Introduce Kids to the Marvel Cinematic Universe With ‘LEGO Marvel’s Avengers’

We haven’t had much luck getting into LEGO video games at our house, even though we know they’re full of humor and brick-kicking. But the allure of an Avengers game featuring not just the Marvel cinematic universe but also some of our favorite characters (Squirrel Girl! Ms. Marvel!) was too hard to pass up—so my 7-year-old and I settled in to give the new LEGO Marvel’s Avengers a try.

And we’re having a blast.

While I’m mixed on pulling the audio directly from the films, my daughter is beside herself at finally getting to see the Avengers in action without worrying about seeing or hearing anything inappropriate. If you’re looking for a way to introduce the MCU to young kids without tuning into countless episodes of the animated series, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is an experience your whole family can enjoy.

Continue reading Introduce Kids to the Marvel Cinematic Universe With ‘LEGO Marvel’s Avengers’

Avengers, Assemble… LEGO! ‘LEGO Marvel’s Avengers’ Giveaway

The newest LEGO Marvel game is all about the Avengers of the Marvel cinematic universe. In the upcoming title you’ll play through some of the key moments of that universe, including the clash with Loki in the Battle of New York and fighting against Ultron in the sky over Sokovia.

Continue reading Avengers, Assemble… LEGO! ‘LEGO Marvel’s Avengers’ Giveaway

Gather ‘Round Padawans (Part Eight): Ms. Marvel II

Who among us has never dreamed of being a superhero? If you clicked the link to this article, I imagine you have done so at least once in your life. I have done so many a time. I am thirty-seven and I still do it. I even wrote a superhero novel because if I can’t do it, my imaginary friends can.

When you envision yourself as part of the cape and tights brigade, are you being you or are you someone else? In fantasy land, I’m usually at least three inches taller and definitely fifty pounds thinner, I have ringlets instead of barely tamable frizz, a much cuter nose, and I can run in heels while brandishing my rapier wit. And a katana.

Continue reading Gather ‘Round Padawans (Part Eight): Ms. Marvel II

Let’s Talk About Black Widow in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

avengers2blackwidow
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

The calendar may say it’s spring, but the summer movie season is officially upon us with the release of the sequel to 2012’s blockbuster The Avengers this weekend. It’s Marvel, it’s Joss Whedon, and it’s the Avengers, so there’s no question Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to be a megahit to rival, perhaps even surpass, its predecessor.

A traditional review seems rather pointless for a film like this. I mean, if you want to see it you’re going to see it, no matter what the critics say (for the record, I say it’s a whole lot of fun and well worth your time). What’s more valuable, I think, is an exploration of the issues the film raises, particularly in terms of the depiction of its main female hero, Black Widow (deftly portrayed by Scarlett Johansson).

Due to some grossly insensitive comments made by a couple of the actors in an interview (et tu, Evans?) and the observation that Black Widow has been woefully underrepresented when it comes to merchandise, the character has become a lightning rod for controversy on the fringes of the Avengers franchise. And let’s not forget that despite Johansson’s popularity and the rich well of story material, there’s still no sign of a Black Widow standalone film.

These are all legitimate gripes, important to the ongoing conversation about the treatment (or, sadly more often, mistreatment) of women in Hollywood. Yet it always seems as though there are those lying in wait for things like this to happen, ready to fire up the outrage machine and whipping out hashtags like pre-printed Super Bowl championship T-shirts. There’s a old newspaper saying: “Never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” The updated version is: “Never offend anyone who sells ad space by the page click.” To be fair, it doesn’t help that tone-deaf filmmakers, actors, and studios fall into the trap every single time.

So now, instead of talking about Black Widow’s arc in Age of Ultron, we’re drawn into a larger debate about slut shaming and invisible protagonists on retail shelves. There are plenty of places where you can engage in that worthy discussion, but I’m not going to get into all of that here (others have covered the topic quite thoroughly). What I’d rather focus on is Natasha’s storyline in the film itself, an aspect often overlooked in the midst of all these external elements.

This is where I must to pause to issue a spoiler warning before continuing. The following article will deal with some minor plot points from the film. I won’t be revealing any major details about the final act or any of the other character’s storylines (except where they directly intersect with Black Widow), but if you want to go in truly knowing nothing you may want to stop here and come back after you’ve seen the film. Otherwise, let’s dive right in.

avengers2whedonscarjo
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

Setting aside for the moment her appearances in previous MCU installments, I would argue that the storyline Whedon has written for Black Widow in Age of Ultron is actually quite empowering. The sweeping action sequence in the film’s opening shows her fighting shoulder to shoulder with her male counterparts. They value her for her skills and what she can contribute to the team. No one talks down to her, flirts with her, or considers her lesser because of her gender. She’s the only one who points out the difference, often jokingly referring to her compatriots as “boys.”

In a way, Natasha Romanoff is the spiritual successor to Peggy Carter, achieving the equality and respect among her colleagues that Peggy could only dream about in the 1940s. I believe in giving credit where it’s due, and Whedon has made Black Widow an intrinsic part of the Avengers, consumer products not withstanding.

It’s Natasha herself who goes and challenges that dynamic by not only having romantic feelings for Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), but expressing them to him outright. She takes the initiative, making it clear to him that she’s still considering whether to go for it, and if she does it will be on her terms. It’s sort of adorable the way Bruce has no idea what to do with this declaration. He’s obviously interested (even the “other guy” has a soft spot for her), but has convinced himself he’s damaged goods. What he doesn’t realize is that’s exactly what she sees in him. She’s damaged too, and looking for someone who won’t judge her for it.

I’ve heard some critics take issue with the fact that Black Widow in Age of Ultron is basically defined by her relationship to a man, as if somehow that diminishes her as a character in comparison to her male counterparts. I don’t agree with either part of that assessment, but let’s say for the sake of argument that the first part is valid and her journey in the film is centered around her connection with Bruce. If that’s true of Natasha, then it’s true of Bruce too, since they are on a parallel path. Their story is about trying to find some shred of good in a whole lot of bad. The question that unites them is whether they are too far gone for redemption. Love is one measure of redemption, but it’s not Natasha’s only option.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the film should be held up as beacon of feminism or anything. Though it features a handful of outstanding female characters, they scarcely interact.

I especially wanted to see more of the strong friendship hinted at between Natasha and another female character outside of the world of the Avengers, but their screen time together is minimal. Certainly there’s room for improvement on the Bechdel front. What I’m arguing is that Black Widow is far from marginalized in the source material, even if she gets the shaft everywhere else.

Age of Ultron is a very crowded film, with lots of moving parts. That Whedon was able to serve so many characters, even in a minimal way, and still keep the running time under three hours is an impressive feat of storytelling.

I encourage Black Widow fans to see the film themselves and form their own opinion, outside of the Internet echo chamber. You may come to a completely different conclusion, and that’s fine. That’s great. That’s a discussion I’d love to have.

An Awesome Assemblage of Avengers Again

avengers2
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

The massive Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get bigger. With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we’ll see the addition of at least three new Avengers to the already abundant lineup, not to mention supporting players both familiar and strange (though the real Strange is yet to come). There’s a shiny new bad guy too, the Ultron of the film’s title, a twisted artificial intelligence with genocidal tendencies (voiced with relish by James Spader). This not only makes for a crowded film (more on that when we get to our review later this week), it also makes for a very crowded press conference.

Earlier this month, Disney hosted said press conference at their studio in Burbank, where a baker’s dozen of panelists, including all of the usual suspects, appeared to promote the film. On hand were Scarlett Johansson, Joss Whedon, Elizabeth Olsen, James Spader, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Kevin Feige. Each one of them could have held an entertaining press conference all on their own, but as it was we had to split our attention among all of the impressive talent in front of us during the limited time we had.

You can imagine how hard it must have been for Whedon, who wrote and directed both Avengers films, to do the same over the course of years. “There’s like 47 of these people,” he joked. “I really didn’t think that through, and I regret very much doing this at all.” That last part may not have been a joke.

