#41 – Poison Ivy

Pamela Isley was one of those Batman villains that you could always understand due to their psychological state. I’ve never actually seen Ivy as mentally insane in the same way that Mr. Freeze isn’t insane. Both of these characters do everything just because of a singular drive…Just like Batman himself.

Isley’s origin has changed a few different times over the years but most of the origins involve her being a botanist and due to one of her college professors experimenting on her she becomes Poison Ivy. She had already had a deep love for her plants but after her transformation it became an obsession for her.

My personal favorite Poison Ivy story in the comics is the No Man’s Land/Gotham Central storyline. After a massive earthquake nearly destroys all of Gotham, Ivy takes residence in a park and takes in a group of kids that have all been orphaned due to the earthquake. She watches over them and teaches them how to cultivate the land and grow food for the people of Gotham. Following a fight with Clayface and the city being restored, Batman decides to let the kids stay with Ivy. A few months later, one of them is killed and Ivy takes her revenge on the crooked cops who did it. Poison Ivy always works best as a fellow protector of Gotham in my opinion. She’s technically a villain but she’s much more of an anti-hero to me.

Which leads me to my final point and why she’s on this list. In Batman : Arkham Knight Ivy is one of the earlier villains you apprehend but she’s different due to her refusal to work with Scarecrow on his big plan to ruin Gotham. When scarecrow does release his toxin it’s Ivy who chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice. By merging with an ancient tree beneath Gotham she is able to disperse the toxin and return clean air to the city. The strain is too much for her though but she died a hero with the unforgettable last words : “Nature Always Wins.”

Poison Ivy will always be one of my favorites because no matter what she does she always has a heart for the outcasts and downtrodden. Which is why she’s relatable and why she’s on my top 50.

Fandom Review(05/19/17)

Sorry about the lateness of this article but there have been some other big things going on such as Guardians and Secret Empire so here’s an article of just different quick hits that I’ve missed over the last few months.

Fox Marvel

So Fox is off and doing some big things with their side of the Marvel Universe and hopefully it pays off for them much better than the Horrendous X-Men : Apocalypse did.

First up we have “The Gifted” it’s an X-Men show directed by Bryan Singer and it’s focusing on a family on the run after their two children develop mutant abilities. It features well known X-Men like Polaris, Psylocke and Blink while not actually focusing on The X-Men team itself. This is something that I wouldn’t do because I think the X-Men are perfect for a television series but if you’re gonna go with a more basic storyline of Mutants on the run then this works and I think that Singer’s best work has been in televison(House) and so this might actually surprise me and be really good. Here’s the official trailer for the show :

Next, Fox has released the dates for three different X-Men films in 2018.

April 13: The New Mutants

I find it odd that the one that’s less than a year away is the one that I know the least about. Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nat Wolff have all been rumored to have different roles in the film but nothing’s confirmed yet, not even Xavier’s role is confirmed.

Josh Boone is the official director of the film and has hinted at Wolfsbane, Mirage, Cannonball, Sunspot, Magik, and Warlock being the main characters with Williams as Wolfsbane and Taylor-Joy as Magik. I’d be perfectly fine with those choices for them and I love all the other characters so I guess I’m ready for the new mutants…even though I hardly know anything about it.

June 1: Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is finally on it’s way for everyone who loved the first one. Josh Brolin has officially been cast as Cable and Zazie Beets will be playing Domino in this new film directed by David Leitch(John Wick)

My thoughts on the first one were of the minority of a lot of people but Ryan Reynolds does play a good Wade Wilson and if they focus on Deadpool more as an actual hero then I’ll be happy with this one.

November 2: Dark Phoenix

Now this one, I’m just struggling to have faith in. This isn’t the first time we’ve tried the Phoenix storyline and it’s also focusing on a Jean Grey that’s willing to kill someone in Cold Blood.(Angel, sorry about the spoilers but honestly the movie isn’t worth it.) I might just be ready for the entire series to go back to Marvel, who’s consistently given us great films. Unfortunately, Fox won’t do a merger. So we’re gonna have sub-par X-Men films for a long time.

Injustice 2

Injustice 2 is nothing short of Brilliant. It’s been an incredible playthrough and I haven’t completed the story just yet but I can say that the gameplay mechanics are incredibly improved for just about every character and the new characters fit into the roster very well. The balance between fighters is about as perfect as you can get for a fighting game and the only issue I had was with Green Lantern losing a good amount of his previous abilities but maybe I just need to play as him more because he’s honestly the only character I have a problem with so far.

The Multiverse Mode and The ability to customize your character only make for a more immersive experience and allow you to really get more out of your game. It makes it a lot more interesting to try out different loadouts for different play styles.

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about Injustice 2 and it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re a DC fan or a Fighting game fan.

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite

Obviously I’m really excited for this one. Although the previous outing had a few different issues for a modern day fighting game this one looks like it could more than redeem the series and bring it back to the forefront where it belongs. The two trailers reveal some pretty big additions to the game such as characters like Ultron, Sigma and Captain Marvel being in the game as well as the new infinity stone dynamic. According to the MVCI website you can choose an infinity stone before you fight to help out your character in a different way. So far the power and space stones are all we see being used in the trailers but we’ll no doubt see more soon enough.

