Marvel Phase III Ignores Bumps, Speeds Up

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

It goes without saying that no studio is ever going to have going to have a perfect run, especially as it becomes more and more successful and invites both more scrutiny and less counter thought at the top.  If nothing breeds success like failure, truly nothing builds failure quite like success.

Which is a long way of saying the brouhaha over ANT-MAN was inevitable at some point (particularly considering how similar the events of THOR: THE DARK WORLD’s production were). Just as inevitable is Marvel digging its heels in and deciding to produce some version of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish’s script, which may or may not be what anyone wants to see. But the studio has a day and date and a requirement to deliver two Marvel branded films a year so Phase III is going to continue forward, studio president Kevin Feige affirmed recently, come hell or high water.

Which led to the manic casting around for a replacement for Wright, which as the world knows now turned out to be Peyton Reed, more known for his light romantic comedies than big event films. However once upon a time Reed was actually signed for and developing FANTASTIC FOUR before finally making way for Tim Story back in the Oughts.

Of course Reed himself is the second (or is that third?) choice after ANCHORMAN director Adam McKay passed on the directorial chair though he is apparently doing some script work on the film (either of the Wright draft, or the Yost/McGreevy draft, it is unclear) for the film which the studio has pushed to an August start date, and which is still set for July 2015, according to Feige at a recent summit.

He also affirmed that DR. STRANGE is on its way following the hiring of director Scott Derrickson, with several screenwriters currently under consideration for the job and casting likely to take place in the fall for a spring start date to principal photography, suggesting DR. STRANGE will likely be joining CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 on Marvel’s 2016 slate.

Meanwhile, over at Latino Review, rumors have begun to surface that Marvel is, again, beginning to think seriously about a HULK film, following the positive response to Mark Ruffalo in AVENGERS and what is reported to be a similar performance in AVENGERS 2. It also probably doesn’t hurt that with so much time has passed since 2008’s INCREDIBLE HULK that film rights have returned entirely to Marvel so that will not need to include producer Gale Anne Hurd in the future.

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 06/08 – 06/21, Part II (Double Edition)

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 06/08 - 06/21 (Double Edition)

 

Hulk #4
Written by Mark Waid with Art by Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy and Jason Keith
I had a great idea about where this comic was going, it was going to be the alternate Bruce Banner from the Avengers series; this could still be the case, but I do not think they are going that way. Instead they are basically white washing the problem away by creating a bigger one. Did I mention recently that I never like Hulk series? I have to say that this book is effectively feeling like another Avengers team title with Tony Stark taking more of this comic than anyone else; it feels like a lot of the other solo titles right now in that they do not seem to have enough story to tell with just the titular character.

An abomination (please note that it is not The Abomination with a capital A) is thoroughly beating down the Hulk, that is until the Avengers just happen to turn up with two characters who can absorb radiation. I hate contrivance and that is just one step too far for me. I will give them Captain Marvel; she is a premier avenger at the moment, but Sunspot? Seriously when was the last time he turned up? Anyway the world is saved, someone ends up near Jupiter and Banner gets fixed. Wow, that rounded itself up quickly, looks like a cross over with Original Sin is up next which might explain the speedy resolution.
2/5


Captain Marvel #4
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with Art by David Lopez and Lee Loughridge
This book has a really strange colour pallet and after a detailed flick through Marvel has no blue in her costume in any panel. I realise that they are going for the look of a world with a different colour sun, but this had me questioning if I had missed a costume change! Minor gripe aside, the art is wonderful in this book and while I am utterly lost as to where they are taking this series, I am starting to enjoy it a lot more than when it started out.

Captain Marvel is trying to save an entire race who used to live on Ring World from their new home which is slowly killing them. Ja-Son has other ideas and wants them to pick 1000 survivors and leave the rest to die. Danvers has her work cut out as despite having a workable plan, they do not have the ships to carry it out. The book seems to lose a bit of focus as they introduce a few new characters and some pirates turn up to apparently steal the ships that the Torfans do not have, which was a little bit weird.