He went on to explain the challenge of making sure each of the characters got their moment in the film. “I have all these people. I love all these people. They’re extraordinary. But making sure that they’re all being served, all within the same narrative structure, that they’re in the same movie, that it’s all connected to the main theme. At some point during the editing process, I could not have told you who they were, who I was, what movie I was making, I got so lost in it. But I think it all came together, and you know, it’s just about making these guys look good.”

avengers2whedonscarjo
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

Downey Jr., whose quippy sense of humor is not unlike that of his big-screen counterpart Tony Stark, pretended to be offended when it took the press a while to get around to asking him a question. “I want to say this very clearly,” he said in a mock-serious tone. “The next time I’m not asked the first question, I’ll [expletive deleted] walk out.”

The first question actually went to Smulders, who plays former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill. She was asked about the development of her character since we first met her in the original Avengers film.

“Maria’s now under the employment of Tony Stark and she’s now working with him to privatize security,” Smulders said. “It’s very fun being a thread to be able to tie the TV show and the movies together. That’s been a lot of fun. But yeah, she’s got a bigger job now. She’s working, like I said, with Tony, and she doesn’t have S.H.I.E.L.D. at her disposal anymore, so it’s a much more difficult job.”

Johansson, who plays another kick-ass female character, Black Widow, was also asked about how her character has changed over time and her emotional journey throughout Age of Ultron.

“There’s some sense finally of there being a kind of normal, in a way,” Johansson said of the film’s opening scenes. “I mean, it’s a well-oiled machine where, you know, we’re tag teaming each other. It’s finally like the introductions are over and we’re at work, like we’re digging our heels in. And at the end of Avengers 2 I think Widow is, you know, she let her guard down, she was hopeful for something. I think she had this moment of false hope.”

Speaking of character development, fans of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye will be happy to know he actually has some in this film, after spending a lot of the first on the sidelines under Loki’s control.

“Well, I speak in this movie, which is awesome,” Renner says of the differences between the two installments. “And I become part of the team, which is awesome. And dive into some really killer aspects of [the character]. When sitting down with Joss, and even Kevin [Feige] back in the day, talking about why I liked him, why I wanted to play Hawkeye, because I didn’t understand, I could never do like what these gentlemen do. I don’t have that creative of a mind. I understood Hawkeye in the sense of he’s a human just with a high skill set, so I could tap into that, and I feel like I got to explore a little bit more of that, even outside the skill set.”

avengers2ultron
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

The new cast members also got their turns to speak, at least for a little bit. Spader talked about being thrown into the role of a giant killer robot on his first day. In addition to providing the voice, he also did some motion capture work and was present on the set when shooting with the other actors.

“I arrived in London and within the first half hour they put on a suit, they put on all this gear, and I’d gone through a range of motion,” Spader recalled. “And then within 15 minutes I was watching me walk around a big room, moving and doing this and that and everything else, and watching Ultron, or at least a formative stage of Ultron, on a monitor in front of me. And it started right there. And the next day I was on set shooting a scene with Scarlett. And so really that pace was what it was, through the entire project. And luckily I’d had some conversations with Joss and one fantastic meal with a whole bunch of wine to figure out who this guy was. And that was it. That really was it. It was just trying to hold on.”

Olsen and Taylor-Johnson, who play super-powered twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (AKA Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), were asked if their previous work together as husband and wife in 2014’s Godzilla helped them develop chemistry as siblings.

“I think it’s only a benefit,” Olsen said. “I mean, it’s kind of intimidating joining this group so I’m glad I got to do it with Aaron by my side.”

Taylor-Johnson agreed. “Yeah, it was comforting to know, stepping on set, when it was such a big ensemble and cast, that you kind of had some to feel comfortable with. Absolutely, yeah.”

The last newcomer to the film wasn’t really a newcomer at all. Paul Bettany has been a part of the MCU since he first recorded the voice for Tony Stark’s A.I. assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man. In Age of Ultron, he takes on the physical role of the Vision, a mysterious, benevolent android. The dual role is no coincidence, but we can’t say any more than that without giving too much away.

When asked about the differences between the two roles, Bettany cut right to the practical aspects of the job. “The main difference is I have to show up,” he said. “You know, the great thing is being able to work with all these incredibly creative and talented people. However, I also now have to show up at junkets, you know, so everything’s a double-edged sword.”

Avengers: Age of Ultron opens Friday, May 1.

The Ladies of Avengers: New Videos Featuring Black Widow and Scarlet Witch

Image credit: Marvel Studios
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

We know you’re all waiting with all the patience you can muster, ticket in hand, for this weekend’s release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. To tide you over, here are a few new featurette videos, starring Black Widow and Scarlet Witch.

 

 

Tickle the Hulk—and Your Kid’s Funny Bone—in Marvel’s Shake to Assemble

© Marvel / Disney Hyperion
© Marvel Press

Marvel’s picture book Shake to Assemble is an interactive story that you might expect to see told with pixels on a tablet rather than printed on pieces of paper. Young readers are invited to tap, shake, flap, flick, and even tickle the pages to assemble their favorite team of superheroes.

On our first read-through, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Hervé Tullet’s brilliant book Press Here. Shake to Assemble will get kids giggling as they get hands-on with every page of this highly entertaining picture book.

These are not the serious Avengers poised to save the planet in Age of Ultron. This is a silly, just-for-kids version of the team: the hapless Hawkeye, a boisterious Thor, and five more Avengers to assemble the complete team. The text asks kids to touch the page or book in a certain way to call the next Avenger into action.

Without spoiling too much of the surprises each page holds, I will say that it’s a treat to see the roster selected for this team of Avengers. Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Iron Man are pretty much a given for any Avengers lineup, but I was delighted to see Falcon (in his original costume) and Black Widow join the others. My daughter was even happier. She paused to pat Black Widow and whisper, “You’re my favorite Avenger.”

While you might first wonder why the book wasn’t simply created as an app—especially when the narrator instructs you to swipe the page to make Black Widow appear—it’s a fantastic reminder that a fun story doesn’t need animation and sounds to be engaging.

Shake to Assemble hits bookstore shelves March 31, 2015, for a suggested retail price of $12.99.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

 

My (Newly Updated) Most Tear-Jerking Moments in Geekdom

My Tear Jerkers © Sophie Brown
My tearjerkers © Sophie Brown.

Back in my early days at GeekMom in 2011, I wrote a post listing My Top Ten Tear-Jerking Moments in Science Fiction. Since then, I’ve watched lots of new TV shows and movies—some of it sci-fi, some of it not (my original list includes entries that are closer to fantasy than true sci-fi and so does this one)—and so I felt that my list was due for an update. Here then are nine new additions to my list. Some are rather old to the world, but they’ve been new to me in the past four years and they have all made me cry.

BEWARE: Spoilers abound from the beginning—and make sure you have tissues in hand.

Fringe – “Peter”
In the latest addition to my list (I only watched this episode for the first time this week), Walter recounts the events of his son’s death in 1985 and his subsequent actions to Olivia. This episode creates my own personal “perfect storm” of things guaranteed to reduce me to an emotional wreck: sick children, dying children, mothers losing their children, and the subject of these events being boys—I only have a son, so anything to do with boys seems to affect me disproportionately. By the end of those 42 minutes, I was effectively one giant ball of emotion and I’m still not quite fully recovered.

Coulson Avengers Poster © Marvel
Coulson Avengers poster © Marvel.

Marvel’s The Avengers
Do I even need to say it? It’s been three years, I’ve even had Coulson given back to me, and yet I still haven’t forgiven Joss Whedon for what I went through in that cinema. The worst part wasn’t seeing him stabbed (although that physically hurt), but watching the reactions of each Avenger as they learn about his death over the comm. A group of “extraordinary people” temporarily incapacitated by the death of one very ordinary man.

Supernatural – “The Man Who Would Be King”
I could very easily make an entire list of sad moments just from Supernatural—and it wouldn’t be a short list, either. The show is probably one of the most consistently heartbreaking things on TV that has nothing to do with Joss Whedon. Most lists I’ve seen out there focus on Sam and Dean moments, but my personal choice is all about Castiel. After an entire episode focused on the (frequently wrong) choices he has been making, Castiel pleads to his father (God, for those of you unaware that Castiel is an angel) to offer him guidance and give him a sign that he is “on the right path.” His face when he is met by nothing but silence is heartbreaking.