Here’s the story trailer for you :

And here’s the gameplay trailer :

Shadow of War

Shadow of War is the sequel to monolith’s hit, Middle Earth : Shadow Of Mordor game. I’m very excited for this as I am a huge fan of the Middle Earth mythos, as well as the first game, and I just think that they’re going to improve on everything that made the first one great. The combat looks fresh and even more brutal and the nemesis system featuring attacking and defending strongholds is definitely a welcome change in dynamic for the series. I’m sure there will still be some stealth elements but I’m really happy to see a switch for larger battles that can test our consoles hardware.

And for those of us worried about exploration and being tied down to one area too much then check out this trailer :

I can’t wait for this game and I’ll probably be pre-ordering it soon.

 

Star Trek Discovery 

Star Trek is one of those fandoms that I just never got into. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it or that it wasn’t interesting to me. It just seemed Daunting to jump into a series that had 5o years of backstory. I had the same issue getting into shows like Doctor Who or animes that had hundreds of episodes like Dragon Ball or Naruto but after watching this trailer and falling in love with the reboot films then I have to say that I am incredibly ready for this series. James Frain as Sarek is basically fan-casting in my opinion and featuring multiple throwbacks to the original series while also going to new planets and new stories. Which makes me wonder, is there a big discovery that they find or is it just a fitting title for Star Trek in general? We’ll have to wait and see this fall.

 

Inhumans

Now a lot of people have been giving this picture a lot of crap and yes, Karnak and Gorgon don’t look perfect but honestly they kinda look deformed in the comics so maybe this is a good change in the aesthetic. Medusa is supposed to have a lot more hair but I’m assuming that it’ll expand and recede around her during fight scenes and anything else like that. Crystal looks like she’s just straight from the comics so I’m perfectly fine with her but the part of this image that really sticks out to me is Black Bolt and Maximus. I’ve never watched Hell on Wheels but I’ve heard that Anson Mount is great and I’m excited to see the gravitas he brings to the King of Inhumans and as for Maximus…Iwan Rheon was practically meant for this role. We know how great he is at playing a villain from Game Of Thrones and I think he’s gonna do some great things here.

Overall, I’m excited for this show and if I have the opportunity then I’m gonna go see it in Imax when it comes out but I do worry about both it, and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. struggling with a Friday night time-slot. It’s typically considered to be a death sentence for most shows and I hope this one breaks that rule.

DC Dark Days and Beyond…

There’s some big stuff going on over at DC, first off we have the major summer crossover that’s being spearheaded by Scott Snyder. Yeah, take that in for a bit. Snyder, arguably the best writer of the last ten years, is doing a major DC Crossover. First up is the two Dark Days Preludes : “The Forge” and “The Casting” and the only thing that’s really been revealed is that The Forge will have the first appearance of the Joker since Rebirth started…which is pretty huge in itself but there’s also been a secret of The DC universe that’s set to be revealed and then pave the way for “Dark Nights : Metal” which is the return of Snyder and Capullo working as a team. Here’s a preview image :

Batman with battleaxes, a bloody mouth and a tattered cape in front of a giant fire is about as Metal as it gets. Want more? I know. Here’s Capullo drawing the Justice League as Gladiators :

I might be too excited for this book. I have no idea what it’s actually about yet but I know it’s going to be fantastic.

Now as interesting as I think Metal is going to be this next image is what makes me have a lot of questions :

So we know from the above image that Dark Days, Night and Matter are banners for each different/period of Comics. According to reports from DC these new stories will focus heavily on the artworks as well as the writing and will even give the artists the top billing on the covers. Metal is going to be one of six different series but they’ve kept a lot of it close to their chests and I don’t blame them. They did release this image telling us which artist is working on what :

So far the only writer that I know of Scott Snyder, Who’s working on Metal with Capullo and on New Challengers with Andy Kubert. But I’m excited to see where some of these series go because these are genuinely some of the better artists in the world.

All of this is what will be leading us to Doomsday Clock which is due out in November.

Obviously I’m happy to see Johns and Frank coming back together to do anything but I’m especially happy that they’re handling the major crossover between DC and Watchmen. Apparently it’s been heavily influenced by different things that are happening in the world following the anger, fear and general divided state of the world and it’s people. It’s being described as Optimism Vs Pessimism by Johns and will mainly focus on Dr. Manhattan and Superman. Other characters will show up but they’re the main focus and I think that’s the best way to do it. My thoughts on Watchmen have always been a minority and I’m glad that from the sound of it, Johns and I fully agree on the story but we’ll get to that and more on this crossover soon enough in my article : “Rebirth Revisited”

The Fall Of The House Of Marvel

*Major Spoiler Warning For Civil War II, Secret Empire and Captain America : Steve Rogers*

Imagine for me, if you will, that you’re a seven or eight year old that’s going to Free Comic Book Day. You’re looking through and you pick up different ones here and there but then you see one called Secret Empire and it has Captain America on the cover. Well you love the Marvel films and love everything about Captain America…until you pick it up and realize that the entire issue is all of your favorite heroes being defeated by Captain America and agents of Hydra in the most brutal way possible.

