The Ultimate Avengers Playlist

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: (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?

Avengers Assemble for Marvel Universe Live!–Show Review

Avengers Assemble \ Image courtesy of Field Entertainment
Avengers Assemble \ Image courtesy of Field Entertainment

With 25 heroes and villains taking the arena floor to battle it out for the ultimate power (the Tesseract), you can bet I wanted in on some of the viewing action for Marvel Universe Live. I’m fortunate enough to have had a chance to check out everything the tour has to offer, from the show, to the souvenirs, to the food during a show at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

There was the good, the bad, and the really expensive.

My first stops at any show are the souvenir and food stands. They had some really cool looking items including a show prequel comic book, a hoodie, and several toys. However, I walked home with none of it because of high pricing. The comic book cost $20 (the sticker price “justified” due to the comic also containing a program), the hoodie cost $50, and the toys ranged from $10 and up.

The show food (like snow cones and popcorn) ranged from $8 (popcorn in a box) to $15 for a snow cone in a souvenir cup. There was quite a bit of snow cone in that cup, but not $15 worth. I originally bought the “fresh” popcorn ($12.50 in a souvenir bag) and returned it because it tasted horrible.

After giving in to a snow cone, we started on our quest to find our seat. On our way, we stumbled on a green screen photo opportunity, but the $19.95 price tag didn’t entice me enough to stop walking.

Our seats were looking straight down the stage and I couldn’t have asked for a better view, which was funny because our seats were the cheaper of the seat priced in the lower bowl.

The show starts with a neat introduction of the Marvel Universe on the main screen of the stage and the fun begins.

The story begins as Loki starts up trouble by discovering that mutant DNA (he uses Storm, Cyclops, and Wolverine as his unwilling DNA sources) can be used to create a new Tesseract. Wolverine escapes thanks to Iron Man and S.H.E.I.L.D, but Loki gets away with Storm and Cyclops. From here we are introduced to our leading cast: Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Wolverine, and Bruce Banner/Hulk.  In order to defeat Loki, they need to put the Tesseract back together and use it against him and break up into three teams.  Wolverine is his usual self and goes rogue, and Banner goes with him just in case he runs into trouble.

With the hero teams formed, the main villains are revealed. They are Loki, Green Goblin, Rhino, The Lizard, Killian, Red Skull, and Madam Hydra. There are also a few smaller roles thrown in to fill things out, including Hydra Agents, Chitauri, Extremis soldiers, Electro, and Black Cat.

First, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Captain Marvel fought Dr. Aldrick Killian and his Extremis soldiers. This fight was pretty interesting in terms of the special effects used. My son didn’t take his eyes off the stage during the final moments thanks to Killian walking out on fire.

The second team-up was Thor and Spider-Man against the Green Goblin, Rhino, Doc Oc, and The Lizard. This was by far my favorite scene because it had all of the elements of the web-crawler and Thor that I love. Spider-Man’s sense of humor and Goblin’s reactions were right on target each time. This scene included a nice mix of stunt work and hand-to-hand combat. Black Cat and Electro both made brief appearances and I’m a bit surprised that Electro was wearing a modification of his comic book costume rather than the more recent version from the movie.

The final team-up was Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon against Red Skull and Madam Hydra. This was the most disappointing part of the show because 95% of it was done on motorcycles versus using other effects to even it out. Falcon was in his comic book costume and stretched his wings a bit, but he was mostly there to deal with the Hydra Agents. Black Widow was pitted up against Madam Hydra while Cap took on Red Skull.

It felt like they over-saturated the scene and diluted the audience’s attention too much. I missed a really cool motorcycle stunt by Captain America and Red Skull because I was looking at Black Widow.

In between the fight scenes, Wolverine and Hulk came out to do small bit-parts while the tech crew set up the next major fight. These might have been smaller scenes for the characters, but the creators did them justice. It was hard to pay attention to the set change when Wolverine and Bruce were exchanging funny dialogue and stunts.

The finale battle brought everyone from all of the fights back out on the main floor. Captain America and his team were late to the fight and while the character said they had a reason, I couldn’t pick up on it in their previous fight scene. The final battle is also where we finally get to see Banner go all green with anger and Hulk-out.

At the end of the show, I thought back on the characters they included and what I would have changed.

For starters, I would have given Storm a stronger part or used one of the weaker X-Men in her place. Her presence demands respect and at least a few special effects, neither of which she was given. Cyclops was a good choice for the part he played, but he was also underused in the special effects and combat choreography department. I would have replaced Falcon with Black Panther and added Vision in to the mix. I understand that neither of these characters are as well-known as the rest of the team, but hey—let’s educate the kids in the audience.

On my way to the car, I talked about the show with my 9-year-old son and my brother. My son couldn’t say enough about it. He loved it from beginning to end. Captain America was his favorite part because of the motorcycle stunts. My brother decided that it wasn’t as cheesy as he originally thought it would be. While there were some cheesy  moments, there was a nice balance of corny and really awesome moments.

I’m happy to have had my two hours with the Avengers and hope they make this a regular tour with different story-lines in the future.

