A bunch of nerd friends and I were having a debate on the new Galactus. Without spoiling anything, the character underwent a major change (and a bit of retconning) in this week’s Ultimates #2. He went from being a supremely powerful cosmic threat to…uhm, that thing he is now (that I won’t reveal so as not to spoilarz you). Then again, was Galactus ever that much of a cosmic threat? Sure, he ate the occasional planet every now and then, but he got his ass handed to him every time he tried to eat Earth. During the debate, one of my friends said, “Galactus is just a cosmic jobber! It’s about time they made him interesting.”
As a fan of pro-wrestling and comics, I loved that he combined those two worlds. And he has a point. Galactus was beat up by his former herald, the Silver Surfer — a low-level employee! Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four) scared off Galactus by showing him the Ultimate Nullifier. He didn’t even have to fire it up or shoot out a warning blast. Galactus turned tail at the mere sight of a weapon. If that doesn’t scream galactic pussy then I don’t know what does.
To keep going with the analogy, Galactus eating random planets is like getting a WWE win on SmackDown or a pay-per-view pre-show. In the Marvel Universe, that’s pretty much all Galactus has ever accomplished. He’s never gotten the comics equivalent of a big win on WWE Raw or a PPV main event victory. As large as he is and as menacing a headdress as he wears, it appears that Galactus is nothing more than a giant, purple jobber. Has he ever posed a real threat to the heroes of the Marvel Universe? Will he ever? In the immortal words of the late, great Gorilla Monsoon, “I find that highly unlikely.”
What’s your take on Galactus? Is he a menacing cosmic force? Or the comics equivalent of Mark Henry? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).
After several “meh” clips, things are starting to heat up for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Today’s trailer was, to me, easily the best footage released from the upcoming blockbuster. Yes, Superman is still vanilla-ish and annoying as Clark Kent, but Ben Affleck was better than expected as Batman and Bruce Wayne. Ignore the fact that he did his stupid trademark smirk; he was great at the whole bitter-and-angry thing. While many purists have issues with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, I found him totally charming in the clip. That said, the attitude was not at all what I expect from Lex Luthor, but I’m happy to give Eisenberg’s take on the character a chance. Lastly, Wonder Woman is hot.
Anyway, check out the latest Batman v Superman clip when you have a chance and let me know what you think.
Following up on Marvel’s excellent Daredevil original series for Netflix comes Jessica Jones. While the titular heroine has a small following among comics readers, I expect that the general public will react to her name with a, “Who?” Thankfully, Marvel’s latest Netflix series allows people to get to know her intimately, in a fantastically cerebral ride. I was really impressed with the job Marvel did with Daredevil and while Jessica Jones isn’t as broadly appealing, in many ways it’s a superior show. Here are some random thoughts on the Jessica Jones Netflix series, using the trusty RPadTV binary system.
[Turn your spoiler shields on!]
Better Than Daredevil (Good): My biggest problem with Daredevil was that the supporting cast was better than the lead. Charlie Cox was decent, but not as good as the actors and actresses that surrounded him most episodes. That’s not an issue with Jessica Jones. Krysten Ritter was phenomenal playing a damaged, layered, and gritty hero. Her Jessica Jones was complex and interesting, powerful and vulnerable, charming and off-putting. Thanks to some great writing and a strong performance, Jessica Jones is one of the most fascinating characters the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever seen.
As Good As Daredevil (Good): That isn’t to say that Miss Ritter wasn’t surrounded by similarly strong performances. Her antagonist and supporting cast were great too. Jessica Jones‘ Luke Cage and Trish Walker were a little bit better than Daredevil’s Foggy Nelson and Karen Page. Most of my nerd friend’s liked Daredevil’s Kingpin better than Jessica Jones‘ Kilgrave, but to me they were equally strong — but very different — villains. Similar to how Jessica Jones is one of the most unique heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kilgrave is one of its most unique villains (more on him later).
Poor Hell’s Kitchen (Bad): People that aren’t familiar with New York City will think that Hell’s Kitchen is the most dangerous part of Manhattan. In reality, it hasn’t been dangerous for decades. On the plus side, Hell’s Kitchen in Jessica Jones wasn’t as ridiculously dark as it was in Daredevil (where apparently there was a lightbulb shortage). Still, the real Hell’s Kitchen is a gentrified neighborhood, complete with several Starbucks, Subways, and other soulless franchises. Seeing it portrayed the way it is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes me laugh.
