Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fanholes Episode # 7: But I Dolphin'd You!


Fanholes Episode # 7: But I Dolphin'd You!

This episode, the Fanholes lead off with a roundtable discussion about Hollywood's current love affair with comic book movies, then move on to the currently-airing cartoon Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, followed by the Marvel comic cosmic event, The Thanos Imperative and finally in the For The Fute-Cha! segment, talk about the trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fanholes Side Story #4 The Big Three

So I read Avengers Prime. Its by Bendis. I know, I know. You’re thinking, why on Midgard would I read such comics? I have been very vocal about how much I loathe Bendis run on Avengers. Having said that…these were good comics. I know, I’m just as surprised as you are.

Avengers Prime is a five issue mini series that takes place moments after Siege#4. Asgard has fallen and the Avengers are there to help pick up the pieces. We get a real sense of how the fall of Asgard has affected Thor, as he simply can not believe his home is in ruins. At the beginning of issue #1 we have an intense argument between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. Its as heated as one would expect, given that they lead opposing sides during Civil War.

Later, Thor, Iron Man and Rogers are transported to a nightmare world and separated. Thor must face the wrath of the Enchantress and later Hela. Thor is separated from Mjolnir and Stark’s Iron Man armor is simply that…a suit of armor. The 'big three' must reunite, put their differences behind them and restore the twisted realms that have fallen under the control of Hela.

This mini felt more in tune with the Avengers than anything Bendis has ever written. I hesitate to even say this because ’epic’ is such an overused word, but it had an epic feel to it. This simply felt like the Avengers to me. Also, the art by Alan Davis helps out quite a bit.

There are, however, a few problems. Iron Man has no clue who Hela is and for some reason thinks that only Thor can wield Mjolnir. I don’t know if its just me, but Stark seems to be written as a jerk these days. This does seem to be the general way he is portrayed since Civil War, at least outside his own title. But I have to say while I understand why he may be characterized in this manner I don’t agree with it.

In addition to the Rogers/Stark argument there are several nice character moments of note. As the big three sit around a fire Stark asks Rogers if anything ever happened between him and Hellcat. Later Thor gets involved with some humorous results. Bendis is widely known for throwing in random dialogue like this and usually it falls pretty flat. In this situation, however, it works. I can easily see ‘jerk’ Stark randomly ask Rogers a personal question like this, if only to see the startled look on his face.

So, does this mean i'm going to start reading Bendis Avengers comics? No. These comics were fun and though they did do a lot to repair some of the damage i feel Bendis has done, I won't be following Avengers on a monthly basis. Having read some of his recent stuff on the adjective-less Avengers book I simply don’t like the direction that title is going.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fanholes Side Story #3 Imperius Rex!

From the ocean's depths Namor has returned in his own solo title. This series spun out of the recent Curse of The Mutants storyline. I admit, I haven’t kept up with X-Men since Second Coming ended. First, lets get this out of the way because it needs to be said. Vampires. Yes, Vampires. Given the success of Twilight it seems Hollywood has become vampire obsessed. That obsession has now made its way to Marvel Comics for better or worse. It feels like Marvel is just throwing its hat in the ring simply to cash in. But, the vampires that Namor and his Atlantean warriors face are…underwater vampires. I’m serious.

So why did I decide to pick up this series, seeing as how it was launched in conjunction with Curse of The Mutants? I’m a total Namor fan boy. In a previous podcast I talked about how my first comic was Invaders #11. Due to that comic I have a special place in my heart for Captain America, the original Human Torch, and of course Namor.

Stuart Moore is the brains behind this series. You may know him from his run on Firestorm. Ariel Olivetti provides wonderful artwork, and that is putting it mildly. You could take almost any random page, frame it and proudly display it in your living room. Its that good. Best of all, it seems a good fit for Namor. Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself.

The first four issues consist of the underwater vampire arc. As silly as underwater vampires sound…its actually a pretty decent story. Not only that but I had no problem following the story considering I haven’t read any of the other Curse of The Mutants comics. The interesting thing here is Namor himself. We all know he is an arrogant, self absorbed character. Here, we see a different side. Here we have a character that is willing to admit mistakes were made in the past. We see a king determined to unite his people and survive no matter the cost, even if that cost is his own life.