This series still has a long way to go to live up to the previous volume, but that did have a huge advantage in that it was effectively introducing a new Captain Marvel which gave it an awful lot of impact. However this still seems to suffer from the problem I highlighted before; the people she is trying to save are annoying, stupid and near suicidal so it really is hard to care one way or the other.
3/5


Secret Avengers #4
Written by Ales Kot with Art by Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson
Certain comics interest me on an intellectual level, others for shear random violence; some because the art is beautiful, others because it is different. Some comics confuse me, wrap me in levels of story, others are blunt and to the point. This comic seems to manage all of that and more and then opposite at the same time. I do not like the art, but for some reason it is appropriate; I am unsure that I like the story, yet it is intriguing and packed on multiple levels. Basically this is Marmite and peanut butter all in one – one thing I love to hate and one that I just hate.

There is a Nick Fury and a Fury in place in China that does not exist. MODOK is there, but no one is allowed to know he is and conducting experiments on people that others would consider inhuman, while at the same time working for Maria Hill. I love the fact that I learnt something ‘real’ by reading this book, there was a Kowloon Walled city in Hong Kong and the artists drawing is actually rather accurate. I really wish that the SHIELD uniform was red rather than blue because any time I see an unnamed agent in these comics all I can think of is the ‘Red Shirt’ idea in Star Trek – we know that none of them will see the end of the book.

Ordinarily I would not like a book like this; the art is rushed, the colouring very monochromatic with little to no shading, but somehow everything fits together perfectly. It makes reading other books with SHIELD involved feel so much more ‘unclean’ a bit like watching a slaughterhouse before eating your steak. You know that goes on behind the scenes, but it makes things a whole lot messier when you have to see it.
3.5/5


Avengers Undercover #5
Written by Dennis Hopeless with Art by Kev Walker, Jason Gorder and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
I am utterly gutted that this series has relatively low readership because as a follow up to Avengers Arena this has been fantastic. Not only that but it has given us new reasons to care about these characters and a completely different focus whereas this could have felt like the same story rehashed. There is a quote from Lord of the Rings that springs to mind about this book – ‘I think a servant of the enemy would look fairer and feel fouler.’ That fairly sums up my thoughts about this story where our heroes are being courted by the minions of Baron Zemo, being shown how they are not evil, merely misunderstood. There is a distinct feeling of foulness hidden under all the nicety. 

In fact this book seems to make a lot of references to films, the young kids that are used as human wrecking balls are very reminiscent of the children who turn into donkeys in Pinocchio and there are numerous moments that feel familiar even if I cannot place them. All of this makes the book deeper and more involved than a simple Avengers punch up, but it might explain why not as many people appreciate it.

If I had one complaint, it would be the art; Kev appears to have forgotten how do draw younger characters. The men are all strong, powerful figures, the only woman is a traditional busty curve, but the kids, well they appear to be misshaped and rather than looking young they seem to look ugly instead. It is a minor complaint, but I did prefer it when they were all drawn to look like adults, rather than dumpy large faced cartoons.
4/5


All-New Invaders #6
Written by James Robinson with Art by Mark Laming and Guru-eFX
I hate it when an entire issue is about one specific point and it lets the comic build and build until you get dumped with ‘to be continued next time.’ From a marketing perspective it makes complete sense and there is no way I will not be buying the next issue, but it catches me out every time. It would not have as much effect with a printed comic because you would know you are coming to the end of the issue by the feel of how few pages were left, but with a digital comic unless you are looking at the page count, there is no way of telling.

It seems like they are trying to introduce a new character to the Invaders, or at least replace an elderly one who would clearly be too old to fit into the team now. Supreme Radiant Friend, better known in the USA as Radiance, is a Japanese superstar hero who is effectively the Magneto of light based powers. The problem is when the Watchers eye ‘exploded’ she learnt things that should have been kept hidden and now the ‘hero’ is trashing a SHIELD base looking for answers with only Jim Hammond to stop her.

As with the previous issues the art in this book is getting progressively better even if Hammond looks like his jaw is dislocated when he is talking occasionally. I wonder if they are trying to move away from Captain America being the heart of this team and giving more time to the lesser known members, or even some new ones.
4/5


Avengers World #8
Written by Nick Spencer with Art by Marco Checchetto and Andres Mossa
What is it recently with female costumes that are split from neck to navel? Do not misunderstand, Morganna looks quite stunning like it, but I wonder if she would be more successful if she used less magic to hold her costume together and more on fighting her enemies! It is merely the tip of the iceberg because the art in this book is exceptional, in fact it has been for the entire series, so I will forgive a bit of ‘fan service’ in exchange for the overall quality.

