All I need to know in life I learned from Star Wars.
Well, okay. Not all. If you’re still following the Gather ‘Round Padawansseries (and if you have, or are, thank you), I’m hoping I’ve convinced you to, at the very least, consider the idea of comics as medium rather than as superhero sub-genre and that comics across age and subject spectrums have a lot to teach us about life, parenting, and everything.
If you’re new to the series, welcome. Warm up your brain salmons because this time, I’m taking a look at the Marvel’s new Obi-Wan & Anakin title and one honking, important parenting lesson to be found therein.
Take a close look at the text in the panels above. Then take a look at what Obi-Wan is doing. Whose lightsaber he has.
In recent years, some of my favorite female heroes have found themselves with their own titles. Women such as Princess Leia, Black Widow, and Spider-Woman leap off the page showing that women are just as hard core as their male counterparts. In every single one of these cases, I have only one slight disappointment and this is that the author was male. Every time, despite my excitement and adoration of the character and story, my heart sank a bit. Why, I asked myself, aren’t there women writing our stories? These are our heroes. Men have enough heroes of their own. Why can’t they stick to writing their heroes and give us a chance to write our own?
On the most logical level, I hate myself for asking these questions. I am a woman who defines herself more in terms of gender equality than the “women for women” feminism. These concerns are therefore causing an existential crisis. This gut reaction makes me feel sexist because I question men’s ability to write the female experience.
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.
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.
For those of us who are not Marveled out, Marvel Studio’s Ant-Man is a great film to add to our arsenal of movie night selections. You get all the greatness of a Marvel film with the added heist aspects of Ocean’s Eleven and shrinking comedy of Honey I Shrunk the Kids with a bonus shirtless-chiseled Paul Rudd. Continue reading Review: Ant-Man Bonus Features — Small But Mighty
Captain America. The quintessential all-American hero. Nice Brooklyn boy willing to subject his body to medical experimentation to win the opportunity to fight for the little guy, freedom, and your grandma. Always has been. Still is even though someone else has taken up the title, the mantle, and the shield.
Steve’s thoughts on his chosen successor? “When I handed that shield over to Sam, it didn’t come with a rule book. I trust him to do what he thinks is best for our country.”
A large sector of the population, however, isn’t willing to accept the new Cap as “their” Cap despite Steve’s endorsement. Why? A questionable past? Does he booze it up with Stark? Go on shooting rampages? Run people down with his car on the sidewalk in Vegas? Sell drugs? Do drugs? Embezzle SHIELD funds? Play his music too loud? Kick puppies?
Sam Wilson is daring, daring, to Cap while African American.
Considering our abiding love for Daredevil, it’s no surprise that the adults in my household are mad about Jessica Jones. Mad in the good way. Mad in the shaking my fists at the sky and shouting, “Finally!” kind of way. I’m not a reader of comics much, but a big fan of all things Marvel. And, tired of seeing female superheroes erased from t-shirts and toys and posters, it’s good to be watching a show where she’s front and center. She’s a badass. She’s complicated. She’s flawed. She’s broken. She’s powerful.
Plenty has been said on this matter. I’ve finally finished the first season, and I’ve got lots of thoughts.
But I’m not talking about Jessica today.
Today I’m talking about Kilgrave. (Caveat: minor spoilers below.)
The crew of the Ghost has been through a lot in their two seasons of existence. There has been discovery and triumph, victories and the forging of a family. There has also been tragedy and loss, frustration and shattered hope.
This week’s episode, Legacy, was well and truly heartbreaking.
Even though paper coffee cup sleeves are biodegradable, they still create unnecessary waste and use needed resources. Most of the time these sleeves end up in the trash instead of recycled. Why use a boring paper sleeve when you can rock a piece of geeky art work instead?
These projects are very quick to finish and require only a small amount of yarn. They make good stocking stuffers or birthday gifts. They are practical, unique, and sure to please. I use mine on both disposable and reusable cups. Here are six free patterns for coffee cozy sleeves you can knit and crochet:
In our house, we limit screen time, maybe an hour a day. For the first two years, we capped TV watching at an hour a week.
We also tend away from the licensed products.
You know the ones I am talking about, the Elsa socks, Batman toothbrushes, or Elmo dolls. So imagine my husband’s surprise when I announced we were giving our two-year-old nephew Spider-Man for Christmas.
Disney on Ice! is on tour this year with the 100 Years of Magic. With 100 years to cover, I’m excited to see the over 50 member cast bring fan favorite characters to life on ice. Feld Entertainment is promising to bring an long list of Disney favorites to the rink. In the past, I’ve seen the Disney Princesses, Frozen, and Toy Story brought center stage and will see the addition of Finding Nemo, the Lion King, and other Disney misfits.
With 100 years to cover, there is also an impressive list of dance numbers and songs for Feld to pick from and it will be interesting to see which ones they decided were the most influential for this show.
For tour dates and ticket prices, head over to Disney on Ice! and see when they are stopping by a rink near you.
Stay tuned to GeekMom for a full after-show review in September!
If you’re like us, you can’t get enough of the Lego video games. Lego Dimensions comes out in September, and we just have to wait a little bit longer for the next one. Lego Marvel’s Avengers will be released on January 26, 2016 in North America and January 29, 2016 in Europe. It’s the first console game to include the stories and characters from The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
GameStop pre-orders will also get the Silver Centurion Iron Man minifig, also playable in the game. Pre-orders online will come with it, but if you buy in-store, it’s only available while supplies last.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Windows PC.
