August 21, 2016

Stop killing our heroes!!!

Tony Stark mourn James Rhodes in Civil War 2

Civil War 2 is the new Marvel's mega saga that came to, guess what, kill a couple more characters. This time Bruce Banner and James Rhodes, known as Hulk and War Machine, were the new victims. Is that sad? No. And you know why? Because nobody cares anymore!

Back in the day when an important character died, it would be a hell of a deal. When Gwen Stacy, Spider-man's first love, died, even though I read it years later through the reprints, it was a very emotional moment. I remember clearly how Peter's mourning made me sad and depressed. I could say Gwen's passing was my first contact with this ugly big thing called death.

The last great time comics that killed a character and really had public going for it was The Death of Superman event. After his return readers just realized a character will never really die in the comic book world; it will eventually return. So, why bother? Why care? Jean Grey, for example, died and returned several times, to the point we start questioning the originality of the plot.

The Death of Superman: The last time I believed a character could really die.

I can name by heart at least 20 important characters who "died" and then came back. You don't mess with reader's emotions like that: killing a character to increase sales and then bringing them back to sell a few more issues. Death is something deeper. It's emotional. It's hard. And it hurts.

Gwen Stacy's death: Devastating moment! 

Gwen's death devastated Peter Parker and even nowadays it remains an open wound in his heart. The same happened to Batman when his second sidekick, Jason Todd, was brutally killed by the Joker. It made us see not only the villain is not a funny clown, but it also made us see a side of Batman people are not used to seeing. However, while Marvel kept Gwen dead in its main timeline, DC decided to bring Jason back from the world of dead. And why? No reason other than to make A death in the Family storyline something we don't respect as much anymore.

Death of Jason Todd: Why bringing him back after this memorable storyline?
Comic Books should learn how to honor death. It says it likes to reflect reality in its stories, but it doesn't understand yet that when someone we love is gone in the real world, it's gone for good. So, unless Comic Books learn to understand how death "works", readers are just not going to ride with them in the journeys they propose. 

Mary Jane Watson is black! So what?!

Zendaya will be playing Mary Jane Watson.

I've been reading a lot of BS about Zendaya, who's possibly playing Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker's love interest, in the upcoming Marvel's Spider-man: Homecoming. A lot of friends come to me to ask my opinion about this "unusual" cast choice, because they know I'm into comic books since I was 8 years old and I love Spider-man.

My answer is: I love it! I really do! I really really really really really really love it!

Let's get one thing straight: Mary Jane is white in the comic books. We know it! But it couldn't be any different back in 1965 when she was created. At that time, it was not seen with good eyes a white man dating a black girl. So, it explains why Peter Parker, born and raised in an ongoing diverse New York, only dated white girls. Can you name any important black female characters at that time? Neither do I!

Let's face it: Comic Books were not always a place that embraced diversity. Justice League and Avengers, for example, were depicted with a majority of white characters. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love those characters as well, but I'm happy with the new world! Comics accepting Black, Latins, Asians, Muslins and all other types of characters was something I was always looking for.

The Original Mary Jane Watson.
TV and Cinema were great gateways for diversity. It embraced non-white actors playing famous characters. Just to name a few recent examples: Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury for Marvel Cinematic Universe and Candice Patton as Iris West in Flash were very well accepted by critics and helped people see we lacked other races in the Super-heroes Universe. And good to see it's being fixed little by little!

When Zendaya was announced in the Homecoming movie as a "minor" character named Michelle, I knew they were bluffing. In fact, I was expecting her to play Gwen Stacy, but I think Emma Watson's portray of Peter's first love was still a recent memory a lot of us love, whereas Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane was something a lot of us would love to forget. Well done, Marvel Studios!!!

Welcome, Zendaya! Be the best Mary Jane you can be. We know you've got what it takes to do a great job. You may experience some hate, some mean tweets, but, you know what, the best way for you to give a straight answer is by being great.

And you, guys, don't bother spreading your hate on my post!!! Love, on the other hand, is pretty much appreciated!