Vision is infected with a virus, Scarlet Witch goes Catatonic, Thor drops the hammer, Black Widow gets shot, Iron Man gets stabbed, Quicksilver gets electrocuted, both Spider-Men are beaten within an inch of their life…and it’s lead by Captain America who then is able to pick up Mjolnir for himself while he stands on top of the bodies of Spider-Man(Peter Parker), Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Quicksilver and Hulk.

Quick Recap : All of your heroes have been defeated before your eyes, Mjolnir’s entire history is rewritten…thus ruining most Thor stories, your other heroes like Captain Marvel and the Guardians are about to be killed by an alien race and worst of all : It was all part of Steve Roger’s Plan. He wanted to destroy the entire Marvel universe from within and he’s not brainwashed. It’s all him.

Everything I just told you about happens in a free comic that Marvel has published for mass production…that’s primarily targeted for children and people looking to get into Comics for the first time. In other words, This is the Fall of Heroes, The Fall of Good Writers, This is the Fall of The House of Marvel.

I don’t want to write this article. I want to tell you that everything is perfect in Marvel Comics, but as a Writer and a Fan I can’t sit idly by and allow this to continue without writing against it and that starts with this : I’m Sorry. I was Wrong.

A little under a year ago I wrote an article defending Nick Spencer’s Captain America plot twist where he was revealed as a Hydra Agent. I even compared the man to Stan Lee. I have never been so wrong and I want to apologize for the article because Spencer and Marvel have since proven that they don’t actually care about their fans thoughts and ignore the problems with Sales.

I want to be wrong about this article so badly, but I don’t see it happening.

Let’s rewind about about a year and a half ago. Marvel has acquired writers such as Kelly Thompson, Chelsea Cain, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Dennis Hopeless, Greg Pak over the preceding months and is focusing on building up a lot of their lesser known heroes and books and allowing them to flourish and become headliners alongside the likes of Iron Man and Captain America and everything seems to be going good. Secret Wars was a great event and we’ve got some really interesting storylines on the horizon with only a few problems here and there.(And that mainly depends on your view of Jane Foster as Thor.) It looked like Marvel was on the way to a brilliant new age of wonder and Then it all starts to fall apart around the time that Civil War II happens : War Machine gets killed by Thanos, Hulk gets killed, Hawkeye is his killer and is now on the run, Iron Man’s in a coma, Captain Marvel is now an outcast and of course : Steve Rogers is a Hydra Agent.

Seriously, It was like The Red Wedding of Comics. Joe Quesada, Axel Alonso, and Tom Brevoort basically came up to us and said “Rob Liefeld sends his regards” and then stabbed us. (I know that Bendis wrote most of the events I just spoke about but I feel like there was a lot of editorial interference during that.) But many of us still had hope, we said “Wait and see what happens.” “Nick Spencer’s had a good run.” or “It’s not the same Steve Rogers or something like that.” But we were all deceived just like the characters in the story and I get it : “Hey, let’s boost sales and get people talking about crazy things.” But that’s where their problem lies, no one likes this storyline. The only marvel comics that have consistently been selling were either Spider-Man or Star Wars Titles and that makes sense considering most of those have phenomenal writers with them whereas Nick Spencer is all flash and no substance. Once again, I admit that was wrong to write my previous article about Nick Spencer being a decent writer…but here’s why I did it.

Most people know me to be an optimist but I also try to think things through logically and logic never allowed to considered that they would actually do this with Cap. When Steve originally said, “Hail Hydra” for the first time it was at the end of his first new comic for a while and this was after he and Sharon had discussed them doing something drastic to take down this new Hydra regime. So I thought : “Hey, he’s gonna be deep undercover and then he’ll have to keep his secret and it’s basically gonna be like 24 only starring Steve Rogers.” All of that would’ve been fine but then they made it seem like he was brainwashed and I was ok with it…it’s incredibly overdone but comics have always redone a lot of storylines before but then the unthinkable happened. What’s changed in the last few months is that it’s not brainwashing, or regular reality warping that has changed him. No, what happened was the Cap that we knew was from a fake version of reality where WWII was won by the allies and Cap was a hero. Instead, what Nick Spencer is saying is that the Axis was the actual winners of the war and that the Steve Rogers we’re seeing now is the real one.

Let that sink in. Axel Alonso, Tom Brevoort and Joe Quesada all allowed Nick Spencer to say that the actual reality is one where the Nazi’s won WWII. That hurt and offended me just by writing about it. So just take a second before you continue reading.

