Archive for the ‘Comic Books’ Category

Street Fighter G.I. Joe is a crossover from the famous Capcom fighting game and the Hasbro toy property. The first issue revolves around four one on one fights between characters of each property. Those fights being C. Viper vs Snake Eyes, Rufus vs Baroness, Hakan vs Roadblock, and Ryu vs Jinx. There are some surprises as to who wins each fight, they all don’t go as expected.

As the fights go on we get some background information on the overall story. M. Bison (the evil boss of Street Fighter II) is the dictator of Mriganka, and head of the Shaoaloo Crime Syndicate. Mriganka is hosting the World Warrior Tournament, (the fighting tournament that you play through in the Street Fighter games). In this story the tournament is sponsored by M.A.R.S. industries, which is the weapons company run Cobra’s Destro. Apparently there is some yet to be revealed weapon that is fueled by one on one combat.

There are some alliances between Street Fighter and Cobra characters, along with the Baroness scheming with and possibly against Destro. The over the top nature of the Street Fighter brawls is evident with this issue, as guns and knives are used during battle, along with the Hadoken energy blasts. There’s also a reference to the S.I.N. designed battle suits.

There are so many characters in both franchises that naturally a comic about a 16 person tournament was going to leave some people out. There’s supplementary material in the back of the issue where we’re briefed on qualifying rounds. Several preliminary fights are described in one paragraph each where it is explained how various fan favorite characters did not make the cut.

Also in the back of the issue is a list of the overall bracket for the tournament. It is also illustrated which fights will be in which issue of the comic. Looking at the bracket one can probably guess what the final fight will be.

The art style and the coloring is a nice blend between the 80s style animation of G.I. Joe and the graphics of the 90s arcade. This first issue is a fun read that leaves you looking forward to more fights and more of the background story.

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At the end of Captain America: Winter Soldier, it is revealed that Hydra has possession of the scepter that Loki had during Avengers. How Hydra acquired the scepter is the focus of Age of Ultron Prelude: This Scepter’d Isle. It is a digitally exclusive comic that serves as a prelude to the upcoming Age of Ultron film.

According to this story SHIELD initially had the scepter, as they acquired a lot of the alien technology after the Battle of New York in Avengers. They are analyzing it at S.T.A.T.I.O.N. the Scientific Tactical Intelligence Operating Network. SHIELD agents are named, including Mark Smith, Nicholas Cooper, and Mark Basso. I don’t believe that these are pre-existing characters. There’s a certain SHIELD agent who is disgruntled with the agency,and gets recruited by Baron Strucker (who apparently has hair in the MCU) to join Hydra. They steal the scepter and take it to their lab in Sokovia, a fictional politically unstable European country.

There’s a Dr. List character that runs experiments on the scepter (which I suppose the audience knows contains an infinity gem) and they use its energies to experiment on people. Looking for test subjects they turn to the student demonstrators that protest against the Sokovian government. They tell the students that they need power themselves to affect change, the kind of power the Avengers have. Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, twin siblings who eventually become Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, are among the demonstrators.

It ends with a recreation of the post credit scene in Winter Soldier, where some of the human volunteers have died from the experiment, but the twins have developed powers.

This Scepter’d Isle is a nice one in done story that fills in some interesting background to the upcoming Age of Ultron film, which is what is set out to do.

The comic can be purchased here on Comixology.

This two issue series that ties into the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes place in the 1980s. The specific year/date is not set, but the story involves Hank Pym crossing the Berlin Wall on a secret mission. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989, so at the latest this story takes place in the 1980s.

Hank Pym is a SHIELD scientist, and has apparently discovered what will be the Pym particle, which allows him to shrink his body to be just a few inches tall. Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s/Iron Man’s father and founder of SHIELD wants a covert team to use the Pym Particles to sneak across the Berlin Wall on a mission. Pym doesn’t want to share the secrets of the Pym particle to fall into the wrong hands, and insists that if anyone should use the particle it’s him.

We get a nice surprise appearance from Agent Carter, who is still with SHIELD and obviously drawn to look older. She agrees to prep him for his solo mission and gives a nice use of the “I think it works” line from the first Captain America film. There’s also some Davis character with Pym in the lab but I don’t know who that was.

The first issue ends with a cliffhanger that to some may be reminiscent of Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. The second issue deals mainly with the mission and is filled with action beats. The mission is that some radical group SHIELD was watching got a hold of old Hydra tech and are reverse engineering it. The villains in this book are faceless/not actual characters, but while Peggy states that Hydra was cut down decades ago one of them does say Hail Hydra and they are in Hydra uniforms. The technology in question is a memory wiping device reminiscent of what was used on Winter Soldier. This group apparently kidnapped some poor victim to test it on.

