The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: April 18 – 24, 2018


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

The best comic I read last week was Action Comics #1000.

Capture

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Peter J. Tomasi, Paul Dini, Marv Wolfman, Dan Jurgens, Geoff Johns, Louise Simonson, Tom King, Scott Snyder and Brad Meltzer

Artists: Dan Jurgens, Jim Lee, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan, Olivier Coipel, Clay Mann, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, John Cassaday, Jerry Ordway, Tim Sale, Butch Guice, 

It would be all but impossible to choose the best story from Action Comics #1000. This landmark issue, celebrating Superman’s 80th year in continual publication, struck just the perfect balance between nostalgia and forward motion. This star-studded collection of creators each brought her or his A-game to the proceedings and each of the installments in the 80 page giant highlighted a different aspect of the Man of Steel – a different part of the whole that makes him the first and the best superhero of them all.

The best story may well be hard to identify, but my favorite is not. Give “Never Ending Battle” by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason that distinction. Both clever tribute to era-after-era of Superman incarnations and a distillation of what makes the character tick, this story is moving and heroic. Patrick Gleason gives readers Superman after Superman from the original 1930s version to the Super Friends cartoon to the Frank Miller interpretation. “Never Ending Battle” is fascinating and fun.

The whole issue is. If you are a person who does not believe that Superman is an interesting character, think again. The prologue to Brian Michael Bendis’ upcoming run on the character is so full of potential that one can envision Superman on the top of the comic book sales charts.

Where it belongs.

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Filed under Action Comics, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review

Countdown to INFINITY… Black Panther


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ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange | Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Seventeen (BONUS!): Black Panther

panther

Marvel might be running out of “WOW! We didn’t see that coming” moments. We did not see the success of Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man or Doctor Strange coming. Those were surprises. After Black Panther, where can Marvel possibly go?

Black Panther is, as I write this blog, the third highest grossing movie of all time. Nobody saw that coming.

It is also a simply wonderful film. It is powerful. It is humorous. It is exciting. It is engaging. Black Panther ought to be nominated as a Best Picture possibility next spring, that is how good this movie is. And, somehow, it does not hinge on all that has come before it. Somehow it manages to be almost entirely its own thing while existing within the framework of the larger Marvel universe. It is clearly a Marvel movie, to be sure, but it is also something else.

Something important.

I loved this movie and I cannot wait for more from the character. I will be thrilled to see him in Avengers: Infinity War and will look forward to Black Panther 2.

Black Panther may well be the best of all the Marvel movies. It has made more money than all the rest and it is already iconic. It received FIVE ARMORED RHINOS out of a possible FIVE when I reviewed it earlier this year. It deserves more…


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Nakia
  • Okoye
  • Erik Killmonger
  • Shuri
  • Romanda
  • M’Baku
  • N’Jobu
  • Zuri

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Black Panther paints the kingdom of Wakanda as a fully realized world and we know that some of Avengers: Infinity War is set there.
  • Wakanda is now known to the world. How that affects the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general and Infinity War in particular is of great interest.
  • It is clear that Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, has successfully deprogrammed Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier. Perhaps he has recovered himself just in time to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America?

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Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios

Countdown to INFINITY… Thor | Ragnarok


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ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange | Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Seventeen: Thor | Ragnarok

Thor Rag

It is said of Thor | Ragnarok that director Taika Waititi allowed his cast to improvise wildly on set. Re-watching the movie, it is obvious this is true. The film is almost as fun as the Guardians of the Galaxy installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has a villain in Cate Blanchett’s Hela that is far superior to any adversary the Guardians faced. Add to the mix a truly wonderful character in Valkyrie and you have all the ingredients of a superior superhero film if…

… you ignore the fact that the deus ex machina at end of the movie and the salvation of the Asgardian people is, essentially, the exact same one utilized at the conclusion of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

This movie is a significant set up for Infinity War, far more a lead in than Black Panther, which immediately precedes it. It also is significant fun in its own right. Far superior to Thor: The Dark WorldRagnarok is more confident and knows what it wants to accomplish. It closes a number of plot lines while advancing others. Great movie. Great performances. Great fun.

(But it does have THE WORST soundtrack – bracketing Immigrant Song – of all the Marvel movies – it is really bad)

Thor | Ragnarok is a terrifically fun movie and, when it opened last fall, I gave it FOUR and a HALF AIR CRAZY CAMEOS out of a possible FIVE. 


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Scourge
  • Hela, Goddess of Death, sister of Thor and Loki
  • Valkyrie
  • The Grandmaster
  • Korg
  • Thor’s new “Thunder” power

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • Thor starts the film by informing the audience what he has been doing since we last saw him: he has been searching for the Infinity Stones and he has not found any.
  • Thor has an extended (albeit utterly unnecessary) conversation with Doctor Strange.
  • “Fake” Infinity Gauntlet – apparently the gauntlet that Odin has (along with some other trinkets in his trophy room) are fake. When Hela gives Scourge a tour, they also pass the Tesseract – the Space Stone – one of the Infinity Stones Thanos will pursue in Infinity War. Did Loki steal it before the destruction of Asgard, by-the-way?
  • Oh, so this is where the Hulk has been!
  • Clearly the Asgardian refugees encounter Thanos’ ship and, well, given that Thor ends up flying through space until he slams into the Milano, the ship of the Guardians of the Galaxy, things do not seem to go well.

