Kinberg Continues to Drop X-Hints for APOCALYPSE

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

With director Bryan Singer still off in some undisclosed location, writer/producer Simon Kinberg continues to be the voice of the X-franchise, making the rounds of the various premiers for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and laying the anticipation groundwork for X-MEN: APOCALYPSE which he is co-writing with Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty (who worked on X2 and SUPERMAN RETURNS with Singer).

First off Kinberg has confirmed that Singer is still set to direct APOCALYPSE (though it’s a long time between now and shooting next spring, so things can happen), probably because of DAYS’ massive $118 million haul over the Memorial Day Weekend.

Chatting with the Daily Beast last week, Kinberg also admitted one most of us already knew, that the FIRST CLASS cast (Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult) would be returning for the film to round out their contracts, and that they would be joined by Evan Peters Quicksilver, who so thoroughly stole DAYS in the few scenes he is in.  From Kinberg’s comments it seems likely APOCALPYSE will have a similar story structure to DAYS, as well.

“It will focus primarily on the First Class cast, but it will certainly have some of the original cast involved, too,” he said.

While original comments from director Singer edged towards teenage versions of the original X-Men characters showing up in the film, comments from Kinberg to IGN seemed to suggest at least some of the X-MEN cast would return for the film after the success of DAYS proved the mix and match formula so successful.

The biggest name, and question mark, of all naturally being Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. With work on Wolverine 3 steadily underway its unknown how much more he is willing to give to the character, who’s run he has said he is planning on bringing to an end. Many outlets have rumored Wolverine will return in APOCALYPSE in some way, with Kinberg hinting that some of APOCALYPSE’s horsemen potentially coming from the ranks of the X-Men in the film.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is due in theaters Summer, 2016.

Deadpool #28 Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

Deadpool

Issue #28

Written by Brian Posehn & Gerry Duggan, Art by Scott Koblish & Val Staples

Published: July 2014

Deadpool #28

I had an awful time reading comics last week. At first I wondered if I was being unduly harsh, or if it was that there were not many of my favourite characters involved or even if I had not had enough coffee before I started reading. None of these were true, other than the coffee bit, but I am not certain I can ever have enough coffee. There were however a couple of comics that made reading worthwhile. The All-New X-Men was one and this was the other.

I have a confession to make, I missed Deadpool’s big event in the previous issue. The shop was all out and when I finally got a digital copy I realised how long it was and put it aside in favour of reading more shorter comics. Well roll on two weeks later and it turns out I have forgotten to actually read it, much to my embarrassment. Therefore if I say something stupid in this review which was explained in that comic, I apologise in advance.*

What is best about this comic is that I do not need to know anything other than, Deadpool is married. Even better still I do not need to worry because this comic always provides me with a handy catch up page with art by Irene Lee. Deadpool has found himself quite a woman, although by the looks of things she is a bit more as well because last time I checked the horns were not standard.

This is yet another Deadpool comic which would take far longer to explain than to actually read. So much happens on every page, yet they still manage to give it that frenetic pace that keeps you jumping from frame to frame with our protagonist(s). After his disassociation with Agent Preston I was bemoaning his lack of companionship and the perspective she gave. What is most entertaining about this relationship is that Deadpool is most certainly the sane one and from time to time the voice of reason.

It always surprises me what they think of for Deadpool to do; where there is seemingly little reason for him to be in Japan, it turns out there is a plan after all. While the comic would have worked without the specific ending it had, it works so much better than it all being just a random series of madcap events. I think that is part of the beauty of this series, circumstances that appear to be completely unlinked, or unexplained, suddenly get a neat resolution or a clever tie in which shows the writers care about the continuity they have created.

Deadpool is in Japan, on his ‘honeymoon’ despite his brides protestations that she does not want to go to there. At first it appears it because Deadpool wants to see where sushi comes from, but by the end of the comic it is clear he had an all together more altruistic reason. While in Japan he successfully starts a conflict with every gang, real and fictional, that ply their trade in Tokyo, as well as fighting off some kid controlled digimons and annoying Japans own Avengers, Sunspot.

If it was not so funny, you would start to feel sorry for Deadpool. The poor guy cannot get a break and he seems to be a magnet for every bad thing that can possibly happen to him. You wonder if he does not have a secondary mutation, the opposite of the power that Longshot has; the ability to alter his luck for the worse. It is little wonder that his mind is filled with bad memories and horrible events, every week he has more terrible coincidences happen to him than a normal person does in a lifetime.