Tip to our readers: If you are planning on buying tickets for the show, try to get tickets from the angle you see in my videos. As you can tell from the footage, quite a bit of the show is dark (meaning you won’t be able to see key parts) in certain areas of the arena. 

This event is appropriate for all ages, but will probably be more enjoyed by younger fans. For ticket prices and show dates, check out Marvel Universe Live.

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Disclaimer: GeekMom received tickets for this event.


Viking Fun

"Vikings didn't really have horns on their helmets, but I liked to use them as decoration to make my art look pretty." By Lilianna Maxwell Age 7
“Vikings didn’t really have horns on their helmets, but I liked to use them as decoration to make my art look pretty.” By Lilianna Maxwell Age 7

“Swords were used in Viking battles. They were made of iron. They were decorated on the hilt. Swords and battle axes were used in different ways. You could throw an axe, but you always hold a sword.”

Proper use of weaponry was an important part of my daughter’s education. This is a quote from my daughter’s Viking project she did for 4H when she was seven years old. It goes on for awhile. She made the above picture, plus another one, plus a shadow box with a popsicle stick ship, cloth sails, and clay Vikings off on a painted sea background.

She was really, really into Vikings that year. We took out every Viking fact book from our library. I enjoyed it!

Image By Dutton Juvenile Books

Here’s a book about a girl obsessed with Vikings by Judy Schachner. Yo, Vikings!

Apparently, 2014 big year for Vikings with the whole Viking Apocalypse. That I missed. Darn it. One of my music students mentioned it, after it already happened. No matter, there is always fun to be had with Vikings with your kids, or on your own:

Make some runes, the Viking writing system. There are several versions and it can get as complicated as your kid is interested. Here’s a site with how the runes sound, rather than trying to replace English letters with Viking ones directly. Writing secret messages in runes is fun, but carving messages in clay is way cooler. We made some clay necklaces too.

The middle one is supposed to say, “Kiss Me I’m Viking.” Image By Rebecca Angel

Thor’s hammer is always a conversation starter. I have a friend (yes, an adult) that always wears a pewter version. But you can make your own. After the clay dried, we just colored it with a silver marker. Unfortunately, the marker would come off on our skin. If I were to do this again, I would use silver paint instead.

Speaking of Thor: Norse mythology has the best stories! Just ask your friendly librarian to recommend books that are age appropriate for your child.

Image By Rebecca Angel

What about the Thor movies? Eh…not particularly true to the myths, but a good way to get your kid interested in the topic. For myself, I’m a Loki fan, so I never mind watching them with children. :)

Of course Thor is part of the comic book world too. But like the movies, this is more of a jumping off point to then find out the actual myths. Teens and up might enjoy a new comic: Loki: Agent of Asgard. My fifteen-year-old son enjoyed it, and I did as well. But I’ll admit, I stared at the pictures longer. It starts off with Loki (looking a lot like Tom Hiddleson) in the shower, which my friend Karen says,”Finally, Marvel is realizing women read comics!”

Any other Viking projects? Books? Movies? Has anyone else or their children become obsessed over Vikings?

4 Future Marvel Movie Hints from Thor: The Dark World


thor 2 covers
Blu-ray cover images: © Marvel.

With Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World just out on Blu-ray and DVD this month, fans of the God of Thunder and his “adopted” brother will get another chance to enjoy Marvel’s biggest movie offering of 2013.

This will also give viewers and Marvel fans a chance to catch a few “spoilers” for Marvel’s upcoming movies in 2014 and 2015, both within the content of the film and via some of the disc extras. There isn’t much in the previews themselves that hasn’t already been seen (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and more promoting of all The Avengers: Phase One movies).  However, I will point out that The Falcon and his incredible flight gear is worth a second look.

Here are four glimpses into Marvel Universe’s movie future to get you started:

1. That ending! I have to be very, very careful here. Not to give away anything for those who haven’t yet seen the movie, but I honestly didn’t see that coming. I can’t say I was unhappy with the outcome and I know there’s a flock of fans of the God of Mischief and Lies who just knew he was capable of this, um, stunt. Yes, Loki will be back in the third Thor movie. Although it has been confirmed this will happen, the actual release date is still a long ways away, definitely after 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron release.  So, Loki and Tom Hiddleston fanatics, enjoy the uncontrollable smirk you’ll get when you see this ending and be patient—very, very, patient—for the continuing adventure in the next two or three years.

As for Odin’s fate, let the speculating begin.

2. The mid-credits extra with a special “guest” appearance. In this sequence, you’ll see an appearance by a character, who has been an obscure but essential, clairvoyant, immortal, shape-shifting, and obsessive-compulsive villain in the Marvel Universe, whom you will see in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Judging from the item he has featured in the scene of which he remarks, “one down, five to go,” this character, portrayed by an uncredited Benicio del Toro, could play a big part in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

3. The “Exclusive Look: Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Blu-ray extra.  Marvel’s next big movie comes in early April, so Marvel is cranking up the promotional notches pretty high. The extra will not only give a peek into a little more of the movie’s plot, but will discuss the mystery of who the Winter Soldier actually is. Most people with a vague knowledge of the comic should already know, but I recommend checking out the 19-issue Winter Soldier comic run, which was written by Ed Brubaker for the first five issues and continued through the conclusion by Jason LaTour. If the movie holds true to any part of this latest comic run, Natasha Rominov is going to be a very busy gal.