Still here? Ok, so let’s just skip how offensive that is from a historical level because clearly Marvel doesn’t care about that. Let’s stick with what we know for right now. Marvel comics has a plethora of characters and if they’re going to do this storyline then I can’t think of a character that this would be worst for except Magneto, Black Widow or any character of Color. Literally name another Marvel character and the storyline could possibly work but not this symbol of hope. Which, by the way, has died. Rick Jones is a character that has evolved through the years but he’s basically the Jimmy Olsen of Marvel. Recently he was a tech-whiz that spilled a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. secrets and then spilled Hydra ones as well. After this happens he’s captured for treason and tell’s Steve that Captain America is still his hero.(Wait, it gets worse.) Then he’s going to be executed by Firing Squad and his last words are “Avengers Assemble!” right before he gets mowed down. Yup, Congratulations Kids. There go all of your hopes and dreams.

Obviously this offends me as a Captain America fan but I’m fine. I’ve been through comic mishaps before and I still believe in heroes and I know that following this they’ll try to get Cap back on top eventually but the reason I’m worried is because we’re at a new place and Marvel has a lot of work to do to fix things. They have some absolutely amazing writers and if you stick to the right books then Marvel’s ok right now but this is a line wide event that makes multiple people uncomfortable. Marvel has also sent out promotional materials designed to be a Hydra Takeover of Comic Book stores and of different comic sites(It will not happen here. Period.) but different stores have spoken against it. The most poignant being from Greg Gage in Utah saying : “There’s a rise of anti-Semitic behavior in this world right now. The last thing I want to do is force my queer, Jewish employee to wear a Hail Hydra shirt.” I don’t blame him and yes, other stores like the event and are using it to boost their sales. That’s their right and they’re more than welcome to support it but as for me. I don’t support it.

Marvel has even had the audacity to say that the recent sales numbers could’ve been caused by Diversity and people’s hesitance to support Female Heroes or Heroes of Color. Considering that Black Panther was the best selling comic of 2016 and that characters like Kamela Khan and Miles Morales are fan favorites I’m fairly sure that isn’t the problem.

I just don’t know how they’re gonna turn it around and make this seem better for the company as a whole. I will be getting Secret Empire over the next few months but it’s only to stay up-to-date on the story. I’m ready for Marvel Generations/Legacy which is going to follow Secret Empire and is supposedly about getting back to the basic Marvel characters which could definitely turn things around but it’s still not going to be easy.

In conclusion, I miss Marvel. I miss Captain America. I’ll always believe that it will get better but it’s difficult when one of the heroes I learned that from has become a villain.

“Never Break The Chain” Guardians of the Galaxy Review(Spoiler Free)

So I’m going to do this without spoilers…which is going to be difficult because they honestly hadn’t revealed anything in any of the trailer. Which I thought was a very smart move for James Gunn to have control over marketing and showed great care over his work.

Now, I have to admit that the cosmic side of Marvel is one that I’ve never been incredibly knowledgeable on but since the first film I’ve tried to enlighten myself a bit more from time to time. The fan in me was incredibly happy about them building on different aspects of the series by adding in new characters and new elements that I won’t spoil here but they also allowed me to care more about the characters that we had already seen. Characters like Nebula, Yondu and Kraglin not only get more screen time but they also get more involved stories and I genuinely enjoyed learning about them.

This film also allows us to build on the main five characters as well. Rocket, in particular, gets a bigger storyline in this one and it made me love his character even more than I already did. About 20 to 30 minutes into the film, certain characters split up for different reasons and they all get different introspective moments with other characters and it creates a really great storyline where we get to learn more about everyone we’re watching and it’s just done very well. It wouldn’t work as well in any other film but between the charisma of Gunn’s writing and direction and the ever impressive cast it works when it probably shouldn’t. That’s the true strength of this film, the knowledge that any other team would’ve let this movie fall flat but Marvel Studios knows exactly what they’re doing.

I’m gonna counter on the reviews that have said that this film doesn’t have the same magic as the first one because I think it does but in a different way. This isn’t the same Guardians movie because this isn’t our first time seeing them, it’s obviously gonna be very different and I think it works in their favor that they try out new things in this one.

It does have to be said that the entire cast shines in this one, the returning heroes only get better the more we see of them and new characters like Kurt Russell as Ego and Pom Klementieff as Mantis make this even better. Russell is clearly having the time of his life in this role and you can tell that this won’t be the last time we see a talent like Klementieff. I can’t say much more about their roles but just take my word that they’re great.

And of course the soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. It’s the perfect backdrop to the rest of the film from the opening of “Mr. Blue Sky” to the best usage of “The Chain” that I’ve ever seen.

Overall, this film is not only a perfect representation of the Guardians but even just Superhero films in general. It draws a balance between comedy and drama that many films only hope to come close to.

A Return To The Stars

Long before I began on my journey as a writer, certainly before I picked up my first comic and even before I travelled all across Middle-Earth there was one fandom that started it all : Star Wars.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars coming out and that’s why I wanted to talk about what this series meant to me. With the exception of Star Trek or Flash Gordon, we had never seen anything like it until this film, we were given glimpses into the lives of these fantastical characters and new worlds that we never wanted to leave and there’s always more on the horizon even far after the main characters stories are told.