I really do hope that they do not do anything unpleasant to his wife simply to land him with more angst. He really has enough even with her. I can definitely see a time near the end of this arc where a well placed bullet to her head could create a very dark storyline for him again, but I really do hope that they can work past that without killing her off. The reason being is that Deadpool is a really fun character whether he is happy, sad or psychotic. For once even a fictional character should have a chance to be happy.

*Before anyone says anything, the reason why I cannot read it first is that I am on holiday and have no internet access to download it.

Rat Queens Volume 1 Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

Rat Queens, Volume 1

Sass & Sorcery

Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe , Art by Roc Upchurch

Published: May 2014

Rat Queens Vol. 1

Why oh why do I never take my own advice? I get my list of books to review, read the titles and mentally order them up into; want to read, not really interested and I have no idea. The first two are easy, the ones I want to read are a pleasure to get through, slightly harder to review because it is difficult writing too many superlatives. The ones I do not want to read are also easy because I can fight my way through them knowing that in a few hours I can let rip with how little I appreciated the loss of my time. However it is the books that give nothing away from their covers and a flick through of the first few pages that get them shunted to the end of the pile.

I actively avoid researching the books in advance, even reading the blurb on the back cover, because I find they can completely ruin any mystery or suspense for the full first half of the book trying to entice people to read it. This book was definitely in the ‘I have no idea’ pile. My advice to myself has always been – review them in exactly the order they arrive in, because otherwise I put off reviews like this and ironically some of the real gems I have read have fitted into this category. This is not another Lazarus or East of West, but it is definitely a really fun book and I put it off for nearly a month because of its silly name.

If anyone has read and enjoyed a webcomic called ‘Order of the Stick’ then this strikes exactly the same humour notes, just with fully fleshed out people rather than adorable stick figures. The book is filled with Dungeons and Dragons allusions and while it is not necessary to get those to enjoy this book, I expect joke lines such as ‘+5 to kill Garys’ would get a few blank looks.

The city of Palisade has numerous adventuring parties with names to match all levels of D&D humour, everything from the very in character ‘Obsidian Darkness’ through the ‘Rat Queens’ and out to the near fourth wall breaking ‘Four Daves.’ In years gone by they were all well respected in the town and it was through their efforts that the local surroundings are safe for travellers, but since they killed off most of the near by monsters and stole all their treasure, they have become bored and spend most of their time messing up the city in tavern brawls with each other.

I feel guilty for having to mention this because as an adult male who has watched violent films for nearly 20 years I barely even notice it anymore. However as comics are viewed as ‘childrens’ entertainment (even if it is no longer the case) I feel it would be remiss of me not to mention that this book has violence, gore and swearing on a level that makes Marvel Max titles look like books for toddlers. In accordance with the usual norms, there is however no nudity and only the faintest of hints of sexuality, beyond the usual low cut dresses.

This book hits on the level of humour which is so perfectly placed you would think it had been written with me in mind. It is not laugh out loud funny, very few comics manage that, but it is non stop, constantly poking fun at the subject material which makes it an utter pleasure to read. The adventuring parties are making such a mess of the town that they get an ultimatum of ‘undertake a task, or get out of town.’ The tasks are the usual heroic ones such as ‘clean out the goblins caves’ or ‘take care of these bandits’ but thrown in as well are the ‘cleaning of the privies at the barracks’ which got a chuckle out of me. It all goes wrong when black clad assassins turn up and start decimating the parties.

The rest of the book is a tongue in cheek ‘whodunit’ but it is more window dressing for the group to beat up monsters, drop rocks on people and generally get cut to within an inch of their lives. There is a wonderful feeling of ‘history’ in the book as everyone seems to have lives that have gone on in the background which bring a sense of character and realism to an otherwise completely unreal story.

The art in this book is a pleasure to behold. All the lead characters are immediately identifiable, both from a distance and to their roles within the ‘game.’ We have a dwarven fighter who has apparently shaved her beard to look like a normal woman, but squashed and stretched; a pixie like diminutive thief; a dark skinned priestess who does not believe in gods; and the prerequisite tall slim magic using elf. Putting aside the swords and sorcery they act like a bunch of 20-something girls on a night out, racing to get drunk and throwing themselves at attractive men (or women).

