Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

After Punisher interferes with a S.H.I.E.L.D. mission he is taken into custody by Black Widow and Nick Fury. Fury teams the two up to infiltrate Leviathan, a terrorist group with access to S.H.I.E.L.D technology. They must stop them from selling this tech to other villains while dealing with someone from Widow’s past.

This is the first animated Marvel movie I have seen and from what I’ve heard this is somehow the best one. If that’s true I never went to see anymore Marvel animated films. This was a terrible movie and except for the animation there is nothing good here. None of the characters have anything unique about them and you’re just expected to know who they are. Even if I did know anything about these two I’d be annoyed with how inconsistent they are. Widow tells Punisher not to kill some super soldiers as they used to be innocent civilians so he starts shooting their legs instead. A couple minutes later he is blowing them away with a grenade launcher and shooting them in the chest.

The man who stole the S.H.I.E.L.D technology was a former agent called Elihas who was in a relationship with Widow. He thought he wasn’t good enough for Widow and left to join Leviathan and gets injected with some power serum. He talks about how much he loves her in the same conversation as he’s punching her across the room. Once he’s told how dumb his plans are he joins the heroes in taking down Leviathan. Just then we’re introduced to the actual villain behind the whole thing, Orion. Orion, the main villain of the movie, appears for only the last 15 minutes. His design is so ridiculous and he’s taken out so quick he’s not threatening at all. Speaking of villains the last part of the movie is a giant cameo fest. The titular Avengers finally arrive and the villains buying the tech brawl with them. They’re all taken from the comics but only one is named, Graviton. They all just come out at random for an action scene at the end.

The real killer for this movie is the voice acting. Brian Bloom is an alright Punisher, but he never emotes and just growls his way through the movie. Jennifer Carpenter is awful as Black Widow. Her tone almost never matches the animation. John Eric Bentley’s Nick Fury is the most boring character in the movie. He talks in this one inflection in every scene and doesn’t do anything to make him likable like Samuel L. Jackson. While everyone else is just boring and bland, Grant George’s Elihas is actually terrible. In his climactic fight with Natasha he sounds like he’s on the verge of tears, but not in a good way, more like he stubbed his toe. Every other character, which there aren’t many, is passable on the voice acting.

The animation is pretty good, particularly in the fight scenes, but it’s in those fight scenes that this movie again loses me. They talk about the main heroes being normal people but they must have super speed for all the wind they whip up when they fight each other and all the bullets and explosions they dodge. The animation can’t make up for every other problem and the numerous plot holes that I can’t go into without spoiling it make this a terrible experience. I think if you can get a friend to watch it with you you can have some fun riffing on it, but the boring scenes and trite dialogue might stifle your fun.

Rating: 43% = Burnt Chicken

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Juicy Reviewer Presents: Real Heroes #1-3

COMIC-BOOK REVIEW: “Real Heroes” is created, written, and drawn by Bryan Hitch (The Authority Vol. 1, Reborn). On opening night of the biggest blockbuster of the year, the actors of the hit film “Olympians 2: Devastation,” are abducted and take to an alternate universe when an actual villain from their film appears and kills several. In the alternate universe, these actors realize that there were real Olympians who looked exactly like them. They tried to save the world, but all fell to the diabolical Brainchild. These actors who portrayed these iconic heroes are asked to pick up the mantle and finish what the real heroes started.

