Category: Superheroes


 

The great thing about a world with an abundance of superhero series–last year we had more than ever to choose from–is you have a choice.  Two television series from 2019 about superheroes that fell far from our “best of” list were The Umbrella Academy and The Boys.  Both adaptations of comics and graphic novels, they were bleak and lacking in any hopeful or spirited messaging, choosing instead to continue the search for the next Frank Miller or Alan Moore shocker.  One featured Ellen Page as an emotionless sort-of sibling in an apocalypse and the other the rape of a young new superheroine among an irredeemable story reflecting as many real-world horrors as the creators could find.  Oddly (and probably not coincidentally) the two competing networks Netflix and Amazon Studios released Season 2 trailers for their dueling superhero shows both on the same day this week.

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Many a comic book reader was sucked into superhero comics, or any comics, by the compelling stories of one writer: Dennis “Denny” O’Neil, who passed away Thursday, June 11, fifty years after the publication of his most celebrated work.  O’Neil created some of the most admired tales of our favorite superheroes.  His stories ushered in an entirely new, modern era of comic books that historians refer to as the Bronze Age of comics (following on the heels of the Golden Age that introduced the first superhero books with Superman in 1938, followed by the Silver Age in 1956, which gave us new sci-fi and space fantasy stories by the likes of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee).  The Bronze Age began with the “Hard-Traveling Heroes” story arc (illustrated by Neal Adams) that forever re-defined Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow, and Dinah Lance’s Black Canary.  But it would be looked back on as much more than that.

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It was only a few months ago I reviewed Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks here at borg, a film chronicling the challenges and rise of Chinese action movies, including a segment on the legendary martial artist and actor, Bruce Lee.  At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, one of the Grand Jury Prize nominees was a documentary exclusively devoted to Lee, a film called Be Water, titled from the personal philosophy he shared with the world, “be formless, shapeless, like water… be water, my friend.”  A documentary that has received much advance praise and film festival kudos, director Bao Nguyen’s film will premiere to general audiences this Sunday as part of EPSN’s 30 for 30 series.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Just Mercy had us simply from the superhero actors in key roles.  But now that America and the entire world is looking more deeply at systemic racism in light of the killing of George Floyd with the largest civil rights protest in the history of our planet, what better time to check out a major theatrical film, a courtroom drama about racism based on a true story, now available to rent free?  Thanks to Warner Brothers, to support Black Lives Matter Just Mercy is now available on major streaming platforms free this month.  It’s a solid drama for everyone, and particularly anyone gripped and moved by race-themed dramas we’ve reviewed here at borg, including the Chadwick Boseman movies Marshall and the Jackie Robinson movie 42, and Stephan James’ Jesse Owens story, Race.

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Originally previewed here at borg in 2018 and marketed by Dynamite Comics as Miss Fury, Volume 3, the third recent Miss Fury reboot was delayed again to September 2019, finally to be sidelined to an Indiegogo campaign beginning yesterday.  Fortunately Dynamite learned fast that Miss Fury fans will keep coming back for each new effort to resurrect writer/artist/creator Tarpé Mills’ first superheroine, as the campaign was funded in less than two hours.  So Dynamite will be publishing its third solo Miss Fury project in early 2021, this time taking what was to be a three-issue limited series straight to the graphic novel trade edition with one hardcover option.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s a similar set-up to that used in the new Stargirl television series: A great superhero of the past has headlined success after success.  It all begins as the greatest pulp hero of them all, Adventureman, faces his death at the hands of his nemesis, Baron Bizarre, in a soul-shattering cliffhanger.  Or not.  Flash forward 80 years later to a mother and her son–the only two people that recall the Adventureman sagas.  It all begins here, in the first, triple-sized issue of Adventureman, with some great visuals that conjure the early artistic stylings of Adam Hughes.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you remember last year’s Captain Marvel (the movie, not the character in Shazam!), you’ll be familiar with the pilot Carol Danvers (known as the most powerful Avenger) and her cat named Goose (movie) or Chewie (comics), who is actually a Flerken (an alien with tentacles and a pocket dimension in her mouth).  IDW Publishing is re-printing a Marvel Comics series from last year that may be the most fun of all the Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel stories, the all-ages series Marvel Action: Captain Marvel Now you can get the first three issues in the compilation trade paperback, Marvel Action: Captain Marvel–Cosmic CAT-tastrophe, a blast of a story packed with more than one cosmic cat.  Lots more.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Isn’t this a great time for a new superhero series to begin?  If you agree then you’re in luck, because tonight’s premiere episode of Stargirl might be DC Comics’ best TV pilot yet.  Prepare to meet the next superheroes from the corners of 30 years of DC Comics.  Courtney Whitmore’s relationship with her new stepdad is like you’d expect at first–awkward.  But it’s doubly awkward when he’s an over-eager good guy named Patrick played by Luke Wilson (known best for his roles in Wes Anderson movies and an unforgettable spot on The X-Files).  Courtney (seen above sporting a rather timely mask) discovers there is more than meets the eye with Pat, and the series opener will propel viewers further ahead into his secrets and past–sooner than you might expect.  The result is incredibly promising, a pilot mixing well-done special effects with a great story, a coming of age tale targeted at kids, a fun cast of familiar faces and a new young actress hitting the ground running (or soaring), a cool car and a 1950s vibe, and throwbacks for viewers who keep their eyes open.  And the entire first season is now available on digital.

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It was seven years ago that we first revealed Agent Coulson Lives! here at borg, as fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe discovered there was more to Clark Gregg’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things, the biggest fan of Captain America In the marathon opening night for The Avengers, Agent Coulson served as our guide, speaking directly to viewers as he introduced Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man 2, and Captain America: The First Avenger.  And in The Avengers, we saw one of the most emotional scenes of the franchise as Coulson was killed by Loki, although his biggest appearance wouldn’t arrive until last year, with his co-starring role in Captain Marvel (the MCU does like to bounce us around).  When this coming season wraps this August, Gregg will have put in 136 hours of television with the character, even if in decoy form, and the first Phases of the MCU come full circle–with one more big element remaining this year–another character back from the dead–in Black Widow, coming to theaters in November.

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