The Academy of Science Fiction and Horror Films has released the nominees for the 41st Annual Saturn Awards. Captain America: The Winter Soldier leads all nominees with Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar have strong showings. Full list of categories and nominees below. Continue reading 2015 Saturn Award Nominees
When Marvel recently announced their latest promotional onslaught revolving around everything Avengers NOW!, most of the buzz surrounded the big changes coming to Captain America and Thor, with most of the push, seemingly, put behind a few new series and a lot of current ones. A closer look at the released teaser image for Marvel’s new branding shows-off a lot of good, a lot of potential, and maybe even a bit of mystery. Continue reading Avengers NOW!: Are More New Books on the Way?
It’s the source material! It seems like a pretty basic idea, but so many comic book films in the past have missed the mark. The reason these movies are immediately appealing, have a huge built-in audience, and star characters that most of the civilized world already knows and loves is because of the comic books. Now, I’m not going to go on some fanboy tirade demanding that comic book movies be direct comic book translations, but it’s very difficult not to see an association between the success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the film’s heavy use of elements taken straight from the pages of Marvel Comics. Warning: This article is spoiler heavy, so if you haven’t seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet, what the hell is wrong with you?! Until you remedy that problem, check out our spoiler free-ish review of the film.
Batroc the Leaper and (Just) Batroc
In one of the opening scenes of the film, we see Cap taking down some hijackers, with said hijackers being led by a French terrorist named Batroc. If you’ve never read Cap comics in the past, and even if you have, you may have missed this obvious connection to long-time Cap villain Batroc the Leaper. Portrayed by ultimate fighter Georges St-Pierre, Batroc, as he’s known in the film, didn’t make for much of a character despite his amazingly choreographed fight scene with Captain America, which is exactly what Batroc the Leaper did in the comics. Batroc wasn’t anything special, and was actually kind of cheesy (even for the 60’s), but in his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #75 Batroc showed off his unique fighting style to the world, and it’s been his one compelling factor ever since. Flipping, spinning, and that french accent when he’s talking smack: they were all there in the comics; they were all there in the movie. And that’s all we wanted and all we needed from Batroc in either. “Leaper” or no “Leaper” Batroc made quite an impression in The Winter Soldier, and did so by keeping to what made him great in the comic book.
Cap’s New Threads
There’s a great moment in The Winter Soldier when Cap goes back to his original uniform. It’s reminiscent of Game 2 of the 1995 NBA Playoffs when Jordan went back to wearing “23”. Prior to donning the Stars and Stripes again, though, Captain Rogers was seen wearing his new duds, The S.H.I.E.L.D. Blues. But this costume change was in no way original, and The Blues from the film look a whole lot like Cap’s uniform during his stint as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Yup, that’s right, Cap had Nick Fury’s job for a little while, and although Steve just couldn’t handle a desk job, the suit making it into the film is just a single, small example of the great use of the source material. With only a few differences to the Star Emblem, these two suits are identical in almost every way. I was never a big fan of this uniform or of Steve being in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it signified a period of examination and introspection for Steve within the pages of the comics that led to a fantastic new and modern approach of telling the whole “Soldier Out of Time” story that is the embodiment of the character overall. This characterization of Captain America was used quite extensively in the story told in the film, and it was all born in the pages of comics.
Cap and Falcon
Captain America and Falcon have been a duo in the comics since the 1960’s, and their bromance has continued well into the present day. Falcon was the first to Cap’s side during the Marvel Civil War, an event that split the Marvel U quite the same way S.H.I.E.L.D. was split in the film. The two are synonymous in comics and now, it seems, the two’s relationship is just as cemented in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. The very first Secret Avengers were started by Cap and his best bud Falcon, and, if Captain America 3 continues down the road it’s on, that could very well be the road these two end up walking down. No matter where their paths take them, however, we know these two will be walking the path together. Cap and Falcon go together like the Peanut Butter and Jelly, Steak and Potatoes, Kool-Aid and Sugar; and their relationship was handled in the film with the same sort of care that their comic book relationship has been handled, and it made for a great on-screen duo. I simply cannot wait to see more adventures from Cap and Falcon on the big screen. Their bromance is better than the one between Cap and Black Widow, actually.