Before I begin my review, I wanted to thank Vintage Bullet for allowing me to appear on his site. It’s an honor, and I hope this review meets his standards. Anyway, “Real Heroes.” I was asked to review this by Vintage Bullet because of how I critique films over at my site, Juicy Reviews. The comic deals with actors becoming the heroes they portray, and with my movie-loving background, it seemed like a good read. In fact, the premise was promising. Unfortunately, the execution was not. This book basically rips from several other comics and characters to formulate its own story. Although all comic book writers get inspiration, Bryan Hitch literally copied several things, leaving me with an unoriginal, and at times bland, story. The first issue of this book was excruciatingly difficult to get through. It was the foundation of our characters, and who they are. It’s all origin stuff, which is the way to go when beginning a story, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t care about these characters. All of them are basically caricatures of any dilemma you can find in comics. You have Chris Reynolds (If Ryan Reynolds and Chris Evans has a son) who lost his father in 9/11, which sad story, but is barely touched on throughout the comic until the last issue, which I did not read because it costed money, and no way was I paying. Another character is an alcoholic, drug-using playboy, whom I cannot remember the name of (I only know three character names). We have all seen this guy before, but in different stories. What makes him different? Absolutely nothing. But it is him and Reynolds who are the only developed characters of this hollow series, so I have to make due with what I have. Once these characters are shallowly established through news coverage, which is an incredibly long and tiresome read, we are presented with our issue. From that point, our “heroes” are thrusted into a world like no other (or like all others?). I did not read the fourth issue, but I could pretty much guess how some things would go down just by the way the third one ended. I am not going to spoil anything, for those who actually want to read this, so I’ll just state a few points that should tie this review together. Let’s start with some pros, and by some, I mean very few. The artwork, although rather basic most of the time, was good. I liked the coloring the most and some page spread pictures were neat to look at. Within the story, there were some nice scenes to read. Not many, but enough to get me to read on. One example would be when the action actually starts in the third issue. It can be stupid at times, but I have to admit that it was fun. Now that those pros are out of the way, I’ll list the rest of the issues. First up is the awful villain, Brainchild. That name alone should tell you how bad he is, and not the good bad. He is a useless foe, not doing anything menacing to our heroes. To top it all off, he looks ugly. I know I shouldn’t be bashing on looks, but the guy looks completely idiotic in design. Heck, he isn’t even a child, he’s a grown man, so what’s the point in the name? Secondly, there are some plot holes in this story. I can’t really name any since it would spoil the book for those who want to read this (I don’t know who would), but I’ll list one: who came up with the story of the Olympians? If there were real heroes of these guys in an alternate universe, how could they be movie characters in this one? Someone would have had to come over here from that side and make the film. Lastly, there are many slow and stupid moments that lie in this book. One example would be how our drug-user hero is caught with some cocaine in the locker room. One guy tells him that he shouldn’t take that stuff, even trying to give him a pep talk. The druggie keeps declining and ignoring what he says. This goes on for about two pages. Not only that, but when his conversation with him ends, here comes Chris Reynolds talking to him about how he shouldn’t take drugs, costing us a few more pages. I get how Hatch is trying to develop his characters, but it is done in a sluggish and unnecessary way. In the end, this comic could have been so much more. It had a promising premise, but it was executed horribly, leaving me with a bland and unoriginal adventure. I don’t recommend anyone to waste their time on this.

FINAL SCORE: Rubbish

Vintage Bullet Presents: Real Heroes #1-3

I return to Vintage Bullet and with the first year passed it’s time to ramp up the reviews. And today we’ve got a twofer for you. This is the first guest review on the site. Joining us today is the Juicy Reviewer and we will be reviewing Image’s Real Heroes.

Real Heroes presents with a world where the biggest name in superheroes are the Olympians. At a premiere party for the movie a Devastator from the movie attacks the actors. They are dragged away to another universe by a guy named Smitty, or Smith they aren’t consistent on that. In this universe the Olympians were real, but were killed by the Devastators and their leader, Brainchild. Smitty tells the heroes that they have been chosen to save his world by taking up the most important roles of their lives, the Olympians.

It’s a pretty good premise I admit. Fake heroes make the jump to real heroes to save the world sounds like it could be fun. This book crumbles though under a torrent of bad writing, cliches, and pacing problems. Most of the first issue is showing the characters inside of the movie, where it’s intentionally supposed to be cheesy and bad. It’s directed by Josh Trank so that doesn’t surprise me. The rest of the issue introduces the actors, but puts them in a situation where they are acting for the public, so they are smiley and come across as fake. This is definitely the intention, but it grinds the plot to a halt and doesn’t give the characters any real definition. The only two of the actors to get any characterization are Chris Reynolds (Ugh) and Danny West. Chris Reynolds lost his dad in 9/11 and you can see by the scene where’s calling his mother he worries about her. That’s the best characterization you get. Danny West is an annoying drug addict who drinks and does cocaine while he’s yelling at and insulting everyone else.

Once they cross over it doesn’t get any better. Plot holes keep digging their way into the story and it all falls down. Speaking of falling down, that’s most of the third issue. They fall out of some super special base that they hype up for a while and spend the whole time screaming obscenities and to god. They all get split up, which does not bode well for the future as these characters can not hold up on their own. The villains are so strong it’s unreasonable to think that any of these “heroes” can stop them at all. When they’re not being boring the “heroes” are straight up unlikable. They don’t care at all about helping people and care more about going home or in Danny’s case, drinking.

I only have two pros, but even those come with caveats. First off the art is good. Hitch is an artist so naturally he nails this. His splash pages are great and especially the pages of the city. Even so, the character designs are uninspired, where most of the characters have downward pointing arrows taking up the bulk of their costumes. My other pro would be the villain, Brainchild. I know the Juicy Reviewer will disagree with me here, but I liked him. In comparison to the “heroes” he actually accomplishes some stuff and has an end goal.

I could rant endlessly about the plot holes and the numerous questions I have but I also want to keep spoilers to a minimum. I’m just going to rate this thing and pass this over to the Juicy Reviewer.