Guardians of The Galaxy
I’ve seen this film several times now and yet somehow, I always forget about its opening. I think perhaps it’s just so painful that I block it out. Actually, it seems to be some kind of collective block on the part of all geeks. Google “Guardians of The Galaxy Opening Scene,” and you’ll see almost nothing but references to the scene that comes after this one. You know, the funny one with the dancing and the “microphone” made from a space rat? However, we must all be forced to accept that the film actually opens on Earth in 1988, where a young Peter Quill visits his dying mother in hospital. The desperate way he clutches at her hand and realizes it’s too late breaks me every time.

Aaron Ashmore as Steve Jinks © SyFy
Aaron Ashmore as Steve Jinks © SyFy.

Warehouse 13 – “Emily Lake”
This entire episode is a roller-coaster, with the discovery that Jinks has been working undercover and was not the traitor we worried he was. That relief was, of course, short-lived. The worst part about the scene where his body was discovered wasn’t actually the moment we saw it, but normally laugh-a-minute Pete’s futile attempt to act like nothing is wrong as he asks, then begs Claudia not to go into the room. There’s a lot that could be said about how the show’s only canonically gay character (Helena is bi) was the one killed off. However, in this instance, I’m merely acknowledging those issues because Jinks was fully resurrected shortly afterwards. Somehow, however, even that knowledge doesn’t lessen the impact of that scene.

Zombieland
For the most part, Zombieland is a comedy about Twinkies, Bill Murray, and “The Rules,” but underneath that it’s really a story about family. We spend most of the film believing that tough-guy Tallahassee misses his dog, but over a game of Monopoly one word gives away to everyone, us included, that he has actually been talking about his young son. We see him break down and get a series of flashbacks to a younger, happier man with his adorable toddler. The scene gets some added emotional weight due to how unexpected it is, both in its placement within the story and that it shows the most “macho” tough character unashamedly crying in front of the others.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Magical Place”
Agent Coulson should probably get some sort of award for being the only character to make it onto my list twice. As for Whedon… *Ahem* After his untimely death, Coulson made his reappearance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., bringing with him a whole lot of questions about, well, just how it was that he was even breathing. In this episode, we saw him undergo a procedure to help him remember his resurrection and the results are agonizing for both him and the viewer.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part Two © WB
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part Two © WB.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part Two
There are countless moments in this film that made me cry: Snape discovering Lily’s body, Hedwig’s death, the Weasley’s clinging to one another around Fred. But the one that really did me in was Harry speaking to his parents in the forest. Perhaps it’s because I lost a parent at a very young age, but the thought of his being able to speak with some version of them, even if they are little more than shadows, brings me to tears. Tears which peak when he asks that most childish question but one every adult still wants answered, “Does it hurt?”

Twin Peaks – “Arbitrary Law”
In this episode, Laura Palmer’s killer was revealed in the form of the entity BOB, who resided within her father. In this heartbreaking scene, BOB forces his host to violently slam his head into a door, resulting in fatal trauma. As Leland dies, BOB’s spirit leaves him and he finally realizes what he did, begging forgiveness from God, Laura, and the men around him. Knowing that Leland himself isn’t really to blame, Cooper talks him “into the light” and allows him to find peace.

What have you watched lately that’s brought you to tears?

The Ultimate Avengers Playlist

avengers
Image © Disney, 2012.

Recently, I realized just how far behind I am with my Avengers universe watching. I only stuck with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a few episodes during the first season, and I haven’t seen the most recent installments of Iron Man, Thor, or Captain America. So I decided that I need to catch up on all of it in time for the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron (especially after seeing that second trailer).

Then, I decided I wanted to re-watch all of it—the movies and TV—in the right order. I’ve forgotten a lot, and I like an excuse to binge-watch pretty much anything.

But, what’s the right order?

This was a hard question. Marvel’s Agent Carter has started, but I kind of want to watch it all after Captain America: The First Avenger—to see what Peggy Carter gets up to without the boys. I also want to re-watch Ang Lee’s Hulk, which I haven’t seen in 10 years. I know Marvel Studios likes to pretend it never happened, but that seemed like the most sensible place to start. And from there, my ultimate Avengers playlist took shape.

Hulk (2003): Again, I know the first Hulk movie never gets mentioned alongside the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After Universal put out Ang Lee’s version to all kinds of mixed feelings, Marvel got the rights back and completely reworked the story for the reboot in 2008. But, it’s still where it all started. Remember Eric Bana?

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), iTunes.

Iron Man (2008): The first “real” movie in the Avengers franchise, and the movie that made Robert Downey, Jr. an action hero.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video rental), iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, PlayStation Store.

The Incredible Hulk (2008): Edward Norton’s portrayal of Hulk is really fun, and I like anything with Tim Roth. Wow, I’d forgotten all about Roth’s Blonsky until starting this list. And Robert Downey, Jr.’s first (very brief) crossover appearance as Tony Stark. Must hurry up and get through the first two movies on my playlist.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, VUDU, PlayStation Store, XBox.

Iron Man 2 (2010): Mickey Rourke, more Robert Downey, Jr., and continuing the tradition of little crossover nuggets at the end.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, VUDU, PlayStation Store, XBox.

Thor (2011): Introducing the third Avenger, a straight-up god.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, VUDU, PlayStation Store, XBox.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Chris Evans’ transformation into Captain America is my favorite origin story so far. And hello, Peggy Carter!

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, PlayStation Store, XBox.

Marvel’s Agent Carter (2015): I’m saving my episodes of Agent Carter for when I’ve made it this far in my playlist. Because I love what I’m hearing about the miniseries, and I really want to revisit her in Captain America first to refresh my memory.

Where to get it: ABC.comAmazon (Instant Video purchase), Google Play, VUDUPlayStation Store, XBox.

The Avengers (2012): This is the movie I’ve seen the most times already, thanks to Netflix (and now it’s gone, ugh). But I’m looking forward to getting a refresher on everything that came before.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), Google Play, VUDU, YouTube, XBox.

Iron Man 3 (2013): This is where I hit my franchise wall. I have not seen this one yet, or any of the remaining movies in the Avengers universe.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video purchase), iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, PlayStation Store, XBox, Starz streaming.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season One episodes 1-7 (2013): I made it through the first six episodes of the show when it first aired, and then I lost interest. But then everyone told me it really picked up a couple of episodes later, after Thor: The Dark World was released. So, I was *thisclose* to getting hooked. I will try again.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, VUDUPlayStation Store, XBox.

Thor: The Dark World (2013): 2013 was the year that I was apparently in a movie bubble. How could I miss more Loki?

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video purchase), iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, PlayStation Store, XBox.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season One episodes 8-16 (2013-2014): I’ll be picking up the show from here, with the aftermath of whatever happens in Thor: Dark World

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, VUDUPlayStation Store, XBox.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): So many GeekMoms had this at the top of their best movies of 2014 lists. Must. Watch.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video purchase), iTunes, Google Play, PlayStation Store, XBox, Redbox.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season One episodes 17-22 (2013-2014): GeekMom Corrina told me major Winter Soldier spoilers abound at the end of the first season, so this is where I will pick up the series after watching the latest Avengers universe movie.

Where to get it: Amazon (DVD, Blu-ray, Instant Video), Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, VUDUPlayStation Store, XBox.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two (2014-2015): I’m hoping to squeeze in the current season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before the big event in May, but obviously, I don’t know yet if the show will wrap around the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since the movie’s release is May 1, I’m guessing at least the last couple of episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. may pick up after the movie.

Where to get it: ABC.com (only the five most recent episodes), Amazon (Instant Video purchase), Google Play, VUDUPlayStation Store, XBox.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) My playlist endgame.

How would your Avengers playlist look?