Kilgrave? More Like Deprave! (Good): Jessica Jones‘ villain, Kilgrave, is…f*cked up. With the ability to control minds, Kilgrave makes everyone do whatever the hell he wants. He’s depraved and debauched, enjoying his powers to the fullest. He has no problem making a daughter shoot her parents to further his goals. He’s fine with taking both of a man’s kidneys, leaving the victim to rely on dialysis for the rest of his life. He steals, kills (indirectly, most of the time), and rapes as he sees fit. You get the sense that he doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything too wrong; he’s just using the powers he ended up with. Actually, you get the sense that he doesn’t think about the consequences of most of his actions. Kilgrave is a villain of pure id.
A Faithful Sidekick (Good): As a longtime Marvel Comics reader, I’m curious to see where the show goes with Patricia “Trish” Walker. Jessica Jones’ best friend, the two have a long and complicated relationship. I loved how Trish’s background as a child actress was used throughout the series. While she doesn’t have her bestie’s super powers, she’s a strong woman in her own right. Trish grew from a manipulated child star with a hellacious stage mom to a confident and capable adult. Comics fans know that she becomes Hellcat and joins The Defenders. With The Defenders series looming, I’m hoping that Netflix Trish follows a similar path. Plus, the It’s Patsy (the show she starred in as a kid) theme song is funny.
Fizzled Nuke (Bad): The Will Simpson character had lots of potential, but ultimately didn’t live up to it. Simpson started out in an interesting way — a cop controlled by Kilgrave that tried to kill Trish. After coming to his senses, he was remorseful and started a relationship with his victim. He interrupted the dynamic between Jessica and Trish while adding a direct connection to the police…and then he got powered up by super drugs…and became an uninteresting psycho. This character was better off as a somewhat meddlesome good guy than a generic baddie.
Sweet Christmas! (Good): Also looming in Netflix’s future is a Luke Cage series. A supporting character in Jessica Jones, Luke shines in the time that he’s given. In the show, he’s a bartender that’s getting over the senseless death of his wife and hiding several secrets. He’s a great complement to Jess, as they’re both damaged, but deal with things in different ways. I really liked this version of Luke Cage as a supporting character and am looking forward to seeing him star in his own show. I love that they kept his “Sweet Christmas!” phrase, but wish they slipped in an old photo of Luke wearing a yellow silk shirt and a metal tiara. That would have been awesome.
Atypical Heroics (Possibly Bad): If you like your heroes large, loud, and bashing things then Jessica Jones isn’t for you. As I mentioned in the intro, the show is cerebral. This isn’t a beat-em-up action show. Daredevil was beaten up a lot in his show. By contrast, some of the biggest hits Jessica takes are mental and emotional. While there are some nice action sequences in Jessica Jones, there are even more mystery, thriller, and film noir elements. When Daredevil first aired, I enjoyed how different it was from anything else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jessica Jones takes it to a whole other level.
Contrary Backlash (Bad): Some people are hating on the show because it’s so different. Some feel that critics are overly praising Jessica Jones because it has several strong female characters. RPadholic Smartguy mentioned that he thought the show was about sexual abuse because of an article he read. Try to ignore all the backlash, because you’ll be missing out on a great show. Yes, Jessica Jones has several strong female characters, but that’s a wonderful thing. It also has physically and emotionally strong male character in Luke Cage. Yes, Kilgrave has sexually abused some of his victims, including Jessica, but the show and the characters are about much more than that. This is a complex television show and some people are oversimplifying it.
Bottom Line: While I loved Jessica Jones and think that’s it’s even better than Daredevil, I understand why some people won’t like it as much. It is, perhaps, too different from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has more in common with CSI than it does with The Avengers. As for me, I enjoyed the show’s distinct tone and characters. The protagonists are all wonderfully flawed and layered. While he’s not as powerful as Loki, Kilgrave is an even scarier villain. Jessica Jones has continued Marvel’s tradition of exceeding expectations with its Netflix series. In many ways, what’s happening in the small-screen corner of the MCU is more interesting than what’s happening on the big screen. Jessica Jones is a big reason why.