June 17, 2016

Finding Dory

  • Country: United States
  • Original release: June 17, 2016
  • Running time: 103 minutes
  • Director (s): Andrew Stanton
  • Written (s): Andrew Stanton
  • Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrel, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levi, Idris Elba, Dominic West, others.

In 2003 Pixar Animation Studios presented us with some of the best under the sea animated images in an unforgettable movie: Finding Nemo. As usual, the studio taught a lesson on how to create an incredible original screenplay (nominated for an Academy Award in this category), that paid special attention to character development. One of these characters was the sweet, yet clumsy and forgetful, Dory. The Pacific regal blue tang stole the spotlight and it came to no surprise when she was announced as the protagonist of the sequel.

It took 13 years for this movie to come to life, but, I must say, it was worth the wait. Under the sea, however, only one year has gone by since Dory helped Marlin rescue Nemo. Life is the same for everyone, except for one single detail: Dory starts to have glimpses of memories about her life as a young fish, having her parents around her. That's when two important things happen: the adventure begins and it is nothing like the original.

Finding Dory doesn't recycle the plot or characters. Don't expect, for example, to see Darla or the trio of Sharks. This movie brings its own assemble of new characters and they are special on their own. The original trio, Dory, Marlin and Nemo, are still true to their characteristics with Ellen DeGeneres doing another exceptional job voicing the blue fish with the perfect tone between naivety, youth and comedy timing. This time she has new friends: Hank, the cranky octopus (played by Modern Family's Ed O'Neill); Destiny, a short-sighed whale shark; and Bailey, a beluga whale. Also, Eugene Levi and Diane Keaton provide the voices for Dory's parents, Charlie and Jenny. All of the characters have their moments to shine in a screenplay that navigates well between comedy and drama, without being pushy or underestimating children's understanding. 

The animation is a piece of art. Every frame, every fish, every seaweed... Everything has a special appeal. Sometimes it's like seeing the real thing, like going under the sea. This experience is enhanced by the real 3D, something that wasn't used with its predecessor. Back then 3D was not a well developed technology as it is now.

Coming from successes in the animation field (A Bug's Life and Wall-E) and a huge flop in his live-action attempt (John Carter), the director Andrew Stanton, who also wrote the movie and provided the voice for the sea turtle Crush, outsmart himself with this sequel. Can we say it's better than the original? No, we can't. However, we can say for sure it is as good as Finding Nemo.

Tip 1 - Don't come to the movie late or you'll miss the incredible Pipper, the best piece among all Pixar's works in short length features.

Tip 2 - The Aquarium crew is not part of the movie this time, but if you want to know what happened to them after Finding Nemo I advise you to stay for the after credits scene.

Find tickets for Finding Dory HERE.

June 16, 2016

Superman #1 - Review and Preview

Superman is back, we all know that at this point. If you don't, check HERE and HERE first. We know who this old new guy is and we glad to see him in the official Timeline. This Superman #1 came with a mission: making the generation that started reading the series during the New 52 relaunch fall in love with this Clark Kent. That's why the story, written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, happens through Jon's point of view.

Jon, who was born during the Convergence event, is Lois and Clark's young son, who just recently found out who his father was. Besides, his powers are starting to show up, what makes the family come together in a attempt to protect and prepare the kid for what's coming his way.

The whole issue deals with Jon trying to understand what's happening to him and what's the weight of being Superman's son. His powers brings him a loss right in the beginning and a gain in the Kathy Branden character, who, for what is seems, is going to be the "Lana Lang" for this "Superboy".

Through Jon's eyes, we see his admiration for his father, his love for his family and Superman being recruited by the Justice League in one of the coolest moments of the issue. Also, a cliffhanger leads us to believe the boy is closer to become a younger version of his father.

The panels developed by Mick Gray, with colors by John Kalisz, are really good, but not as good as the work presented in Action Comics #1. There's room to improvement there. In general, a good issue.