Geek-twisting Holiday Songs

IMG_6694
Image By Rebecca Angel

Oh, who wants the same old boring lyrics to our holiday favorites?  Altering words to existing songs is a playful, challenging, and creative endeavor. It’s the fan-fiction of music. Winter and Christmas tunes are so well-known, it’s a great place to start. Here are some people who have already done so with a geeky twist:

The Twelve Days of Future Christmas created by Bridge 8, goes through a list of current science topics that are on the verge of becoming reality! “12 drones delivering…”

OH NUMBER PI
(TUNE: “Oh Christmas Tree”)
Oh, number Pi. Oh, number Pi. Your digits are nonending,
Oh, number Pi. Oh, number Pi. No pattern are you sending.
Want more math Christmas songs? Go here!

Hee-hee. This is some crazy editing. Star Trek TNG in “Make it So!”

You better watch out; you better not sneeze.
You better not cough, ’cause you’ll spread a disease….Viruses are comin’ to town.
“Catch” all the lyrics here.

This one doesn’t change the lyrics so much as it is performed in a geeky way. All electronic devices band in “Feliz Navidad.”

Pirate Christmas Carols! This is from me. I’ve written a lot of these. Here is one you can listen to with lyrics. No Ale!No Ale! No Ale! No Ale! Six months at sea with no dark, stout or pale.

So what’s does your family geek out about? Make it a family game to rewrite lyrics to a familiar holiday tune. You’ll be singing it every year afterwards!

Here’s one I wrote about my favorite Avenger…

Loki Was A Gentlemen
(To the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
Loki was a gentleman when he took all the power.
His smile was quite debonair as he told us to cower.
“Sweet lady, kneel before me now, no need to look so sour.
Many thanks, this encounter’s been a joy, been a joy.
Many thanks, this encounter’s been a joy.”

The World According to Spider-Man

World According to SpiderMan Image Insight Editions
World According to SpiderMan. Image: Insight Editions

The past few months, I’ve fallen in love with Spider-Man. I just can’t get enough of the wise-cracking webcrawler. What better way to learn more about him than with a book by Spider-Man himself? The World According to Spider-Man by Dan Wallace opens with a letter to the reader from Spider-Man, and it goes uphill from there with Spidey breaking the fourth wall to give you an inside look on how to be a superhero. It’s not all glory though, and Spidey does talk about some of his lower moments as well as his higher ones.

Included in this book are some fun removable items including clippings of the Daily Bugle, pictures from Aunt May, and Peter Parker’s report card. There is also a special “guest” section that was written by Aunt May and Venom. These pages are nice because you get to hear about Spider-Man from another character’s point of view and it breaks up the constant wise-cracking.

Speaking of removable inserts, the science section with Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four has two reference cards from Horizon Labs that made me laugh out loud. “So you’ve become unstuck in time” and “So you’re on an unfamiliar planet” talk about the various things that Spider-Man has learned when dealing with one or the other another. Longtime comic book fans will recognize some of the references, while newbie readers will laugh at the craziness of it all.

Of all the information that Spider-Man provides, including how to build your own rogues gallery of super villains and how to balance a love life, my favorite is The Art of Witty Banter and How to Keep a Secret Identity.

A little break time reading. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
A little break time reading. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

The Art of Witty Banter only goes on for two pages, but they remind me why I love Spider-Man so much. How to Keep a Secret Identity has a nice little jab at Superman that made me chuckle and my husband (a big time Superman fan) roll his eyes.

My favorite joke in the book is when Spider-Man is talking about the Avengers and their battle cry. I don’t think the artist, Mirco Pierfederici, could have drawn this scene any more perfectly. (Hint: It involves Lego bricks.)

Author Dan Wallace did a nice job capturing Spider-Man’s attitude and personality in this title and the inserts he wrote up and designed were an added bonus.

For those of you worried your child will rip the book trying to get at the inserts, have no fear. The inserts are attached with a substance that feels kind of like rubber cement and they are easy to remove and put back.

The World According to Spider-Man comes in at 62 pages, which makes it a nice break time read for adults, or a fun learning experience for kids who need to turn off the video games for a while. I highly recommend this book for any fan of the webcrawler, ages 6 and up.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes – All You Need to Know

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes Launch Line-Up © Disney/Marvel
Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes Launch Line-Up © Disney/Marvel

The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Entertainment held a press conference to launch Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes. Joe Quesada, John Vignocchi, Brian Michael Bendis and others, together with Agent Coulson himself, Clark Gregg, presented the latest upgrades to the popular platform and revealed the first wave of characters available from the Marvel universe.

There was a lot of information revealed during the conference (with a lot more announcements to come in the future) but here’s what you really need to know.

  • Disney Infinity 2.0 is scheduled to release Fall 2014. All current figures, power discs, and toy boxes will be compatible with the new release, as will the current base.
  • The game will be available on PS4 and XBox One at launch.
  • The new Starter Pack includes multiple figures and an Avengers playset piece. The set shown on screen contained Thor, Iron Man and Black Widow however it wasn’t stated if this was the final version or if different character combinations would be available.
  • The initial wave of Marvel figures will be: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and Hulk. Several characters from Guardians of The Galaxy appeared in the footage revealed during the conference so we can be pretty confident that we will be seeing those characters shortly. Over a dozen more characters are confirmed to be coming soon.
  • There will be 80 new power discs released in two waves. These will include team ups and costume changes.
  • Vehicles have been added including two wheelers like Captain America’s motorcycle. We also saw a Sky Cycle, mini Helicarrier capable of carrying multiple characters and Lola!
  • Structured game play has been added in the Toy Box. Two options discussed were clasic Tower Defense (we saw a 10-level Asgard themed game) and a Dungeon Crawler.
  • Toy Box building has been simplified to help even the youngest players create their own worlds. New brushes allow you to build basic themes such as cities, dungeons, and a racetrack quickly and easily. Builders have also been added who will walk around your Toy Box creating as they go.
  • Building interiors have also been added allowing you to create a Home. Here you can display your trophies and more. I spotted an awesome S.H.I.E.L.D. rug and several version of Iron Man’s suit on display.
  • The Marvel Manhattan world has been added and it is over four times larger than the previous biggest world on Infinity 1.0 – Metroville from The Incredibles. Many iconic buildings appear in Marvel Manhattan including, most noticeably, Avengers Tower.
  • New locomotion has been added including Forward Flight and Hover modes, the former at least includes combat abilities. Many characters have the Super Jump ability and Hulk has a special Wall Crawl.
  • Different styles of combat have been added to match the differing styles of the Marvel characters. Thor and Cap use a brawl technique, Black Widow a melee style, and Hawkeye more ranged approach. Hulk? Hulk SMASH!
  • The character level cap has been raised to 20. In addition characters now have their own unique attributes and skill trees so each character can be levelled up however the player chooses.
  • Dancing with the Stars is Hydra.

There’s so much more to learn about Disney Infinity 2.0 and I for one hope to get my hands on a copy soon so I can really see what it’s all about, but for now you can check out the launch trailer over on the Marvel UK YouTube channel.

More Geek Loom Bands

IMG_2708
An Evil Minion my daughter and I made for Gramp’s birthday. Image: Cathe Post

Loom band projects are still all the rage. With the Rainbow Loom just being named Toy of the Year (for both Specialty Toy of the Year and Girl Toy of the Year) at the 2014 Toy Fair, it’s no wonder that kids (and adults) love doing projects, and teachers and occupational therapists have yet another tool in their arsenal. Geeks have found a niche in the loom band craft, too. Jenn previously shared some of her favorite geeky loom patterns. I have a few more to add to your list to check out.

My attempt at a Spiderman charm. He doesn't have a face or webs, and too many of the bands broke in the neck area to keep him, but it wasn't a bad attempt. Image: Cathe Post
My attempt at a Spider-Man charm. He doesn’t have a face or webs, and too many of the bands broke in the neck area to keep him, but it wasn’t a bad attempt. Image: Cathe Post

Spider-Man (and the Avengers): The site PG’s Loomacy is one of my favorites for these characters. There is even a PDF pattern available for making your own Spider-Man. From this pattern, you can also fill in the correct color schemes for the other members of the mighty Avengers team.