The game will follow the storyline of the two Avengers movies, which you can get a hint of in the peek at a few of the characters below:
Let’s just get this out of the way right from the get-go: I loved Ant-Man. It does not pass the Bechdel test, and it would be awesome if Marvel could get it together and do that one of these days. This is not the movie where they see the light.
Having said that, I still loved it. I haven’t been this excited to write up a movie in a while. As I write this, I just left a screening about two hours ago and couldn’t wait to talk about it.
Note: only minor and vague spoilers in this review.
When Ant-Man was announced, I wasn’t terribly excited. In the whole scope and scale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was hard to imagine where he would find his place. What could they do with him? Paul Rudd’s casting helped, and then the trailers really helped. By this week I was so looking forward to it.
And it didn’t disappoint. Ant-Man the movie is completely aware that it is about Ant-Man. It’s light and fun and full of skeptical looks from Paul Rudd, like he is in on the absurdity of it with us. It plays with Ant-Man’s size in a way that takes advantage of all the action sequences a proper superhero movie should have. But it also throws in spot-on little jokes to remind us not to take it all too seriously. Because we are talking about an Ant. Man. The Thomas the Tank Engine scene was perfect.
Forget the science of how Rudd’s Scott Lang shrinks, and really forget the plot. Corey Stoll’s Yellowjacket wants to sell shrink technology to the highest bidder, but Michael Douglas’s Dr. Pym, who invented the tech, wants to stop him. But that’s actually not what’s important.
The characters are the big draw here, along with a big save-the-world heart. Despite some occasional swearing, this is the most family-friendly superhero movie to come along in a while. The gore isn’t very gory, and the scares aren’t terribly scary. And Lang is doing everything to make his young daughter proud, and to protect her future.
The very first scene gives us a surprise appearance by a favorite Marvel lady, and somehow after that I just knew I was in for a treat. Paul Rudd is exactly the Ant-Man this movie needed to take a tiny character with Aquaman-caliber superpowers and make him worth a big screen. Michael Douglas’s Dr. Pym is a great genius trying to stop the bad guy (Corey Stoll) from letting advanced science fall into the wrong hands. Evangeline Lilly got a pretty awesome bonus scene during the credits.
But Michael Peña stole the show. He played Scott Lang’s prison buddy Luis, a man who was arrested for stealing two smoothie machines. He is glorious and surprising in every scene he’s in, whether he’s talking about wine tastings or “sublime” Mark Rothko paintings.
This movie did two things really well: It got back to the kind of humor that made the first Iron Man such a standout (remember when no one could picture Robert Downey, Jr. as a superhero?). And, it made an army of ants that weren’t creepy crawly. They are actually sort of adorable, and I didn’t think it was possible to make a movie that would give me all the feels about ants.
But I do, I have all the feels about ants. And Ant-Man. And Michael Peña. Stay to the very end of the credits, there are two bonus scenes.
GeekMom attended a promotional screening for review purposes.
Remember when you used to be able to get comics for just a few cents? Well, Marvel is making comics available for a penny—about 17,000 of them.
The company just announced plans to offer its Marvel Unlimited service for the introductory price of 1 cent. As part of the San Diego Comic-Con festivities, this deal will only be offered to new subscribers and only for the first month.
However, that’s an awful lot of eye candy for the price of well… penny candy. The collection features 75 years of Marvel Comics, which includes The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and so much more. If it seems really overwhelming (in a good way, of course), click over to the Discover section, which allows users to search by storylines, characters, or creators.
To get the discounted goods, you will need to use the promo code PENNY during your checkout process. Just know that this offer is only good through July 20, 2015. (Editor’s Note: The offer has been extended through July 27!)There are a few other restrictions as well. Like, don’t expect to cancel your current subscription to get the discount; the offer is only open to new and former (now-cancelled) members who have not subscribed with a promotional offer in the last 6 months. It also doesn’t work on gift subscriptions, Annual, or Annual Plus memberships. Make sure to read the fine print!
The Marvel Unlimited app is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. After the 1-cent promotional period is up, expect to pay $9.99 per month. However, that fee ensures that you’ll always have plenty to read, since both classic and new issues are being added on a weekly basis.
I am sure you have all seen the hashtag #WeWantWidow going around, imploring Marvel to include more of the Black Widow character not only in merchandising, but to the collective Avengers movie universe.
A movement is growing. It was exciting to get the update from our friends at Legion of Leia.com about the Black Widow Flash Mob that took place on June 6. The idea was created by Kristin Rielly, founder and editor of Geek Girl Network. The outcry was sparked by the Avengers: Age of Ultron’s lack of the Black Widow character. The voices included female Disney and Marvel fans from around the country, coming together to take change in their own hands.
My four-year-old’s untimely demand (most of them do come when I am in the shower) seems to be right in step with this social media uprising.
So after my shower, we went searching for Avenger team items. The cute hat above was found at Target and did not include Black Widow. Sadly, it didn’t shock me. I think I had gotten used to the gender inequality when it comes to finding female Marvel, DC, or Star Wars characters in merchandise from local stores. Most of Ella’s geekware items have been purchased in the “boys” section. In all fairness to Target, just this summer there has been a recent influx of superhero clothing, so they seem to be taking steps to offer more for girls and women. One was even found that included Black Widow. It’s a good start.
Choosing to get the hat, I asked Ella why she thought Black Widow was not on it. Her answer was, “She was off saving people and saving Hulk and Captain America.”
We decided to add her to the hat ourselves. We found a picture of Black Widow in Ella’s Captain America: The Winter Solider coloring book. It was chosen because it had her on the cover. Coloring the picture together, I mentioned that sometimes if we want to change things, we need to find solutions and do it ourselves.