The first film was what introduced us to characters like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca and many other classics that would stick with us for years. But why? Why were these wild stories so close to us? I think it’s because we’ve all felt like Luke before, I think we’ve all worried about our place in the universe and I think that resonates with us. We’ve all wanted to be Strong like Leia, cool like Han, wise like Obi-Wan or Yoda and loyal like Chewbacca, R2-D2 or C-3PO. That’s why Star Wars hits home with us is because of how powerful the storyline is. There will never be a scene that affected me more as a kid then Vader saving Luke from the emperor and him wanting to see Luke with his own eyes one time. We finally saw Anakin for what he was and it’s just an incredibly powerful and emotional scene.

Another reason the film was groundbreaking was THX and ILM. These studios basically built the special effects department and it’s why most of their effects still hold up to this day. Practical Effects will always hold up because they still look real even if the film is older and that’s why movies like The Force Awakens and Rogue One stuck with them so much. Their stop motion work with the AT-AT’s on Hoth was nothing short of phenomenal and it’s clear to see why that scene is considered so iconic. Think of Star wars in your head and you might get a certain visual of something you loved like a character or a ship or a lightsaber but the lightsaber doesn’t work as well without sound and the sound of the Tie-Fighters is what makes the Death Star battle so intense. Think of most of your major blockbusters over the last 30 years and they were probably helped by something that ILM or THX created. Prime Example : You like Pixar? John Lasseter got his start with ILM along with half of the staff from the first Toy Story. In other words, would we have had Pixar if it wasn’t for Star Wars? Possibly, but it still would be very different.

And of course, we can’t talk about Star Wars without mentioning John Williams. His work on multiple different films have made him one of the most iconic composers of the last 50 years but it’s Star Wars that’s his crowning achievement. Whether it was something classical like “The Imperial March” or something new like “Duel Of The Fates” John Williams’ music is something that we all associate with Star Wars.

Memory is an interesting thing because I can’t tell you when I first saw these films and I can’t tell you the exact moment that the love of this galaxy overtook me but I can tell you exactly how it felt to hold a micro-machines X-Wing in my hand and imagine that there were worlds out there with stories for ages. I can tell you how I longed to become a Jedi Knight like Luke following Obi-Wan. But most of all I can tell you how it felt when me, my family and my friends got together to watch these films and enjoy the galaxy of lore together. When I really look back at it, to paraphrase Obi-Wan, these were my first steps towards wanting to become an entertainer. I’ve always wanted to create stories and characters like these because I want people years from now to have the same feelings as I did when I first saw the Tantive IV being chased by the Star Destroyer, watched the Millennium Falcon narrowly dodge Tie-Fghters or was drawn to the edge of my seat as Luke made the Trench Run on the Death Star.

That’s what Star Wars truly means to me. It’s the nostalgia of that childhood magic, the excitement of the battles and the wonder that there’s something else just beyond that horizon. It’s that feeling that carries me through my career…and that’s all because of Star Wars.

“It’s so much bigger” Star Wars Celebration 2017

Major Spoilers for The Force Awakens and Rogue One to Follow!!!

Over the weekend Star Wars Celebration was going on in Orlando and obviously this was a big weekend for me for a lot of reasons but the main one was the reveal of The Last Jedi trailer. There was a lot to cover but I’ll mainly be focusing on The Last Jedi and Star Wars Battlefront II. I won’t be talking much about Rebels because I’m not caught up with Season 3 just yet but that being said, Season 4 looks great and I think it will be a fantastic finale for this series.

 

Star Wars Battlefront II

This year will see the release of Star Wars Battlefront II, EA and Dice are trying to do better than their previous outing in the Star Wars franchise which was panned by critics and fans alike for various problems. While it looked and sounded absolutely phenomenal it was plagued by a lack of content, few planet choices, no space battles, no clone wars, and little to no single player experience. Add all of this plus the fact that the only way to get more content was to pay $50-$60 dollars for the Downloadable Content…A good amount of people were very upset about this game. I waited until The season pass went on Sale after Rogue One came out and finally got it and the entire game felt full and satisfactory but it was only after I bought the extra content. I’m hoping that they’ve learned from their first mistakes and fix most of the issues.

The first trailer revealed the addition of Space Battles, the addition of all eras of the films including the Prequels and The Force Awakens and a very intense Single Player Campaign from the look of it. They’ve announced that different parts of the studio will be handling different aspects of the game which makes a lot of sense for one group to focus on the campaign, one to focus on the ground battles and one to focus on the space battles.

From what I can gather from the trailer and EA’s Website, The Campaign will focus on Iden Versio, The Commander of Inferno Squad and will open on Endor during the destruction of the second Death Star and will continue through various battles leading up to The Force Awakens.

They’ve also said that they’re adding a class system similar to the Battlefield games and I think that’ll work a lot better than Star Cards or pick-ups.

I have a lot of hopes for this game and everything sounds great and I hope they can stick the landing. I will be pre-ordering the deluxe edition soon…mainly just to make sure I get The Last Jedi versions of Kylo Ren and Rey.