In the second story arc we see Namor face the long history of Atlantean kings who were tyrants. Namor sees himself as yet another king locked into a destiny he can not change. It takes an old ally, an old foe to knock some sense into Namor…literally. That person is Doctor Doom. The self doubt that Namor felt during the first story arc is brought center stage as he must commit himself to a path apart from the other Atlantean kings.

Namor is also involved with the recent Escape from the Negative Zone story arc. This story begins in Uncanny X-Men Annual #3, continues in Steve Rogers Super Soldier Annual #1 and concludes in Namor The First Mutant Annual #1.

Its been announced this title will cease publication with issue #11, which is a shame. It seems that Namor, like Aquaman, is cursed. Will either of the two underwater monarchs ever have a successful and long lasting series?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fanholes Side Story #2 Gasp! Could we be...SECRET AVENGERS???

In a previous podcast I discussed my dislike for Brian Michael Bendis work on Avengers and New Avengers. Mike suggested I check out Secret Avengers to, as Derek would say, take away some of the butt hurt, I feel over the Bendis run.

Secret Avengers is a covert team put together by Steve Rogers, now going under the name Super Soldier, designed to work in the dark so to speak. Think of this as the Uncanny X-Force of the Avengers universe. Written by Ed Brubaker of Captain America fame, and illustrated by Mike Deodato Jr, Secret Avengers is a satisfying read and a good alternative to Bendis.

Some fans have said that something about the book just feels off. Of this I can only speculate that the problem may simply be that, at this point, we know the characters very well. We’ve seen Rogers, Nova and Beast go up against powerful foes like Annihilus, Korvac and Apocalypse. We know what these characters are capable of, we know their breaking point.

Personally I have no problem with this team of Avengers taking on ‘lesser’ threats. In a way it reminds me of smaller story arcs in the old days of Avengers or West Coast Avengers. Not every threat can be a deadly plot by Kang or Ultron. Some may even balk at the idea of the Shang-Chi story arc, simply because he’s considered a C or D list character. Personally, I really enjoyed this arc. It further advanced the Shadow Council story and gave us a great confrontation between Steve Rogers and John Steele. Perhaps some fans may also be put off by the whole spy, cloak and dagger aspect of the series. Brubaker’s run on Cap has quite a bit of this so if you enjoy that aspect of Cap, you’ll dig it here as well.

In the first story arc we see the team go up against The Shadow Council and some mysterious alien force on Mars that turns out the be linked to the Serpent Crown. There are some great moments, like Rogers taking on the power of the Nova Force. Ant-man gets lots of face time and tries his best to fit in on the team and not be seen as a complete noob. Sadly, I feel that Moon Knight is underused here. I was really looking forward to seeing how he would fit in but sadly he's barely around. When he is around, its mostly doing covert ninja stuff, which is fine. I would just like to see more character interaction

Bottom line: Secret Avengers is, in my opinion, a good team book. Is there room for improvement? Yes. But as a longtime Avengers fan this book does indeed take away some of the butthurt over the Bendis run. Personally, i'm just happy to see Mike Deodato Jr drawing Avengers again, secret or not. I became a fan of his during his original run on Avengers, which was around the time i started reading Avengers on a monthly basis.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Since the Fanholes are taking a week off of recording, some of us will provide some original content to the blog to make up for the lack of a podcast this week.

Anyway, reading and re-reading lots of Thor, while I construct my Top Ten Thor list for the blog. These are probably too recent for me to include in the Top Ten list, but weren't too shabby.

Thor #615 to #621 "The World Eaters"
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So I caught up on the current Thor arc , because after fellow Fanhole, Mike a.k.a. Thunderwing, told me about the new Marvel event title Fear Itself, I was curious how the status quo came back into play.
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It was kinda ham-fisted (I will never, NEVER understand all the kindnesses Loki receives, even less so than the Joker). However, Fraction wrote a pretty entertaining beat-em-up, while probably following the editorial edicts to include Odin, Dr. Jane Foster and Loki in time for the upcoming film on May 6th. Though frankly, I'm surprised that they didn't send Don Blake to a peace conference...
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The big bad seems like an Asgardian Darkseid from Tron Land and I think lil' Loki and Amadeus Cho need to have a showdown at some point. Anyway, because I got all caught up on my current Thor reading, I could read Fear Itself #1 and not be scratching my head (since I was when Mike mentioned the plot to me the other night).
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Fear Itself is pretty disappointing to me so far BTW. I didn't really care for the first issue. Also the companion mini-series Fear Itself - The Homefront was maudlin and depressing. I don't read comics to be reminded how fucked up the real world currently is. If I wanted that, I'd watch the damn news.