4. The Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King short film featuring The Mandarin (aka Trevor). I have thoroughly enjoyed all the Marvel One-Shot extras, as they give great insight to the lesser appreciated and very entertaining supporting characters. It was through A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer that we got to really see for the first time just how badass Agent Coulson is on his own. With Agent Carter, we were able to celebrate Peggy Carter finally getting an opportunity to be part of something worthy of her resourcefulness and intelligence.

The Mandarin’s One-Shot is no different, and Ben Kingsley delivers more great one-liners in this short piece than he did in his entire Iron Man 3 appearance (“Sean Connery made a pass at me.”). Also, for comic book purists who felt the handling of The Mandarin’s identity was just a little bit—okay, a whole lot—off the rails, there might be a hint to a bigger surprise in the future.

This short alone is almost worth the price of the disc, so wonderful Mr. Kingsley’s performance was.

Thor: The Dark World is now available in one-disc DVD or Blu-ray sets, as well as a two-disc version with the Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, and Digital HD. It’s currently selling on Amazon for around $15, $18, and $22, respectively.

Note: A Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is not available—something that I would think won’t sit well with some viewers. I do admit that it’s rather irksome.

For GeekMom’s official review of the movie, read Kelly Knox’s review and my commentary on cast member and head baddie Christopher Eccleston.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

My “Bad Boy” Valentines

wolverine 2
Image By Lilianna Maxwell

This drawing was a present from my daughter: me having tea with Wolverine. But she made me old because it was more “appropriate” since I’m married to her father. I found that hilarious because he’s a fictional character so what’s to be worried about? Only just my total obsession with Wolverine.

And other “bad boy” fictional characters.

Photo on 2-4-14 at 1.37 PM
Image By Rebecca Angel

You are quite sexy
Yet so two-dimensional
Abarai Renji

This would be followed “xoxoxoxoxo” and then I’d be too embarrassed to sign my name—assuming Renji and I would be in the same junior high classroom, forced to exchange valentines. Considering he doesn’t really exist, I suppose I shouldn’t feel any shame admitting that there was a time when I would spend free moments rummaging on deviantart for any and all renditions of my favorite Bleach character, that I became obsessed enough to write a haiku, then a song called “Two-Dimensional Love.” The lyrics are about falling in love with someone fictional, being aware of it, knowing it’s ridiculous, but you just can’t help yourself.

Renji is loud, quick to anger, and jealous. So why do I love him? He’s also fiercely loyal, first to defend others, and when he is gentle—it is a beautiful moment. Renji, Wolverine, Zuko

Lately, my crush is Loki. I remember the first Thor movie; I never mentioned to anyone that I found Loki attractive because his helmet was so silly, his hair was kinda floofy—but I was only trying to talk myself out of yet one more dive into bad-boy fandom. I want to kiss that smirk off his face! I thought I must be the only one.

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Loki (Tom Hiddleston) © 2013 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2013 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Oh, was I wrong.

What’s up with the bad boys, you wonder? When I was chatting with a fellow geekmom, we both admitted to being attracted to fictional characters that we would never want in real life. She married a computer programmer, I married a molecular biologist—both are sweet, soft-spoken men that bake cookies with their children. My husband has never gotten into a physical fight in his entire life, and I don’t see him starting now. The only arguments he gets into are verbal, and never gets above a tolerable volume—he mostly just points out logic and facts. The one time I was majorly insulted in his presence, I defended myself while he silently put a hand on my shoulder.

Sometimes I want to imagine what it would be like to have a hot-tempered manly man. But in my bed, not daily life. Fiction is great that way. Whether it’s a TV show or comic book, I’m introduced to lots of sexy men that would piss me off in the real world. In the second X-Men movie, Wolverine says to Jean Grey, “I could be the ‘good guy’.”

No, you can’t.
And I love you that way.
(from the geeky girl in the corner)

So, ladies, what are your favorite bad boys of geeky fiction?

Chloe Bennet Talks About Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Crossover Episode

photo courtesy of ABC

With an age span of four to forty, there are only a few shows every member of my family enjoy equally. Every Tuesday night, my family gathers in the living room to watch one of them.

We are are all obsessed with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a spin off from the highly popular Marvel movie series that follows the agents that investigate the unusual and extraordinary, and in some cases protect ordinary citizens. They are usually the ones that have to clean up after one of Marvel’s more well known characters. That’s the storyline for this week’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode “The Well”, which takes place just after the events that unfolded in Thor: The Dark World. Apparently, there was something left behind in the wreckage that causes the agents some trouble. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t worry. The episode stands on its own. You can watch “The Well” Tuesday, 11/19/13 at 8/7c.

