Tag Archive: Hawkeye


Review by C.J. Bunce

If you have any doubt young actress Iman Vellani was destined to be the next Marvel Comics superheroine, just watch her in the first episode of new series Ms. Marvel, and watch the short background feature that follows (A Fan’s Guide to Ms. Marvel).  Her character is similar to Hailee Steinfeld’s Hawkeye, who we only met last year in her new series.  Both grew up admiring Avengers in a world where Thanos ruined five years for so many, and both take actions to become those superheroes.  Both actresses have created characters with a respect for their family, culture, and upbringing, but both want to be themselves, too.  Vellani’s character, a 16-year-old named Kamala Khan, faces the same teen angst issues of most American teens, and her choice is to distract herself with other things.  Primarily that’s marveling at Carol Danvers’s Captain Marvel, who she admires from afar (actor Brie Larson is not expected in this series, but both will appear together in the forthcoming Captain Marvel movie The Marvels).  This coming of age story has much going for it in only its first 47-minute opening episode, premiering this week on Disney+.

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This summer Marvel Studios adds their next superhero from the youth set to its pantheon of superheroes, on the heels of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Florence Pugh’s new Black Widow, and Hailee Steinfeld’s new Hawkeye.  Iman Vellani stars in Ms. Marvel, a series which looks a lot like Marvel’s answer to DC Comics’ lighthearted, coming of age superheroine series, Stargirl.  Just as there have been different versions of Captain Marvel over the past 80 years in comic books, there have been multiple Ms. Marvels.  This iteration hails from comics stories from only the past decade.  Just as Steinfeld’s character first admired and was inspired to be a super from first seeing the older Hawkeye when she was young, Vellani’s character has a similar backstory with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel.

Check out this trailer, and some earlier videos you may have missed, for Ms. Marvel:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Everything is related.  That’s what you’ll learn if you watched this year’s superhero movies, beginning with Black Widow, threading into Hawkeye.  Loki and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings wove their way into the coming Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness and even if you haven’t seen Spider-Man: No Way Home yet, you know from the trailers it, too, ties into the Multiverse with the appearance of Doctor Strange.  And we won’t say how, but if you decided to skip it (and it’s been available in different forms via theaters and digital home release for weeks now), Venom: Let There Be Carnage finally connects Sony’s Marvel world with the giant MCU you know from Disney (another big connection to tie the four corners of Marvel together this month if you’re paying attention).  Sure, we may have thought the Sony tie was going to happen in WandaVision, when Sony X-Men’s Quicksilver showed up on Wanda and Vision’s doorstep, but for whatever reason it didn’t happen.  The real deal finally began in the sequel to 2018’s Venom (reviewed here).  Yes, everything is connected.  But that’s not the only reason to make sure you watch Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

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Today we’re continuing our annual year-end round-up with the Best TV Series of 2021.  If you missed it, check out our review of the best Kick-Ass Heroines of 2021 here.  We watch a lot of television, and probably love a good series even more than a great movie.  We preview hundreds of series, but outside big franchise content you want to know about, we only review what we recommend–the best genre content we’re watching. The theory?  If we like it, we think you may like it.  The best shows have a compelling story, great characters, tremendous action, a sharp use of humor, and all kinds of well-executed genre elements that satisfy and leave viewers feeling inspired.  It’s even better if we see richly detailed sets and costumes.  And the very best series get usually get canceled at the end of their first season because network execs will never figure out what we genre fans love.

Without further ado, this year’s Best in Television:

Best Borg Series, Best TV BorgCowboy Bebop (Netflix).  Mustafa Shakir’s Jet Black expanded on the anime series to create a space pilot and bounty hunter as cool and real as anyone from the Star Wars universe.  His cyborg implants made him incredibly powerful–necessary in his dealings on behalf of Spike and his family.

Best Sci-Fi TV SeriesBest Western TV Series, Best Space Fantasy Series, Best Retro Fix, Best TV Soundtrack, Best TV Costumes – Cowboy Bebop (Netflix).  Only one science fiction series really knocked our socks off this year.  The stylish look and music, and the fun of the crew of the spaceship Bebop made us want to speed through this series.  For viewers looking for the next Firefly, this is it.  For fans looking for the best futurism, space realism, and the next Altered Carbon, this is it.  Its writing, direction, cast, and overall production values made the series this year’s series to talk aboutRunner-up for Best Sci-fi TV Series: Blade Runner: Black Lotus (Adult Swim), great sci-fi, faithful to the source material.  Honorable mention for Best Sci-fi TV Series: Resident Alien (Syfy) Alan Tudyk’s fish-out-of-water story and his alien story pulled us back to the roots of classic sci-fi with humor and drama as a bonus.