 

Forces Of Destiny

Forces Of Destiny is a new youtube miniseries that’s going to focus on the great female characters of Star Wars such as Leia, Rey, Ashoka and the rest. It’s been announced that pretty much everyone from the Cartoons and Films are reprising their roles for the series which is gonna be great. It’ll start sometime this summer and I fully intend to share all of the episodes on here and our Facebook page.

Below is a picture of the dolls they’re releasing for the series. Sabine looks a little wonky and Jyn looks the most accurate but I need that Rey and BB-8 in my life.

 

Captain Phasma

Phasma is officially getting her own comic which will bridge the gap between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. I’m incredibly excited about this for the main reason that the lack of Captain Phasma in Force Awakens was my only complaint about the film. It seemed like a wasted opportunity but between this comic and her addition in The Last Jedi trailer I hope that we’ll get to know a lot more about Phasma.

Personally, I think it’d be awesome if she was revealed as one of the Knights of Ren…I doubt it will happen but it would be pretty awesome if it was true.

The Last Jedi

 

Whoa, now I’ve discussed this trailer with a lot of different people and this is what I’ve come up with :

1. This trailer is very Luke heavy and that’s perfectly fine by me. He has the first lines spoken and I think that it’s an important piece of Dialogue from both the standpoints of story as well as meta-textual, remember that the very first line of The Force Awakens was “This will begin to make things right.” Which once again worked within the context of the story and the idea that these films will be much better than…certain things that have come before. Dialogue is very important in these films and a perfect example of that is “Breathe, just Breathe. Reach out. What do you see?” See, with The Force Awakens we were just now getting back into Star Wars but now we’ve had time to process the return and now we get to focus on a brand new story.

2. The next thing we see is a Resistance control room, presumably with Leia running things like she does, Rey says she sees Light. Then we see Kylo Ren’s broken mask, Rey says she see’s Darkness. Then we see what looks to be an old school Jedi altar, it basically looks like something from the Mortis trilogy in The Clone Wars or from the Bendu in Rebels which I think is awesome. I love that they’ve focused on building up the force in this trailer. I really think we’re gonna see some new stuff like we did with Kylo Ren holding the blaster bolt and using telepathy.

3. Then we see some really quick hits featuring a new speeder squadron going to charge against AT-AT’s, we see Finn in recovery after his duel with Kylo Ren, we see Poe and BB-8 running through a hall just as Poe’s X-Wing explodes…which broke my heart cause I love his X-Wing and we see a space battle towards the end of this part which is going to be great but the key element of this part is 3 very quick scenes, a close up of Kylo Ren holding his lightsaber out amid a firey backdrop, a building burning in the distance as a man falls to his knees next to R2-D2 and Captain Phasma leading a group of Stormtroopers through a firey hallway. I think that all three of these scenes are done as a flashback sequence to reveal the truth behind Ben Solo’s transformation into Kylo Ren and the destruction of Luke’s Jedi Academy. Notice that this is his original Tri-Saber even though his original lightsaber was destroyed in his duel against Rey and she also scarred his face and it does look like he might have one but it’s kinda hard to tell. There have been Rumors that we’ll see him build his new Lightsaber in this film which would be a great and emotional scene to see him make that rite of passage and it would also work in perfect juxtaposition to Rey making her own lightsaber instead of using Luke’s. Although the lightsaber building is only rumored for the two characters it would be a really cool scene to see from both perspectives.

4. The final point behind this entire trailer hinges on that final scene where we see the silhouette of Luke and he says “I only know one truth, it’s time for the Jedi to end.”

Let’s dissect his Dialogue here for a bit : After Rey says what she sees, he tells her “It’s so much bigger.” and then at the end he says “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” That’s some really heavy stuff coming from him. See, my biggest question after The Force Awakens was “Why would Luke not be there? Why would he allow all of this to happen without his guiding hand to stop the first order?” Well what if everything he believed was undone? What if he realized that the Jedi and Sith weren’t the only two groups to use the force? Let’s go over this list of Force Users : Snoke, Kylo Ren, Maz Kanata, Chirrut Imwe, The Bendu, The Mortis Family, The Nightsisters and The Inquisitors. All of these characters use the force in some way and none of them identify as Jedi or Sith. I think the ultimate point of the Last Jedi is that Luke is the Last Jedi and he wants Rey to be something better. The Jedi served their purpose and their time has passed, I don’t think Luke is turning evil and I don’t think that he’s just a grey Jedi. I think that Luke has realized that the Jedi were the reason that Anakin turned to the dark side and I think that Yoda was being prophetic when he said “When gone am I, the last of the Jedi you will be.” I really like the idea of Rey being something new.

Also, this is what I think Snoke is. A new player from a new teaching of the dark side that we haven’t seen. He never claims to be a sith and neither does Kylo and that is very telling to me as a writer and as a fan…and I think Luke is actually searching for the answers behind the beginning of the force and where it split off besides the Jedi and The Sith.