Minecraft is still extremely popular (and is yet another award winner for Toy of the Year). What better way to make pixellated jewelry than with bands? You can make a chainmail-type Steve face or Creeper face cuff, or make your own charms in the same style as the Avengers I mentioned earlier.

Rainbow and chainmail make a wonderful combination. Image: Cathe Post
Rainbow and chainmail make a wonderful combination. Image: Cathe Post

Chainmail bracelets without the pixel-art are pretty nifty by themselves. Following one these patterns gives you all of the chainmail pattern without the weight of using metal. We just did one that was narrow, but you can do them much wider if desired. This pattern I found is by SoCraftastic.

One last design we have made quite a few of for birthday presents is the minions. These are very easy to make either evil or normal based on the color of band used. (Helpful hint: If you can’t find googly eyes with a slit in the back, hot glue works well to hold on the band.

IMG_2707
A Good Minion my daughter and I made for a friend’s birthday. Image: Cathe Post

One last one I want to try and haven’t had time for are the horse patterns. I figure it would be really easy to change the colors to match any of the My Little Pony cast.

On a less geeky note: There are patterns for every season. There are patterns for St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine’s Day—the possibilities are endless. If you want to take a look at some of the patterns and ideas I have been stockpiling for my daughter and myself, take a look at my Pinterest board.

In our house, we have had a similar experience as Jenn when it comes to the little colorful rubber bands. They seem to be distant relatives of Tribbles. When they aren’t lost in the carpet or part of a geeky work-of-art, our supply tends to run a little low. I have found a couple of things as this hobby has taken over our house: First, since coupons can’t be used to buy the name-brand bands most of the time, I have found a company through Amazon that sells a good quality band for a really good price. My test for a good quality band includes being able to stretch over five pegs in length, and being able to “cap” (the term used when twisting and folding a band so that it is two bands thick instead of one—but only using one band) a band over three pegs without the band breaking.

The other thing is that the real Rainbow Loom is truly the way to go. My daughter received Crazy Looms for Christmas which are just okay and only work for some projects. We found the Rainbow Loom is far superior and well worth the extra few dollars. The pegs were easier to dig in to get the bottom loops up, the bands didn’t fall off the pegs as easily since they are more straight up and down than slanted, and the ability to move the pegged strips into different configurations gives it a bigger array of uses than the standard solid-piece knock-offs.

What have been some of your favorite loom projects? Have you made larger projects like purses or phone cases? Do share!

Avengers vs. X-Men Companion – Make Mine Marvel Part 2!

Avengers vs. X-Men Companion \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Avengers vs. X-Men Companion \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Avengers vs. X-Men is what made me a Marvel fan. I’ve always loved the X-Men because of the animated series, but the AVX event made me fall in love with the X-Men and the Avengers in their comic book world. While reading the AVX event I stuck to reading the main twelve-part mini-series and avoided the crossovers, mostly due to budgetary constraints. I’m never 100% sure about reading crossover titles because the cost involved is usually pretty high and this particular event had over fifty issues to keep up with–at $3.99 an issue, that would have cost me close to $200. I loved the AVX event so much though, I decided to pick this up to catch up on the action I missed!

Avengers vs. X-Men takes place after the unfortunate events of M-Day, when Scarlet Witch declares “no more mutants.” The main event focuses on the Avengers and the X-Men fighting over what to do with Hope, a teenage mutant messiah, and how to handle the incoming visit from the destructive Phoenix force.

I feel it’s important to mention that this book doesn’t have any extra fluff–introductions or behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the writers or artists. I think this is a shame and that it would have been nice to see a letter or intro from one of the writers. The only ancillary material included is a list of the issues. Even with this omission, however, the Avengers vs. X-Men Companion hardcover edition comes in at around four-pounds, considerably larger than the Avengers vs. X-Men main event hardcover.

In addition to cost, another problem I have with crossovers is that some of the books don’t actually have anything to do with the main event. After reading the companion novel, I realized that this event sets itself apart from the rest because, for the most part, each crossover in AVX explains something that happens in one of the twelve main issues. For example, the Shi’ar Death Commandos are mentioned briefly in one panel during AVX but you never actually see them until you read Wolverine and the X-Men #11.  Similarly, through New Avengers #27, we get to see how Spider-Man became Hope’s mentor in Avengers vs. X-Men #9 and their individual reactions to their new student / mentor relationship.

When I reviewed the Avengers vs. X-Men hardcover edition last year, my sole complaint about the book was that it didn’t include the crossover titles. After seeing the companion title and the AVX hardcover title side-by-side, I’m glad they decided to put them in two separate books. At a retail value of $99.00, the Avengers vs. X-Men Companion costs considerably less than buying each issue individually, so this is a great deal for anyone who enjoyed the AVX event but couldn’t keep up with the crossovers at the time. If you enjoy reading your comics digitally, you’ll really appreciate the inclusion of a free digital copy so that you can download the title through the Marvel or Comixology app and read it on your electronic device(s) (a $75 value). The digital copy takes up three digital volumes, and depending on your device, could be around 1gb or more of space per volume.

The Avengers vs. X-Men Companion is available on Amazon, Comixology and your local comic book store. I highly recommend you pick up the hardcover edition so you can get the digital volumes for free.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received  a review sample.

What the GeekMoms Want for Mother’s Day

MothersDayGuide

Each year, as we contemplate gift guides for Mother’s Day, we think about what we want for Mother’s Day. Chances are good your GeekMom will like this stuff, too.

Photo: Penny Arcade
Photo: Penny Arcade

Penny Arcade Match T-Shirts and Onesies: Mom and her Player 2 can team up in these cute matching tees. There are a bunch of different combinations available, including shirts for older kids and for Dad.

 

 

Photo: Oliver Jeffers for Digby & Iona
Photo: Oliver Jeffers for Digby & Iona

 

Oliver Jeffers Jewelry: Children’s author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers has turned his delightful illustrations into equally delightful jewelry, like this Paper Airplane necklace from his book, The Great Paper Caper.

Continue reading What the GeekMoms Want for Mother’s Day

Iron Man 3: Stark is Back and Utterly Compelling

Iron Man 3 © Marvel
Iron Man 3 © Marvel

Unlike the rest of my GeekMom colleagues, my wait for Iron Man 3 is over. The film was released here in the UK yesterday. Tony Stark had a lot to live up to in headlining the first Avengers universe outing since last year’s phenomenally successful The Avengers but, really, was that ego ever going to let us down?

Here’s my look at Iron Man 3 with advice for parents. It is as non-spoilery as possible but plot points revealed in the trailers and in interviews with the cast and crew are mentioned. Continue reading Iron Man 3: Stark is Back and Utterly Compelling

Kelly Sue DeConnick Helps Girls Leadership Institute With Beautiful T-Shirts

Captain Marvel, Image: WeLoveFine
Captain Marvel, Image: WeLoveFine

Kelly Sue DeConnick is helping Girls Leadership Institute by donating her curation commission on a select line of tees at WeLoveFine. This new partnership features three different designs, each based on characters featured in her titles.

If you’re not familiar with Kelly Sue DeConnick, she writes Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble for Marvel and Ghost for Dark Horse comics. She’s also about to launch Pretty Deadly, a western she co-created with Emma Rios for Image Comics.

The organization DeConnick has chosen to help, Girls Leadership Institute, focuses its efforts on helping girls learn to be true to themselves through a variety of workshops and camps that help not just girls, but parents and educators. Currently they have programs in California, New York and New Jersey as well as a summer camp in Massachusetts.

You can get one of these beautiful designs featuring Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman for $25 at WeLoveFine. You’ll not only have a cool t-shirt to wear this summer, but you’ll be helping girls learn to be strong and confident young women.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — January 16th, 2013

Hawkeye Issue #1  Image: Marvel Comics
Hawkeye Issue #1 Image: Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan — Hawkeye Issue #1 (Marvel Comics)
I picked up Hawkeye issue #1 (written by Matt Fraction and art by David Aja) this week after being inspired by one of our readers last week in the comments of our Top Comics of 2012 post. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I figured I would give it a shot. It ended up being a bull’s-eye and now, I can’t get enough of the famous Avenger and his crazy ways (or the adorable dog in the first issue).

