Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ryan L’s Soapbox - A Collection of Random Thoughts Vol 3

Time to get my rant on. Though I find I'm just not the 'ranty' type of nerd, so instead, let's just civilly discuss the following. On the table for today are the Cobie Smulders casting news, the Marvel teasers, The Smurfs, the Stan Lee Awards, the Marvel Vault, Green Wake, Weekly Previews, Ultimate Thor, and my buyer's regret around Uncanny X-Force. Hit the jump to scour my thoughts and then add your own.

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill in The Avengers

Having this actress play this character in the Avengers movie is fine by me. I am completely behind this news, even if I’ve never seen Smulders play anything straight. On HIMYM, she still expresses the qualities of a very good actress. She commits and I think no actor should be typecast, I think she’ll have the chops to pull this role off. But she also has to stand with Samuel L Jackson – I can see that happening. My vote is completely, and always was, with Cobie Smulders. And not just because her name sounds like she makes great ‘adult video’ but because she’s a face on the screen I like and I think will continue to like as she gets a little hard for this role.

I also want to point out how cool it is that Maria Hill is even getting a shot at being in the film. She’s a new character but has seemingly proven herself at being useful and popular by appearing in a range of comics. I’ve liked the way she’s been written by different people and think she will add to the Avengers movie. It might be a shame that Sharon Carter didn’t get a run, I can see that, but I like that there’s plenty of future to run into with Hill.
I'm also only just realising now how much Smulders looks like a younger and hotter Lara Flynn Boyle. Interesting.

Weekly Previews

Each and every week, you can find preview pages of comics online at various sites. The Weekly Crisis gets the opportunity to post preview pages but we never really take it on board because we’re not that sort of site. We rarely post just the news, we usually post our thoughts on the news. However, my point is, these preview pages are out there, but who are they out there for and what do they really do?

I’m wondering, how many times have you read the preview pages for a comic and based on their quality then decided to buy the comic? Or vice versa, have you ever been put off a comic by the preview pages?

I have put up this preview set for Black Panther: Man Without Fear #515 because Francesco Francavilla has put it together so gloriously. This is a pretty preview as pure art. I have also downloaded the February Sneak Peaks on the Marvel iApp but I only read the issue previews I was interested in, and skipped the ones I had absolutely zero interest in. And it hasn't changed my thoughts on future purchases.

I try not to read the preview pages of the comics I am buying because I want to wait for the whole experience. I don’t always check out the previews for a comic I am not buying, though sometimes I’ll check it out. I figure it’s a quarter of a free comic. I’m rarely won over to spend actual money but are you? Do the previews really serve a purpose?

Trailers – Cap and Thor

I didn’t get to experience these trailers live during the Superbowl – I was at work on Monday morning at the time, and Aussie TV gets the game but not the ads, so I was always going to have to hunt them down online. Which I did. And I was happy with them both. It seems many others were as well!

The Captain America teaser was the sort of thing you come to expect of an action flick ad. It has the laugh at the end, sure, but before then it’s plenty of meaningless action and a few snippets of intrigue. I think Evans is ridiculously buff in the flick (though still outdone by Thor, which is impressive) and I’m still not won over that he can be the authoritative presence in either WWII or The Avengers. However, I’m still prepared to be won over.

Hugo Weaving looked very cool in his one screen grab. I think the Red Skull has the option to steal this flick, I really do. And I think he'll do it, that's my call.

As for Thor, my bets are on this one being the better of the two. I almost hate that I have such high hopes for this flick. It just looks good, and Chris Hemsworth looks so insanely perfect for the role. Should anyone be surprised that I think the two Aussies in these flicks will steal the show?

Thor seems to have enough action crossed with enough story, and enough Asgard crossed with Midgard, to just get the right balance.

Either way, these teasers are not enough. I prefer the Thor trailer, obviously, and I cannot wait for the Cap trailer in all its 2-3 minutes of glory.

Ultimate Thor

Did anyone else read this 4 issue mini from Hickman/Pacheco? Was anyone else massively let down by it? Usually my staunch line is that I don’t buy Ultimate comics. However, I thought that with Hickman involved, and the fact that Ultimate Hulk V Wolverine was enjoyable, it would get me across the line. It did not.