5. My final point of the trailer is this : This film will not be what we expected by any means and I’m totally Ok with that. Rogue One already proved that Disney and Lucasfilm can make a darker Star Wars film without hurting the source material and I think The Last Jedi will be a darker film as well. It’s like I always said, The Force Awakens can be nostalgic for the classical feel so The Last Jedi can be something different entirely. Luke is my favorite character and I can’t wait to see what he’s been up to and just how powerful he’s become.

Comics 101 : How Four Men Saved the X-Men.

The year is 1975, Marvel comics has halted production on new stories for the X-Men comics and have instead been reprinting different stories from their earlier run. X-Men had been a dying franchise and was about to be cancelled due to poor sales and general lack of interest…until Marvel decided to publish Giant Size X-Men #1. Now; I’m not sure if this was the plan of The Editor(Marv Wolfman), The Writer(Len Wein) or The Artist(Dave Cockrum) but these men would be creating a multi-million dollar idea. 42 years later and The X-Men are considered one of the biggest franchises Marvel has, but why do I point to this issue as the saving grace? This was the team that introduced us to characters like Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus as well as make Wolverine a staple for comics in general, paved the way for stories such as Days Of Future Past, The Dark Phoenix Saga and The Trial Of Magneto. This comic is why we know who the X-Men are and since April 1st is it’s anniversary I decided to do an article on it.

Up to this point, The X-Men had just been 5 students of Charles Xavier who happened to go on missions from Time to Time but they were honestly pretty boring and just couldn’t hold up to The Fantastic Four or Spider-Man. With the second team, they added diversity to it by making every member of a different nationality and made sure to focus on them working as a team by building their personalities, giving us their backstories in a very quick but effective way and laying the stepping stones for the group to grow. These weren’t inexperienced heroes either, most of them had a grasp on their powers and we didn’t have to focus entire issues on Wolverine learning how to extend his claws; instead, we got a group that would slowly become a team. Their growth and looking at the character development from 1975 to 1991 is genuinely one of the best parts about the X-Men and we owe it to these three men.

This comic did have one other factor who wouldn’t be added until later : Chris Claremont. Claremont is quite possibly my favorite comic writer of all time. The man is an absolute genius and his work on this series has proven why. He created most of the X-Men characters that we care about and was the man who made all the other characters work. He even made the original 5 X-Men interesting, Something that even Stan Lee couldn’t do for too long.

 

It can’t be looked over that he also gave us what is arguably Marvel’s best rogue’s gallery. Look at this list : Mystique, Apocalypse, Sabretooth and the Brood just to name a few. All of these characters are incredibly different and each have brilliant backstories that Claremont fleshed out over his run. But, in my opinion, Claremont’s crowning achievement is his work on Magneto. Whether it was his rivalry with Cyclops, his friendship with Professor X or his want to actually live in peace, these were the things that have made Magneto Marvel’s best villain…and one of it’s best characters in general.

This man gave us 16 years of a whole new universe to explore and it was all because of the freedom he was given after Giant Size X-Men #1 and the success of his early run. His earlier books were done by Dave Cockrum but he was followed by the likes of John Byrne, Terry Austin, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Romita Jr., Jim Lee and many others who would give us some truly stunning art over the years and create a mythos that will never die.

Since Giant Size X-Men #1, The X-Men have gone on to have multiple Television Series, Films and Comic Book Series that have been one of Marvel’s leading seller throughout most of the last 30 years or so. The X-Men have grown beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and it’s not hard to see why. The X-Men will always be a staple of Marvel and it’s all because of four men who took a risk in 1975.

#42 – Tim Drake

When Tim Drake was a boy, he was at Haly’s Circus when Dick Grayson’s parents were killed. Later he deciphered from pictures and from his photographic memory who Batman and Robin were. After Dick Grayson had become Nightwing and Jason Todd was killed, Batman became more erratic and less controlled. Tim realized this and found Nightwing and told him that Batman needed help. Tim and Nightwing explained to Batman that he needs a Robin to keep him grounded so that he wouldn’t take so many risks if he had someone else to care for out in the field.

Later Tim Drake became the third Robin and was shown to be an exceptional detective and an excellent hand-to-hand combatant. Tim has been considered by many to be the best Robin and that’s typically my opinion as well.I love that his origin begins by realizing that Batman needs a Robin; Tim steps up when one of our greatest heroes needs a hero himself.

He’s also had a prolific career with the Teen Titans; forming lasting relationships with Connor Kent and Cassie Sandsmark. It was always interesting to see these three be the new generation of the titans while following the likes of Dick Grayson, Donna Troy and Wally West, but I digress because my love of the titans is for another article.

One of the other things I love about Tim is that he fought to earn becoming Robin and that he was the only one who didn’t give up on Bruce when he was thought dead after Final Crisis. That’s why Tim is a great character, he’s very intelligent and always trying to understand the things around even when they don’t make sense. It’s his drive to discover and his will to work for it that places him in my top 50.