Although her coming out party in Ironman 2 was definitely something wonderful to behold, she had to share so much screen time with the rest of the Avengers in Marvel’s The Avenger, that we really didn’t get the whole story behind Natasha’s level of badass. That all changed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier because Black Widow was, arguably, the shining star of the entire film. But the character’s badass nature was more than evident in her very first comic book appearance as the character we all know. Black Widow may have first appeared way back in 1964’s Tales of Suspense #52, but her comic book breakout was in Amazing Spider-Man #86 where she was immediately shown as the badass she truly is. In that ish we see Black Widow swinging around NYC, much the same way she swings off that bridge while running from The Winter Soldier. These scenes are eerily similar, but it’s much more than that. Black Widow has ALWAYS been one of Marvel’s strongest female characters, and she easily stands on her own within those pages. But, up until The Winter Soldier, this aspect of the character hasn’t been completely delivered. Marvel has certainly opened the door for making Black Widow a character that can equally stand alone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Cap Escapes from S.H.I.E.L.D.
One of the best scenes in the film was Cap beating the hell out of an entire elevator of henchmen before leaping to freedom from a dizzying height. It simultaneously showed how awesome Cap is in a fight, while giving the audience a real look into the power of a sinister S.H.I.E.L.D. But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Captain America leap out a window to escape the clutches of S.H.I.E.L.D. Again, we go back to the Marvel Civil War and Cap’s escape from a helicarrier. The similarities are so close that it’s simply impossible for this not be a complete ripoff of the comic book, but that’s the whole damned point.
After leaving S.H.I.E.L.D., Cap finds himself on the run, and in dire need of a disguise. But this isn’t the first time Cap and his pals have had to blend in with the rest of society to hideout from the “authorities”. Again, we go back to Civil War to find another instance where Cap went undercover to make sure he could still fight the good fight, and keep from being locked up as a fugitive. This was a really nice touch that was added to the movie, and it immediately made me think of this moment from Civil War. Thankfully, though, Cap never had to kiss Daredevil or Goliath to keep the villains off his trail, but that would have been much bigger news than Spidey taking his mask off. Either way, Cap undercover was something this fanboy really liked seeing, it was the perfect way to balance Steve Roger’s humanity with his super-heroism in the film, and it was completely stolen from the comic books.
The Winter Soldier
Ed Brubaker was the mind behind the madness that was the entire The Winter Soldier story told within the pages of the Captain America comic book. Many of the elements of ALL of the characters portrayed in the film were completely his doing. So this article wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning Brubaker’s epic creation, and the use of these elements in the film are unmistakable.
The shield punch is almost a direct copy of the comic panel, and Cap trying to talk some sense into his oldest friend on the deck of the helicarrier was also a pivotal story moment from the film taken from the comic.
There are so many more comparisons that I could make in the context of this article – from crashing helicarriers to Agent 13/Sharon Carter to Baron von Strucker and Hyrda – but there’s one singular comparison to the comic books that makes The Winter Soldier the epitome of the comic book film. Ever since the X-Men were created to subtly discuss the problems with bigotry in America, Marvel Comics has mirrored the real-world. Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes important current events and makes them relevant in a subtle way. In this case, it’s the N.S.A. Spying Scandal as portrayed by the triumvirate of DNA seeking, murderous helicarriers being unleashed. Throughout the history of Marvel Comics, it has been this fine-drawn examination of real-world issues that have made Marvel Comics the compelling pieces of literature that they have always been. They have a level of historical importance, this facet of the comics was displayed perfectly on the screen, and it’s a huge part of the overall success of the film.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been received such critical and audience acclaim that it’s arguably the best of the Marvel Movies to date. This fact, however, while certainly due in part to the quality of the acting, effects, and everything else that made up the film, has much more to do with the success that was already established by the comic book source material. This is by no means meant to say that other Marvel movies weren’t strongly influenced by the comics, but the success of The Winter Soldier, coupled with the specific elements taken from the comics, definitely suggests that Marvel has found a perfect balance with their movie-making recipe. And this can only mean that more great Marvel Comic movies are on the way. While we probably won’t see Steve Rogers donning the Nomad costume anytime soon, I have no doubt that what we will get with the rest of Phase Two and with Phase Three will be nothing short of spectacular.
Jules: Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #1
Just in time for the character’s silver screen debut! Rick Remender a writer whom I am a huge fan of, shows us some of what he was doing in the years after Bucky went missing. Coupled with Roland Boschi doing the art, I think this is going to be an awesome mini series!