To see that this mini only exists as pure prelude to The Ultimates is a letdown. I don't want to say "bloated steamer" but this story barely stands on its own and only informs the other tale, which I haven’t read and have mild interest in sampling. So these 4 issues are now pretty worthless to me. This pain is only compounded by the fact each issue was $3.99. I swear I didn't realise this series was going to be this way when I signed up for it.

I can only count myself a fool for still sticking with Ultimate Captain America. But it’s written by Jason Aaron. Even if the first issue was a mild let down I still have to stick with Aaron, don’t I?

Green Wake

Have you heard about this comic yet? It's a new Image title by Kurtis Wiebe and Riley Rossmo - you can check out an in-depth interview about it on CBR. I'm hooked on the premise of this comic. It's touted as bring Twin Peaks meets The Dark Tower, which is a pretty heady brew. It centres around the titular town and the inhabitants who have no idea how they got there, and have no ability to leave. The comic will focus on how these people then lead their lives. There's also a murder mystery aspect involved as bodies are turning up right when a new inhabitant for the town turns up.

I have yet to read anything from Wiebe before but I usually love Rossmo's work and this comic is pitched as a horror title, something I don't think there's enough of around here. The preview pages look gritty, Rossmo is bringing a Templesmith vibe to the pages, and it feels nasty and effective as hell.

I figure I can spare $3.50 for this one as I plan to drop a few drecky Marvel titles from my list very soon. It's time to take control of my pull list and try to chock it with insane quality, not just comics I'm drudging through. This time starts now and with this comic because I am well enthused for Green Wake.

The Smurfs

Do not think I am talking about the movie, dear god, no. I am talking about the reprints from Papercutz. Has anyone been partaking in these delights? I picked up The Purple Smurf and loved it. Not only is it fun and takes me back to a place where my childhood was simple, idyllic, utopian, but it’s also good comics. Peyo uses pages and dialogue well and there’s much to learn from these children’s comics. I really enjoyed The Purple Smurf and just picked up The Smurfette, so I’m expecting more blue tales when I finally get to read it (see what I did there? Think about it).

The best part, though (and I haven’t gotten to it yet), is that these small paperbacks packed with scores of pages will only set you back $5.99. Now considering how many panels Peyo squeezes onto the page (you’ll find no posturing splashes here) you really get your money’s worth. You can also get them in HC but it’s a little more expensive, I prefer to justify this indulgence because it’s only a little more than a standard Marvel issue.

If you haven’t picked up a Smurfs book yet then give one a flip through at the store, I am a big fan of them and think they offer up a big old dollop of fun.

Stan Lee Awards

Don’t get me wrong, I think Mark Millar has the right approach with this whole KAPOW! Comic-Con thing he’s got up and running. It’s always good to have more good coverage, that’s for sure, but when looking through the Stan Lee Awards I just don’t get how these awards were put together. They feel like the sort of basic and bombastic awards you see on fan-sites that cover the usual main stuff you’re sure to hear about but don’t dig much deeper. If I had to guess, I’d say someone who doesn’t actually know that much about the comic industry assembled these awards. I really don't want to sound pretentious about this, and I probably do, but I am not digging these choices.

Then I look at who helped put these award nominations together and I see a varied list of contributors. Some of them highly knowledgeable, some who I wouldn’t think could go that deep into all the comics of the past 12 months. I also find it strange that we’d get a list of the high profile names who contributed to these selections but I guess that’s about what I should expect from Millar. The man knows how to name-drop better than Bendis, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

As for the awards, there are some good choices there but some simply baffled me. Is there a mandate that someone British has to be represented in each award? I’m seriously wondering… Why is Dark X-Men up for Best Trade? Is Matthew Vaughan really anywhere close to being a Comic-Con Man of the Year when up against people who have run comic companies, and all 3 have done a very decent job?

Apparently, these nominations did initially have more Mark Millar in them but he removed himself. But only after ribbing from some mates, or so he tells it. He keeps the Kick Ass movie in there because it is Vaughan’s baby, not Millar’s.

From The Marvel Vault

Last week saw a new Doctor Strange story hit the shelves. Sure, it was only from 1998 so by my watch it doesn’t feel that old but at least we were finally seeing it. It was a good tale, too. Well worth picking up, especially because it was a one-shot priced at $2.99. There’s just not enough of that sort of thing getting around, support it.

But it got me thinking – how many other tales does Marvel have in the Vault? If suddenly a Claremont tale of the Iron Fist were to drop, I’d be all over that. Nevertheless, I think Marvel usually publish their tales, so the question is – who else lurks in the Vault?