 

#43 – Sam Wilson

And we finally have a Marvel character on the list! I feel like were getting nervous that I was just doing DC but no, it’s a fairly even list all the way through.

 

Sam Wilson is the Falcon, a man who uses metal wings to fly and has an almost telepathic ability to connect with his bird, Redwing. Sam was a notable character in the late 60’s and early 70’s because at the time he and Black Panther were really the only two heroes of Color.(This was a few years before characters like Luke Cage, John Stewart and Black Lightning step up) But even beyond him being a symbol of diversity and the civil rights movement, Sam has always been a hero of the people such as : His very first appearance involves him stopping a group of Former Nazi’s from turning the natives of a tropical island into their serfs…So yeah, if you’ve got a problem then Sam has your back, no matter what.

The best part about Sam is his ability to take things as they come and keep pushing on. He’s always been a fighter like that and that’s why he and Steve Rogers are such good friends. They’ve each overcomed tragedy through the years but it never changes who they are.

That fact was made even more relevant in recent years. There was a point where Steve retired as Captain America and Sam stepped up to fill the role. Many people were angry with this development, even protesting with slogans like “Not My Captain America” and he just kept going on and doing what he did best : saving people. There were even a few times where he went against S.H.I.E.L.D. just so he could keep fighting the good fight and that’s what we can take from all of this is that Sam will take hits from every side but he’ll always remain that kind of person and that kind of hero.

Anthony Mackie has portrayed Sam in four different Marvel films and Each one has just gotten better, much like he does. They adapted his storyline a little bit to better fit in the films but every decision makes perfect sense and they do it in a way that doesn’t hurt his character.

Comics 101 : The Death Of Gwen Stacy

Every person in their lives has a turning point, whether it’s the death of a loved one, a new job, a new city or even a new friend. It’s a constant fact of life that things will happen which will change everything you knew before. The same thing happens in our stories, Frodo finds the ring, Luke loses his aunt and uncle and Bruce loses his parents, these moments affected these characters deeply and set them on a new path and Spider-Man is no different. Peter Parker is a character that has never been unfamiliar with tragedy, his very origin story involves his uncle dying while trying to stop a mugger, later he would witness the death of Captain Stacy and his best friend’s struggle with Drugs but it wasn’t until Amazing Spider-Man #121-#122 when he and comics would truly change forever.

In 1972, Gerry Conway started writing for Amazing Spider-Man, his run on the comic was truly phenomenal and only got better as it went on and it has to be stated that he started writing it while he was only 20 years old which is insane to think of all that he was doing. He began to craft a story that was very personal, his Peter struggled constantly in the same way that he did during Stan Lee’s run but he never stopped being who he was. He had everyday problems like the rest of us and that struggle which made him even more of a relatable character. His love life had almost always been in flux until he got to Gwen, Gwen Stacy was the love of his life and she was perfect for him. She was sweet and kind and everyone who knew her loved her. She was never a big fan of Spider-Man though and even less so after her father died during one of Spider-Man’s fights with Doctor Octopus. Peter was going to explain everything to her and reveal his identity to her when the tragedy struck.

Norman Osborn had returned as the Green Goblin and found out that Peter Parker and Spider-Man were the same person. He kidnapped Gwen to draw Peter out and took to the top of the George Washington Bridge. A battle ensues where Gwen is pushed off the edge of the bridge, Spider-Man has seconds to act and he spins a web to catch her and it grabs her ankle but the whiplash causes her neck to snap. Peter doesn’t realize what he’s done until he pulls her up and resuscitate her.

This moment shook the character and the world of comics as a whole, it’s ramifications are still felt today in the issues of Spider-Man’s various comics. This turning point caused us to realize that our heroes can fail. Up until this point every hero was always able to save the day…until Spider-Man. Now, I can hear people already : “So, you hate Spider-Man?” or “So you think he’s a bad hero?” Nope. Spider-Man will always be one of the world’s greatest even after everything that happened and it’s how they wrote it that makes it that way. Peter is devastated after Gwen’s death and his entire career after that is working to avoid that situation but when it ultimately comes down to it : it was no one’s fault. It was a tragic accident that no one could’ve helped. It was a moment where we truly felt connected with Spider-Man because we’ve all felt helpless before where no matter how hard we try to fix something it never seems to get any better. But what do we do when that happens? Do we give up? No, we carry on like Peter does. His choices following this moment all have immensely more weight to them due to this and are even felt today.

It has to be spoken of how great of a job they did with the Peter and Gwen relationship in The Amazing Spider-Man films. I know, they may not be the best movies but the two of are done incredibly well in them and I loved that they handled her death in a very personal way that really focused on Peter’s love for her.

Gwen Stacy has since become an even more important character in the comics now due to where she stands as a figure of Peter’s past and his constant reminder of how to carry on. Different stories have referenced her in the years since she’s been gone and some of them have been awful but stories like Marvels, Spider-Man : Blue and The Clone Conspiracy have handled her incredibly well and made her character much more than just a girlfriend who died. Gwen was his life and he lost her that night.