Category: Superheroes


Hawkeye Kate

After Jeremy Renner’s good guy Clint Barton was converted to bad guy in the 2012 MCU Avengers movie, it seemed like there was nowhere for the character to go but down.  Already merely a Green Arrow knockoff (who, in turn, was inspired by Robin Hood), the least interesting Avenger ultimately was relegated to lawless, one-note assassin status by the Endgame finale.  That was the Avenger on the big screen.  What the movie studio missed and is at last catching up to is what was happening in the comics pages while Avengers was in theaters.  Enter writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, who tapped some of the better elements from DC Comics’ Green Arrow comic book series and suddenly Hawkeye became interesting in the comics.

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But what would become a multiple Eisner-winning comic wasn’t just about Clint Barton.  The next Disney+ Marvel series is coming this Christmas, and it’s bringing the even better character from Fraction and Aja’s comic book series forward, revealed in a first preview that looks like we may finally get a Disney+ Marvel series as good as the Marvel movies.  They even got the logo and Matt Hollingsworth’s color scheme right.  Check out the first trailer for Hawkeye below.

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A Heart Divided

Review by C.J. Bunce

How often do you read a series that makes it to four volumes and each entry gets progressively better?  That’s exactly what awaits you in Gigi Chang, Anna Holmwood, and Shelly Bryant’s landmark English translation of Jin Yong′s Legends of the Condor Heroes novels.  This series, originally a serialized novel written and first published by Yong aka Louis Cha between 1957 and 1959, is in fact the worldwide best selling novel of all time, with a billion copies in print.  A 38 volume manhua comic was issued in 1998, and countless film and TV adaptations followed, including my favorite in 2017 (reviewed here).  In the spirit of Homer, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, Akira Kurosawa, and George Lucas, the series is among the world’s greatest fantasy novels and you should think of the fourth and final installment, A Heart Divided, as the Return of the King of the series.  Only it’s better than Tolkien’s finale–incredible subplots, powerful historical fantasy, dozens of major, important key characters, who, because of the stunning translation and Jin’s literary characterizations, will be easy for Western audiences to keep track of.  It doesn’t fall into the trap of many major fantasy series: losing the steam built up in the earlier installments.

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WandaVision Hardback Cover WandaVision_Newsstand_Cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s a surprising and unique story in Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It’s WandaVision, the almost hallucinogenic, time-tripping story of the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame through the eyes of Wanda Maximoff.  Now fans have their first look inside the making of the series in Marvel’s WandaVision: The Official Marvel Studios Collector Special, a full color, hardcover, souvenir guide to the characters, creators, and development of the Disney+ series.  It’s being released in three editions, one via newsstands, one via comic shops (add it to your pull list at Elite Comics now), and a hardcover version you can pick up here at Amazon and at brick and mortar bookstores (it’s currently an Amazon #1 Best Seller!).  Enjoy a preview for borg readers below from Titan.

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Zendaya Holland sp 3

With an MCU Phase IV release schedule in chaos, and nothing but peeks and false starts last year, Marvel fans are more than ready for the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which officially arrived late yesterday after an apparent leak earlier in the day.  It was originally scheduled to premiere in theaters last month.  We won’t know until December if we’ll see the movie this year, but at least it confirms its set-up for the second Doctor Strange movie, Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness, and will lay the grounds for the possibility of a host of cameos, which could include characters from the animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  Spider-Man has been Marvel’s #1 superhero for nearly 60 years because he’s a great character teens and adults can relate to, and because Spidey fights some of the best villains in all of comics.  As expected Alfred Molina will reprise his character Doc Ock from Sony’s 2004 movie Spider-Man 2, as will Jamie Foxx as Electro, last seen in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  These leave open the likelihood of at least cameos from former Spidey actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.  But the best addition may be the return of Willem Dafoe as one of Marvel Comics’ best villains, Green Goblin, last seen in Spider-Man 3.  Wouldn’t it be great to fit in a cameo of Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, or even the first live-action Miles Morales?

Strange

What will be the sixth appearance Tom Holland as Spider-Man (since this takes place right after his fifth appearance in (Spider-Man: Far From Home) looks like it has the potential of being as fun as his past appearances, more Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, more Jon Favreau as Happy, Zendaya as MJ, and the rest of Peter’s school friends returning.  Plus Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Benedict Wong as Wong.  And music again by composer Michael Giacchino.

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Take a look at the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home:

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After a year-and-a-half delay from the COVID pandemic, the pop culture convention Planet Comicon Kansas City slipped in what may be a final convention circuit event for 2021 this weekend, as COVID cases return to the worst of last year’s numbers.  The Kansas City community came together, complying with the city’s mask mandate, tens of thousands of attendees in the five-football-field-sized space of the Kansas City Convention Center over three days.  And masks and acrylic sneeze guards didn’t seem to detract at all from the fun of attendees, cosplayers, creators, and other guests, with only a few detractors not complying (we estimate 1% or less didn’t follow the rules, including, unfortunately, a few exhibitors).  The event hosted a pantheon of celebrities, this year focusing on actors from the long-running series Supernatural, plus nationally recognized writers and artists, all for its eighth year in its downtown Kansas City, Missouri, venue.  Unless other conventions follow the new trend of requiring vaccination cards as happening in New York City, San Francisco, and at NFL games, plus more national businesses and restaurants joining in (or the rest of the outliers just get the shot), this could be the last of the big indoor Midwest events this year.  The show ran Friday, August 20 through Sunday, August 22.  Check out several photos below, which should give you a feel for the attendance, and some of the guests and fans.