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Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Comic Book Movies, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Movies, Thor

Link’n’Blogs – 4.20.18: The Red Trunks Still Fit


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Superman is 80 years old! I hope I look that good when I am 80. Wait, I do not look that good, now. Ah, well… in culmination of my week long celebration of all things Superman on the occasion of the publication of Action Comics #1000, I share a New York Times article praising the Man of Steel and all that he means. Click the image to read the article!

Superman 75th Anniversary Images

 

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Filed under DC Comics, Link'n'Blog, Superman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: April 11 – 17, 2018


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

The best comic I read last week was Captain America  #700

Capture

Writer: Mark Waid

Artist: Chris Samnee and Jack Kirby (!)

Sometimes, creative teams deserve recognition for how good they have been together and, if Captain America #700 is the last collaboration for Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, one could hardly find a better send off. While I have not be overwhelmed by this latest story line in Captain America, this issue was a strong capper both to the epic story and to the Waid/Samnee collaboration.

Add to that a special story written by Waid with art by Jack Kirby and you have a very special issue, indeed.

Captain America should be a special character, especially in this day-and-age. We need Cap and we need a Cap who believes in hope. The Captain America who emerges from the end of this arc is the one with whom I resonate and the one who resounds with American values.

Nice work, gentlemen. I should not have doubted.

And, Mr. Samnee? I will follow your art anywhere.

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Filed under Captain America, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

Countdown to INFINITY… Spider-Man | Homecoming


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange | Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Sixteen: Spider-Man | Homecoming

SpiderMan

Tom Holland is perfect as Spider-Man. Perfect. Marvel directors seem to have unerring instincts in casting and their choice for Spider-Man (who debuted in Captain America: Civil War – a film creatively revisited in this one) in Tom Holland is spot-on. This is a very fun film and does a massive amount of world building while telling a compelling Spider-Man story, too. The filmmakers based their take on the high school movies of John Hughes, and they do a great job generating that vibe.

Spider-Man | Homecoming is absolutely jam-packed with delightful easter eggs… Bruce Banner’s picture on a classroom wall display of famous scientists, the principal of Peter’s school is the grandson of a solider who fought with Captain America in World War II, Captain America’s educational videos, the Sokovia Accords, Donald Glover (soon to explode as Lando Calrissian is on hand), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is on screen, and Jennifer Connelly – the wife of Paul Bettany who provides the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. and is the Vision – is the voice of Peter’s suit, which he names Karen. There are many more and, somehow, they do not overwhelm the movie.

Spider-Man | Homecoming also features one of the best Marvel villains in Michael Keaton’s Vulture. Fun, breezy and suitably Marvel, this is the second best of all Spider-Man movies (it does trail Spider-Man 2 by a pretty wide margin). It is also the most multi-cultural of all the Marvel movies (prior to Black Panther) and that casting serves it very well. There are a series of great set pieces here and the interplay between Spider-Man and Iron Man is fun to watch. It is so pervasive, however, that it does lead one to question whether Spider-Man will be able to carry his own movie.

Oh, and the twist ending is very, very well handled.

When Spider-Man | Homecoming opened last summer, I gave it FOUR AND A HALF (because Holland is just SO good) FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOODS out of a possible FIVE.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Adrian Toomes, The Vulture
  • Damage Control
  • MJ (Mary Jane, perhaps?)
  • The Shocker (two, in fact!)
  • Aaron Davis (the Prowler)
    • Miles Morales is referenced… he will become a Spider-Man, too!
  • Phineas Mason, The Thinker

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • For a movie that almost immediately precedes Infinity War, there are surprisingly few lead ins to the movie, however…
  • The so-called Iron Spider armor is introduced at the end of the film when Peter turns down Avengers membership.
  • Tony Stark’s relationship with Pepper Potts seems very much back on after the “break” the two were on in Civil War… perhaps setting up for tragedy in Infinity War.
  • The new Avengers upstate New York headquarters features prominently in the last act. It is also remodeled just in time for Thanos to, likely, destroy it.

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Filed under Iron Man, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Movies, Spider-Man

Link’n’Blogs – 4.13.18: Les Mis Family!


Related Content from And There Came A Day


I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Greatest Family Easter Ever?

Are you a Les Miserables fan? Are you a flashmob fan? Are you a family fan?

Click on the photo below and see the LaBaron family go crazy with their Easter Sunday rendition of One More Day. This is from the website scarymommy.com. Do yourself a favor: watch the video and read the accompanying article. Click the photo below.

I love my family… we don’t do this, though!

scarymommy

 

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Filed under Easter, Family, Link'n'Blog, Music