This series still confuses me as it leaps from team to team across the globe, but I can only assume that the end goal is to get everyone into the same place for a big finale. This book introduces yet another team, this time a European response team. I do like that Marvel is acknowledging the idea of American teams being the totality of the worlds response is a bit of a farce. Last time we had a Chinese team and now Euroforce, even if the team lead is an American. Down in the depths under an Italian city, beset by the undead the rescue team appears to need rescuing by the people they were sent to rescue. 

As I said, I have no idea what the end goal of this comic is, I wonder if they are trying to make this into a more inclusive book to cover a wider international audience. No matter what they are trying, I am definitely appreciating the ride.
4/5



Mighty Avengers #11
Written by Al Ewing with Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Frank D’Amata
Original Sin really seems to be about digging up the past, putting in a load of retroactive backstory for characters and then ploughing forwards into the present where said backstory is suddenly coming to light. It all does seem a bit co-incidental that a group that appears in the 70s to Luke Cage’s father are re-appearing at just the time that the Watcher is killed to and in the process gives everyone some insight into the past. It is not a bad concept, it just feels like with all the tie-ins that it is being over played a bit too much.

It turns out that Luke Cage’s Dad might well have been the start of the Mighty Avengers back when he was a Detective along with Blade and a bunch of other mystically strange people. I have to be honest, I am not a huge fan of this book simply because nothing seems to happen, the entire comic is glorified plot dump. Not only this but Lands art makes following the story really hard; Luke Cage looks decidedly Asian face on, there is a woman back in the 70s who looks exactly like Monica and The Blue Marvel, Blade and Luke’s father look identical apart from the facial hair. It is definitely not easy reading.

There is nothing intrinsically here that is bad, but then again there is nothing good about a prolonged plot dump. Hopefully they can put this one behind them fast and get everything back on track in the next issue.
2/5


New Avengers #19
Written by Jonathan Hickman with Art by Valerio Schiti and Frank Martin
This is possibly the most frustrating book ever written. I had nothing by praise for this title until the end of Infinity, but since then saying that it has ground to a halt would be an understatement. The end of this book should have happened 3 months ago, absolutely nothing has happened since then other than playing for time. I realise that Hickman is writing more than one Avengers title and it must be hard making everything fit in sequence with everything else, but this has been genuinely painful.

The Illuminati have arrived on an alternate Earth which has its own heroes and both sides have realised that there is only one resolution to their conundrum, beating the crap out of the other side. WRONG. This is completely superfluous and utterly ridiculous; the solution is to fire the missile that stops the worlds colliding and destroys the alternate Earth thus ending the incursion. Something which categorically cannot happen if they all die fighting six other super beings for no salient reason.

I realise that they went there with the best intentions, to talk and to learn from them, but when Namor is the one making the valid and sensible points you know that everything has gone to hell. This is stupid, pointless and it treats a comic filled with the most intelligent people in the Marvel universe as if they are morons controlled by their most base animal instincts.
0/5


Thor – God of Thunder #23
Written by Jason Aaron with Art by Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina
There is something really scary about how they depict Galactus in this comic, in fact far more so than his usual appearance. The smoke the wreathes him and the face that his merely an empty hole with eyes is such a strong image for him, so much so that I would hope they look at it for future depictions of him. This book is again split between the now and the far future, Thor and King Thor and the moment in time that leaves the world as a barren wasteland. However something the comic does not tell us is if the Thor in the present did something different to the Thor in the future and thus prevented that destruction.

There are genuinely funny moments in this book which have been lacking in this comic recently; they help to emphasis the bad moments by allowing us a bit of joy in between. This is bad however you look at it; lawyers, trolls, minotaurs, Galactus, I am not certain which is worse and in the end there is still the factories desiccating the earth around them.