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Once a year at borg we ask: What makes a great screen heroine? It’s time for borg′s annual look at the Best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines in film and television.  We’re highlighting the very best from a slate of fantastic heroines, with characteristics to learn from and root for.  Determined, decisive, loyal, brave, smart, fierce, strong, you’ll find no one here timid or weepy, but all rely on their individual skills to beat the odds and overcome any obstacle that comes their way.  Over the years we have expanded the list to include any tough, savvy, gritty character played by a woman, so villains are welcome here, too.  (Want to see previous years’ kickass genre heroines to see how 2021 compares?  Here are 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015). Some may be frazzled, put-upon, war-weary, or human, but all have fought, some against difficult circumstances, others against personal demons (literally, figuratively, or both), and some against gun and laser fire.  And they all showed what a tough, kick-ass, and often badass, character is about.

This year we add three superheroines, an amnesiac bounty hunter, four police detectives, a thief, a grifter, a hacker, 13 martial arts experts, three soldiers, a god, a duchess, two college students, three Russian assassins, a spy, an actress, a cyborg, a bartender, a forensics expert, a hitman, and a helicopter pilot, with eight characters we’ve seen in past years and 13 all-new characters we’ve never seen in any medium before–all in a roster split between 21 television and 13 movie characters. Credit goes to both the writers, costumers, and other creators of the characters and the actors and performers that brought them all to life.

These are the Best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines of 2021:

Antonia Dreykov aka Taskmaster (Black Widow).  Was there a more intriguing, surprising, gut-wrenching character this year than Olga Kurylenko’s super-powered cyborg?  She was one of the best costumed villains this year and certainly the most sympathetic, leaving the question: Where does she go from here? (Disney)

Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop).  Daniella Pineda’s spin on this classic sci-fi character couldn’t have been better.  Always eager, always excitable, always refreshing, as she pursued the dramatic journey to discover who she really is. (Netflix)

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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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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.

kate-bishop-

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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It was only a year ago here at borg we were discussing some of the projects expected to arrive in 2020.  That didn’t happen, but a pandemic later and some juggling by the execs at Disney and we seem to have a realistic schedule for the projects we’ll see in 2021.  So let’s gather some excitement for Marvel superheroes heading our way, at least from the first looks at these shows we’ve seen via their movie and series trailers.  What does it look like we’re going to actually see in 2021 via streaming Disney+ or Vudu streaming?  As Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with the final episodes of WandaVision on Disney+, next up will be The Falcon and the Winter Soldier starting on Disney+ March 19.  Probably the most eagerly awaited of all Marvel projects since Spider-Man: Far from Home is Black Widow, delayed and delayed some more, now expected to arrive May 7, probably for a theater run and a pay version via Disney+.  Which leaves the six episode mini-series Loki, also expected to arrive in May, via Disney+.  The common link?  All of these feature characters and storylines still heavily anchored to Phase III of the MCU, and all are an opportunity to tweak the past via time travel or a changed past to allow for new characters and new storylines.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is expected to arrive in theaters June 25, and Shang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings has a July 9 premiere date, but Disney hasn’t issued a trailer for either yet.  As a bonus we’ll throw in the trailer below for the animated series What… If? which doesn’t have anything but a 2021 projected Disney+ series launch date, and the trailer for Morbius, a Sony production tying into the MCU–at least via a cameo by Michael Keaton as Vulture, the villain from Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.  It’s now slated for a January 2022 theatrical premiere.  Although an Eternals movie is expected around Thanskgiving and another Spider-Man movie could slip in around Christmas, all the other Phase IV projects have been pushed out beyond 2021–the next movies featuring Doctor Strange, Thor, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Fantastic Four, and TV series featuring a new Hawkeye, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy (a special), Secret Invasion, Ironheart, Armor Wars, and a Wakanda series.

