Category: Superheroes


Review by C.J. Bunce

When I was a kid in school, periodically we were given book orders, full of discount versions of books, but also posters and popular magazines like Dynamite, and lots of tie-ins with the latest news on current movies and TV shows.  Anything Star Wars was quickly added to our book order form, and that’s what Titan’s latest tie-in reminds me of most.  Star Wars Insider: The Galaxy’s Greatest Heroes looks at 16 of the biggest heroes of the franchise from the creators and actors behind them.  But after nearly 45 years, the book allows a greater opportunity for even more people behind the scenes to offer their commentary on fan-favorite characters, with something for every Star Wars fan.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The first two episodes–a full third of the series–have arrived for Marvel’s fourth live-action series of the year on the Disney+ streaming platform and it’s a good start, already faring better than those prior series.  Hawkeye is about Jeremy Renner’s unassuming superhero Clint Barton aka Hawkeye from the Avengers movies–and yet it isn’t.  Although the first episode gets off to a slow start, it’s Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop, who replaces Hawkeye in the comics, who proves quickly she’s going to be an exciting fixture for the next iteration of the Avengers line-up.  She’s in good company, joining Black Widow’s Florence Pugh’s new Black Widow to take the franchise forward, along with Natalie Portman as new Thor in next year’s movie Thor: Love and Thunder, and Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk in next year’s series She-Hulk. 

Hawkeye is billed as a holiday show and it is, but it falls short in that department, probably because Marvel/Disney didn’t use a key arrow in its quiver: the creator of your second favorite Christmas movie.

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Just as Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has been a great relief to fans of the character after so many years of just not getting it right, moving upward to replace Tony Stark as leader of the new Avengers, Sony Pictures seems to be bringing it all crashing back down to earth.  Earth of the past.  Or that’s how it looks in the latest trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, with the full pantheon of villains–ghosts of Spider-Men past–make their way into the Multiverse of Madness, revealing the true leader of the Avengers is probably Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

As much as any movie has been able to keep its secrets in the past few years, it’s hard to beat the surprises in the epic fantasy film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the first film of Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe without an Avengers headliner.  And when I say fantasy, I mean it–it’s got it all, a combination of the magical realm of Doctor Strange, the ancient, secret country hidden from the rest of the world like Black Panther, a mix of Asian lore, Shakespearean family squabbles (including a famous, Oscar-winning Shakespearean actor), and a plot–and dragons–right out of The Lord of the Rings (after all, Ten Rings are better than One Ring, right?).  It has action, it has ties to the old and new, and, thanks to co-star Awkwafina, it’s the laugh-out-loud funniest of all the Marvel movies.  And it’s finally arrived on Disney+ so mass audiences still staying away from movie theaters finally have a chance to see what they missed.

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The first two episodes of Marvel’s Hawkeye series are less than two weeks away.  After the mental anguish of this year’s first round of Marvel streaming series–depression and loss as the themes of WandaVision, self-doubt and imposter syndrome as the themes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and regret and hopelessness as the themes of Loki–Marvel fans have earned themselves a fun Marvel series, and Hawkeye looks like it will fit the bill.

In yesterday’s quick Disney Plus Day event, the streaming service previewed what should be another fun series, as critically acclaimed Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany looks like she finds it easy being green as the title superheroine of She-Hulk.  It’s a little harder to see what angle will be taken with Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight A deadly war of the gods with Egypt as a backdrop feels and looks like Isaac in X-Men: Apocalypse.  And Iman Vellani stars in Ms. Marvel, which looks a lot Marvel’s version of DC Comics’ Stargirl.  New announcements include series Echo starring Alaqua Cox, Ironheart starring Dominique Thorne, Agatha: House of Harkness starring Kathryn Hahn, and Secret Invasion starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn.

