Civil War

Alright, the Civil War movie is coming out so everybody else is going to be making these Civil War reviews, right? And it’s almost time for the awards show so I’m just going to crack on with this one.

I’m pretty sure you all know the plot outline but if you don’t then here you go. The New Warriors cause an explosion in Stamford while they are fighting some super villains, killing 612 people. This causes the government to create a superhero registration act that forces superheroes to reveal their identity and work for the government. The Pro-Registration team is led by Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, and Hank Pym. The Anti-Registration force is led by Captain America with help from Daredevil, Falcon, and Nick Fury. The two sides fight for a while, people die, and everyone just looks above each other while puffing their lips.

Now there is some good in this book, but there is also a lot to hate. A lot of that comes from how illogical most of the story is. The director of Shield, Maria Hill, tries to arrest Captain America before the Registration Act is even signed, there is this annoying woman who lost her kid in the explosion, who basically keeps the war going by cheering on Tony, Johnny Storm is put into a coma by random people just because he’s a superhero.

So now the good stuff. The art is very good, with dark colors and settings that convey the mood that there is no good solution in a tragedy like this. The fight scenes, which are most of the book, are really cool, with all the heroes and villains showing their best. The scenes with the members of the Fantastic Four are the best parts of the book. Captain America does make a good lead, but in a story where there are two sides with valid points, one character shouldn’t be the main focus. And that leads to the worst part, the ending. Most people know who wins, but I’ll still try to not spoil it. One side is definitely shown to be in the wrong, with everything they do causing more and more problems. However, they’re the side that “wins.” It’s anticlimactic and wastes all the buildup the story had.

Final Notes: I had a hard time finding any images with the puffy lip thing I noticed, but if you read this book you’ll notice it fairly quick. Spider-Man is in this, but his scenes are more about setting up his own book than advancing the story in any way.

Rating:Borrow from a mate

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Superior Iron Man

Tony Stark was never the nicest hero in Marvel. He has done some terrible things, especially during the Civil War. So when his worst aspects get brought out during AXIS, he decides he has to be Superior.

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Superior Iron Man was a series written by Tom Taylor which came out in 2015 and ran for 9 issues. Basically, Tony is now the villain of the story while Pepper Potts and a mysterious person are trying to get him back to normal. The previously mentioned worst aspects of Tony return, his alcoholism, his greed and most definitely his ego. To go along with this new attitude he makes himself a shiny new chrome suit, which is powered by a symbiote (because that worked so well for the Iron Rangers.)

I really was on board for this Superior version of Tony and the series is very good, but then the last 3 issues kinda drop the ball. I’ll get back to that later but I wanna talk about the good stuff. First off, Tony’s plan to become rich and famous using the Extremis virus on San Fransisco was evil and genius. He gives people a free trial to make them perfect for a day, but then makes it cost $99.99 so only the rich can pay for it. This leads to the city tearing itself apart as the rich get better and the poor become criminals to try and buy Extremis. His plan is so well planned out not even Daredevil can stop it.

There’s also the introduction to a new character, Teen Abomination. He starts off as a joke villain in the first issue but soon becomes like a son to Tony. There’s an issue dedicated to his origin which is sad, but a little generic. After that he has no real role in the book except to be Tony’s bodyguard. So now we got to the cons. The “dropping the ball” comes in the reveal of Pepper’s accomplice. I won’t spoil it but it is foreshadowed pretty well. So after that the book becomes another Tony vs his own armor type story we’ve seen a bunch of times before. It then ends with no real purpose or climax to the story.

Final Thoughts: If it wasn’t for Secret Wars I think this book could have gone on for longer and gotten even better. Every scene with Daredevil and Tony are fantastic and it makes the book almost worth it just for those. The art is also really good throughout.

Rating: Full Price

Avengers Vs. X-Men

Real life got in the way, doesn’t matter, let’s get on with the review

Avengers vs. X-Men was a Marvel comics event from 2012 written by┬áBrian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker and Jonathan Hickman. The maxi-series spanned 12 issues, with each writer scripting different issues. Having 5 people all working separately on the same book could cause some issues, and sadly that’s what happened here. Let’s get to the plot outline first.

The almighty Phoenix is on it’s way to Earth. Its target is Hope Summers, Cyclops’ daughter from the future. Cyclops wants to keep Hope on Earth to harness the Phoenix to restore the mutant population, while Captain America wants to take Hope away to prevent the Phoenix from destroying Earth. That’s about as much plot as you need before the fists start flying and the cloud of stupid that occurs from the fight prevents any character from doing anything smart or rational. The name “Avengers vs. X-Men” would better be changed to “Cyclops vs. Captain America” as they are the only two characters that the book seems to focus on. Scarlet Witch and Hope are also very important to the story, but I don’t consider them really characters in this book. They’re just plot devices to keep the story going, and the ending with them is telegraphed by the halfway point.