In anticipation of this crossover event, I had a chance to interview Chloe Bennet, who plays Skye. Her character is interesting to me, because she’s not an agent but has been swept into the team. You can see her struggle with identity and loyalties, simultaneously forcing her to face her past and figure out her future. She is also a hacker, and portrays a very strong, capable and smart young woman. As someone who works to get kids comfortable with technology and hacking, I was naturally drawn to her.

Chloe was friendly and engaging during our talk, delighted that my children had written my interview questions for her.

She said that as the sister to six brothers, she’d grown up a Marvel fan and was ecstatic to get the part of Skye. The process took two months of auditions, and when it was over she celebrated with relief and excitement. The call came at 4:04, and since 4 is her lucky number, it seemed to her like this part was her destiny.

I asked her if she was prepared for the overwhelming fandom that comes with being a part of Marvel, and she said that they prepared her for what she might experience, but she is such a big fan herself that all her supporters feel more like peers.

We were all very interested in the portrayal of Skye as more of a black hat hacker (the bad kind) but we don’t think she would see herself that way. Chloe agreed, pointing out that everything Skye does is not for money or malicious intentions, but about her curiosity about her family. Admittedly, she has been led astray at times, but her new position within S.H.I.E.L.D. will change her life. Trusting the system as the other agents do goes against her nature, but she trusts Coulson, who is becoming somewhat of a father figure to her.

As a side note, I imagine that as Coulson finds out more about Skye’s family, what he does and does not tell her will affect that relationship and her future actions.

Unfortunately, I had many other questions but my five minutes with Chloe were up. So I pleaded for just one more: what the heck happened in Tahiti?

“I wish I knew!” she exclaimed. I guess that mystery is one we will all have to wait for an answer to.

Thor: The Dark World Is a Worthy Successor to The Avengers

© Marvel

In our post-Avengers world, audiences have some expectations of films in the Marvel cinematic universe: fantastic heroes, jaw-dropping special effects, humor, and a Stan Lee cameo. Thor: The Dark World delivers these in spades, feeling much more like the true successor to The Avengers than the somewhat underwhelming Iron Man 3.

Slight spoilers for Thor: The Dark World follow.

Two years after the events of The Avengers, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is still searching for Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who pines for his mortal love while continuing to fight for Asgard. When Jane stumbles upon the Aether, a dark energy with the power to destroy the universe as we know it, the malevolent dark elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) sets out to retrieve it from her at any cost.

Thor: The Dark World is packed with geek favorite actors, including Chuck’s Zachary Levi as the fair-haired, swashbuckling Fandral, Lost alum Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Doctor Who veteran Eccleston, who is almost completely unrecognizable and doesn’t get too much to do except look as menacing as he can with layers of makeup on.

© Marvel

And of course I have to mention Tom Hiddleston, who returns as Loki with unbridled, mischievous glee. It may be Hiddleston’s own enjoyment of playing the anti-hero character coming through, but the slyly grinning Loki lives up to the “god of mischief” role more in this film than any other. Loki steals every scene he’s in, especially when he’s joined by the comparatively one-dimensional Thor.

Portman’s Jane Foster plays an integral role in the story, not merely serving as a damsel in distress, but also on hand to spout some technobabble and contribute to the battle in her own way. Asgardian warrior Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Queen Frigga (Rene Russo) also return to join in the fray.

If your kids handled the combat of The Avengers and Iron Man 3 without blinking, you can expect more of the same explosive action in Thor: The Dark World. There is some profanity, hence the PG-13 rating, so you might want to scout it out first before bringing young children along.

While it’s not typical for a sequel to out-do its predecessor, Thor: The Dark World outshines the Norse god’s first outing in almost every way. With laugh out loud humor, romance, and a fast-paced story with the fate of the universe at stake, the film is a strong entry in the Marvel cinematic universe that begs for repeat viewings. (And don’t forget to stay through the credits for two extra scenes.)

Thor: The Dark World opens nationwide on November 8, 2013.

GeekMom attended a promotional screening of the film for review purposes.

Lego Thor and Loki Crash Dark World Premiere

With the anticipation building for the next installment in the Marvel movie franchise, Thor: The Dark World, we have to share this cute little video combining three of our favorite things: Thor, Loki, and Lego. Sporting a title that might be longer than the actual short itself, “Lego Marvel’s Thor and Loki World Premiere Adventure” follows the two tiny Asgardians on a perilous journey through the streets of London to the film’s big premiere in Leicester Square. We couldn’t help contemplating sneaking these little guys into the theater in our pockets when we see it for ourselves. The film opens in the U.S. on November 8.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 16th, 2013

Thor: Season One \ Image: Marvel
Thor: Season One \ Image: Marvel

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, I dive into the latest Marvel Season One title, while Corrina checks DC Comics Justice League of America, Green Lantern:New Guardians and Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion. Sophie gets us up to date with X-Files Season 10 and Melody gives us a look into her daughter Ella’s pull-pile with Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon. For our manga lovers out there, Rebecca clues us in on Happy Marriage.

Dakster Sullivan — Thor: Season One by, Matt Sturges with art by Pepe Larraz

Marvel Season One titles have been my first comic book experience with many of Marvel’s characters. Thanks to Avengers vs. X-Men, I was familiar with Thor, but there were still some pieces of his puzzle missing.