The story ends with Pym realizing there’s important work out there in the field that only the Pym particle can handle, but his experiences reinforced the idea that only he should use the particle. This implies that, as Ant Man, he’ll be an active field agent for SHIELD.

The Ant Man prelude set’s the stage for the Ant Man prelude and establishes Pym as an active field agent. It would be cool to see more comics and maybe a video game about Ant Man missions for SHIELD, but for now the stage is set for the Ant Man movie.

This digital prequel comic to the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy opens with a recap of the mid credit scene from Thor the Dark World. Immediately after this scene the Collector goes to Conjunction, “a dead world in the coldest regions of the galaxy,” which is also a hub for black market technology. Skrull detectors are mentioned in passing, as are Xandarians. Amusingly enough there’s also a sign in English for a Casino. We see lots of aliens in the background, none I recognize from the Marvel Universe (However Ronan is later mentioned by name). There appear to be creatures resembling encounter aliens actually. The Conjunction sequence seems to purposely resemble the Mos Eisely/Tatooine sequence from Star Wars.

Anyway the Collector recruits a particular character from Guardians of the Galaxy to recruit a particular object, and the story goes from there. It appears to be a true prequel to it’s film namesake, more so than the Captain America/Winter solider digital comic. These comics that take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seem to more and more actually show real events taking place, as opposed to being just filler stories.

The comic can be bought here. 

This 1996 crossover has two of comic books most popular covert teams, Marvel’s Weapon X, (whose team members include Wolverine and Sabertooth) and Image/Wildstorm’s Team 7 both engaged in separate secret missions that have them both end up at the same location. That location is some secret base in the middle east that is doing super soldier experiments. Marvel’s Russian mutant foe Omega Red is present, as is a woman named Mirelle Dupless who I presume to be a villaness from Wildstorm.

There’s some nice back and forth bits as the two teams and their backup intel realize they’re not the only ones on a mission. It’s scripted by G. I. Joe alum Larry Hama so there’s lots of military lingo and the action feels authentic even though it involves super powered characters. It’s a one and done story that ends with a twist involving Mystique. Given the concept I would have liked to have seen a longer story with even more intrigue but for what it is it was entertaining.

P.S. We also get some Dossiers in the back about the characters which was nice.

King’s Watch is a new comic book from Dynamite crossing the action heroes from King’s Features; Flash Gordon, the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, and Lothar.

The series opens with Earth in mass hysteria as people all over the world have nightmares about monsters and other horrific imagery. Meanwhile some strange atmospheric phenomenon is occurring  and reporter Dale Arden is investigating. Mandrake the Magician has an ominous moment in his home, and there’s a few mystic characters in Africa but I’m not sure who they were.

Elsewhere in Africa, Lothar and the Phantom fight a giant monster in West Tanzania in a pretty cool action sequence. Flash Gordon here is the son of a CEO who is setting up private space exploration. Flash has met Dr. Zarkoff the issue ends with them flying off into space investigating the phenomenon.

While the source of the phenomenon appears to be from Flash Gordon mythology, it does not appear to be Ming the Merciless. So far it seems like a good concept and I’m curious to read more.

Rise of the Gaurdians is almost like the Avengers or even the Expendables for elementary kids. It’s the story of Santa Clause, Jack Frost, the Easter Bunny, Mr. Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy teaming up to fight the boogey man.

Jack Frost is the introductory character. He gets recruited by the Man in the Moon to be the new Guardian. The conceit of this movie is that the Guardians protect children and get their strength from the beliefs of children. Apparently the Boogeyman ruled during the Dark Ages until Santa Clause and the other Guardians fought him off. Now (for some reason) he is back and wants revenge.

Santa is a sword wielding Russian tough guy, the Easter Bunny is a cynical Australian, and the Sandman doesn’t speak, but communicates through his sand. Jack Frost plays the reluctant hero. He’s encountered the group before, and doesn’t get along with the Easter Bunny. He’s upset because people don’t believe in him, and he’s spent his existence being invisible to humans. This angst leaves him vulnerable to seduction by the Boogey man, who tries to pass himself off as a sympathetic character. Jack Frost also has a secret past he’s unaware of, but that revelation is slightly underwhelming.
Rise of the Guardians is a good standard adventure for kids. I’d be curious what they would do with a sequel, specifically who they would face besides the boogeyman.

Also I must add that I saw this in 4D. Years ago I saw the third Narnia movie Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 4D, and the 4D was really stupid. The seat would vibrate a little and it was annoying. The 4D in Rise of the Guardians was great (and the 3D was actually good too for a change). The seats would move around as the characters flew through the air and sometimes it was almost like being on a roller coaster. There were other effects with the seats and lighting effects etc. At the end of the movie there is a scene where a bunch of sand is in the air and it’s kind of like fireworks. During that scene, in the actual theater bubbles shot out through the walls and filled the air. That was just magical. All in all a very worthwhile experience.