an interesting question for me and a rather sensitive one. Havok and Wasp have been, ahem, lonely, and they now have a child. This is the point at which I really stop and think and the conclusion I come up with is not one I would like to contemplate. They are intent on resetting the time stream and bringing back the world, the problem is that would unmake these years and their child would disappear. Having a little girl about the same age as their child I know I would have allowed the world to die rather than let that happen. So now I am reading this book and hoping Havok fails because the alternative is not one I want to live with.

Red She-Hulk #67 Review

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Red She-Hulk

Issue #67

Written by Jeff Parker, Art by Carlo Pagulayan & Wellington Alves

Published: September 2013

Red She-Hulk #67

Red She-Hulk #67 brings an end to Betty’s role as a protagonist and to the series as a whole. Whether it’s a satisfying conclusion is up for debate.

As of last issue, Betty is trapped in an alternate reality and battling General Fortean while a war between superhumans and robots rages in the background. Jen Walters is on hand to try to pull her out of things, but soldiers from Project Echelon put a stop to her help by temporarily draining her of her gamma powers. The soldiers then turn their attacks on Betty, and things look pretty bleak for a while.

The intervention of Bruce Banner manages to save Betty, because while Banner is deeply flawed he is essentially heroic and is definitely devoted to Betty. Apparently, this remains true even in a reality where Banner creates an army of killer robots. Finally given a moment to think, Betty moves back into her own reality and brings General Fortean with her, although the super soldiers of Project Echelon are left stranded.

The issue wraps up very quickly – almost too quickly, and I find the resolution to be pretty unsatisfactory. Apparently, Fortean seeing a super-powered war in another reality is supposed to stop him from wanting to pursue Echelon any further. This is hard to believe considering that the guy has been portrayed from his first appearance as being even more stubborn than Thunderbolt Ross. The ability to stop a future that seems locked in gets Betty membership in Tesla’s secret organization, where she will be able to stay off everybody’s radar but also have fantastic adventures.

All these fantastic adventures are things we’ll have to imagine, because we certainly won’t be reading about them. The book ends with Betty saying that she’s going to form a team of people to help stop superhuman threats – again, something that we won’t see, considering that the book is now canceled due to low sales.

Overall, it feels like Red She-Hulk #67 was supposed to be the end of a story arc, but then Marvel told Jeff Parker he had to wrap up the whole series. I don’t know if that’s true, but it feels that way. The end of Project Echelon seems too easy, and there are lots of loose ends left dangling. What happened to that Doom-Skull-Ultron-Loki amalgam that got loose last issue? What about the Echelon folks who got trapped in an alternate reality? Is the mad Thinker, who has had a lot of access to suped-up technology in this arc, really going to let SHIELD just put him back in jail? All these and more are questions that won’t get answered.

Overall, Red She-Hulk was a fun series that really could have used another story arc or two. It’s a shame it was gone so quickly, because there were many more stories left to explore.