Take a look at another great Hawkeye trailer, and our first glimpses (barely) at She-HulkMoon Knight, and Ms. Marvel below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

This time the appeal of the latest chronicle of Hollywood in the Turner Classic Movies home library isn’t the movies.  The movies actually take a back seat to the people who made them, specifically men and women who gave their blood, sweat, tears, and even their lives for Democracy during World War II.  Many who portrayed heroes in the movies and many who produced and directed them dropped everything when the United States entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and writer-historian Christian Blauvelt compiles the big picture with personal stories in his new expertly crafted history text, TCM’s Hollywood Victory.  Holding a degree in history I’ve read many a college history book and TCM’s Hollywood Victory is a solid course in history, sharing the truth including some of the bruises as some of Hollywood’s greats–like Jimmy Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, John Ford, Carole Lombard, Leslie Howard, and more–showed their character when the world needed it most.  TCM’s Hollywood Victory arrives just in time for Veteran’s Day, available now here at Amazon.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

One of writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby’s most famous creations is the subject of a new coffee table book from Abrams ComicArts.  Reprinted at nearly 9 inches by 12 inches, Fantastic Four No. 1 Panel by Panel, a new hardcover edition of The Fantastic Four, Issue #1, is going to be one for big fans of the characters.  Unlike 2005’s book Maximum Fantastic Four, which included one panel per page in a 9″x12″ format with re-colored and enhanced artwork, Fantastic Four No. 1 Panel by Panel features color, blown-up scans of each page in its original context with all its Ben Day halftone dots jumping off the page.  The book is out this week and available here at Amazon.  And it has much more than a close-up look at this seminal issue in the history of comics that is worth checking out.

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The series could have been called Captain America: Aftermath and shored up into a theatrical movie.  Instead The Falcon and the Winter Soldier became another one of those six-episode Disney+ streaming series that didn’t really have much to say about its characters–another story that pulls together the odd supporting characters from other films and wedges them into a new story intended to connect Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Marvel’s future.  Better production values than their network TV counterparts but not as riveting as the layered storytelling and worldbuilding in Marvel’s Netflix series, the Disney+ series pull together the movie actors in “bridge” stories to try to keep viewers coming back for more.  Why didn’t Kevin Feige give the Falcon his own movie to show how he became Captain America?  Who knows.  But fans of the Marvel characters will get a chance to look back at how the filmmakers conceived their story for the series and its dozens of fight scenes in the forthcoming hardcover book, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: The Official Marvel Studios Collector Special.  It’s available for pre-order now here at Amazon, or order it from Elite Comics or your local comic shop.

The book is a great souvenir guide for the series that will introduce fans to the crew that made it happen.  Check out a preview below.

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Sometimes you just know when you’re going to want the graphic novel/trade edition of a new series.  That looks certain for the new DC vs Vampires, a story outside the normal continuity of the DC Comics superheroes that will twist the most famous into vampires, and it takes long-time fans of DC characters to one of their favorite places: the Hall of Justice that we grew up with in the Superfriends television series.  The first chapter finds New 52 Justice League Dark character and I, Vampire lead Andrew Bennett crawling to the iconic Justice League headquarters to share word of something dire with the League, where he finds Hal Jordan and one of the Wonder Twins.  

There is a new vampire leader on Earth and what he’s plotting will mean the end of human domination of the planet.

Stories like DC vs Vampires are a great chance to dip back into the DC Universe without needing to get caught up on all the series and crossover events.  In a word, these limited series are just plain fun.  

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Wonder Twin powers activate!  Form of… anything that will get this vampire out of my face!  Take a look at a preview of the first issue–and lots of cover variants for the first and subsequent issues–below.

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It’s one of those head-scratching things.  Previews for horror movies in October for movies not arriving until around Valentine’s Day.  And it happens every year.  Valentine’s Day is a big time for horror, and two movies heading your way next year look like you’ll want to see them if not in the theater at least streaming once they arrive on home video.  Also, this weekend is DC Fandome, an online streaming event like Disney’s annual D23 fan event (which arrives next month).  If you’ve wondered where DC Comics movies have been, they’ve evidently been waiting for next year–even before the pandemic they’ve been lagging behind the Marvel movies.  DC rolled out several teasers this weekend, many highlighting concept art as they make their way to their final stages of production.  Each of the new movies has promise, and you’ll want to compare them to our single Marvel preview below.

mirren Liu

Below check out trailers for two 2022 horror movies, a Marvel series coming soon, and five movies starring characters from the pages of DC Comics, beginning next year.

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