This is right back up there with the best that the God Butcher arc put out, but unfortunately it feels a bit more rushed. What they allowed to bloom for 11 issues then, they have crammed into 5 issues now and it is a shame because they could have made Agger so much more of a threat.
4.5/5


Iron Man #28
Written by Kieron Gillen with Art by Joe Bennett, Cliff Richards, Derlis Santacruz, Scott Hanna, Rick Magyar and Guru-eFX
This comic manages to make me hate it and admire it all at the same time. The way that they deal with Tony shooting Peppa is pretty fantastic, but they could have dedicated another page to it to really ram it home. However the bizarre way that the aliens show up at the end just feels like both a massive anticlimax as well as a huge Deus Exmachina and it really spoils what should have been Tony’s big moment.

This is one of those comics designed to tidy up all the loose ends, to give some characters a bit more purpose and set a few events in motion that can be picked up on later. There are some bits that made me laugh, such as how do you get a woman to put a ring on who has no hands and the absolutely appalling excuse that Malekith gives for his failure, but still I have to wonder what is in that bundle?

This comic makes me question if this series is not due for a relaunch soon. It says that the story continues in Original Sin 3.2 and I wonder if that might not be used as the excuse. But as people may know, I never read solicitations because I worry they spoil the story, so this might well have already been announced.
3/5


Avengers #31
Written by Jonathan Hickman with Art by Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan and Sunny Gho
Please give me strength. I am sick and tired of time travel stories and there is nothing worse than time travel into alternate futures which does nothing other than infuriate me. Future time travel by its very nature is irrelevant because the simple fact of knowing the future means it is unlikely to happen.

This is a great ‘What If’ book, but frankly they already did it. I will not expand on that more because it would spoil the surprise, but basically the Avengers team is jumping into the future and each time they jump they lose more of the team to the past. Do not get me wrong the book looks fairly impressive, the way it is done is a great surprise and it really made me sit up and pay attention, but when it comes down to it does anyone care what the world could be like in 5045 years?

This will have to have the ending to trump all other endings or this book will feel flatter for me than Uncanny Avengers. The time travel aspect of it is annoying, but not a deal breaker, but the way it is being handled is making me question what they are trying to achieve with it.
2/5

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 06/08 – 06/21, Part I (Double Edition)

Weekly Marvel Roundup for 06/08 - 06/21 (Double Edition)

 

 

Uncanny X-Men Special #1
Written by Sean Ryan with Art by Ron Akin, Norman Lee, Roberto Poggi, Terry Pallot and Ruth Redmond
This is one of those really weird comics that pops up every so often. It is usually attached to a major title and it seems to be a story that they rejected for the main book, but wanted to squeeze in anyway. They then use some artists that I am not particularly happy with, package it up as a ‘special’ and off it goes.

It gets gigantic bonus points for including Deaths Head, but then loses them entirely for having him team up with a pair of cyborgs. This is a guy who has literally fought with himself, he is definitely not a team player. To be honest, that is the first of the continuity errors in this book, or at least, the first of the problems I have with it. Deaths Head was last seen being imprisoned during Revolutionary Wars with his Mark II self in pursuit, how he is out and about collecting bounties is anyone’s guess. Then there is the Blackbird which is so out of place in team with no backing, no money and has a teleporter for transport.

This is definitely not a bad story with kidnappings, mistaken identity and breaking into SWORD for information, however it feels really uninspired and the art makes the book look like an early 90s comic. Even still, I want to know where this can be possibly going and frankly, anything with Deaths Head in is not a bad book.
3/5


Nightcrawler #3
Written by Chris Claremont with Art by Todd Nauck and Rachelle Rosenberg
Words cannot adequately express how much I do not like this book, however it is not a ‘bad’ comic. I do not like the style, the content or the characters, but mostly I hate the plotting. This is a 90s comic wrapped up in modern trappings; the villain is bizarre, Nightcrawler naive and Storm an utter control freak.

The circus is under attack from a robot that magically morphs into 3 bodies seeming by climbing out of its own back. I am not sure, but not since Soundwave transformed from a 30’ tall robot into a tape deck do I think I have seen something quite so patently ridiculous and they do not have a lovable monotone to make up for it.