Thor: For Asgard #1-6 (of 7)
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Same creative team as the Loki mini that the new motion comics are based on. Marvel Knights labeled, doesn't really tie into 616 at all. Lots or death and carnage going on, and for once a subtle commentary on affairs of the world without bludgeoning you with a big political baseball bat. There's one more issue to go and I'm curious to see how it all wraps up.

Thor the Mighty Avenger #1-8
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Again not a 616 book. Seems to be a cross between movie tie-in,all ages line and classic Kirby era elements. It's a fun book once you get past the homeless bum Thor intro. I think having trades of this out in time for the movie may work out well, even though the series ended after 8 issues.
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The movie parts are obvious. No Blake identity, hence the homeless bum bit. Hanging with Jane in a small town (though she's a museum curator and not a nurse or doctor). Heimdall is ethno-switched (which begs the question, if Sif ever gets in the movie will Zoe Saldana be cast?). Update: I guess not. Brannagh did make Denzel and Keanu brothers in Much Ado About Nothing, so I suppose this isn't all that different.
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The Kirby stuff is reflected in the Brave and Bold-esque team ups with guys like Namor, Iron Man, Ant-man and Wasp. In fact Iron Man has the gray clunker armor and asks Thor to keep his Tony Stark identity secret. So while the some of the Thor stuff is movie-related, Iron Man's appearance has nothing to do with his movie at all. Heimdall also turns into Fin Fang Foom while guarding the Rainbow Bridge.
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I say all ages hesitantly, because while it could be geared for that, other more mature elements suggest otherwise. Jane is having Thor live with her, and while the romance is slow-paced, there are still suggestive moments. Jane comes out of the shower with little shame in front of Thor and there is an issue where Thor and the Warrior's Three go out to a British pub and get into fisticuffs with Captain Britain. While I enjoyed the story, I thought both Thor having a boy's night out, while Jane had her girl's night out, was a little less than all ages. They both come home drunk and the Warrior's Three elect not to "drive" Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder home.
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Pretty cool overall, but the genre or target audience is all over the place in my opinion.

Astonishing Thor #1-3
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If you like cosmic stuff, this first arc seems pretty cool so far. Features The Stranger,Collector and Thor attempting to stop Ego The Living Planet from meeting his counterpart called....wait for it....Alter-Ego. From Robert Rodi, the same writer who did the Marvel Knight's Loki and For Asgard, but apparently within the context of 616.

Iron Man/Thor: God Complex #1-4
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DnA written Iron Man and Thor team up mini-series, where they come up against the High Evolutionary as the big bad. The Evolutionary wants to redefine the concept of God for the modern age. He gives Ulik,Diablo and Crimson Dynamo some power ups to fight off Thor and Iron Man. Dynamo wants to be called Ragnarok after the power up. Ulik kinda looks like Tron or one of these Worthy people from Fear Itself. Volstagg has a great line about eating 9 meals a day like, "any one with common sense would do."

Overall, a pretty good book, though I like it better when Thor refers to the current day vernacular as "modern mortal" speak instead of "as the Americans say." It just seems like a slip of the writer tongue for the latter is all.

- Derek

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fanholes Episode # 6: Come, X-Chickens!

This episode, the guys talk about X-Men: Second Coming, The Venture Bros., go to Somewhere Cold with a discussion about Brian Michael Bendis' Avengers comics, discuss their favorite scary movies, then look into the near FUTE-CHA for Scre4m.

Fanholes Episode # 6: Come, X-Chickens! Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fanholes Episode #5: You WERE the clone *whoosh sfx*

This episode the guys talk about Holy Grails of collecting, the Return of Marvel Legends, the animated series Symbiotic Titan, and in the segment For The FUTE-CHA! the upcoming Batman video game Arkham City.
Fanholes Episode #5: You WERE the clone *whoosh sfx* Download this episode (right click and save)