Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fanholes Episode #12: Throwin' The General Lee!

Fanholes Episode #12: Throwin' The General Lee!)


This episode the gang talks about the television series Smallville and the recent Series Finale, the comic book Invincible by Robert Kirkman, their favorite James Bond movies, and in the segment For The Fute-Cha! discuss the recent announcement of Marvel producing a Massive Multi-Player Online Video Game!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fanholes Episode #11: GuestTinction Agenda Part Three Featuring Kurobako/Paige

Fanholes Episode #11: GuestTinction Agenda Part Three Featuring Kurobako/Paige!


This episode the gang talks to Paige aka Kurobako! A talented voice and stage actress who just so happens to be a huge fan of Beast Wars!
The Fanholes discuss her time as a Video Game Voice Actress and then participate in a round table discussion about their favorite Beast Wars characters.

Check out the Neo Futurists here!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fanholes Episode # 10: GuestTinction Agenda Part 2, Featuring Kevin Rich!


Fanholes Episode # 10: GuestTinction Agenda Part 2, Featuring Kevin Rich!

This episode, the gang speaks with guest Kevin Rich about his experiences with living in Japan. Being a collector, a gamer, a fan, and just going about one's day-to-day...how does it differ from being in the States? Then the Fanholes participate in two roundtable discussion segments that cover their favorite Godzilla movies and their favorite animes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fanholes Side Story #7 Forgotten Marvels

The Marvels Project is an eight issue mini series by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting that explores the early history of the Marvel Universe. As a history buff, I always find myself gravitating towards comics and characters that have a sense of history. Before I was ever interested in comics, I was a budding World War II buff. I would sit around and listen to old timers tell war stories for hours on end. As I have said before, my first comic book was Invaders #11. Also, burned in my mind was an early memory from Avengers during the Kree/Skrull War. The image of Rick Jones calling forth long forgotten heroes from the Golden Age. I asked my uncle who these characters were. Most of them he could identify, but not all. From that point on, I tracked down each issue of Invaders and followed the exploits of Captain America and Namor in their solo titles.

This mini series follows the exploits of several characters from those long forgotten days just before World War II. We see the creation of the Human Torch and how he deals with the public as they label him a monster. Also present is James Bradley, aka Dr. Nemesis, who works with Professor Hamilton on the project which gave birth to the Torch. We see Namor fly into a rage, the first of many, over the death of his people at the hands of Nazis. Also there is The Angel, a much lesser known character, who begins his career after coming into contact with an aged Two-Gun Kid.

We are witness to the first encounter between the Human Torch and Namor. An encounter that Namor will not forget, as he lets his rage consume him and is humiliated by his defeat. The battle between Namor and the Human Torch is a scene that is often reproduced, most notably in Marvels. In addition, The Angel begins his task of tracking down the person who murdered fellow hero Phantom Bullet.

There are some other, lesser known, heroes who are recalled for a brief moment. Phantom Bullet, John Steele, Fiery Mask, Mister E and Monako. John Steele has become a key player in recent issues of Secret Avengers, so it is nice to get more of his back story here. We also see a young Nick Fury begin his career as he is sent to retrieve Dr. Erskine, who would later develop the super soldier serum. It is interesting to see the creation of several ‘super’ soldiers here. From the Human Torch, the first artificial human, to Captain America and the Destroyer.

In the final issue the different heroes work together at last. Namor is forced to admit he was wrong about the surface world. The Invaders are created and go on to serve throughout the war. We also see how much the Human Torch has grown as a 'person', as he wants to keep Toro from being exposed to the horror of war. If you are familiar with Brubaker, you know he loves to involve his characters in spy games. Whether it's on his run of Captain America or Secret Avengers, Brubaker is, in my opinion, quite skillful at this. Although, if you find these elements in his comics dubious, you may want to steer clear. While it's not as heavy and ham-fisted as certain story-lines, I can see how one might be off put by it. I’ve always felt Epting’s artwork is a good fit for Captain America, and it helps that he has already drawn many of these characters during his run on that series. His work on The Marvels Project suits this tale of intrigue and mystery in the days before and during World War II.

If you enjoy Brubaker’s work on Captain America and Secret Avengers, or if you are a history buff like me, then you will enjoy reading about some ‘lesser’ heroes. The Marvels Project does a fine job of exploring the Golden Age of comics and gives us an interesting look at some long forgotten characters.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fanholes Side Story #6 The Ghost Who...Loves Rasberry Jelly?!

For as long as I’ve been able to read, I’ve followed the adventures of the "Ghost Who Walks." It started with the comic strip in the Sunday paper. It continued when Defenders of The Earth began. I eagerly anticipated the movie. For a time I wore a Phantom skull ring. I watched Phantom 2040. I followed the Moonstone comics. Now, we have the latest comic series from Dynamite called The Last Phantom.

Our story opens with Kit Walker at a fund raiser, while his family, friends and even his country, come under attack by forces seeking to eliminate him. Here we see a Phantom that thinks he has broken the long legacy he has inherited. He keeps a suitcase with him at all times. A suitcase which contains his Phantom mask, guns and rings. For the most part though, he is resigned to live a normal life. I’ve always felt that the legacy of the Phantom itself was a prime source for story material. What if, like this Kit Walker, there was a Phantom who did not want to carry on the traditions. What if the Phantom died before having offspring? What if there was a gay Phantom? But, I digress.

In the coup Walker’s wife and son are murdered and his plane explodes in mid-air. Having found the bodies of his family, he opens the suitcase and becomes a blood drenched Phantom. When I first saw the cover to issue one I thought, okay, they’re going all ‘extreme!’ with the Phantom. Also, I remarked that the Phantom looks like he’s covered in raspberry jelly and not blood.