While he is one of the only characters, Captain America is heavily out of character, All he cares about by the end is being right and beating down Cyclops. When a tragic attack is carried out by an X-Man, all Cap cares about is that this is now a war, even though people are dying all around him. Even Black Panther calls him out on this (he does the same thing to Tony but about science and magic.) The worst part is how hard they try to make Cyclops the villain, when he is only shown doing bad things after he is attacked or provoked. There’s no ambiguity by the end about who the villain is supposed to be, which shouldn’t happen in one of these superhero fight books. Having the villain be the more likable person, while the designated heroes are all jerks is like a double screw up.

There are some good parts in it, the second issue springs to mind. It’s the issue where the fight actually starts and there are some good single fights with pretty funny caption boxes. Spider-Man was also awesome in the book, with his crowning moment appearing in issue 9. The designs of the “Phoenix Five” are pretty good, but the characters themselves don’t really have much of a point. There is also another good fight on the Moon in issue 4.

The Phoenix itself seems to have its powers decided at random, where sometimes it is strong enough to keep Wolverine down for a couple hours and then later only for a couple seconds. It keeps him down for a long time when it wasn’t even close to Earth, but can’t keep him down when it’s in its almost purest form. And when one of the Phoenix Five reveals the ability to give legs to whales, he then remembers that whales don’t like land.

Final Thoughts: Huh, that got a little weird near the end. The book after this AVX Consequences and the AVX: VS tie ins are actually really good and I’d highly recommend those over this. This book is also really long, with too much padding and predictable foreshadowing.

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

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Office Space

“Office Space” is a 1999 comedy film, directed by Mike Judge, (Beavis and Butthead, King of the HIll) starring Ron Livingston, (The Conjuring, Dinner for Schmucks) Jennifer Aniston, (The Iron Giant, Horrible Bosses) Stephen Root (Ice Age, Finding Nemo) Gary Cole, (Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law, Supernatural) David Herman, ( Bob’s Burgers, Triptank) and Diedrich Bader (Napoleon Dynamite, Batman:The Brave and the Bold.)

Mike Judge is one of my favorite comedians, I’m a huge fan of King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead. His style of comedy is very divisive, as can be seen by this same movie’s review on Juicy Reviewz. Now Office Space is considered a classic cult movie, it has had a big effect on popular culture. Fans of Family Guy have probably seen multiple references to this movie, such as a cameo by Gary Cole.

The plot of the movie is about Peter Gibbons (Livingston) an office worker. His life is pretty sad: his girlfriend is cheating on him, he works every day in a cubicle, and his boss, Lumbergh(Cole) constantly checks up on him and makes him perform menial labor like filling out TPS reports. There’s also Samir (Ajay Naidu) who’s last name is difficult to pronounce, Michael Bolton (David Herman) who hates the singer Michael Bolton, and Milton (Stephen Root) who is constantly pushed around by Lumbergh, but can only mumble to himself.

Let’s start with the pros of this movie. The ensemble cast are all hilarious, they all have these running jokes throughout and their characters are defined by them. I’m also a fan of the soundtrack, it’s all “Gangsta Rap” which somehow fits in with the montages. I think the pacing of the film is really great, with a good three act structure. Of special note in the cast would have to be Lawrence(Bader) who’s few scenes in the movie are some of the best.

The few cons I have with the movie would have to be with “The Bobs” the performance inspectors. Now I know it’s a satire on how slimy these people are, but they don’t really make it funny like Lumbergh does. I also think that the romance, while Jennifer Aniston and Livingston do have great chemistry, it feels a bit rushed. The scene where Peter yells at Joanna(Aniston) just seems like something his character wouldn’t do.
Other than those two things this is a very funny, well paced comedy with some almost perfect satire on the life of office workers.
Final Score: 90%

Human Torch 2003-2004

With the recent box office flop known as Fant4stic, I wanted to do some research on Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, to learn more about what the character is like. One people think about Johnny Storm they think about him being hotheaded, a speed demon, and a ladies man. And what would Johnny be without his family, the Fantastic Four? That last bit, however, isn’t really explored in this solo series, as Johnny is mostly solo throughout. So I guess the real question is can Johnny carry his own 12 issue series?