Batman #1 - Review and Preview

Tom King has proven himself a good asset to write about the Batman world. However, after BATMAN REBIRTH #1, this is the first the writer will be fully responsible for the Dark Knight title. I'm not sure if this Batman #1 was a good starting point, though.

We have two new heroes in the city: Gotham and Gotham Girl. DC's been teasing these two new insertions to the Batman mythos for weeks and now we finally got to meet them. Sort of. They are just presented to the readers as a cliffhanger to the next issue. I loved the art by David Finch, Matt Banning and Jordie Bellaire. It bring us close to the Gotham City as never before, finally presenting it as more than the place the action takes place. It actually seems like a real city, with a bunch of vigilantes doing their most to protect it.

However, while the city comes as real as ever, Batman comes as unreal as ever.

I know we're dealing with comic books, but Batman was always the closest we would get to "real people", taking into consideration he has no super powers. This issue, on the other hand, shows Batman trying to prevent an airplane from crashing after it was hit by a missile. Although the writing is really good, bringing fast pace and adrenaline to every panel, with the hero dealing with his upcoming death (Come on, we know it's not happening!), it was kind of underwhelming seeing him ejecting himself from the Batmobile, landing into the plane (Just to remember: it was hit by a missile and is falling at high speed) and manage to use gadgets from his utility belt to try to save it. Too much. Just too much. I mean, he's just a man... How hard will King push us?

Batman #1 was kind of a disappointment in this aspect, let's se what the future holds.

June 10, 2016

Detective Comics #934 - Review

James Tynion IV is a name that became known in the last few years among Batman fans. The writer created some great stories and brought back to Gotham City characters we all love and were ignored by DC Comics. Spoiler, Cassandra Cain and Azrael are a few examples. Also, Tynion IV know how to write for the younger crowds in a entertaining way and understands every character should have its spotlight moment. Batman & Robin Eternal is proof of what I say, but if you need anything else to confirm it just read The Woods. What I mean is that there's no more qualified writer for this new phase Detective Comics is going through. 

There's a villain in Gotham observing and analyzing the vigilantes. His identity is still a mystery, but Batman feels the growing need to prepare the new generation for what's coming next. However, Batman understands he has a lot of work on his shoulder and he needs a partner. Not a sidekick, a partner. And that's when he decides to look for the help of his cousin Kate Kane, the Batwoman.

New 52 failed at presenting Batman and Batwoman as a team, showing they could work together. Bruce, for example, never even came out as Batman to her. That was maybe one of the reason the Batwoman title was cancelled, but I can say that it takes only one page for Tynion IV to correct all these mistakes and have the Dark Knight apologizing.

The whole issue is not focused in who the villain is, this is for the future. This issue deals with the new Bat-team. And, boy, was I happy about it! Batman and Batwoman will be responsible for training a group consisting of Red Robin (Tim Drake), Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Orphan (Cassandra Cain) and Clayface (Basil Karlo).


Tim is back to his red and green suit, reminiscing of his 90's famous uniform. He's not going to be a part of the Teen Titans for now and will have some good interaction with Spoiler, as he used to do in the good and old Chuck Dixon's years. Cassandra Cain is also a character who deserved a chance in this rebirth, but the most interesting addition to the team is Clayface. That was a villain I would never imagined as turning into a good guy, but I see lots of possibilities for this reluctant hero.

Spoiler is back to stay :-)
Now, the best part of this issue: the jaw-dropping art. Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas are fu****g talented dudes; there's just no better word to define it than a big fat cursing one. They delivered some of the best panels I've seen in recent comic books. And is this promise of an exciting adventure with this phenomenal art that will keep me coming back twice a month for the new/old Detective Comics series!

June 09, 2016

Action Comics #957 - Review

Action Comics is back.

I mean, it was never really gone. However, after the 2011 relaunch the title was one of the many in DC Comics that started from number #1 again. Rebirth, however, decided to respect the 52 issues released, but brought Action Comics to its original numbering. So, now instead of #53 we have #957. And it couldn't be better: Dan Jurgens, responsible for Lois & Clark, is the head of the title.