Buyer’s Regret

I bought into Generation X and Heroes For Hire but not Uncanny X-Force. The other two titles are three bucks each, they have good creative teams (though I’ve never really read a DnA book before so was going off the word of others) and they’ve been fine books but both might just be dropped come the end of the first arc. However, all I hear are amazingly spectacular things about Remender’s Uncanny X-Force. It makes me sad because I skipped it for two reasons; 1) It’s four bucks an issue. Lame. 2) It’s an X book – and, I know, so is Gen X but I thought it sounded a little more standalone. X-Force would surely be more tied into the X-Continuity, and that’s not an impenetrable bubble I’m keen to prostrate myself upon in a vain attempt to get caught up. Therefore, I made my choice and I’m now seriously regretting it.

Anyone out there wanna swap me their Uncanny X-Force for two opening arcs of Heroes For Hire and Generation X? You pay for postage and I'm in for it.

Oh, and big ups to Declan Shalvey (a creator I am absolutely mad on of late) for this Uncanny X-Force pic he did over at Eclectic Micks. Maybe if Jerome Opena needs a month off Shalvey could sub in. I definitely would not miss that one on the shelves.
Those are my thoughts for this week respond in the comments, or add your own rants. All are welcome. Thank you and good night (Australian night as this is posting US morning).

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Matt Duarte said...

Damn, you beat me to posting that Uncanny X-Force image. I was going to do a Crisis on Infinite Arts spotlight for it. It really is awesome.

Midnight Monk said...

Shame your missing out on Uncanny X-Force, Ryan it been an awesome book and since I imagine you looked at the MotW a while back then you know why. Heard you might find it on Youtube if you search it though

Frank said...

How's about I keep my postage and you go buy the Uncanny X-Force trade in a few months? Deal!

Ryan K Lindsay said...

C'mon, Frank. I'll pay for what I post, you pay for what you post, and we'll have fun through swapping - old schoole!

As for you, Midnight Monk, you've just exposed me to a whole new world and I don't know how I feel about that...

Anonymous said...

I'd like a vote to see who all actually enjoyed Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk. Here we were promised a bimonthly, six-issue series starting in 2005 and expecting a knock-down-drag-out fight between two of the Marvel Universe's most savage characters - just for it being in the Marvel Ultimate Universe. Instead, we have to wait FOUR FREAKIN' YEARS because of the series being postponed due to numerous reasons. And when it finally does come out, we keep waiting and waiting for this (thought to be) brutal fight, only to see Wolverine and Hulk basically holding hands and walking together at the end! I had to look at the cover again a couple of times to see if I were reading an Ultimate comic or a Marvel Adventures comic! Not to mention, Wolverine claiming in Ultimate X-Men #97 after a fight with Colossus, "You should have seen what I did to the Hulk... it was epic." It was the biggest disappointment EVER from Marvel for me.

btownlegend said...

I'm done with Generation X also. I had high hopes...just can't see me continue to buy it.

Logan said...

I actually do use the preview pages to decide what to buy. I usually have three piles of books: Definitely buying, Buying it for this arc, Dropping. The preview pages doesn't really affect the first group but the second two groups are definitely influenced by how I feel about the previews.

Jeremy said...

Highly recommend Uncanny X-Force! You'd think that a book about Apocalypse and the horsemen would be steeped in continuity, but it really isn't. Everything you need to know about the characters and their past is right there in these four issues. Continuity is used a tool, nothing more. When Wolverine says "Tasted that poison before" when goes crazy for a bit, you may get the reference to the time he was mind-controlled by Apocalypse in the 90s or its just a fun throwaway line.

Uncanny X-Force is what I think X-men books should shoot for. A small, defined cast of characters, with a real team dynamic and individual characterizations. There's big ideas on display, but there's real drama and tension to it(especially the incredible conclusion to UXF #4). The artwork is gorgeous, from old favorites like Wolverine to brand new foes like War.

tl;dr version: Uncanny X-Force is accessible, has cool ideas with actual heart behind them, sharp dialog, great team of characters, and amazing artwork. You should definitely pick up the hardcover when it comes out in March, Ryan!

Christian said...

Generation X?
I assume you mean Generation Hope?
Or has the Mass. Academy reopened and nobody told me?

Midnight Monk said...

@Ryan My world is dangerous best carry a bulletproof vest for protection and maybe afew books. I hear Youtube rots your brains

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