Category Archives: Marvel Comics

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 3 – 9, 2019

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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 Superman: Up in The Sky #1

Writer: Tom King

Artist:  Andy Kubert

Without question, this is one of the best comic books I have read in a long, long time. It is a perfect, 21st Century Superman story. It is a perfect 20th Century Superman story. It is a perfect story.

I have sung the praises of Tom King over-and-over on these blog pages and I will not bore anyone be covering ground I have covered before now. What I will say is that King’s command of Superman is as good as his of Batman and I would love to see him on a Superman title before long.

Andy Kubert is one of the best artists in the business and he brings his A-Game to the proceedings here. Illustrating a powerful Superman, a determined Lois Lane and insane science fictions concepts, Kubert reminds why he is special. I love his work.

Superman: Up In The Sky is part of the Walmart released comics that DC is partnering with the retail giant in producing. It was said that they were putting top creators on these books and they would tell great stories. How were we supposed to know they would be this good?

Pick this one up. It’s tremendous. Best comic read in a very long time!

 

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

Yesterday – A Movie Review


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No movie is perfect but, for my taste, Yesterday comes very, very close. It is the most fun, most feel good, most fulfilled time I have had at the movies this summer. Without question.

Hamish Patel, delightful and charming, plays frustrated singer/guitarist Jack Malik. After a decade of playing D-List gigs at dumps and to empty rooms, he has all but given up his hope of becoming a professional singer when something strange happens. Hit by a bus during a strange, world-wide event, Jack awakens to discover that he is the only person on Earth who remembers the Beatles and their music. He begins to share their songs as if they were his own and rockets to stardom as a result.

In the process, he leaves behind his old friend and manager Ellie Appleton, played by the ubiquitous and delightful Lily James. Jack and Ellie have been working on his career ever since they were kids and knew each other in school and, as things finally take off for Jack, Ellie – a school teacher – has no choice but to stay behind and watch him from afar. The movie manages, however, to keep them onscreen together quite a lot, and this is a good thing. The two have great chemistry.

One cannot discuss the movie without a brief mention of the scenery chewing turn by Kate McKinnon. She is wonderfully terrible as Jack’s new manager and injects friendly venom in every line reading. And Ed Sheeran should be saluted, too, for his persona mocking work as himself.

Yesterday is a movie that is pure fantasy and knows it. It does not try to explain why people have forgotten the Fab Four (and forgotten other, amusing things, too) or what the global event was. It does not need to do so. It asks the audience to go along for the ride and quite a pleasant ride it is.

Richard Curtis, the writer of Love Actually is behind this movie and there are more than a few pleasant resonances from that film in this one. He has a knack for romantic comedy and a love of high concepts (as evidenced by his criminally underrated About Time). He imbues his characters with a sweetness that never crosses into cloying. He also is a lover of coincidence and that plot element is on display in Yesterday.

Directed with much style and a sure hand by Danny Boyle, the movie is a rollicking romp. It only asks for a suspension of disbelief and a desire to get caught up in a little magic. If you cannot do that, Yesterday is not the film for you. But, if you want some joy, want some romance and want some great music, this is the film for you. Yesterday knows exactly what it is. It also knows exactly what it wants to do: it wants to take its audience down to Strawberry Fields, where nothing is real, but everything is wonderful.

YESTERDAY receives FOUR AND A HALF YELLOW SUBMARINES out of a possible FIVE

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Filed under Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Movie Review, Movies, Spider-Man

Spider-Man Far From Home – A SPOILER FREE Movie Review


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Once the full trailer for Spider-Man Far From Home was released and it became clear that the post-Avengers | Endgame setting was critical to the story, my expectations were altered. I went in to Far From Home feeling I was about to see an extension of Endgame that would clear up some ambiguities (like Spider-Man’s entire class was snapped out of existence?) and answer some questions (like how is the world coping with all the returning people?). The movie supplies some of those answers but flips the script and the tone from the Wagnerian epic that was Infinity War and Endgame so readily that I was caught off guard.

I shouldn’t have been. It is clear that these Spider-Man movies are meant to be, first-and-foremost, high school comedies. That the main character has super powers and is involved in a wider narrative is secondary to the story. Settling in to that perspective and watching Far From Home in that mindset changes my reactions to the movie.

In a bit of meta-casting, Jake Gyllenhaal, who was once rumored as the replacement for Tobey Maguire for Spider-Man 2, plays Mysterio, a superhero from a newly discovered alternate dimension. He has come to Spider-Man’s earth to warn of a new cosmic threat and to pitch in in defeating it. Gyllenhaal is game for the role and somehow seem at home in what is – without a doubt – the most silly Marvel costume yet. Dude is wearing a fishbowl on his head and he makes it work. He also shares a very nice chemistry with Tom Holland, who remains absolutely spot-on as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

In this film, Peter is dealing with the events and the deaths of Avengers | Endgame and not even the quirky and engaging Aunt May (Marisa Tomei is ideal and having a great time in the part) and the suddenly gruffly lovable father figure Happy Hogan (played by Jon Favreau in increasingly and amusingly “I’m too old for this S%^& manner) can help. Peter is questioning his place in the superheroing world, the demands of an oddly out-of-character Nick Fury (always perfectly embodied by Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (once again realized by Cobie Smulders) notwithstanding. Rather than join Fury for superheroics, Peter dedicates himself to his fun group of classmates (Zendaya as MJ and Jacob Batalon as Ned are standouts) and to their summer trip to Europe. Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man no more!