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Eternals clip b

Two movie trailers in and it still is difficult to understand what Eternals will be about.  It still looks like a cross between X-Men: Apocalypse, Jupiter’s Legacy and Inhumans.  The final trailer from Marvel Studios for the third movie of Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (on the tail of both Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) doesn’t look like any other Marvel movie.  Eternals has a cast of familiar names–the central character fan-favorite actress Gemma Chan, who wowed us in Humans and Shetland, and created a great villain in Raya and the Last Dragon.  She also played a friend turned enemy in Captain Marvel, as the alien Minn-Erva.  And it features actors most wouldn’t think to cast for an MCU movie, like Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, and Kumail Nanjiani.  But the strange takeaway from the first trailer (seen here) and second (and final) trailer is it doesn’t look like any other Marvel movie–there’s no hook, no exciting or funny element to reel in viewers after such a successful Phase III.

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PCKC 2021 COMICS HEADLINERS

Friday the pop culture convention Planet Comicon Kansas City is back, this time to celebrate its 21st year.  The event hosts a pantheon of nationally recognized writers and artists for its eighth year in its downtown Kansas City, Missouri, venue at the Kansas City Convention Center.  The show runs Friday, August 20 through Sunday, August 22.  It’s a chance to step carefully back into normalcy for many pop culture fans–it may just be the biggest comic convention yet where everyone shows up in masks.  Some of the biggest names and most popular comics creators are in the line-up for the 2021 event, probably the best-known being Roy Thomas, the comic book writer and editor who was Stan Lee’s first successor as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.  Characters he created or co-created include Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Vision, Carol Danvers, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Red Sonja, Ultron, Man-Thing, Red Guardian, and Valkyrie, the majority of which have become so famous they’ve made it to recent big or small screen adaptations.  Famous for his work on X-Men and Avengers, Thomas is also known for his work on classic titles All-Star Squadron and Justice Society of America.

PCKC 2021 HEADLINERS

Several other comic book creators scheduled to attend include Ande Parks, Ant Lucia, Megan Levens, Seth Peck, Rob DavisJason Arnett, Bryan Fyffe, Bryan Timmins, Darryl Woods, Afua Richardson, Joe Corroney, and Darren Neely.  In addition to comics creators, novelists scheduled for the show include borg.com writer and author Elizabeth C. Bunce, noted Star Trek authors Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward, and Star Wars authors Kevin J. Anderson, John Jackson Miller, and Timothy Zahn–and many more.

Back again, the Elite Comics flight crew is planning its “Party on the Pillar” hoping for attendees to pick up some great deals on what the Con is all about–comics.

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Darth Vader, Flash Gordon, The Incredible Hulk, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, characters from Supernatural, the CW Arrowverse, Stranger Things, Star Trek, Laverne & Shirley, The Brady Bunch, The Karate Kid, RWBY, My Hero Academia, your favorite writers and artists, and more are heading to Kansas City this week

For twenty-one years Planet Comicon Kansas City has been one of the Midwest’s biggest comic book and pop culture conventions and that was no less so in 2014 when it became the largest attended event in the history of the Kansas City Convention Center.  And it’s only gotten bigger.  The last show featured guests including Henry Winkler, William Shatner, John Wesley Shipp, Cary Elwes, and Joonas Suotamo, and this year more memorable names from TV and movies from the past and present are scheduled to attend.  Leading things off is Misha Collins and a slate of actors from Supernatural (and one of the Winchester brothers’ cars from the series), the series making its biggest ever regional fan appearance at the annual event, which takes place at Kansas City’s convention center at Bartle Hall, August 20-22, 2021.

Making their second appearances at the event are Darth Vader actor (and Guardians of the Galaxy and Harry Potter universe actor) Spencer Wilding and Star Trek legends–Dr. Crusher herself Gates McFadden and Worf’s brother Nikolai Paul Sorvino (…and The Firm, Goodfellas, Law and Order, etc.).  They’ll be joined by Gaten Matarazzo and Gabriella Pizzolo from Stranger Things, The Doors and Entourage star Kevin Dillon, The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai stars Martin Kove and William Zabka, and a host of superhero performers from past and present, including CW Arrowverse actors Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy plus original The Incredible Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno and Flash Gordon actor Sam Jones.

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There’s something for every TV and movie fanboy and fangirl at this year’s show.

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FCBD 2021 Judge Dredd  FCBD 2021 School Extra Girls

Today at Elite Comics and your local comic book shop–Free Comic Book Day is returning for 2021.  Often overlapping with the annual Star Wars Day–May the Fourth–this year it was pushed out a few months to Saturday, August 14.  A good excuse to visit your local comic book shop and get re-introduced to some series you may have missed, the annual FCBD is also a way to check out some titles you may otherwise have overlooked.  Below, check out some of the covers and titles coming your way for FCBD 2021 today!

FCBD 2021 Sonic  FCBD 2021 Star Wars

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STG201

Review by C.J. Bunce

One of the best superhero series yet returned Tuesday, as Stargirl begins a new season on the CW network.  After the city of superheroes was blown apart in last season’s finale, viewers will catch up with Brec Bassinger’s Courtney Whitmore aka Stargirl as she tries to lead a new generation of Justice Society of America superheroes.  But is it meant to be?  Yvette Monreal’s Wildcat is reeling from killing Brainwave, justifiably or not.  Cameron Gellman’s Hourman is trying to track down Solomon Grundy.  And Anjelika Washington’s Beth Chapel continues her turn as the saddest character on TV, now losing her relationship with her parents even more, plus Charlie, the cyber entity that no longer knows her.  Worst of all, it’s the end of the school year and Courtney finds she’s stuck in summer school.

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