Maybe someday Ella will be writing for Marvel or designing clothing. She might be packing up this hat as a sentimental reminder of her youth on her first astronaut mission to Mars. Those DIY, problem-solving skills may just come in handy if her mission team needs something important mended.
Whatever her future, it is my hope as her GeekMom that she remembers that she is the architect of her own life and to put on a towel before jumping out the shower with ideas to change the world.
In her own way, she is joining in by saying #WeWantWidow too.
Only a little more than six weeks to go until one of the founding members of The Avengers sees if he can measure up to the standard the rest of the MCU has set–even at a half-inch tall. Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd up against Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket and premieres July 17, 2015. Watch the latest trailer here:
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.
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.
Is this what I’m to expect of my superhero stories now? A gut punch? A blinking out of the darkness of the theater (or my living room, but hey, I’m feeling like Ponyboy right now, mkay?) into a world that just doesn’t seem to make as much sense as it did before? A search for meaning? Weird dreams that I’m running from crazed Russians and bald-headed men in suits only to find out that I’m the one that’s been sent to save Hell’s Kitchen?
There have been other adaptations of Daredevil, but I don’t want to talk about those. I really don’t have to. That’s what rocks so much about Marvel’s Daredevil series on Netflix for me. Unlike so many other superhero retellings, it didn’t have to pay homage (*cough*superman*cough*) or lumber along trying desperately to re-invent itself and tell everyone that this time it’s different. It just kicked ass, took names, and moved along.
I’m babbling. But it’s a little hard to process.
My husband and I watched the entirety of Daredevil in about a week’s time. Sure, by binge TV standards that might not be too fast, but keep in mind we’ve got kids and jobs, and a crazy busy schedule. Essentially as soon as the kids were mostly asleep, we’d run to the living room and watch the next episode. We are, in every respect, a target market. Recent favorites include mostly anything Marvel’s done, Justified, and Game of Thrones. Even more telling than the time spent at the console was the fact that even though Game of Thrones premiered in the middle of our viewing, both of us really wanted to just watch more Matt Murdock kicking butt in Hell’s Kitchen and get our questions answered.
Okay, so no. It’s not going to change the way television is made. It might not be for you. But the series succeeds in many ways that, for me, were unexpected.
First, there’s no dumbing down to get a lower rating in the movie theater. This stuff is raw, gritty, bloody. It’s a superhero for adults with adult sentiments, viewers who aren’t interested in tie-in backpacks and t-shirts. This is so often the curse with comic book related film and television, it gets marketed to death and watered down so they can make money off of kids (and well, judging by my desk at work, some parents, too).
The other thing I noticed? It’s cut like a movie. One of my biggest complaints about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the gorram commercial breaks. Having to edit a show around commercial interruptions just makes for some really awkward moments in terms of pacing and plot. It made me really wish that S.H.I.E.L.D. could have the Netflix treatment. It gave them time in every episode to really paint the mood without rushing. And I think it’s one of the reasons that the villain is so very complex and almost… almost… someone you can pity. It’s also why it didn’t get bogged down in dreaded comic book origin story mode. It didn’t have to. It’s hard to do that when you’re pressed for time. But Daredevil, for the most part, was just time well spent.
And the performances? They were great. I mean, it’s got the luxury of being an ensemble cast. Even the (sometimes very short-lived) villains each had their own moments in the sun. Charlie Cox is growly and great, just a hint of his English accent punctuating his vowels now and again. He is what he needs to be, and is strongest when he’s trying to balance the guilt and shame of his chosen profession with his calling as a lawyer, often right in front of his friends.
More than anything, Daredevil just shows how much more room there is to go in the streaming TV medium. It has some hiccups (could’ve used some more complex women, perhaps; occasionally the gore got gratuitous, and the climax didn’t quite hold up to the very end) but it’s also just the first season. Considering it’s already been renewed, and how long it took for Matt to get his full suit (seriously, I cannot believe the interminable wait on that one) there’s a whole lot more story to tell.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Free Comic Book Day is May 2nd, and this year there are 50 different books available including: Wonderland (Zenescope), Gronk (Action Comics), Pokemon (Boom), Avengers #1 (Marvel), Secret Wars #0 (Marvel), and Divergence (DC Comics). I’m always excited to get my mitts on as many books as I can (and after I’ve grabbed all I’m allowed, I’ll send my son and husband to get the rest).
I’ve patrolled my local comic book store in costume the past three years and I have a few tips for anyone who is new to this day or new to some of the titles on the table.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because a title has a kid-friendly cover, doesn’t mean it’s a kid-friendly story. I saw more little kids with Zenescope in their clutches last year than I care to have seen, and each time I walked them back and pointed to a more age-appropriate title for them.
Many of the FCBD books are jumping on points to get readers interested. You can bet if there is a title on the table that there is another book in the store that your child or you will be interested in.
Support the store with your wallet. FCBD costs the stores a lot of money each year, so help them out by buying something while you’re there. Most stores have sales and discounts on various titles that day, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Meet fellow fans and ask for recommendations. If you see someone else grab something you like, ask them if they have any recommendations for other books. If you don’t like a particular title, ask for recommendations that are different.
Come in costume! FCBD is like a mini-comic book convention. Come dressed as your favorite character or let your child wear their favorite character attire (even if that means it’s their Batman PJs with the cape on the back).
Make a day of it! Get to the store when they open for the best selection of free books and then, hit up another store, and another, and…well, you get the point. Not every store stocks the same FCBD books, so the more stores you hit up, the better your chances are of getting a wider variety.