Jurgens was one of the main forces behind the "comeback" of Superman in the 90's. When the sales for Superman comics started dropping, a creative team, whose leader was Jurgens, came up with the storyline that changed Comic Book industry: The Death and Return of Superman. Now, after the death of New 52 Superman, the Clark Kent/Superman we all know and love is back to DC Comics main timeline. 

If you remember the event Convergence, in which Brainiac brought several characters form different timelines to see how they would interact, you remember Clark and Lois, from the pre-Flashpoint timeline, got trapped in the current one. Lois, who was pregnant, delivered a baby they named Jonathan to honor Clark's adopted father. For the past 5 years the family adopted the name White and lived a calm life in a small town, but both Clark and Lois continued their activities in the dark. Him as a superhero and her as a writer X, who was investigating the Intergang. Those are all past events, though. Now the family, after being discovered by the Intergang, has moved to the semi-rural area close to Metropolis. Jon knows his father was a Superman before, although now he prefers not to interfere, while the boy himself is dealing with discoveries of his super powers.

When Lex Luthor, now bearing the S shield, decides to take over as Metropolis' new protector, the "old" Superman decides to resume his activities since he doesn't believe any good can come from the man that was one of his worst enemies. While they battle against each other, for the right to be the "new" Superman, an old threat is back to Metropolis: Doomsday, the creature that once killed the Man of Steel. For what it seems, an unlike alliance between Lex and Superman will have to be done to stop the killing machine.

And, weird enough, there's a new Clark Kent in the city. Yes, a man claiming to be Clark, who seems to have no relation to any of the Supermen, is in Metropolis and resuming his activities as reporter in the Daily Planet. One more mystery for the series. Although, I have to say, I think this new Clark Kent is either a shape-shifter or a robot and he's in Metropolis to help the new Superman to be back to his old life and secret identity. New 52's Superman secret identity was made public in the previous series, so, to have a "fake" Clark Kent interacting in the world right now would be a good idea to make people "forget" him and Superman were once the same person. They used this trick before, after the Return of Superman saga: To justify the return of Clark Kent, they had the shape-shifter Matrix becoming the reporter for a while. Remember that? Well, I do.

As as for Lois Lane's return, check it HERE.

The art in this issue, provided by the talented Patrick Zircher, is incredible and leads me to believe Action Comics is going to be as great as it was before.

Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 - Review

Who's Wonder Woman?

I bet an answer (some answer) just popped up in your mind, right?

Of course it did. After all, we're dealing with one of the most iconic characters in Pop Culture. Even if you never read a single Wonder Woman comic book or seen any episode of the famous 70's TV show starred by Lynda Carter, you'd still know who I'm talking about. 

Then, again, who's Wonder Woman?

That's a question Diana herself cannot answer at this point. She got lost in her own legend, her own myth. She doesn't know who she is or where she really came from. What she made out of clay and sand, brought to life by the power of the Gods? Or is she the daughter of the one God, Zeus? Was she really an only child? If not, what are the other secrets the Amazons have been holding from her? For a person who takes pride at truth and justice, it can be a little of a disappointment when she can't even be true to herself.

Greg Rucka the writer responsible for the new Wonder Woman title is taking us in a journey. A journey for the truth, for self-discovery and we follow his lead as Diana undresses herself from her old persona and is reborn with a new attitude. There's no much room to cry about or revisit the past: Diana's is stepping forward, towards revelations that will change everything she thought she knew. And this issue is just the beginning.

About the art... To be honest I don't like it very much when we have more than one artist in the title. It kind of breaks the experience for me. Even though they share many similarities, the change of style from a page to another is underwhelming. Nevertheless, what's coming for Wonder Woman is very exciting and something to be looking forward to.

While the odd numbered issues will deal with stories in the present, the even ones will deal with the "Year One" events, that comes to unify once and for all the origins of the Amazon Princess. This issue left me begging for more. I think it's never going to be as good as the George Pérez run, but I'll give it a try. Who knows? I may be surprised!