While I’m not 100% sure how to tell you about the story, I will say that it’s full of heart and action. We get to see a little bit of the kind of man Barton is and how much he cares for the people in his life. He seemed to have this “I don’t care” attitude when it came to doing what he wanted, even if it meant painful consequences for him in the end. After everything he goes through in this issue though, it has a happy and touching ending. I guess this means I have one more series to look forward to every month, because this issue has me sold.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Rebecca Angel — Gunnerkrigg Court
I recommended Gunnerkrigg Court back in August, after checking out the book compilations of this webcomic by Tom Siddell. The story is about Antimony “Annie” Carver, a girl whose mother has died and father seems can’t be bothered to visit her in a very strange boarding school called Gunnerkrigg Court (where her parents also attended.) I’m now catching up on the webcomic, where the third book left off, and wow, Siddell has got a winner.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — January 16th, 2013

Our Top Comic Books from 2012

A small sampling of our top comic books this year.
A small sampling of our top comic books this year.

Welcome to our top comic books from 2012! We would like to share with you some of our favorite books / series from 2012. Hopefully, we can inspire you to check out some new titles, or revisit some old ones.

Dakster Sullivan – This has been my first year as a comic book reader and I have a few favorites that have kept me coming back for more. Here is my list, in no particular order.

Ame-Comi Girls by DC Comics (written by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and art by Eduardo Francisco) – This story is my favorite digital read. The characters are all strong, smart, and totally kick ass females. The issues are a little shorter than a normal comic book, but that’s because it’s released every Monday, instead of just once a month.

The Phantom Stranger by DC Comics (written by Dan DiDio and art by Brent Anderson) – The Phantom Stranger is a much under-loved character in my opinion. This is one of those books I would love to see fleshed out as a TV series. The character is addicting and his stories have a mix of heart and action that keep me coming back each month.

Avengers vs. X-Men by Marvel Comics – This is one of the first mini-series I’ve read and the graphic novel became the first one in my collection. The story follows the X-Men and Avengers as they fight over the right thing to do with the superpower Phoenix force on its way to Earth. Of the twelve rounds, my favorite issue is still round 9 (written by Jason Aaron and art by Adam Kubert), where Spider-Man took center stage and taught Hope a valuable lesson.

All-New X-Men by Marvel Comics (written by Brian Michael Bendis and art by Stuart Immonen) – The All-New X-Men follows the events of AVX, as the original five X-Men arrive in the future to stop their future-selves from making horrible mistakes. The art is just a fun to look at as the story is to read.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by DC Comics – He-Man and the Masters are back in a six-part mini-series by DC Comics. My husband looks forward to this every month and we have some pretty neat conversations over what happens in each issue. The characters remind me of the animated series that came out in 2000. There has been some physical changes to a few of the characters (for instance, Teela is blonde), but nothing to drastic to turn off longtime fans. I only wish it weren’t a mini-series, because it has made me fall in love with the world of Eternia all over again.

Justice League by DC Comics (written by Geoff Johns and art by Jim Lee) – This series has a special place in my heart because it was the first comic book series I ever picked up, and I’m happy to say I’m still hooked and reading it every month. At first I only liked some of the characters, but now I’m in love with them all and I’m eagerly awaiting to see what DC Comics has in store for the team in 2013.

Robyn Hood by Zenescope (written by Patrick Shand and art by various contributors) – This is the first 17+ rated comic book I’ve read and it has me coming back every month for the main character Robyn. Her attitude and the way she carries herself through the trials life throws at her is a very compelling story. The mix of comic book action and real life scenarios makes this a great title to pick up. While I don’t agree with some of the content, her strength and desire to kick butt helps put this story on the list.

Kelly Knox – Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics) – Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, Artist Dexter Soy

My favorite new comic book of 2012, hands down, is the relaunched Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers, previously Ms. Marvel, has taken the mantle of Captain Marvel and headlines on of the best series of the year. Written by one of my new favorite writers, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel combines a fantastic heroine with a sense of duty with a retro vibe that makes the character feel like she has already solidified her place in history.

Recently issues have introduced another intriguing character in the Marvel universe who I wasn’t familiar with, Monica Rambeau. Her interactions with Carol have been fun to read, and I’m looking forward to see where 2013 takes them.

Continue reading Our Top Comic Books from 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 21st, 2012

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe  Image: Copyright DC Comics
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Image: Copyright DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we talk He-Man and the Masters of the Universe IssueAvengers Assemble and Library Wars: Love & War.

Dakster Sullivan — He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Issue #4 (of 6)

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,a  six-part mini-series, has been an amazing ride so far. In this series, He-Man’s world is not as it should be since Skeletor went back in time and screwed with everyone’s future. In each issue we see Adam (and eventually Teela), face off against one of Skeletor’s henchmen and get one step closer to dealing with Skeletor himself.

This issue focuses on Teela and Adam’s run in with Evil-Lyn and her Warlord, Man-At-Arms. Seeing Man-At-Arms fighting against Adam and not remembering Teela was interesting to say the least, but I could still see a sparkle of his old self trying to come through. Eventually, he, like Adam and Teela, starts to remember things of his former life, before Skeletor changed the course of history. The issue ends with a really good cliff hanger and I’m eager to see what happens next.

As far as the series goes, She-ra is absent from this world, and since I know absolutely nothing about the character, I’m not missing her. Skeletor is true to his evil roots in his dialog and his attitude towards his henchmen’s failures at killing Adam.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 21st, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 7th, 2012

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan — Avengers vs. X-Men: Babies (Marvel)

This past week I finally got my hands on a copy of Avengers vs. X-Men: Babies  and let me tell you … it was worth it! The story had me laughing from page one (which doesn’t usually have anything but credits on it). It didn’t take long for my seven-year old son to get it from me and after he fell asleep in his bed reading it, I realized I needed to get a new copy, because he is never going to give it back.

The story has nothing to do with the events of the AVX series and it’s a refreshing read to all the serious fighting that’s been happening in the Marvel universe. This is a story you buy to read because you need a break from serious. If you don’t want to laugh, avoid it like the plague. If you want to see baby versions of Wolverine, Captain America, Hulk and many others kick each other in the diaper rash, then pick it up.

I’m thinking of buying another copy to frame some of the artwork. The two page battle scene spread would look great framed up in my office. I love how the artists portrayed some of the most popular characters on both teams. I can’t pick a favorite in this fight, because I think they all look great in their baby forms.

You can purchase Avengers vs. X-Men from your local comic book store and Comixology. The graphic novel is on sale now on Amazon now.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Kelly Knox — Willow – Wonderland #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

This week Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets her very first solo mini-series in Willow – Wonderland. Thanks to Dark Horse Comics, I had a chance to read the first issue, and I found myself intrigued even though I haven’t been following the events of Buffy Season Nine. (I’m still working my way through Season Eight.)

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 7th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 31st, 2012

AVX: Consequences  Image: Copyright Marvel
AVX: Consequences Image: Copyright Marvel

Happy Halloween and New Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan – Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences

The past two weeks have been torture for me since all of my local comic book stores have been sold out of Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences. One store told me the popularity of it just came out of nowhere for them. Thanks to a friend at Marvel, I was able to read them digitally this week and get my AVX fix.

AVX: Consequences is a mini series that shows us what happened after the war between the Avengers and the X-Men was over and the repercussions that came from it.

Thanks to Hope, Scarlet Witch, and the Phoenix, the mutant population has started to flourish again and the world is coming to grips with the new influx of mutants popping up. For the most part, everyone is free to go back to the normal lives they lived before the war and others are helping to search for the rest of extermination team (lead by Cyclops).

Hope is trying to figure out where she belongs and just wants to try to be normal for a while. Cyclops is in a high security prison that couldn’t care less if he wakes up breathing. He appears to lack guilt for the deaths he caused and his only desire at the moment is to become a martyr for the mutant cause, a desire Wolverine is sorely tempted to fill.