This book suffers from the same faults that I attribute to many ‘solo’ titles; they simply become the aforementioned character plus his little team of the week. Unless you are dealing with a Spider-Man, or dare I say, Batman, you simply do not have an interesting enough character to make a book work with a solo hero and this is just another bad X-Men team book.
2/5


Wolverine and The X-Men #5
Written by Jason Latour with Art by Mahumd Asrar, Matteo Lolli and Israel Silva
What is going on? I was really appreciating this series for being a bit different, bit weird and exciting; however all I have this time is a confused, non-sequential pile of pages which causes questions by being unintelligible rather than by being interesting. There are random flashbacks interspersed with the normal comic, however there is no clear beginning or end to these sequences. I only know that it cannot possibly be happening at the same time as reality because characters locked in cells cannot be wandering around on their own.

The comic starts with Doop a tiger and a motorcycle. This sounds like the start of a bad joke and really I wish it was. John then takes on the entire school and gets diced into smaller pieces than he started in and good old Cyclops saves Logan, again. Throw in more time travel than we already have in the comic and it makes you wonder if they should stop going on about the X-Men being mutants and simply say that they are time travellers.

I will give this title the benefit of the doubt, it is allowed one messed up comic before I write it off, but this one really has curbed my interest in the title significantly. 
2.5/5


Wolverine #8
Written by Paul Cornell with Art by Kris Anka and David Curiel
This title started off appallingly; the story was confused, the characters caricatured and his new friends were performing 60s style ridiculous uses of their powers. Well the last issue pretty much sorted all of those problems out by telling us Wolverine is basically a terrible actor and this was all a botched undercover job. So why in the name of all that is good and true did they fix the story and ruin the art? Anka has done some books I really appreciate so I have no clue what is going on here, Wolverine is the worst effected as his body gets shorter, fatter, wider, wobblier until his hands cannot even reach his waist.

Logan has come to terms with what he has done and now he wants to regain his fighting confidence. Not an easy task for a man that never feared death and used his body as a weapon, bullet proof jacket and bomb disposal device all in one. Obviously when you want to come to terms with that you go talk to Iron Fist and Shang-Chi, go with them to an island where death is prohibited and then let them beat you half way there.

As the cover states, 3 months to die, that will make or break this series, not the art, not the terrible story. If they can kill Wolverine, not break the Marvel universe and still make it interesting, then this book will have succeeded.
2/5


X-Men #15
Written by Brian Wood with Art by Matteo Buffagni, Phil Briones, Paul Mounts and Matt Milla
I really hope this is the last time I have to say this; the X-Men premier title should not be an anthology book. I seriously hope this is the end of the back up strip in this comic, either that or they simply cancel the title if they do not have enough solid stories to tell in a 4th X-team book each month.

This was really confusing, so much so that what I think happened could be wrong, but here goes. The beginning of the book is a flashback to the future, or at least 4 hours into the future as being retold by Kymera. The team then spend so long talking about how to get around that problem that they do not realise that because she already changed her past, this present is not quite the same as her past. Did I mention I hate time travel stories?

Psylocke gets a right kicking in both stories, in the first one because she is shown as an arrogant, stupid moron and in the second one as a pervert who likes having intimate relationships with computer generated solid light. To be honest, it does not look good for any of them and what should be an interesting story ends up being trite and rather dull.
2/5


Savage Wolverine #20
Written by Frank Tieri with Art by Felix Ruiz and Dan Brown
This is a much better use of this title than when I stopped reading it 6 months ago. Back then it was all a weird far future thing with Wolverine and clones of himself and frankly I could not care less. This now appears to be a trek down Wolverine memory lane as we relive moments from his past lives, specifically in this case the Valentine’s day massacre. This is where I really hate the concept of this comic, squeezing mutants into famous events; next up it will be Mystique who shot JFK…

Despite hating the concept, I really like the execution (pardon the pun) and the comic even had me not realise who the real villain was, but I think I have a touch of sunstroke right now and I really should have picked up on it. Good old Logan is running booze during prohibition, the problem is he always likes to run against the grain so it is not for Capone and that can be dangerous even for someone with a healing factor.