WINTER SOLDIER: THE BITTER MARCH #1 (of 5)
ROLAND BOSCHI (A)
Cover by ANDREW ROBINSON
Animal Variant by Chris Eliopoulos
Artist variant by IN-HYUK LEE
1966: With Nick Fury missing, and presumed dead, global espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. sends secret agent Ran Shen to collect two Nazi scientists with the key to defining who wins the Cold War. But the Americans are not the only ones who want the high value scientists. The Soviets have opened the Red Room, releasing their most dangerous operative –The Winter Soldier, who unbeknownst to the world, is the presumed-dead partner of Captain America—Bucky Barnes! The brainwashed soldier’s mission: to acquire the scientists by any means or to kill them should they fall into American hands. This classic 60’s style, high-octane, spy pulp told at Cold War’s peak follows Ran Shen and his terrified scientists as they creep out of the shadow of East Berlin. Intrigue, adventure, romance and murder abound with ramifications that will shatter relationships in the modern-day Marvel Universe—including one with the Star Spangled Avenger himself!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Gaumer: The Fuse #1
It’s not a very big week for me at the comic shelves, but I’ll be picking up a few books this Wednesday. Among them will be something new from Image Comics and writer Anthony Johnston, The Fuse, which is solicited as a traditional crime comic with the catch that the area being policed is a space station orbiting Earth at 22,000 miles. Different isn’t always good but this book looks quite promising. Look for my review coming in the next few days.
THE FUSE #1
story ANTONY JOHNSTON
art / cover JUSTIN GREENWOOD
FEBRUARY 12 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.50
Working homicide 22,000 miles up on an orbiting energy platform, in a five-mile-long jury-rigged steel city stuffed with a half million people, with no help from your so-called colleagues back on Earth, is more than tough…it’s murder!
Cynical, foul-mouthed veteran ANTONY JOHNSTON (UMBRAL, Wasteland, Daredevil) gets partnered with fresh-faced idealist JUSTIN GREENWOOD (Wasteland, Resurrection) for a new crime series with attitude! Murder, mayhem, and mystery—22,000 miles straight up.
Taylor: Thor: God of Thunder #19
This weeks new installment of Thor: GoT brings the return of artist Esad Ribic, who collaborated with Jason Aaron to create the now instant-classic Godbutcher and Godbomb arcs. I’m extremely excited to see the pair work together again, to the point of being borderline giddy.
THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #19.NOW
JASON AARON • ESAD RIBIC (A/C)
Variant Cover by Milo Manara
Variant Cover by Simone Bianchi
THE LAST DAYS OF MIDGARD begin NOW!
Thor, Asgardian God of Thunder, has always fought to save his adopted home of Earth. But who can he fight when the planet itself is dying? Thor’s mortal ally and environmental secret agent Roz Solomon has a few ideas. Namely the world’s largest and most nefarious energy company Roxxon, and its ruthless new CEO known as “The Minotaur.” Has the God of Thunder finally met his match, in the form of a multinational super-corporation? Meanwhile, many millennia ahead, a future version of Thor faces a very different battle to save what remains of the earth–a battle against the greatest villain the Marvel Universe has ever known—Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Crimson Chris: Batman #28
The last issue of Zero Year: Dark City is upon us. What has the brilliant mind of Scott Snyder left for us in his new origin of Gotham’s Dark Knight? I have high hopes it’s gonna be better than the conclusion of Death of the Family! Has been a cool update to one of the most over told origins in comic books today. Of course you can’t go wrong with Greg Capullo’s art. Even if you haven’t been enjoying the story, that art has been absolutely fantastic!
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by GREG CAPULLO and DANNY MIKI
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
1:25 Steampunk variant cover by HOWARD CHAYKIN
On sale FEBRUARY 12 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
ZERO YEAR: DARK CITY reaches its conclusion! The final chapter of Zero Year is almost upon us, and we’ve saved the best for last! What corners of Batman’s past will be revealed? And how will they impact his very near future? Find out here!
This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.
This post brought to you by Comix City Too! in Madison Tennessee, Outright Geekery’s local comic shop of choice. Check out everything coming out this week in stores here, and be sure to get out to your local comic shop.