Contests! Stay updated on contests and giveaways at your local comic book shop and on FCBD Facebook page. A few of these contests require pictures of you with your books, so take pictures of your family with their picks.
Regardless of how you plan to spend the day, have fun with it! Oh, and grab as many books as you can. You never know when you can trade a Wonderland or Avatar book for something else down the road.
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.
It might not be made of vibranium, but your kids will love having Captain America’s shield hanging on their wall nonetheless! With just a few inexpensive items from your local craft store, you can turn a small round cork board into a shield that will always catch your kids’ attention.
Thanks to a sale at Michael’s, I found everything I needed for this project for less than five dollars total.
What You Need
Round cork board, approximately 7″ (available at Michael’s)
White star (wood or paper), approximately 3.5″
Red, white, and blue acrylic paint
Hot glue gun
Twine and thumbtacks or sticky Velcro strips
Start by drawing a circle the same diameter as your white star in the middle of the cork board. If you’d like to use a template, take the opportunity to encourage the kids to go on a quick scavenger hunt around the house for circles you could trace. Trace or freehand two more circles so that the stripes are approximately half an inch apart.
Once your lines are lightly traced, begin by painting the middle circle blue.
Allow the blue paint to dry completely. Next, paint the two red stripes, keeping the middle stripe free of paint. Paint the outside stripe along the edge of the cork board. Allow the red paint to dry completely.
Finally, paint the middle stripe white, and let it dry.
Next, hot glue the white star into the center of the blue circle.
Once the paint is dry and the hot glue has cooled, flip the cork board over. To hang the board, you can use Velcro strips on the wall, but I’ve had varying success getting those to stick well to cork board. The board is even small enough to glue magnets to and stick on the refrigerator.
You can also take two thumb tacks, and press them lightly in the middle of the board. Tie a string (at least 4″ in length) on the pin of each tack, and then press them in completely. Tie the two strings together.
The bulletin board is now ready to hang on the wall! Pin reminders, homework, and more on your new star-spangled bulletin board.
Chloe Bennet and Clark Gregg took the stage at Emerald City Comicon to talk about their favorite parts of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., along with hints of what’s to come in the upcoming action-packed episodes.
Both actors gushed about the cast and crew of the ABC series. Bennet feels a “sense of family” on the show, which Gregg echoed by saying that Bennet feels like a daughter to him. She also mentioned an interesting dynamic with Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) as Skye grapples with her new powers, and revealed that not only do the two characters grow closer, we’ll also see parts of May’s past in upcoming episodes. (The Cavalry, anyone?)
Bennet also shared what’s in the future for Skye as she learns more about what it means to be Inhuman. “She grows a lot,” she said. Luke Mitchell’s character is part of that journey, serving as her guide into her new life.
Gregg was a little more coy about upcoming episodes of the show, but did say, “People who like the Inhumans will be satisfied by what’s coming up.”
When asked about additional characters from the Marvel cinematic universe crossing between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the films, Gregg would only say with a smile, “There’s always that possibility.” A fan of the way Marvel is telling an overarching story across multiple media, Gregg left the impression that there are still surprises to come.
With Coulson and his crew so active in Marvel’s world, sooner or later The Avengers are going to find out. When they do, a fan asked, which does Gregg think will have the most intense reaction? “Coulson would like to see Cap happy to see him alive again,” he said. “But I hope Banner wouldn’t be too angry about it.”
Both actors seemed genuinely happy and excited to chat with their fans and be a part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Growing up, [pretending to be] a Disney princess was not as exciting to me as being a superhero,” said Bennet. “And now I get to be one!”
Gregg echoed her sentiment. “I’m really proud of what the show has done and where it’s going… I get to go to work and be my 11-year-old self every day.”
Being a geek is becoming more and more mainstream. Yet there are still stereotypes of what makes a geek a “geek.” Being a comic book fan is a quintessential sign, and often linked to the old-school idea of socially-inept, single guys. For women who proclaim their love of comics (like me), it’s just…strange.
But that is changing. I was just invited to a Fan Girls Night Out at my local comic store by another mom who is also into comics. There are more of us than you realize. And although it may seem new to the mainstream world, it is far from abnormal. The history of women in comics as both fans and within the industry stretches back to the beginning.
The new documentary She Makes Comics is an eye-opening and heartfelt look at women within the history of comics, and I highly recommend watching it. The film is directed by Marisa Stotter and produced by Patrick Meaney and Jordan Rennert of Respect!Films. It is executive produced by Sequart’s Julian Darius and Mike Phillips and by Columbia University comics librarian Karen Green. It is a series of interwoven interviews of passionate people with different roles and points of view. My teenage son and I watched it together, finding it informative and entertaining.
Did you know that women and men made up equal numbers of comic book readership before the 1950s? American comics were about many topics, had various settings, and reflected every possible interest. By the ’70s, women readers started to drop off dramatically, partly due to the focus on male superheroes as the best-seller comic book theme, as well as the feminist movement awakening a generation of women who were tired of the same “wedding bliss” ending. An underground women’s comic movement began, and it was fascinating listening to the creators talk about it on camera: both the excitement and the fears.
Several women really changed the comic book world, from Wendy Pini, the original chain-mail bikini awesome cosplayer who then created ElfQuest, to Janette Kahn, former publisher of DC who broke the glass ceiling, to Gail Simone, notable comic writer, and author of Women in Refrigerators, an unapologetic look at how female characters are unfairly treated in comic stories, to Kelly Sue DeConnick, the creator of the hugely popular female Captain Marvel, and many more.