After reading issues #1 and #2, I hate to say I’m starting to have some sympathy pains for Cyclops. I don’t believe what he did was right, but I also don’t think he should be receiving the torturous care he is getting in the prison. It will be interesting to see how he gets out and what his life will be like once he does. I can imagine his relationships with some of his former teammates is not going to be as great as what he might hope it to be.

I would love to see an issue focus on the school a little and what the students went through while the war was going on. I’m also curious to see what will happen to Hope now that she is free to live her own life for the first time.

The Avengers vs. X-Men graphic novel is up for pre-order on Amazon now.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 31st, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 24th, 2012

Enter the Green Lantern
Enter the Green Lantern

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan – Ame-Comi Girls Issue #7

Ame-Comi Girls (written by Jimmy Palmiottie, Justin Grey, and art by Santi Casas) is in a universe of its own. Last week’s issue was heartbreaking with Batgirl and Robin’s parents discovering their identities (thank you Powergirl…) and a teaser look into the Guardians of the Universe as they chose the first Green Lantern for Earth’s sector. This issue focused entirely on the origins of the new lantern.

Blinded at the age of twelve in an accident that killed her mother, Jade Yifei is an adventurous young woman from China. Her father a cop and her brother an expert climber, Jade’s goal was to climb Mt. Everest one day.

When an enemy of her father’s comes to give him a message, Jade is sent falling to her death. The green lantern ring arrives in the nick of time to save her life and aid her in kicking some serious tail. The Green Lantern oath changed quite a bit, but I think it fits our new heroine.

A couple of things caught my attention about this issue. The first is that Jade is a real hero not just because she wears a green lantern ring, but also because she is a young woman who is blind does not let that stop her from going after her goals and living her life. The second is that she’s from China. Most (if not all) the green lanterns from Earth in the past have all come from the United States.

I’ve argued that this series has some great role models in it for girls and, in my opinion, Jade is a wonderful example of why. This series centers on strong women who don’t need some muscle bound male to save them. They save themselves and kick tail while doing it.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 24th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 10th, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men Round 12  Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
Avengers vs. X-Men Round 12 Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week as well give you some of the latest in comic book news.

Dakster Sullivan –Avengers vs. X-Men Round 12

The conclusion to Avengers vs. X-Men mini-series (writer: Jason Aaron, pencils: Adam Kubert, inks:John Dell, Adam Kubert, Mark Morales) has finally arrived and I don’t think I could have hoped for more from this final issue. The writers did a great job going back and explaining a few things that were left out in other rounds and the artists did an amazing job showing the details of the final fight between two of the biggest teams in the Marvel universe.

This is the first mini-series I’ve read and it has me wanting more of both teams.

A few of the characters surprised me in this issue, but none more than Tony Stark with his discovery of faith. Tony has been about science and facts since the beginning (even going as far as creating a computer to use Wanda’s mind and powers to search out every possible ending to the final battle), but it appears his stay at K’un L’un has changed him. He now believes that Hope and Scarlet Witch are like Yin and Yang and when the final battle comes, together they will balance each other out and together, defeat the Phoenix force.

He was right.

In short…the Avengers won, thanks to Nova showing up to bring Cyclops back down to Earth and Hope and the Scarlet Witch hitting him with everything they had. I was happy to see that even with all the fire and fighting going on around the characters, the creative team found time in a couple of panels for a touching moment between Jean Grey’s spirit and Cyclops.

After Cyclops was beaten, the Phoenix power finally took over Hope and with the help of Scarlet Witch, realized her true destiny in regards to the Phoenix force. The moments that Scarlet and Hope share after Hope takes on the Phoenix power are some of my favorites in this issue.

Marvel did an awesome job taking the story full circle and figuring out a believable way for Hope and the Scarlet Witch to handle the Phoenix power and undo the damage from the events leading up to the fight between the Avengers and the X-Men.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 10th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 19th, 2012

AVX Round 11 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
AVX Round 11 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan –Avengers vs. X-Men Round 11

*MAJOR Spoiler Alert*

The battle rages on as the Avengers vs. X-Men mini series comes down to its last issues. Marvel made it known a few weeks ago, that a character with a strong influence on the X-Men and Avengers world would perish in the fight. I’m sorry to say, that character’s pages were numbered in this issue. Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 19th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 22nd, 2012

AVX Round 10 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
AVX Round 10 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan – Avengers vs. X-Men Round 10

Just like Spider-Man said in Round 9, “It doesn’t matter how many gods or super-soldiers or Hulks they got on the payroll. Once you’re an Avenger it never fails. … Sooner or later the time comes when it’s your turn to step up to the plate. You just gotta make sure you’re ready.” Hope finally gets her moment to step up to the plate in Avengers vs. X-Men Round 10. This issue was packed full of action as Hope and the Avengers hit Cyclops with everything they have.

The young mutant messiah takes center stage this week as Cyclops comes to the ancient city of K’un-L’un to take her back to Utopia.

In the beginning, Iron Fist comes to Hope’s defense and tells her to run and find the Thunderer. I can tell that she doesn’t like the idea of running from the fight, but she obeys Iron Fist and runs as fast as her legs could carry her. When she finds Thunderer, it’s as if he already knows what is going on and what needs to be done.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 22nd, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — July 25th, 2012

Captain Marvel / Image: Marvel Comics
Captain Marvel / Image: Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Kelly Knox – Captain Marvel Issue #1
Ms. Marvel stars in her new series, Captain Marvel, and she makes quite the impact in its debut. The issue opens with a newspaper front page announcing that Carol Danvers’ mask is off, and she has donned a new costume and a new hairdo.

The newspaper sets a retro tone for the opening of the book as Ms. Marvel fights alongside Captain America as the Absorbing Man makes a mess of things in New York City. With the villain shouting outdated sexist comments like, “Wouldn’t catch me gettin’ bossed around by no broad” and “just like a woman,” it made me question in which decade the action was taking place. It wasn’t until I noticed some onlookers snapping pictures with their cell phones that I stopped wondering and paid attention to the story again.

If you’re not familiar with Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel #1 takes just a few panels to give you her background and how she obtained her marvelous powers. The series isn’t a reboot of Ms. Marvel. Her long history is still there, and the first issue does a wonderful job of showing her in action to tell you about her personality and career as both a superhero and an Air Force colonel. GeekMom Corrina, who also picked up the issue this week, mentioned, “I thought DeConnick captured Carol as a military officer perfectly.”

As promised, Captain America and Spider-Man make appearances in the first issue, and Cap is instrumental in encouraging Carol Danvers to take up the name of Captain Marvel.

I had high expectations for this series and Captain Marvel #1 paid off. I recommend picking it up.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — July 25th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — June 27th, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men / Image: Copyright Marvel
Avengers vs. X-Men / Image: Copyright Marvel

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan – Avengers Vs. X-Men Round 6

This past week I got my Avengers vs. X-Men fix. In round six of the twelve round series, we see what’s been happening since the Phoenix Five has taken control of things. Professor Xavier dropped by Pax Utopia to have a talk with Cyclops. I could feel his concern for Scott and the rest of his X-Men.

During the conversation we learn that Cyclops has convinced himself that he is making the world exactly the way Professor X always wanted. Professor X on the other hand, thinks the Phoenix Five is cheating and not allowing nature to take its course. I’m going to have to side with Professor X on this one. Mankind might go backwards sometimes, but we always find a way to move forward again. What the Phoenix Five is doing is not allowing mankind the opportunity to move forward at a natural pace.

We also see what’s happened to Hope since being taken by the Phoenix Five. Even though she’s been told she’s not a prisoner on Pax Utopia, she feels such a strong connection with the Phoenix that she can’t bring herself to leave. We later learn that although Cyclops says she is free to leave, when she finally decides to, he goes back on his word and tries to keep her on Utopia.

Maybe its just me, but it looks like the artists can’t make up their mind how old Hope is. In one issue she looks sixteen. In this issue, there are times she looks like she’s around ten years old. I can understand with all the stress she is under that she might start to look different in each issue, but the stress should be making her look older, not younger.