Thor’s origin story in this issue is more about self-discovery than action and thrills as we watch an arrogant Thor get tricked by Loki and thrown out of Asgard by his father.

This graphic novel included many pieces of Thor’s story but the part I found most interesting were the details of Thor’s life on Earth and how he came to return to his home of Asgaud. Seeing Thor as crippled human Doctor Donald Blake, leaving a big name hospital and starting his own community clinic really made him feel like a hero, even if he was lacking a cape.

A bonus for the ladies is Thor / Donald Blake is drawn just as nicely on the eyes as Chris Helmsworth is.

The violence and language are kept pretty PG, so I feel comfortable recommending this for anyone 10-years-old and up. Of course, Marvel lists it as 12 and up, and part of the fun of being a parent, is making that final judgement for yourself.

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

Justice League of America #8 by Matt Kindt and Doug Mahnke

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #1 of 6 by Brian Buccellato and Patrick Zircher
Green Lantern: New Guardians #24 by Justin Jordan and Brad Walker

If you’re a casual reader of DC Comics, these issues aren’t going to be your way into the DC Universe. If, on the other hand, you’re reading DC’s Forever Evil event or Lights Out, the reworking of the Green Lantern myth, JLA and GL: New Guardians are essential.

JLA finally gives us clues to the fate of the supposedly dead heavy hitters of the DC Universe: Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Shazam. The Crime Syndicate, their evil alternate universe doubles, claims they are dead but this story reveals the heroes are stuck in a prison that makes them relieve their worst nightmares over and over. Stargirl and Martian Manhunter seek a way to free the heroes and themselves from this strange world as Manhunter travels from one individual prison to another. He’s joined by an odd version of Firestorm, who may or may not be what he seems. Mahnke’s art shines, especially as doors open and close into the different worlds/hell of each hero. Flash, vibrating too fast, is incredibly kinetic.

I have an issue with Wonder Woman’s version of a prison/hell, however, as she’s in a continual fight to either free one of her two current loves, Superman or Steve Trevor. First because I dislike the way Wonder Woman’s “warrior” side seems to be all that’s emphasized in recent stories, and second, because her hell is connected to her romantic interests, rather than any of her own personal struggles. Flash is worried he’s doing things too fast or not enough, Shazam is letting his inner child take over to smash things, Green Lantern feels like he should live down to everyone’s worst opinion of him, and Superman is trapped in guilt for what he hasn’t done. But Wonder Woman is focused on her loves, not on her inner self.

It was very nice to see Stargirl in this series, and the ending seems to promise she’ll be essential to whatever happens next.

GL: New Guardians is one of those epic stories in which everything seemingly has been destroyed and then help comes from unknown mystical entities who never explain themselves. In other words, Kyle Rayner (White Lantern) is someone who’s put on the One Ring, while the entities controlling him are ultra-powerful versions of Sauron, though these entities claim they can help the Lantern corps fight an enemy that’s already destroyed their homeworld. The story has little of the annoying Hal Jordan (who seems to be a one-dimensionally hot-tempered type here) and lots of Kyle, it works well, and should have readers of the saga eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

As for the Rogues book, it’s well-written and well-illustrated but the appeal seems limited to those already fans of Flash’s entertaining Rogues Gallery or those who love a good villain/villain fight. Flash’s Rogues have always been full of redeeming values and here’s their chance to be heroes of a sort as they’re dumped into a Central City ravaged by the events of Forever Evil and without the protection of the Flash. They free captured cops, visit a sick relative in a hospital, and refuse to follow the orders of a more brutal group of villains. Battle ensues.

Disclaimer: Corrina received review copies of these issues.

Melody Mooney– Ella’s Pull Pile: Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon, by Marjane Satrapi

Monsters Are Afriad of the Moon
Monsters Are Afriad of the Moon

I wanted to share just one quick review of a short story I recently read to Ella. It being October, we are still on the topic of Monsters and all manor of things that go bump in the night. We found in her collection Monsters are Afraid of the Moon by Marjane Satrapi. She is most famous for her Persepolis series told in graphic novel format. That book is an autobiographical story of her family and her life during the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1979, and was also made into an animated film in 2007.

This 32-page book is a much simpler tale of a girl named Marie and her attempts to keep three bedtime monsters at bay. Coming to the realization that monsters only come out at night, she uses very big scissors and cuts the moon out of the sky. This lunar night light works to keep her safe but there is a cost. With no moonlight, the village cats in the story were at a vision disadvantage. They began bumping into things and ending up in the cat hospital. Unable to catch the village mice, the streets were turned upside-down and much mischief was made. After discovering who took the moon, the king of cats finds Marie and they set the moon back in the sky. In gratitude, the king leaves her a feline bedtime protector and her monsters never return.

After reading this, Ella and I were both happy to see our own cats happy and healthy and grateful that they, too, like to curl up at the end of the bed as protectors. I highly recommend Marjane Satrapi for both her adult and children’s stories.