How do women get into comics in the first place? Better comics. The consensus of the interviewees was: Give us a variety of women featured, complex characters, and in-depth storytelling. As an X-Men fan, it was cool to know how many other women in this film cited that series as their turn-on to the whole genre. The fact that the male creator of the series had two female editors makes sense. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was another “gateway” comic, again, with a female editor. In fact, that editor, Karen Berger, is credited with developing the talents of some of the biggest names in comics for the past several decades.
I personally got into comics in the 1990s, and was quite alone. I took my two young children to the comic book store and was the only female there, let alone a mother. I found it interesting to hear about that time period. The film talked about how more women were getting into the creative side of comics then, but still not equally represented by a long-shot. The industry was not welcome to women or women-centered stories, but also, women are not as confidant in promoting themselves.
Comics used to be sold in supermarkets and bookstores, but then only in specific comic stores that were (and mostly still are) very much a bachelor den of boob posters and all-male staff who assume a girl is only there because she is dating a comic book fan. In 1994, a support organization for women in comics was created called Friends of Lulu which put out a book helping comic book stores understand how to attract more females to their stores—why shut out the biggest consumers in the country? The internet ushered in a huge change. This has given women a place to connect, collaborate, and share their love of comics. The film also mentions the influence of the manga craze during that time as well, with comics targeted to girls.
There is so much to this film, but what stood out to me most was the passion of the people interviewed, and the range of ages. I loved hearing from the elder pioneers in the industry, as well as the younger talents of today. Inspiring the next generation of comic creators came up a lot, and is something I support wholeheartedly. Everyone should be able to express themselves in whatever medium suits them best, boys and girls. Check out the film!
She Makes Comics is now available to order on DVD and as a digital download at SheMakesComics.com.
Marvel’s picture book Shake to Assembleis 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.
In comic book terms, Marvel is doing a reboot or hitting the reset button. Reboots are one of those weird phenomena specific to comics. Basically, the powers that be determine that their universe of characters have too much baggage, too much backstory, for any new reader to understand. The answer is rebooting and starting fresh with all the characters back to the beginning, perhaps with some new pieces, and perhaps with old, non-working pieces jettisoned.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that cleanly. DC has rebooted three times since the 1980s and each time, all the old stories were tossed aside and new ones were told. But sometimes the new stories were so similar to the old ones (see: Batman) that it was hard to remember what had happened to the Caped Crusader and what no longer applied. The Legion of Superheroes, which seemed to undergo perpetual rebooting, now has backstory so mixed up that likely only Mark Waid can keep it straight. I try and my brain melts.
Marvel Entertainment is, of course, now owned by Disney, and though details remain sketchy as to what the new universe will look like, a sure bet is that it’ll look more like the cinematic Marvel Universe. Because Disney isn’t satisfied with just the regular comic book market found in local comic shops. They want to reach all those moviegoers. This is likely their first step.
Xavier and Magneto Would Be a Couple in My Marvel Universe
A couple of years ago, I was playing a game on a comic board (the late, lamented Bendis Board on Jinxworld) and one of the exercises was to reboot and then recreate the Marvel Universe.
Not only did we have to decide what the new starting point was, we had to decide on creative teams, and also on weekly shipping schedules. To make the game interesting, we couldn’t just pick creators out of a hat. We had to use creators who could reasonably expect would agree to be on the books. However, our reboot differs from the real upcoming reboot in that it contains the X-Men and Fantastic Four, whose movie rights are owned by companies other than Disney. Odds are good that the new Marvel Universe will find a way to work around these characters.
Participating in our group were myself and fellow board members, Wayland Smith (Kingsmythe on the board), Kedd, Slewo O., Mark4Myself, and JasonWGBB007.
It was truly one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. You can see we took chances on going outside the box and changed the nature of relationship between Professor X and Magneto from the books. I’d argue it’s a slight change because, really, one only has to watch the X-Men movies to see the subtext that’s practically text.
Our basic concept of the reboot was that more single titles that covered many genres would be more likely to appeal to the audience that isn’t reading comics on a regular basis, especially those we could reach through the same-day digital issue via Comixology.
In our reboot, we could assign creators if they were plausible. But if this was truly happening, we’d have to get all these people to agree to take on the work. Not an easy task.
My favorite single pitch was the Dr. Strange book set into the 1930s as a mystic agent of the British government. A mystic Indiana Jones. I know, Marvel won’t actually do it but I’d love to see it. Hey, someone tell Kevin Feige and Benedict Cumberbatch about this please. And some of our titles have come to pass, such as S.H.I.E.L.D., which is now also a television series, albeit with a different cast.
So, GeekMom readers, what titles do you love that you’d like to see more of right now and, if you’re not reading, what kind of titles would bring you in?
1. Avengers–Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel are the army to call in when all else fails. Uneasily aligned, their first task may be their last: How do you stop the all-powerful Celestials from remaking the Earth?
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Olivier Coipel
2. Captain Marvel–Carol Danvers is an Air Force colonel, test pilot, and superhuman by virtue of her contact with the alien race, the Kree. Her first mission as a superhero is to stop their secret experiments on the human race, and planned invasion of Earth.