The first arc, which takes up half of the entire run, is Burn. In this story Johnny and his old friend from high school, Mike, team up to catch someone who murdered his firefighting chief, Vinnie. Mike picks Johnny to help him out because it looks like Vinnie just combusted for no reason, like a Human Torch. There’s some definite tension between Johnny and Mike because Johnny accidentally burned Mike during a small fight they got into back in school. At the core this is a murder mystery, with everybody at this fire station being the possible killer and I really enjoyed the suspense and mystery to it all. My only gripe would be the character Sheila Donner, a stereotypical paparazzi character who just annoys everyone and takes advantage of Johnny’s kindness.

Afterwards, we have the four issue arc, Plague of Locusts. Johnny and his assistant Jian go to the Balkans to uncover a secret experiment called the Locust Project. The Locust Project promises to end world hunger, but in an odd way, by shrinking people down to make the food bigger. Johnny becomes prisoner of the Locust King, and must escape with the help of the king’s daughter and one of Jian’s Balkan friends. This is also a pretty good arc, with some good action and humor, but a predictable twist.

The last two issues are two different stories from the rest. The first is a more serious issue where Johnny and his ex-girlfriend, Namorita, meet up at an Atlantean teleportation experiment. The artist on this issue changes, who gives this a much less cartoony style to match up with the subject matter. The last issue goes back to the cartoony style for an issue about Johnny and The Thing at a college football game. Dragon Man attacks while Ben and Johnny argue about the need for college. The ending to this is a little rushed, but it seems like this was intentional.

Final Thoughts: The very cartoon-like style for the first 7-8 issues, really made this more enjoyable. I wish this style was used more often

Rating: Full Price

Great Lakes Avengers: Misassembled

While almost every review is just a subjective opinion, a comedy movie or book is a very subjective thing. What one person finds funny you might not and vice versa. Now I’m a fan of dark comedy and if you are too this is a pretty good book, but with one glaring issue (For me.)

The Great Lakes Avengers are a joke team, consisting of around 6 people who all have almost useless powers. The team’s main roster includes greats like Doorman, Flatman, Dinah Soar, Big Bertha, and Mr. Immortal. In this series, the GLA face off against Maelstrom, a big name Avengers villain. Dinah is killed in their first encounter, sending Mr. Immortal into depression. Flatman and Doorman take it upon themselves to recruit new members, while Bertha has some modeling gig to worry about. There’s something that I just love about how happy and cheerful Flatman and Doorman are in the face of rejection, nobody wants to join the GLA of course. And this is pretty solid comedy for about two issues, but now for that flaw I mentioned earlier.

Throughout every issue, there’s this ongoing meta commentary by Monkey Joe, some squirrel belonging to Squirrel Girl. It’s painfully unfunny, going for cheap jokes like how all comic writers and readers are losers. This squirrel also ruins otherwise funny jokes by over explaining them, when the wackiness is played seriously. Squirrel Girl herself isn’t better, just going on and on about squirrels and how she beat Doom once. Other than that, the book is really funny, with some actually deep and dramatic moments near the end.

Final Thoughts: I don’t know if Maelstrom is a big villain or not, I’m just going with what they said.

Rating: Full Price

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The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1-10

This isn’t an exact review of a certain issue or graphic novel. This is just a review of how far I could actually get into this series. This was one of the relaunch titles of DC’s New 52, back in 2011. It actually made it to 20 issues, but as stated before I couldn’t make it that far.

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First off, the entire tone of the book is just depressing. It starts off with terrorists killing children and then attacking the school were our main characters, Jason and Ronnie, go to. Later in they end up blowing up a sporting stadium and Ronnie gets mutilated and acts like some caveman.

Second, the pacing is terrible. The main characters are either fighting each other or another Firestorm character. Then we see government people giving out exposition of why they are doing generic, shady things.

Lastly, Jason is an unlikable idiot. From the start Jason is just obnoxious, pulling the race card when Robbie says “You look like you could play (Football.)” He accuses him of being racist, even when the only other person Robbie has talked to is his black friend, Trevor. When he isn’t being an idiot he is angsting about some girl he likes.

If I were to throw out any positives it would be the first villain, Helix. He’s a crazy American Firestorm, who sees Jason and Ronnie as Nazis, while shouting “God Bless America!” He is sadly killed way to quickly. There’s also the crossover issue with the JLI and the British and French Firestorms.

Final Thoughts: This is forgettable and I’m glad I quit when I did. I didn’t see the book getting any better.

Rating: Rubbish