Rebecca Angel– Happy Marriage by Maki Enjoji

Happy Marriage by Maki Enjoji is a manga with sexual tension on every page. Interestingly, the two people involved are married from the get-go, but don’t know each other well. Things heat up quickly in this marriage made for financial reasons. Chiwa Takanashi and Hokuto Mamiya are fun characters to watch. They are both trying to make the best of an awkward situation, and try to get to know each other. It’s cute how they are falling in love, and trying out their physical relationship so slowly, and yet are already married. A twist on the regular romantic comedy. For adults. Find it on vizmanga’s website!

Sophie Brown–The X-Files Season 10 #5 by Joe Harris and art by Michael Walsh

X-Files Season 10 Issue #5
X-Files Season 10 Issue #5

The X-Files #5 concludes the Believers arc that has opened Season 10, but considering the nature of the show, don’t expect events to be tied up with a neat bow by the end. We do get some answers such as why Yellowstone has been so important all along, but unfortunately the actions of the alien shape-shifter on page eight, or more specifically Mulder’s response to it, somewhat spoiled the story for me. Come on Mulder, you know better than that!

There are some fantastic action sequences included that fit nicely with the style of the show during it’s big-budget mytharc episodes, and it’s great to see Mulder and Scully back together, fighting side by side and defending one another as all hell erupts around them.

One thing I did really love about issue five was the ending. The cut back to an OPR hearing at the J. Edgar Hoover Building is absolutely perfect for the show; I could actually see the edit as it would have appeared on screen thanks to Michael Walsh’s artwork that perfectly mimicked the look of those scenes.

The dialogue here was some of the best in the season so far; I heard Scully’s lines clearly in her voice and her final monologue was just flowery enough to masquerade as some of Chris Carter’s infamous purple prose. One final thing I loved was page 16 which cleverly inverted one of the show’s most frequent tropes – well played Mr Harris, well played!

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

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100 Bullets Brother Lono #5 (Of 8)
Ame-Comi Girls #8 (Final Issue) GM
Animal Man #24
Batman ’66 #4
Batman And Two-Face #24
Batman Beyond Universe #3
Batman Superman #4
Batwoman #24
Birds Of Prey #24
Catwoman Vol. 3 Death Of The Family TP
DC Comics Essentials Wonder Woman #1
Fables #134
Forever Evil #1 (Of 7)(Director’s Cut Edition)
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion #1 (Of 6)
Green Lantern New Guardians #24 GM
Green Lantern Vol. 2 The Revenge Of Black Hand GM
Green Lantern Vol. 3 The End GM
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #7 GM
Joker Death Of The Family HC
Justice League Of America #8
Justice League Of America’s Vibe #8
Legends Of The Dark Knight #13 (Final Issue)
Red Hood And The Outlaws #24
Sandman Endless Nights TP
Smallville Season 11 Vol. 3 Haunted TP GM
Supergirl #24
Superman Dark Knight Over Metropolis TP
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #4
Wonder Woman #24
A+X #13
Avengers #21
Avengers Assemble #20
Avengers Vol. 3 Prelude To Infinity HC
Cable And X-Force #15
Essential Thor Vol. 7 TP
Fantastic Four #13
Guardians Of The Galaxy #7 GM
Hawkeye #13
Hunger #4 (Of 4)
Indestructible Hulk Special #1
Iron Man #9
Marvel Masterworks The Mighty Thor Vol. 12 HC
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #19 KF10
Marvel Zombies The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
Marvel’s Thor The Dark World Prelude TP
New Avengers #11
Superior Carnage #1 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man #19
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #1
Uncanny X-Men #13
Wolverine MAX #12
Wolverine MAX Vol. 2 Escape To L.A. TP
X-Men Legacy #18
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G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #195
Star Trek Khan #1 (Of 5)
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classic #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Works Vol. 2 HC
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #22
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Digest Vol. 1 KF10
X-Files Classics Vol. 2 HC
X-Files Season 10 #5
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #112
Baltimore The Infernal Train #2 (Of 3)
Black Beetle Vol. 1 No Way Out HC
Bloodhound Crowbar Medicine #1 (Of 5)
Brain Boy #2
Buzzkill #2 (Of 4)
Conan The Barbarian #21
S.H.O.O.T. First #1 (Of 4)
Star Wars #3 GM
Strain The Fall #4

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading / KF10 = Kid-Friendly for 10-years old and younger

Marvel Unleashes the Ultimate Mentor Adventure

Thor: The Dark World © Marvel

Natalie Portman, in addition to being an Oscar-winning actress, graduated from Harvard and often professes her love of science. In Thor and the upcoming Thor: The Dark World, Portman portrays astrophysicist Jane Foster, and Portman and Marvel recently announced the search for the “next Jane Foster” with the Ultimate Mentor Adventure.

Marvel is looking for girls in grades 9-12 (age 14 and up) to talk to women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics about their careers and how others can study and work in those fields. High school girls participating in the challenge will be given a map of mentors in their area, along with contact and interview tips to get the conversation started. Once they’ve learned about their chosen field, entrants will create a five minute, unedited video about themselves and what they’ve discovered.