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Dexter Soy
3. Thor–For Thor, the god of Thunder, life has taken a turn for the worse: His father is missing, his brother is on the Throne of Asgard, and he is trapped on Earth. He must now use his godly powers to protect humankind, as well as find a way to return home and restore order to Asgard.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stuart Immonen
4. Iron Man–Billionaire inventor Tony Stark has a team of Iron Men to fight on the front lines of wars across the world, though with public opinion turning against his new weapon, Stark is fighting on multiple fronts. With support from his friend James Rhodes, and trusted assistant Virginia “Pepper” Potts, Tony fights in the boardrooms of his company and the military. But when money and finesse aren’t enough, Stark suits up as the Invincible Iron Man to protect what he holds dear and fight against threats to his company.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: David Aja
5. Captain America–James “Bucky” Barnes, the new heir to the Captain America title, struggles to continue filling the void left by his old partner Steve Rogers the original holder of the mantle and fight the new evils of the 21st century alongside his partner: Rikki Barnes, his great-niece and the new Bucky.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
6. Captain America & Bucky–The history and legacy of Captain America through the decades. Featuring Steve Rogers and all of his successors.
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Dustin Weaver
7. Excalibur–The British lead European S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Made up of members from across Europe and focused on defending against regional threats, Excalibur tries to prove to the world that different cultures and nations are more powerful working together than against one another.
Cast: Captain Britain, Psylocke, Colossus, Pete Wisdom, Nightcrawler, the Black Knight, and Faiza Hussain.
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Alan Davis
8. Hulk–Bruce Banner struggles to control the raging monster that exists within him, while rebuilding the life he saw torn apart by his own obsessions.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
9. Avengers: The Initiative–Under Commander Maria Hill’s direction, unaffiliated Avengers Operatives insert themselves into the worldwide superhero community searching for allies in the on-going fight against the deep seeded reaches of terrorist organizations like HYDRA, A.I.M., and Black Spectre.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Bryan Hitch
10. League of Losers–Even henchmen have aspirations. Several low level henchmen from evil organizations around the MU come together at The Bar With No Name to commiserate, heal the wounds of a thousand beatings handed out by Spider-Man, Captain America, Luke Cage, and other heroes, and drink. But these lackeys want more out of life than being the punching bags for some roided up guy in a flag suit. They want to be their own boss. They want to create their very own super villain organization. But what will be their greatest enemy? S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers or their own incompetence?
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Kev Walker
11. S.H.I.E.L.D.–SHIELD director Maria Hill leads a covert team of highly trained spies including Hawkeye and Black Widow, on the black ops missions that keep the planet from slipping into all out war at any moment.
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Mike Deodato
12. Thunderbolts–The Avengers’ rapid response team. When situations are spiraling out of control the Thunderbolts are sent in to hit hard, fast, and without mercy.
Cast: Luke Cage (leader), Valkyrie, an exile from Asgard, Goliath, Inertia, Sunspot, and Songbird.
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Terry Dodson
13. Alpha Flight–Canada’s super-powered team operating out of Department H and slowly making themselves known as big time players in the super powered arms race, but with increasing pressure from the Canadian government for more oversight, and a growing distrust from the Canadian public, how long can the team truly last?
Cast: Guardian, Vindicator, Sasquatch, Northstar, and Snowbird
Writer: Michael Avon Oeming
Artist: Esad Ribic
14. Black Panther–T’Challa has inherited the crown of the most technologically advanced and isolationist nation in the world, and his first act is to open the borders in an attempt to break down generations’ worth of paranoia and xenophobia. The only question now is will his external enemies get him before his internal enemies have a chance.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Sara Pichelli
15. Young Avengers–The next generation of heroes. They’ve been trained, but being thrown into the middle of the fire won’t leave them all unscathed.
Cast: Patriot, a Captain America legacy character; Stature, the daughter of a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist who was accidentally exposed to his growth ray; the mysterious Iron Lad; Hulkling, the result of Skrull experimentation on humans; and super-powered twins Wiccan and Speed who were found as babies after a botched S.H.I.E.L.D. raid. Their origins remain unknown.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Humberto Ramos
16. X-Force–The U.S. Government’s blackops team of mutants that has existed since the first World War in some form or another. Their existence is on a need to know basis only.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Chris Bachalo
17. Uncanny X-Men–Magneto’s book.
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Tim Seeley
18. X-Men–Xavier’s book.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Barry Kitson
Professor Charles Xavier and Erik (Magneto) Lensherr were friends, lovers, and are now enemies. Xavier believes in teaching peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans while Magneto offers mutants a chance to survive, if necessary, by pushing humans out of the way. They’ll fight each other for the hearts and minds of the next generation.
19. Deadpool–The so-called “Merc With a Mouth,” Wade Wilson aka Deadpool is out to prove he was the greatest product of the Weapon X program, and gain all the fame and adulation he can handle, as the World’s greatest mercenary.
Writer: Fabian Niceza
Artist: Mark Bagley
20. Exiles–Magda Lensherr ran away from her husband, Erik (Magneto), when it became clear that the need for power would eventually consume him. Now she fronts a loose organization of mutant outcasts and misfits, some hidden beneath cities across the world, some hidden in plain sight, like her children Wanda and Pietro. But soon, Xavier & Magneto’s war will pull her world apart.
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Amy Reeder
21. X-Men Legacy–A trip through the mutant past of the Marvel Universe, peaking into the younger selves of Xavier and Magneto as well as mutants of generations past.
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Chris Samnee
22. Wolverine–He’s been everywhere in the world and done everything except find a cause he can believe in. But with a possible war between humans and mutants, he can’t stay on the sidelines.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Butch Guice
23. Fantastic Four–The first family of science. They are explorers as well as heroes, often finding new problems simply through Reed’s inventions. Classic line up of Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben. Based in the Baxter Building in New York.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Marcos Martin
24. Nova–Richard Rider is pulled in way over his head when is mistakenly granted access to the Nova Force. When the responsibility of defending the planet is thrust in his lap will he be able to rise to the occasion or will fear and self-doubt lead to the destruction of the universe?