With all the violence, blood, murder and costume change(or lack of one perhaps) this does feel like an extreme update of a classic character. The classic elements are present. Devil, the wolf, and Hero, the horse, are here to assist our vengeful ghost. Kit faces several soldiers who wear invisible suits. This is no problem for Kit, as a quick flashback reviles how his father trained him to use all his senses. When I saw the invisible suits I had a feeling Kit would be making use of one later. I suppose you could say this is a logical update to the mythos of the character. However, I feel this is unnecessary. To me the Phantom is more interesting as just a man. A man with a long legacy to carry on. A man who uses guns and the help of his friends, both human and animal, to deliver justice.

Also of note is the blood drenched Phantom I previously referenced. This is how the character is presented for the first four issues of the series. We have Alex Ross to thank for this. I know some fans have been a little off put by this but let me assure you that this is no blood thirsty Phantom. He does kill when it is required, but he is not a mindless killing machine. One gets a sense that he does not enjoy killing, but will do so when necessary. For justice and to avenge the death of his family.

It's not until issue five that we see the ‘classic’ Phantom. He’s now using the invisible suit, but this is pretty much the Phantom we all know and love. He has some self doubt, as he keeps telling himself he is supposed to be the hero. I have to say that I enjoyed these issues a great deal, mostly because it was fun to see the Phantom riding Hero around New York City.

One could say the theme of this new series is evolve or fade away. The creative team has certainly brought the Phantom into the twenty first century. Personally, I think the character gets by fine without an invisible suit. Does this mean I didn’t enjoy the series? While I may not agree with some of the creative decisions, I admit I’m very curious to see where this is all going.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fanholes Episode #8: Odin's Monster Truck Rally!


Fanholes Episode #8: Odin's Monster Truck Rally!

This episode the gang talks about their favorite actors who have portrayed Batman or Superman, discuss the cartoon Batman Brave & Bold, relive the Worst Superman and Batman Video Games they've ever played, and in the segment For The Fute-Cha! disclose the things they are most looking forward to from the 2011 Toy Expo!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fanholes Side Story #5 Age of X-TREMORZ!


Instead of going into a big long explanation of what Age of X is, lets just start things off with this:

At least they are being fairly upfront about it. Age of X: Alpha does exactly what the creators intended. It sets you down in the middle of an alternate world with little explanation. We are introduced to different versions of familiar characters. For example, Cyclops is known as Basilisk in this world. Here we have a character that was used, against his will, as an executioner of mutants.

The issue ends with the X-Men going off to battle. Well, not really the X-Men as they don’t call themselves anything. In fact they barley even function as a team. In the next chapter of this story, we see this battle, and its end result. A mutant is killed and Legacy, known in 616 as Rogue, is called to ‘save’ her. Basically, Legacy absorbs the memories of mutants before their death. Cannonball refers to her as ‘The Reaper’ a nickname which Legacy states she hates. (Rogue is not Rogue! Rogue is Legacy! But Legacy hates the nickname Reaper! Grrrrr! So don't call her Rogue! Or Reaper! Or Anna Marie!) Its also interesting to see Cannonball give orders to Basilisk. Especially since in New Mutants Cyclops is the one Cannonball looks up to and takes orders from. Frankly, I’ve always liked Cannonball so anytime he gets a moment to shine is cool in my book.

As for other well known characters, Wolverine has no powers and acts as a bartender. I’m serious. As someone who can’t stand Wolverine this amuses me to no end. We follow Legacy as she is out alone, dealing with the newly absorbed memories when Kitty Pryde shows up. This sets off a chain of events that causes Legacy to break into the holding cell of Fortress X to unravel the mystery that Kitty brought with her. Legacy eventually meets Professor Xavier and battles Danger. At the end of chapter 2 she is now a fugitive.

As the story progresses it seems that Magneto is in on the whole thing. He arranged Kitty’s escape and capture. He rescues Xavier as Gambit and Legacy penetrate a secret room in Fortress X. A room Magneto has no memory of building. In that room is a box. A box that contains the universe.

It turns out this world, this Age of X, is simply a fantasy created by a mental antibody in Legion's mind. When the New Mutants subdued Legion he was brought to Utopia where Dr. Nemesis began working on his fragile mind. He began to simply eliminate the multiple personalities, but Legions mind fought back.

While this is an interesting premise I’m not sure about the execution. I guess it just comes down to personal taste and I’m just not a big fan of imaginary tales (usually). Age of X was designed to invoke memories of a better alternate universe story, Age of Apocalypse. You have Magneto leading a rag tag group of mutants. Our once familiar characters are screwed up, mentally and physically and have strange, unexpected relationships. Though I admit, Storm and Namor does kinda make sense to me.

As this reality begins to unravel and the X-Men are restored to the 616 universe we see there will be some fallout from this event. Emma is not happy that Cyclops was with another woman while in the Age of X. Storm and Namor exchange an awkward glance. I’m glad there will be repercussions from this event. I feel, though, that this is an event that could have benefited from three or four more chapters. We really only get to know these alternate versions for a brief time before their world unravels.

Ultimately, Age of X pales in comparison to Age of Apocalypse. We are only given a brief taste of this alternate reality and form little attachment to these characters. It also doesn't help things that the characters do very little aside from fight the military and argue with each other. Legacy, Legion, and Basilisk are the most developed characters. Wolverine has his moments, but thankfully he is almost an afterthought.