It’s no surprise to me that Scarlet Witch returned to help Hope. With everything she has been through, I could see her reaching out to help Hope. I’m curious to see how her involvement will change the tides of the fight.

Before this whole thing started, more than half of those polled said they would be on the side of the Avengers. With the latest development in how the Phoenix Five are changing it to be a Utopia for all man–kind, many readers are starting to switch sides.

I’m still on the side of the Avengers. The way the Phoenix Five is fixing the world is against nature and if the Phoenix ever leaves, mankind will slip back into its old habits.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — June 27th, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner – June 13th, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men Issue #5 Image: Copyright Marvel
Avengers vs. X-Men Issue #5 Image: Copyright Marvel

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Corrina Lawson – Comic News for the Week
Please send good thoughts and wishes to Renae De Liz, the creative force behind the Womanthology project, who’s in the critical care unit of her local hospital fighting off a nasty infection.

Womanthology began as a Kickstarter project to showcase the work of female comic creators and has led to an ongoing series with IDW.

DC Comics has also released solicits for its “Zero” issues in September that will outline the updated origins of its heroes, including Batwoman, Birds of Prey, and Batgirl.

Dakster Sullivan – Avengers vs. X-Men #5 Review
In issue #4 we saw the Phoenix about reach its destination. Now in issue #5, we get to see more of the fighting and more of what is going through Hope’s head.

The arrival of the Phoenix could mean death or rebirth to those involved. Hope just wants to have the chance to prove she is capable to handle it and if she isn’t, Logan has promised to put her out of her misery.

Unfortunately for Hope, as the Phoenix gets closer, she starts to feel its power and starts to realize just how little she can control it. The poor girl can’t decide if she’s the bomb or the bomber. Is she the one who will be responsible for the death of innocent lives or the rebirth of an entire race?

After struggling to control a power Cyclops believed she was meant to have, Hope finally begs for mercy from Logan, who fights to her side to fulfill the promise he made.

The battle turns as Iron Man accidentally cuts the Phoenix into five separate entities and each possess a different member of the X-Men team. This turn of the tides has me really excited. It will be interesting to see what happens now that the Phoenix has taken over not one, but five individuals.

The artists are doing an amazing job capturing the action as well as the emotions of the characters. I’ve caught myself looking over the books a second and third time, not for the words, but the art. I’ve even caught a few things looking back over them, that I missed the first time around when I was caught up in the story.

I’m still a little unsure how I would like to see this story end, but I’m hoping that none of my favorite characters meet their final pages. It would be nice for Hope to get a happy ending as well, but then again, depending on whose side your on, depends on what a happy ending is.


Kelly Knox

Fear Iteslf Cover Image: Copyright DC Comics
Fear Iteslf Cover Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

I only have DC Comics titles on my monthly reading list, so I have been looking for a good standalone story to rekindle my interest in the Marvel universe. Fear Itself is the collection of the prologue and seven-issue mini-series by the same name. In this storyline, the Avengers (and eventually everyone else through crossovers) battle a seemingly unstoppable foe who is intent on destroying mankind.

Once the action starts, Fear Itself is relentless. The scale of the worldwide war is conveyed well and a sense of foreboding is established early in the series. There are epic battles, character deaths, destruction, mayhem… so much that it teeters on the edge of overwhelming. If you are also looking for a recent “event” series, this isn’t a bad place to start, especially if you’re looking for an Avengers-focused story after seeing the film. I don’t feel like it pulled me in as much as I wanted it to, however, so I’m still on the lookout for a good story to get me back into Marvel.


We’ve told you what we’re reading, now tell us what your reading. Is there anything you’re looking forward too or would like to see us cover? Tell us in the comments section. We enjoy hearing from you. 


Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books from DC and Marvel:

 
American Vampire Lord Of Nightmares #1 (Of 5)
Batgirl #10
Batman #10 CP
Batman #10
Batman And Robin #10
Batman Arkham Unhinged #3
Batwoman Vol. 1 Hydrology HC
Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #1 (Of 4) CP
Birds Of Prey Vol. 1 End Run TP
DC Comics Presents Superman Adventures #1
Deathstroke #10
Demon Knights #10
Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #10
Green Lantern #10 CP
Green Lantern The Animated Series #3
Grifter #10
Justice TP
Legion Lost #10
Mister Terrific Vol. 1 Mind Games TP
Ravagers #2
Resurrection Man #10
Saucer Country #4
Seven Soldiers Of Victory Volume 2 TP
Shade #9 (Of 12)
Suicide Squad #10
Superboy #10
Tiny Titans Growing Up Tiny TP
Amazing Spider-Man #687
Amazing Spider-Man The Movie #2
Avengers #27
Avengers Assemble #4
Avenging Spider-Man My Friends Can Beat Up Your Friends HC PE
AvX Vs #3 (Of 6)
Battle Scars TP
Captain America #13
Captain America And Hawkeye #632
Carnage U.S.A. HC
Cloak And Dagger Crime And Punishment HC PE
Daredevil By Mark Waid Volume 2 HC PE
Dark Tower The Gunslinger The Way Station HC PE
Deadpool #56
Deathlok The Living Nightmare Of Michael Collins HC PE
Essential Spider-Man Vol. 11 TP
Fantastic Four #607
Halo Fall Of Reach Invasion #4 (Of 4)
Incredible Hulk #9
Marvel Masterworks Marvel Team-Up Vol. 2 HC
Marvel Universe Avengers Spider-Man And The Avengers Digest TP
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Comic Reader #1 (Of 2)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Great Power Screen Cap Digest TP
Marvel Zombies Destroy #3 (Of 5)
Mighty Thor #15
Scarlet Spider #6
Spider-Man Perceptions HC PE
Spider-Man Spider-Hunt TP
Spider-Man The Graphic Novels HC
Spider-Men #1 (Of 5)
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 2 HC PE
Ultimate Comics X-Men #13
Ultimate Spider-Man Omnibus Volume 1 HC
Uncanny X-Force #26
Untold Tales Of The Punisher MAX #1 (Of 5)
X-Men #30
X-Men Legacy #268

Acronym Key:  VC = Variant Cover  / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback  / CP = Combo Pack  / PE = Premier Edition

Fathers Day Gift Guide – For the Kid at Heart

Stormtrooper and Son
Image: Copyright Kristina Alexanderson

I’m lucky to have a husband who is a kid at heart because it makes shopping for him easy and fun. Most of the time, I can get his presents at my local toy store or comic book shop. It was this unique trait that inspired me to put together the ultimate Father’s Day gift guide for the kid at heart.  So, without further ado, I give you the gift guide for the dad who prefers Transformers over ties and Lego bricks over soap on a rope.

Optimus Prime Image: Hasbro
Optimus Prime Image: Hasbro

Hasbro Transformers Prime Line
If there’s one thing that is always on the top of my husbands list, it’s Transformers. The latest addition to the Transformers toy line is based off the latest animated series, Transformers Prime. If your children like them as well, I would suggest you get them the new Bot Shots so that dad can have his transformer all to himself on Father’s Day.

Hasbro Battleship / Hasbro Game of Life zAPPED
Give dad the gift of family time with Hasbro Battleship and Game of Life zAPPED Edition. These games are sure to get the family together again and again.

LEGO Deathstar
For the Star Wars dad, check out the Lego Deathstar. A fellow 501st Legionnaire and Father requested that I put this on the guide as a hint to his own children.

The Infinity Gauntlet Image Copyright Marvel Comics
The Infinity Gauntlet Image Copyright Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics Infinity Gauntlet Graphic Novel
Considered to be one of the Marvel’s best sagas, The Infinity Gauntlet holds its place in Marvel history. Most recently the main villain, Thanos, was seen during the end credits of The Avengers. If you paid attention in Thor, you might have also caught a glimpse of his famous gauntlet. For the Dad that’s fan of the Avengers, make sure you pick this up for him. He wont be disappointed.

Continue reading Fathers Day Gift Guide – For the Kid at Heart