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Salvador Larocca
25. Guardians of the Galaxy–The universe is in chaos, with the fires of conflict spreading thick through the galaxy, something must be done. A group brought together out of necessity, rather than choice, forms to save everything. Star-Lord: Disgraced hero and now a wanted man, Groot: King of Planet X, Rocket Raccoon: Half-World’s top cop, Quasar: Protector of the Universe, Gamora: Deadliest Assassin in the Galaxy, Adam Warlock: Universal Savior. They’re brought together by Major Victory, a man who claims to be from the future, and the only one who can save the present from utter annihilation.
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Leonard Kirk
26. Inhumans–An offshoot of humanity created by the Kree and relocated by their advanced technology, the mighty king Black Bolt rules over Attilian, a mobile space station. With the Inhuman royals (Medusa, Crystal, Triton, Karnak, Lockjaw, Gorgon) they keep the peace aboard the station and deal with travelers, merchants, and criminals.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Fiona Staples
27. Mar-Vell and the Starjammers–Kree Warrior Mar-vell is wanted by his own people as a traitor, he’s hunted by the Skrulls as an enemy and he’s hiding in Shi’iar space under the name of Corsair and leading a gang of pirates who try to be on the right side of justice. Crew: Hepzibath, Raza, Ch’od, Sikorsky, Xenith, and Lyja (a Skrull).
Creative team: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Declan Shalvey
28. S.W.O.R.D.–Tasked with keeping Earth safe from extraterrestrial menaces, S.W.O.R.D. is based on an orbital station, watching over their home world. Abigail Brand uses captured alien tech and whatever sympathetic aliens they can recruit to fight off the far too many aliens that are interested in Earth.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Steve Sanders
29. Spider-Man–Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for only eighteen months and now he’ll have to enter the world as an adult following his high school graduation. As he moves out on his own, he’ll have to tackle college, dating, and a higher profile in the growing world of superheroes.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Pia Guerra
30. Punisher–Following a deep cover operation gone wrong, Frank Castle’s family was targeted by a loose connection of crime bosses. Now Frank teeters on the edge of sanity, barely maintaining his day job as an ATF agent as his thirst for vengeance and his need to punish the guilty grows out of control.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Michael Lark
31. Daredevil–The city of Boston in a powder keg waiting to explode between the Irish mob, racial tensions, and the demands of a growing city. By day, Matt Murdock works within the flawed system, using his skills as a lawyer to right wrongs within the system, by night he takes to the streets as Daredevil using his fists to punish the criminals that escape through the cracks.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Paolo Rivera
32. Marvel All Stars–Focused on short arcs and featuring team ups between street level MU heroes and villains. Cast rotates every arc or two.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Amanda Conner
33. Daughters of the Dragon–The Daughters of the Dragon are more plugged into the seedy underworld of the MU than any else. Acting as information brokers, vigilantes, and middlemen in the constant battle against the rot and decay of crime, the DotD prove that knowledge truly is power.
Cast: Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Jessica Jones, Paladin, Cloak & Dagger, and She-Hulk as sometime lawyer, sometime muscle.
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Alex Maleev
34. Strange: Agent of MI:13–In the 1930s, Stephen Strange works as a field agent and occult expert for MI13, he circles the globe hunting for obscure artifacts and battling against rival occultists, demon obsessed Nazis, and the occasional death cult.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Francisco Francavalla
35. Iron Fist–The Seven Capital Cities have been destroyed, and it’s up to Danny Rand to find whatever is responsible and hopefully rebuild the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. But first, he must convince the champions of each city that he was not reason behind all of the destruction.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Cassandra James
36. Ghost Rider–Too stubborn to die, Johnny Blaze clawed his way out of hell hoping to redeem himself, now he’s on the run from angels, demons, and fanatic freelance spiritual bounty hunters. With nowhere to turn all Blaze can do is ride.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: David Mack
37. Moon Knight–Marc Spector nearly died, should have died, and his life was redeemed by Khonshu, Egyptian god of Justice and Vengeance. He now fights crime as the Moon’s Knight of Vengeance. He uses an array of weaponry adapted from his career as a mercenary, and receives guidance in the form of intuition and the ability to fade into the darkness of the night. He is joined on his quest by Frenchie, a helicopter pilot from his merc days, and Marlene, his lover and manager of his wealth and businesses from his cover identity of Stephen Grant.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mark Texeira
38. Sleepwalker–Nightmares are escaping from the dreamscape and it’s up to the Sleepwalker and his human alter ego, Rick Sheridan, to make sure the world can sleep easy.
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Ben Templesmith
39. Midnight Sons–Blade and Damien Hellstrom hunt the things that go bump in the night, but their uneasy alliance and history of bad blood may destroy them before the monsters and demons get a chance.
Writer: John Rozum
Artist: Becky Cloonan
40. Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos–WWII action from Nick Fury’s perspective. Nick & his commandos are out in the middle of the Pacific, stranded, and first must rescue themselves from a raging sea, sharks, and enemy subs before they can even begin the job of getting to mainland China and driving out the Japanese invaders.
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Will Rosado
41. Rangers–A loose team in the American Southwest dealing with the unique challenges of the badlands, including sometimes fighting among themselves. Shooting Star is a markswoman with trick bullets of different types. Texas Twister controls small cyclones. Red Wolf is a Cheyenne warrior with connections to the Cheyenne wolf god. Phantom Rider is a mystically powered cowboy ghost. Firebird is a mutant with flight, energy, heat powers who sees Red Wolf as a collaborator with the white conquerors.