Writer: Bryan Hitch

Artist: Bryan Hitch

Rating: Rubbish

Superman #1

The marathon is over and with it the first anniversary of Vintage Bullet. It’s been a wild ride with many ups and downs. I’d like to thank everyone who got me here. Special thanks to Harrison over at Juicy Reviews for the plug and the idea. With all that over with, what better way to end this marathon than with the first big superhero, Superman.

Superman #1 tells multiple stories about Superman as he does things like preventing a lynching, stopping an execution, fighting in a war, and joining a football team. When he’s not being Superman we get some pages of Clark Kent, Superman’s secret identity who works at the Daily Star. We also get a 2 page origin story for Superman.

Superman #1 is a book that confuses me in many ways. In terms of an actual story with a plot and characters it is terrible. Superman goes to multiple locations under the cover of reporter Clark Kent, but he is also sent to cover a domestic disturbance. Clark himself is boring, his only characteristic is the false cowardice he shows to cover his identity. Lois Lane is in this and she shows the strong she still is today. No other characters like Jimmy Olsen or any of Superman’s big villains appear.

However, things all begin to change when Superman appears. The character of Superman in this book is drastically different than how he is portrayed now. In this story he can not fly, he doesn’t have his super hearing, x-ray or heat vision, or his super breath. His main powers are his speed, jumping, super strength  and his invulnerability. He uses these powers mostly to intimidate and threaten people when he isn’t beating them up. His personality is more like Batman’s than Superman’s.

A perfect example of his bad behavior would be the football story. In order to break up a thug filled football racket, he decides to take the place of a member of the team they are playing next. One of the players, Burke, happens to look similar to Superman so he decides to take his place on the team. He goes to Burke’s house, drugs him so he’s asleep, and then goes to the game. I’m not gonna spoil the rest but he manages to also get Burke kicked from the team. And objectively the art is terrible. Superman’s cape and symbol sometimes disappear completely and most characters have Captain Marvel squinty eyes.

But despite all of this it has the charm of the Golden Age. Seeing Superman destroy airplanes and end a war makes me understand the character’s appeal back in those days. This book also contains the famous scene from Action Comics #1 where Superman lifts the car. I also like how the book balances multiple different types of stories without being so jumbled. I can’t be too harsh on a book like this, it’s just the time period.

Writer: Jerry Siegel

Artist: Joe Shuster

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

 

 

 

JSA #1

The marathon is winding down with JSA #1. I’d like to think of myself as a JSA fan. I haven’t read any of their comics but when I see characters from the series I want to read it. With this #1 I hope that this is a good jumping on point.

The issue begins with Kid Eternity, a hero with the power to bring historical figures to help him fight, being chased and eventually killed in a sewer. We then see a dream where the Sandman turns into sand and then dies in real life. At his funeral, Wildcat and Starman talk in a scene meant to introduce the JSA members. At the funeral more death and a fight breaks out. We end on a cliffhanger where another character, who says he is well known but I’ve never heard of him,  arrives.

As a #1 issue I quite enjoyed this one. They mention a lot of things that have happened previously to the characters without sounding very expository. There are a lot of characters and they all get a moment to shine in the fight scene. One odd thing is Wildcat’s dad, who would be very old based on Wildcat’s age, but they don’t mention him having some anti-age power.  He’s the supervisor for Johnny Thunder, another old guy, and Star-Spangled Kid or Stargirl as she is known now. Star is the stereotypical teenager in this and I’ve seen her written better in other books. Art is some high quality stuff and the artist or writer put in a reference to the Red Bee of all people. Overall it’s a fun read.

Writer: David Goyer & James Robinson

Artist: Stephen Sadowski

Rating: Full Price

Sensation Comics #1

March begins but this marathon continues. Today’s comic is Sensation Comics #1.

Continuing after All-Star Comics #8, Wonder Woman returns in her own solo series. This issue is here to create a status quo for Wonder Woman. It tells how she met her lover, Steve Trevor, how she made it to America, and how she gets her secret identity. And for the standards of the 40s this is an alright book. There’s the occasional oddity, the invisible jet comes to mind, but at the time Wonder Woman couldn’t fly. Wonder Woman also somehow gets famous for blocking bullets with her bracelets. A lot of story is covered here so individual plot lines usually last about 2 pages and then transition into the next.

The art is good and bright, which is the usual for this time. It’s odd how yellow back then was the standard for famous comic covers, but now it’s rarely used. I’m rambling now so I’ll wrap this up; the book is good but you have to put yourself into that old mindset where you don’t over analyze and question everything.

Writer: William Moulton Marston

Artist: Harry G. Peter

Rating: Buy it for a bargain