Check out these trailers:

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Instead of what has been done at past panels at San Diego Comic-Con–having a panel for each or just a few major projects–Marvel Studios exec Kevin Feige was on-hand to get several announcements out the door and as many key cast members in and out of his single panel as possible.  For the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase IV, that means tying in Disney’s (pay) streaming service with the movies.  The big takeaway?  New logos are pretty much all there is so far to share, plus key casting and timing announcements.  And although the last Phase had some changes along the way, it looks as if these ten projects will round out the entirety of Marvel over the next few years.  The biggest frustration for fans of the X-Men and Fantastic Four is why nobody at Marvel has been getting a head start on these two massively popular teams of characters–money is definitely going to be left on the table for the duration of Phase IV by pushing out these projects.  Why aren’t these Priority #1 with someone at Disney in light of the long lead-time the corporation had for the Fox acquisition?

The new time table is straightforward: Black Widow movie (May 1, 2020), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV series (Fall 2020), Eternals movie (November 6, 2020), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings movie (February 12, 2021), WandaVision TV series (Spring 2021), Loki TV series (Spring 2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness movie (May 7, 2021), What If…? animated series (Summer 2021), Hawkeye TV series (Fall 2021), and Thor: Love and Thunder movie (November 5, 2021).  The most eagerly awaited film after this year’s Avengers: Endgame was the hinted-at Guardians of the Galaxy/Thor or Asgardians of the Galaxy team-up movie, but Marvel still has not confirmed that project, unless it’s tied into the 2021 film.  Also relegated to “in development” status: Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and the next Tom Holland Spider-Man movie (Spider-Man is Iron Man’s replacement, right?).  Silence seems to confirm the death of the Marvel Netflix universe of Luke Cage, The Punisher, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist, and maybe even Disney+ projects Runaways, Ghost Rider, and Helstrom.  FX’s Legion was already announced as canceled, and we lost track of how many times The New Mutants movie has been pushed back.  Even bigger unknowns are the next Ant-Man and The Wasp, which had Hank Pym actor Michael Douglas already discussing it as a prequel, and if anyone is thinking about Prince Namor the Submariner, nobody is talking.  It begs the question:  Does Disney have too much to handle now?

As a beginning Disney’s Marvel side seems to be taking a lead from its Star Wars division, with its offerings targeting a mix of fans old, new, and in-between.  For the fans of the MCU so far you have plenty, a Black Widow (presumably prequel) and Thor movie as bookends for Phase IV, and TV series to keep alive Falcon, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Loki, Doctor Strange, and Hawkeye.  For new audiences (and possibly much older comic book readers) there is Shang-Chi and the Eternals to get to know, along with the announcement that Luke Cage’s Mahershala Ali will be playing Blade in a reboot movie at the beginning of Phase V, the vampire hunter who, like Spider-Man, has already seen an entire series of movies outside of the MCU.

The details are an eclectic mix of things you might want, things you didn’t know you want, and things you won’t know what to make of:

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SCARLET-WITCH-#1

Last week saw the release of the first issue of Marvel Comics’ latest monthly Scarlet Witch.  The series is written by James Robinson with artwork by Vanesa Del Rey with colors by Jordie Bellaire.  Award winning Hawkeye cover artist David Aja provides the cover to the first issue, plus variant covers are available from Kevin Wada, Bill Sienkiewicz, Erica Henderson, Tom Raney, and Chris Sotomayor.  It’s not only David Aja’s cover, but Robinson’s well-paced introduction and Del Rey and Bellaire’s visuals that remind us of Matt Fraction and Aja’s successful Hawkeye series, another series about a secondary character and a life outside the scope of saving the world with the Avengers.

The new Scarlet Witch has a ghostly quality, and a style similar to DC Comics’s initial New 52 stories of Batwoman from J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman.  It’s introspective look at a superheroine with a past also echoes Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s brilliant Black Widow series.

Scarlet Witch interior page

But this is a distinctly different story about a much different character.  She is not a young heroine.  She is a witch who speaks aloud with the ghost of Agatha, a dead woman she may or may not have killed in her past.  Scarlet Witch–Wanda Maximoff–is a detective of sorts in the same way as Liv Moore uses her supernatural skills to solve crimes in iZombie.

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