If you like swords and sorcery with a sense of humour, especially if you have done any role playing before, then this is definitely a book you will want to read. If not, I wonder if it will have quite the same effect, if the jokes will simply fly over peoples heads. Then again, I expect that pretty women beating the living crap out of monsters and then getting roaring drunk probably plays to a much wider audience than I give it credit for.

Indestructible Hulk #10 Review

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Indestructible Hulk

Issue #10

Written by Mark Waid, Art by Matteo Scalera

Published: August 2013

Indestructible Hulk #10

The Indestructible Hulk #10 is an okay conclusion to a short story arc, but its real value lies in foreshadowing a potential larger plotline.

First, I guess it’s worth noting that my main criticism of the last issue – specifically, the Hulk acting like a badly trained dog rather than an actual thinking character – may have an explanation coming up. Bruce Banner notes that the Hulk’s personality has been changing seemingly at random lately, which is a cause for concern. I’d rather Waid just settle on a specific Hulk persona, but at least he’s acknowledging that the current status quo isn’t something that is typical for the character.

The rest of the story is very typical for this type of tale. The Hulk and Daredevil track down Baron Zemo, who is apparently building an arsenal of Thor-level weaponry. Zemo’s role in the story could have been filled with pretty much any other comic book villain, since he just breaks and runs when things hit the fan, but presumably this is building toward some larger plan of his. If he doesn’t show up later on, his presence here is pointless. If he does, this could be some decent foreshadowing.

Banner’s lab assistants get some mention here and even get to play a role in calming the Hulk down, but they remain nondescript characters with very little personality. They’ve been around for long enough that I should at least be able to recognize them or remember their names. Instead, they have all the distinction of the random SHIELD mooks following Maria Hill around.

The art in this issue is decent and fits the dark city streets well. It’s not quite as realistic as we saw earlier in the series, but it fits the mood well and remains consistent throughout the story.

As a whole, the biggest thing that The Indestructible Hulk #10 has going for it is the fact that there are actually some hints as to a greater direction for the story. Considering the weak start this book has had, the teaser for the Hulk and an organization called TIME can hopefully only herald better things ahead in the future.

Tomorrow Jones #1 Review

by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer

Tomorrow Jones

Issue #1

Written by Brian Daniel, Art by Johan Manandin

Published: December 2012

Tomorrow Jones #1

Tomorrow Jones is the second child in a superhero family, with an overprotective father and an overly traditional mother who wants her to do the superhero thing right. Caught amidst a flurry of spandex and familial expectations, all Tomorrow wants to do is ditch all the costumes and fight crime in her jeans.

I was wary when I picked this up, but Tomorrow Jones takes a premise that feels familiar and manages to do some new things with it. It’s a parable of growing up, of challenging social norms even when they’re upheld by the very people you love, of finding your identity under the shadows of your parents, and of questioning the ‘traditional.’ We’ve seen superhero families before, but Tomorrow Jones has such an authentic voice and a unique twist that it ends up being my favourite of these sorts of stories. Tomorrow Jones feels astute and perceptive, and as a coming-of-age story, it rings true. It’s not about a girl trying to live up to her superhero parents—it’s about a girl who’s expected to do that, but who wants to do it on her terms, in her way, and the conflict that creates between her and her traditional parents. It’s a classic struggle, only with superhero trappings, and it works.

The art style is very pretty when it comes to the people, though the artist seems limited in terms of face and body type. Most characters have the same or similar facial features, with only slight variations. All the women have the exact same Disney-thin bodies, which is pretty par for the course when it comes to comic ladies, but it becomes apparent when the resident bully girl has double chins and a totally flat stomach and thin waist. There’s also some wonky background work (props like beds and cars seem oversized), but overall it’s an attractive book that looks nice where it counts.

Tomorrow Jones is a fun read with a convincing voice and an engaging angle on an old premise. Definitely worth a read, especially if you like the-superhero-as-metaphor stories.

Big goings on at Daredevil

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

ANT-MAN was not the only Marvel project which it some major mile markers over the weekend, though at least it was the only feature film.

Just as Wright was announcing his departure from ANT-MAN, word came down that DAREDEVIL showrunner Drew Goddard would also be leaving that series, handing the reins over to someone else to see through to the finish line (filming is set to begin this summer for release on Netflix next year).