The art feels like a comic strip from the 40s and it is really well done, even if Logan in period costume looks ridiculous. I might have to look up the issues I missed and see if the rest of them are like this because it would make this title worth reading again.
3.5/5


Uncanny X-Men #22
Written by Brian Michael Bendis with Art by Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Marc Deering, Mark Irwin, Jamie Mendoza, Victor Olazara, Al Vey and Jose Villarrubia
It is nice to see that despite having his own comic Magneto has not forgotten he is part of this team. Sort of. Having rescued Dazzler from the clutches of Mystique and from under Blob’s red-eyed gaze, he brings her back to their secret base in search of healing. In fact it is a book full of returning characters with at least 4 of them popping back in to at least say ‘hello’ and in one case take down a helicarrier.

Too much happens in this book which is spolierish and very little I can give away without ruining the ending. That said the ending is rather a damp squib anyway. I had predicted it was going to be the Red Skull and frankly I could not have been more wrong if it had been a green faced communist instead. All I can say is my idea was better, but this way it at least removed an annoying character from the pantheon of duplicates.

Despite the lack lustre reveal the ending is great, but ridiculously fast paced. You need to look at all the backgrounds to pick some things up and it is almost as if they were trying to squeeze two comics into this one. That is not surprising given that the next issue is an Original Sin cross over and we might get some answers regarding a long lost friend.
4/5


All-New X-Men #28
Written by Brian Michael Bendis with Art by Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger and Marte Gracia
They really do need to uncouple this and Uncanny, it is unfair that Cyclops gets to be the big hero in both books and it is confusing that both have really dramatic events happening, seemingly at the same time. Actually, I really do not care. In the long run this will be sorted out into an order that places these books separately and sensibly, but what will still be true is that they will both be astonishingly good series. I actively dislike time travel stories, but this one does it so well and what is in fact a confusing dual timeline is made to feel singular and linear.

The future Brotherhood are back; it turns out they slipped a note under the door to themselves to go back in time earlier for them, but later for the present day and it gives them notes on what they did wrong the first time. Trust me the book explains it a lot better than I just did. This series continues to do something which most do not and that is give decent, solid and personal reasons for why the villains are complete and utter <censored> and while you do not believe what they think, you at least begin to understand them.

This does everything right and almost nothing wrong. It shows the problematic nature of time travel in that when you go back you change things and then if you go back again, it is not necessarily what you were expecting the first time. This is one of the best and most consistent books out there, I actually look forward to the day it ends because I am going to love going back and reading it all the way through all over again.
4.5/5


Deadpool #30
Written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan with Art by John Lucas and Val Staples
Please god tell me this is a one off. Please, I am begging you. They changed the winning formula and we have a different artist this time. It is not that the art is bad, it really is not, it is just, different. When things are as good as they have been I hate change and this is certainly a different take on the characters. What it is not is a disappointment because the writers are still there and the humour is dead on, it just nags at the back of my mind that it is not quite the same.

Deadpool is taking a play out of the X-Men’s book and time travelling to serve his own ends. Risking destroying the time stream and 30 years of X-Men continuity he drags Disco Dazzler into the present as the ultimate Vampire killer. It would not have been necessary if he had waited just one more week as the real Dazzler would have been back (See Uncanny above), but Mystique-Dazzler dismissed him and that gave the writers an excuse to break out the Deadpool Afro again.

This book defies logic, explanation and good taste, but time and time again it amuses, befuddles and entertains me all in one go. I am worried now that Deadpool’s ‘wifey’ is not all that she seems and I will hate to see him disappointed, but I am willing to go anywhere this writing team takes us, I might even grow to appreciate the new artist more.
4/5

Superhero Casting Galore

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

The time of San Diego is fast approaching – and more importantly, the time of starting production on several upcoming projects is fast approaching – which means it’s time for casting press announcements to start going out about all the genre stuff in development.

Not surprisingly, most of the current ones are going out for DAREDEVIL, as the first of the proposed Netflix MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE series prepares to start filming in anticipation of its 2015 release (probably somewhere near the release of Avengers) under the hand of Steven DeKnight.

Already announced leading man Charlie Cox will be joined by long-time character actor Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, A/K/A the Kingpin, though the initial press release suggests that particular part of his persona will be something to be built to over the course of the series, not necessarily his starting point. No word yet on whether he’ll go bald for the part.