Finalists in the Ultimate Mentor Adventure will travel to California in November:

Finalists of Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Ultimate Mentor Adventure will win a week’s trip to Southern California, provided by UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and Dolby Laboratories. The Ultimate Mentor Adventure will allow the girls to meet some of the most incredible Women in Science such as Dolby Laboratory Senior Scientists, conducting interviews and be challenged to participate in experiments. It will also include interactive events and go behind-the-scenes where the general public is not normally invited – all while having their adventure filmed. On Friday, November 8th, the winners will conclude their excursion and be recognized at the Premiere Screening of their Ultimate Mentor Adventure documentary short. The video short will be shown at the El Capitan Theatre prior to a screening of Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” in Dolby Atmos on opening day.

The contest is now underway, so if your high schooler is interested in STEM fields, encourage her to set out on the Ultimate Mentor Adventure today. Entries will be accepted until October 20, 2013.

Check Out The Latest Thor: The Dark World Trailer!

Thor: The Dark World image: Marvel Entertainment

The latest trailer for Thor: The Dark World aired during the premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Tuesday night and now we’ve got it right here!

There’s Thor being all superhero-like, Loki being the sarcastic bad boy that everyone loves, and plenty of lightning, explosions and impossible feats. You know, the stuff that superhero films are made of and then some.

You can watch the latest trailer now and catch Thor: The Dark World in theaters on November 8th.

Phineas and Ferb‘s Creators on Marvel, Dressing Like Stan Lee and More

A shot of “Phineas and Ferb” creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh outside of the Waffle-inator Interactive Video Game at last week’s D23 Expo. Image: Disney.

It hasn’t quite been 104 days of summer vacation, but it has been four years for Disney’s hit series, Phineas and Ferb. In other words, it’s time for a crossover show!

These days, the House of Mouse has a slew of super-cool guest stars to choose from. However, the network’s dynamic duo has decided to invite Marvel to pay a little visit to the Tri-State area. Can you blame them? They’ve got all of the best superheroes!

Well, sort of.

In the one-hour special, “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel,” an encounter with Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s power-draining “inator” leaves superheroes Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man and Thor not feeling all that super. It sounds like Phineas and Ferb know what they’re going to do today.

Tonight, Disney will air the long-awaited episode — which is downright hilarious. It’s also musical and has several special guest voices, including Drake Bell, Adrian Pasdar, Travis Willingham, Fred Tatasciore, Liam O’Brien, Charlie Adler, Peter Stormare, Danny Trejo, Chi McBride and Stan Lee.

I got the chance to chat with creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh about the special, their superpowers of choice, and what it’s like to use waffles as a weapon.

GeekMom [Rachel]: I know this is the show’s fourth season. Is this the first crossover episode?

Dan: I believe this is.

Swampy: Indeed it is; it’s the first one and it’s also the first Disney Channel show that’s done a Marvel crossover since the merger.

GeekMom: So why are you doing a crossover episode? Why now?

Swampy: Because it’s fun! [Laughs]

Dan: Because they’re letting us. They said, ok — sure.

GeekMom: I think you’re letting them.

Dan: Actually, it was something that we didn’t even think to ask, because we didn’t think we’d be able to do it. Then Disney asked us if we’d be willing to do it and we were like, “Um… yesss. We would love to do that.”

Swampy: The Marvel superheroes? We’ve been dying to play with those toys!

Dan: We have been playing with those guys in our brains for years, but we just never had any outlet for it.

GeekMom: The episode is funny — like, really funny. Besides the voices, how much input did the Marvel people have in this episode?

Dan: We wrote it and pitched it to them at several different points in the process and they sort of kept us on track of what you can and can’t do in the Marvel universe. That whole conversation [in the episode] between Iron Man and Thor about how you hold the hammer; it came from us originally having Iron Man pick up the hammer and they said, “Actually, you can’t do that because that’s about worthiness. It’s not about power.” We had a whole conversation with them and we were like:

“Well… what can we do? Can we have him fly?”

“He can fly, but only with the hammer.”

That’s almost word for word our conversation with the Marvel execs. We put it in and they thought it was hilarious.

“Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” is the show’s first crossover episode, which features Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. Image: Disney XD.

GeekMom: I remember a lot of crossover episodes as a kid, like the Harlem Globetrotters meeting Scooby Doo and even the Laff-A-Lympics. Some collaborations definitely work better than others. Is it harder to write for characters that are not your own creation?

Dan: Oh yeah, even though we’re all familiar with them. Like, I was never so far into Thor that I understood all of the workings there. As much as I collected Spider-Man comics, it’s suddenly a new muscle that you have to sort of work with to try to figure out how to write in this character’s voice and still keep it funny and still keep the characters true to who they are.

Swampy: You have to think differently and you have to solve problems differently. We have our toolbox full of tools that help us solve issues and things with our characters.

Dan: He means that literally. We a plot screwdriver and a gag wrench. [Group laughs.]

Swampy: It’s weird, you have a lot more moments where you’re staring off blankly into space for two or three minutes going, “uuuhhh.”

Dan: Swampy already has a lot of those, as you can imagine.