It’s in Europe that things get complicated – really, really complicated – and Peter realizes, as any audience buying a ticket for a Spider-Man movie knew he must – that with great power comes…

The movie is breezily directed by Jon Watts and he clearly loves the material. Packed full of Easter eggs, Marvel comics references and clever dialogue, this is the most family friendly of the Marvel movies and the most action figure friendly, too. Spider-Man wears no fewer than four different costumes and faces more than a handful of adversaries in the course of the movie. Let’s mold plastic!

The drawback of the film might be a problem that challenges all Marvel movies going forward. Spider-Man Far From Home is the mind-boggling twenty-third film in the series and the baggage it carries is significant. With each passing installment, the pressure to amaze and thrill the audience while staying true to a broader tapestry is building and it makes this movie too clever by half. Many of the things that seem odd or out of place or shoehorned into the narrative only make any kind of sense when the after the credits sequences rolls (and I do mean AFTER the credits – stick around!). Don’t get me wrong. I love these movies and I love the interlocked nature of them. I am so impressed by the scope. It is simply that, for the first time in a long time, I felt the overall story of the main character was compromised by the needs of the franchise.

That does not mean I won’t be seeing Spider-Man Far From Home again, however!

SPIDER-MAN FAR FROM HOME receives THREE AND A HALF TINGLES out of a possible FIVE

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Filed under Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Movie Review, Movies, Spider-Man

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 26 – July 1, 2019

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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:

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 3.56.34 PMThe Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Flash #73

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist:  Howard Porter

I have been completely hooked by the Flash Year One storyline playing out in the characters’ eponymous title over the last few months. This Barry Allen is fun, on point and engaging – the perfect distillation of the character for the time. Williamson’s handle on his gets better with each passing issue and, while I have not been in love with the Turtle (really, ever) as the main adversary, one cannot deny that Williamson has a plan playing the Flash off him. I am also very much in love with the older Barry Allen both in terms of characterization and in terms of his overall design.

This leads directly into a conversation about penciller Howard Porter. He is back at the top of his game with The Flash and it is wonderful to see. His cartooning is perfect for super-speed antics and Williamson seems to be writing to his artist’s strengths. I love the resonance I (and others of my age) must feel with the classic Grant Morrison/Howard Porter Justice League

This Flash is terrific and terrifically fun. 

 

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 19 – 25, 2019

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:

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 1.31.53 PM

The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Batman #73

Writer: Tom King

Artist:  Michael Janin

Yes, it looks like Batman will be the pick of the week from now until the end of the King run. And that is as it should be. Reading this latest arc underscores what King has been doing all along – that is telling one story, one coherent narrative about Batman. It’s a magnum opus and it is increasingly brilliant.

King decided – as Grant Morrison did before him – that all Batman stories were “true” and that all should be considered part of the continuity of the character. Then he set out to tell a story that brought some of the most disparate and interesting elements together: Thomas Wayne Batman, Kite Man and the list goes on.

As he and his best (in my opinion) collaborator Michael Janin continue to wind up in the run, the reader is the beneficiary of some of the best Batman stories in the last 10 years. If rumors are true that DC cut the planned 100 issue King run short because of criticism by fanboys, that is a shame and a regrettable decision.

Make mine King. And Janin.

 

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 12 – 18, 2019

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:

Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 8.42.30 PM

The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Event Leviathan #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:  Alex Maleev

First, I do not understand the title. 

Second, I do not need to.

Event Leviathan promises to be the event of the summer and is written by a dude who knows something about constructing summer events. With a goal of streamlining the covert agencies of the DC Universe as a backdrop, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev take on the DC characters – specifically a group of DC detectives – in what is labeled a “mystery thriller” and the first chapter delivers on all cylinders.

Maleev is the perfect artist for the kind of street-level story the first issue of Event Leviathan seems to be. He clearly is enjoying this high profile DC event and is reveling in working with his frequent collaborator Bendis. The two seem to play to each others’ strengths and that bodes well for this title.

The joy of the book is found in the most quiet moments and the best – by far – is the dialogue between Batman and Lois Lane. In a book that suggests high stakes are afoot, this type of small scene is welcome and brilliant.

This is Bendis at his best. This is events comics at their best. This is the oddly titled Event Leviathan. It might be the best book of the summer.

 

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 5 – 11, 2019

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 Young Justice #6

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:  John Timms

There were more “important” issues this week. There were more classic issues this week. But no comic this week made me smile as much as Young Justice #6. I was not a major fan of Young Justice during its heyday, I will admit, but I simply love what Brian Michael Bendis is doing with the characters. While I certain he has a plan to re-introduce them to the world and to the other heroes in the DC Universe, he has decided to drop readers and the team into the middle of impossible action and sort things out later.

Awesome.

The art by John Timms is absolutely the perfect counterpoint to the story and he captures young people amazingly well which I have noted in other installments must be harder to do than one might think as so many artists seem to have so much trouble doing so. I hope Timms stays around on the book.

And I hope readership is solid. Young Justice is fun, funny and over-the-top. It’s a perfect summer comic book!

 

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