Unlike the ANT-MAN split, things here seem much more amicable, at least. Goddard’s name has been one of several which has floated around the future of Sony’s SPIDER-MAN franchise over the last several months, and the company finally that official at the beginning of May when it announced that Goddard had been signed to write and direct a SINISTER SIX spin-off of the current AMAZING SPIDER-MAN franchise, to be released between 2017 and 2020.

With big screen bucks in the offing it’s no wonder Goddard took a leap from television (where much of his career has been to date, until CABIN IN THE WOODS came along) and many had been predicting just such a leap to happen as the work load of DAREDEVIL and prep on SINISTER SIX would be punishing.

Marvel quickly announced that television veteran Steven DeKnight would be stepping in as DAREDEVIL’s new showrunner and, just to keep any potential ANT-MAN negative feelings from spilling over onto any of its other projects, the studio announced they had cast a new Daredevil for the show as well.

British actor Charlie Cox, most well-known for the starring role in Matthew Vaughn’s 2007 adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s STARDUST (and more recently for a tragic IRA figure on BOARDWALK EMPIRE). The press release follows:

“Marvel is proud to announce that acclaimed actor Charlie Cox has joined “Marvel’s Daredevil,” an all-new 13-episode series premiering on Netflix in 2015. Best known for his acclaimed work in “Boardwalk Empire” and “Stardust,” Cox will play Matt Murdock, the lead role in this all-new Marvel Television series. Blinded as a young boy but imbued with extraordinary senses, Matt Murdock fights against injustice by day as a lawyer, and by night as the super hero Daredevil in modern day Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.”

So far the transition seems to be going smoothly and Goddard, who was slated to write at least two episodes of the series, seems to have handed his drafts in already as his name remains on the show.

So that’s one Marvel project, at least, which will definitely see the light of day.

Wright has the Wrong Stuff for Ant-Man: Marvel

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

After many, many, many years, through much blood and sweat and toil, amid a tale which extends all the way back to 2006 and the formation of Marvel Studios itself, at least the dream has well and truly died, at least for one ant fan. With a little less than a month to go before the beginning of principal photography, co-writer/director Edgar Wright has stepped down from the long gestating ANT-MAN film.

Wright and Marvel announced the departure late Thursday evening and by early Friday morning the rumors were flying fast and furious. While no one directly involved has said anything (beyond a sad Buster Keaton tweet from Wright, a sadder Cornetto salute from AVENGERS director Joss Whedon, and a Facebook post from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY director James Gun likening the split to two great people who just don’t belong together and should get it over with for the sake of the children) the most plausible version of the story making its way through the rumor sphere is this:

When Wright first came on board he and co-writer Joe Cornish had a fairly different take on the character than its classical comic elements, often describing it as more of a spy caper than a super hero film. This became clearer as casting revealed that Hank Pym, while still the inventor of the Pym particle, would not be Ant-Man himself with that part being played by Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, and with no sign of the Wasp anywhere as Evangeline Lily’s character remained unnamed even with shooting about to commence.

And while this sort of thing was perfectly okay in the pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe in which it originally gestated in, it was less now as the success of the MCU has further cemented the requirement that each film in it, much like the comics of the print version, must serve a higher master.

Word on the street is that this concern prompted another round of re-writing by Wright and Cornish before the go-ahead to cast and build sets was given but despite early assurances (and release date announcements being made) all was apparently not well in Marvel land and two-months out – with Rudd’s Ant-duds waiting and lab sets standing in Georgia—Marvel big wigs commissioned another round of re-writes, this time by internal staff writers.

These re-writers were apparently not to Wrights liking and, taking the advice of more than one cynical Hollywood hand, he decided to walk rather than end of sticking his name on something which he did not have 100% of his heart in.

What is to become of the film now?  It’s hard to say – Marvel has been on announced pace of putting out two films a year (Disney wants its $4 billion worth) but swapping out directors and scripts a month before filming is usually a recipe for disaster. Wiser heads could decide 2015 will survive with just an Avengers film. Or they could push ahead – giving Marvel its first tangible flop and perhaps some humility.

Or it could all be a giant success.  It worked for X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (in the short run, anyway).

ANT-MAN is set to hit screens in July, 2015, starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as Henry Pym, with Evangeline Lily, Patrick Wilson and written and directed … ???