GeekMom: [Laughs] So, how did Stan Lee get involved?

Dan: We just said that we had to have Stan do a cameo, because he’s done a cameo in all of the Marvel movies. It’s something that, as comic book fans, when you go to the Marvel movies now, you look for Stan’s cameo. You’re waiting for it and when it comes on, there’s always like 10 percent of the audience that cheers. And everybody looks at them and says, “Why are they cheering for that old man?”

Swampy: Doing a Marvel thing without Stan, I think, is a crime in many states.

Dan: It’s not a capital crime. We only would have had a little bit of jail time.

Swampy: He’s cool.

Dan: He’s fun and he was wearing the same outfit that Swampy was when he came in. Swampy likes to brag about it, but I always say, he is like 80 years old. [Stan Lee is actually 90!]

Swampy: Yeah, but he’s Stan Lee. I’ve got a picture of me dressed the same as Stan.

GeekMom: What was the outfit?

Swampy: White shoes and white pants with a blue shirt. Color coordinated, perfectly!

Dan: I know it’s before Labor Day, but yeah, white shoes?

GeekMom: [Laughs] You mentioned comic books, you guys have been reading since you were kids?

Dan: I had a whole great collection of Spider-Man stuff when I was 10 or something that my mom threw away once when she was cleaning my room. She was like, “Well, he’s read all of this.”

Swampy: He’s never forgiven her. She no longer gets Christmas cards from Dan just for that.

Dan: I haven’t spoken to my mom in 30 years.

Stan Lee joins Jeff “Swampy” Marsh for a recording session for “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel.” Image: Disney XD/Rick Rowell.

GeekMom: So are you still reading today? Did you feel like you needed to study up for this episode?

Dan: Well, no. I’m fairly familiar with all that stuff, but I do still read. I’ve been collecting — well, not collecting, but I buy the “collections of.” I don’t get them every month, but when they put together the bound collections. There’s a whole new series called Ultimate Spider-Man that has taken Spider-Man back to the very beginning and sort of re-told the whole arc and I’ve been getting those as they come out. I think it’s really nicely written and the art is fantastic.

Swampy: I’m going through the joy now of my son, who’s 12 and discovering comics. Thanks to giving all of my comics to my little brother at one point in my life, I now have all of those old comics coming back into my life, because every time my son visits him, he gives him some of my old comics. So this has been really cool: I’m sitting here, reading my old comics with my son. It’s been great.

GeekMom: So, you’re both familiar with all of the various superheroes. If you could swipe someone’s superpowers, who would it be and why?

Dan: I think I’d want to fly. I am ambivalent about carrying around a large, heavy hammer during that flight.

Swampy: Just the possibility, though. I don’t know, I think I like just the fact that Tony Stark is just incredibly smart and he can invent ways to do lots of things. I found that I actually have a superpower, it’s just a really, really stupid one.

Dan: It’s absolutely useless.

Swampy: It’s completely useless.

GeekMom: And that’s what exactly?

Swampy: I am immune to ice cream headaches. So if I can find a way to fight crime by not getting ice cream headache, I could really be a superhero.

GeekMom: I wonder if you could somehow manipulate that into a Mr. Freeze situation.

Dan: That’s right; you could fight Mr. Freeze.

Swampy: But then I’d have to eat him. [Laughs.]

Dan: It would take some doing. You probably couldn’t do it in one sitting. [Group laughs.]

GeekMom: I just have one more question and I hope I’m not giving away anything in the episode by asking this… but what is it like to be pelted by waffles?

Dan: [In Doofenshmirtz’s voice] It’s delicious! Absolutely delicious.

Swampy: I certainly wouldn’t mind giving it a try.

Dan: It gets sticky after a while. [In Doofenshmirtz’s voice] What doesn’t kill you, makes you stickier. That’s what Doofenshmirtz would say.

Expect all of the series regulars to appear in “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel,” which airs tonight on the Disney Channel. Image: Disney XD.

Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on the Disney Channel.

GeekMom Exclusive: Key Art for Marvel’s Avengers Assemble

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble has Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Falcon joining forces for the first time in animation. Image: Disney XD.

Disney XD is just two weeks away from launching Marvel’s Avengers Assemble as part of its Marvel Universe programming block. Sure, we’ve had a few teases already, including a one-hour preview, clips, and photos. Now, we’ve got two more before the big debut.

GeekMom has some exclusive key art for the upcoming animated series. Check out the above pics of Thor and the Hulk. My son and I are pretty excited and I’m guessing that we’re not alone!

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble brings together some of Marvel’s most famous superheroes. Former Heroes star Adrian Pasdar is voicing Iron Man, with Fred Tatasciore as the Hulk, Craig Smith as Captain America, Travis Willingham as Thor, Troy Baker as Hawkeye, Laura Bailey as Black Widow, and Bumper Robinson as Falcon.

The premiere episode is titled “Ghost of a Chance,” and finds the Falcon flying solo after The Avengers fall victim to the body-swapping Space Phantoms.

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble will debut on Sunday, July 7 at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT) on Disney XD.