Writers: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Paco Medina
42. Runaways–When S.H.I.E.L.D. takes down a major villain, their families are often left in disarray. Under the guise of creating stability, S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the children of captured super-powered villains into custody. In reality, they’re monitoring the kids for signs that they may just be the super villains of tomorrow. How far will one group of kids go to escape S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and prove that they are nothing like their parents?
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Adrian Alphona
43. Brother Voodoo–Thrust into the role of sorcerer Supreme, Jericho Drumm must hold line and defend the mortal realm against a continuous bleed of mystical enemies.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Sean Phillips
44. Silver Sable and the Wild Pack–Silver Sable and her Wild Pack operate in the gap left between heroes like the Avengers and official groups like S.H.I.E.L.D. If the money’s right and the client’s credit clears, they’ll take the job. They work for private clients, governments that want deniability, and the occasional good cause when their PR agent screams loud enough. First arc: The Chinese government hires them to capture a band of new rogue supers, but the team learns all isn’t as it seems and start questioning the nature of the job.
Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Jamal Igle
45. Power Pack–A family outing unexpectedly results in superpowers for a group of young siblings. Granted superhuman abilities by the mysterious ship they call “Friday,” Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie Power decide to try becoming superheroes. But in a world still just adapting to the idea, what will the reaction be? The return of a fan favorite by the original creator.
Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Gurihiro Studios
46. Venom–Venom is an alien symbiote that escapes from SWORD custody and bonds itself to Flash Thompson, who’s just blown out his knee and won’t have that college football career he so desired. Flash tries to balance his ego, his newfound power, and his fear of the scary men in black who seem to be chasing him.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Darick Robertson
47. Ka-Zar and the Savage Land–Lost as a child, Ka-Zar has come of age in the hidden world of The Savage Land. Now outsiders threaten to destroy the only home he’s ever known and Ka-Zar must bring together the squabbling factions of mutates to repel an enemy force like none they’ve ever seen.
Writer: Brian Wood
48. Marvel Two-Gun Western–Matt Hawk always believed in the rule of law until he moved West and found the rule of the gun only applied in Tombstone. As things get ever weirder around him and the town is put under siege by steam gadgets controlled by an immortal alchemist, Diablo, Matt’s going to have to call in all the help he can get, whether they’re wanted men or not.
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Khoi Pham
49. Werewolf By Night–Cursed by the bite of a werewolf, Jack Russell is determined to find a cure, punish the creature responsible for his condition, and hopefully return to the life he was forced to abandon.
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino
50. Amadeus Cho: Prince of Power–The 7th smartest person in the MU is 16, loves riding his Vespa, playing with his puppy, Kirby, and has his hands full running the Olympus Group and reigning in the Olympian Gods that act as the board of directors.
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Skottie Young
51. Union Jack–Set in the 1960s, Brian Falsworth is an MI6 agent charged with hunting down war criminals across the world. His mission takes us from the rainforests of Brazil to the Australian outback and anywhere else evil men may hide. Falsworth has seen how desperate men will stop at nothing to escape justice for their horrors they have committed.
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Patrick Zircher
52. New Warriors–The New Warriors are young, popular, successful crime fighters funded by Lincoln Industries. They’re starting to think, however, that their boss is the vicious kingpin known as Tombstone and that he’s using them to eliminate his competition.
Cast: NightThrasher, Firestar, Debrii, Speedball, and MVP.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Denys Cowan
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 Carterhas 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 climb the trees to check out Squirrel Girl and take a closer look at Ant-Man.
Dakster Sullivan — Ant-Man (2015 – ) #1 by Nick Spencer with art by Ramon Rosanas (Cover by Mark Brooks)
With Ant-Man’s movie coming out right around the corner (July 17th, 2015 to be exact), it’s no surprise that Marvel would kick off a new series staring the insect-abilitied hero. The series is already showing its similarities to the movie in the fact that it’s Scott Lang that bears the name of Ant-Man rather than Hank Pym.
Scott’s main mission in this issue is to get a job that will allow his ex-wife to see him as more than a bum of an ex, which will in turn allow him to spend more time with his daughter, Cassie. Nick Spencer’s writing along with Roman Rosanas’ art really made me feel for Scott and by the end of the issue, I didn’t care that he wasn’t Hank Pym, the Ant-Man I’m more familiar with. It was a serious story with moments of lightheartedness that reminded me of Spider-Man.
I’m not sure where the comic book series will fit in with the movie, or even if it will fit in at all, but I’m excited to see more of this hero in the future.
Kelly Knox — The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
You’re probably asking yourself, “Who?”
It’s Squirrel Girl, Marvel’s part-girl, part-squirrel, all-fun mutant who has defeated the likes of Thanos, Wolverine, and Doctor Doom. And now, she’s a new college student! Doreen Green decides to move out of the Avengers Mansion attic and into a dorm room as she embarks on a new stage in her life. But that doesn’t mean she’s giving up being a superhero, as Kraven the Hunter finds out when the two cross paths on campus!
I love everything about this book, from the moment it kicks off with Squirrel Girl composing her own theme song, to North’s fabulous one-liners and sense of humor throughout the book. (Kraven’s trading card, don’t even get me started.) Doreen wants to earn her degree because there’s “more to being a super hero than just punching the strongest,” a message that won’t be wasted on young readers. While the book is rated T for teens, elementary age kids will find plenty to like—and Henderson’s art style is perfectly suited for young readers.
This unexpected addition to my monthly pull list is nutty (I had to say it), witty, and just plain fun.
Age Recommendation: 12 and up
Looking for something else, readers? Check out ComiXology’s website for a complete list. Personally, I’ll be grabbing SpiderVerse #2 and Star Wars #1.