The pair will be joined by leading lady Rosario Dawson who, according to the press release, will playing “a dedicated young woman whose quest to heal the wounds of Hell’s Kitchen brings Matt Murdock unexpectedly crashing into her life, while her own journey forever alters the course of his battle against the injustices of this broken city.”

Nowhere in the press release is her character name actually mentioned, which has left many to suspect she will be a reimagined version of Elektra. She will be seen next reprising her role as Gail in SIN CITY 2, out this summer.

On the other side of the comic book aisle, more Justice League type cameos are being lined up for the currently filming BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. While a Flash cameo has been hinted at for some time, a report out from Hitflix today suggests that the film will also include an Aquaman cameo as well, to be played by GAME OF THRONES actor Jason Mamoa, in anticipation of a larger role in an actual JUSTICE LEAGUE film.

Moon Knight #4 Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

Moon Knight

Issue #2

Written by Warren Ellis, Art by Declan Shalvey

Published: August 2014

Moon Knight #4

This series has been a revelation for me. It will come as no surprise that I am a superhero comics fan at heart, but there is something wonderful about a comic that takes that premise and moves it elsewhere in the spectrum entirely. I had a similar conversation regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently; it started off with a typical near-future sci-fi film, followed it up with a fantasy film, a war film and then the big action climax. They are then moving it on into comedy with Guardians and Ant-man and into the unknown reaches of mild horror with Dr. Strange. Mean while all the time keeping these films as ‘Marvel’ blockbusters.

In the comics universe there are a lot of books that fill the traditional superhero action role, but it is the ones that fit in the gaps that keep the entire universe worth reading. Some do not work for me, I am simply uninterested in the soap opera of Hawkeye or the wonky Ali McBeal of She Hulk, however the slapstick Deadpool is a triumph as are the spy-thrillers of Black Widow and Electra. But the stand out of all of them is the horror-mystery of Moon Knight. Now anyone who has read my Deadpool reviews will realise that coming from me that is high praise. That series has been consistently funny and entertaining for a long time, but it is starting to feel rather one-note; crazy action sequence to insane action sequence and then round it off with a few pratfalls. This however is utterly different each week and astonishingly brilliant to go with it.

Every time I pick up this book I have no clue what I am getting. The first issue was a very normal noire/pulp comic reminiscent of the Shadow but with a slight of hand in the middle that threw me for pages. The second issue blew my mind with page layout and structure, the third took me into Scooby Doo wonderland, but with real monsters; but this one feels more like a 60s acid trip wrapped around a crime story. Taken in by a near desperate sleep researcher to discover why all of his patients got sick, Moon Knight is lead into a crazy colourful extravaganza where everything is definitely not as it seems. What makes these even more impressive is that they are all completely stand alone; pick any issue, read it and then read any other issue and you will see that they work just as well as reading from 1-4. I am sure in time there will be a pattern, but it will need stepping back from and looking at from a distance to spot it.

Everything about this book is worked on and the more you look at it, you more you realise that nothing about it is left to chance. If you see anything on the page, it means something; however that does not always mean I know what it is trying to tell me. The way Moon Knight is drawn is one of the most interesting and important parts of the book. Instincts tell me that I should not appreciate it; I go for the more photo realistic interpretation of the characters and his obvious separation from his surroundings immediately pull you out of it. Every panel he is in makes him stand apart from the rest of the world in pure white and stark black shading. Apart from his car nothing around him has any effect on his shadows. The only shades that form on him are from his own body and clothing. Shut in a darkened room where his white suit should be variations of grey, he is still pure white. It is such an interesting take on the art and so clearly the intention of the creative team to make him stand apart rather than be part of the world, as if being that metaphorical bridge between life and death.

If I am to be fair and attempt to be at least slightly unbiased, I would say this comic is probably not for everyone. In fact it is definitely not for a lot of people. There is barely any action in this comic, dialog is sparse and the theme is ‘creepy.’ If you come into comics because you like seeing Superman punch someone, or Spider-Man wise crack and then punch someone, then this definitely will not work for you. But if you like depth, fantastically executed comics, mystery and above all else wonder if the truth is out there, then you should be buying this comic.