AMC has released the first trailer for the Preacher television series. Based on the outstanding Preacher comics by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, the television show is being written and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. A wonderful combination of heady writing, bizarre characters, and grotesque violence, the comics are some of my all-time favorites. When the show was announced, I was excited and apprehensive. The trailer, embedded below, gives a clearer picture of where the show is heading, but I shall continue to temper my excitement with caution.
The clip shows Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer (the titular preacher), Joseph Gilgun as the vampiric Cassidy, and Ruth Negga as Tulip. As far as the protagonists go, Jesse and Tulip don’t really look the way the comic-book characters do in my head, but I could get used to them if they play the parts right. Cassidy seems on point, with his high-pitched voice and Irish charm. Considering that this is the first trailer for the series, not a lot was shown, but the clip did indicate that the show would be as wacky and violent as the comics were. Hopefully the next trailer has more scenes with The Saint of Killers and Arseface.
Again, since this was the first footage AMC has released, this was more of a teaser than anything else. With that in mind, it did make me more curious about the show. While Walking Dead has been a popular television show for AMC, there are some purists that are…unhappy with the liberties the showrunners have taken. I’m hoping that Rogen and Goldberg are fanboy enough to stick as close to the source material as possible while deftly adapting parts of the comics that translate poorly to television.
I have faith that Rogen and Goldberg will make a supreme effort to make Preacher nerds proud, but I also worry about the scale of the whole thing. Preacher was one of the most unique and brilliant comics ever made. Adapting it to television — without pissing off fanboys — seems like an extremely difficult task. While it was nice to finally see a trailer for Preacher, I remain apprehensively excited. How about you guys and gals? Please share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments section.
On October 30, 2015, ESPN made the horrible decision to shut down Grantland. The website offered a fantastic combination of sports and pop-culture coverage. It quickly became my favorite website on the Internet shortly after it launched. Grantland’s writing was longer, smarter, and sharper than most of what you’ll find on the Internet. The site’s closure is disheartening on several levels.
As a reader, Grantland’s closure is disappointing because it had some of ESPN’s best writing. The site excelled at long-form articles that were informative and entertaining. It had a wide variety of writers that skillfully covered a wide variety of topics. While sports was Grantland’s emphasis, it also covered movies, music, television, pro-wrestling, and more. No matter the topic, I could always depend on a well-written article on Grantland that always entertained me and often left me a bit smarter than I was before I read it.
As a reader, I also appreciated Grantland’s simple layout. The design emphasized content and the advertising was tame by today’s standards. Grantland loaded quickly on desktop andmobile devices, unlike some of my other favorite websites (I’m looking at you, The Verge). Sadly, a website with great writing and user-friendly design is uncommon these days. That Grantland offered both was extraordinary.
As a longtime Internet writer, Grantland’s closure is depressing. It shows that corporate hacks are unwilling and/or unable to support great content creation. It’s sad that the dozens of fantastic editors and writers at Grantland no longer have jobs, while ESPN continues to pay Stephen A. Smith to act like an idiot on television. It makes me wonder what kind of support the website had from the suits, its advertisers, and its readers. Obviously something was missing. The high-quality content was there, but did the suits support it with enough marketing? Did the site not get enough ad dollars? Were people uninterested in longer articles? It’s baffling.
As a longtime ESPN.com reader, I’m amused that Grantland’s closure killed the best writing the company had to offer. I used to love ESPN.com, but it has become garbage. While the site is ESPN’s Internet flagship, the writing on Grantland and FiveThirtyEight (another ESPN-owned website) was superior to anything on the “main” website. ESPN.com has devolved in a mashup of moronic click bait, AP reposts, thoughtless opinion pieces, daily LeBron James updates, and the occasional solid article. Copyediting is, sadly, optional on ESPN.com.
Add it all up and it’s disheartening. My favorite website is gone. Another corporate overlord has pissed on the value of quality content. Instead of enjoying my daily dose of Grantland, I’ll have to read the crap on ESPN.com. Oh well, maybe it’s time to give Yahoo! Sports another look.
The newest trailer for the Jessica Jones series on Netflix is exactly what I want from the show. It has the dark and moody tone that made the Alias comics so striking. Jessica Jones is not your typical idealistic superhero that always looks on the bright side of life. She’s flawed and damaged, running away from a career as a superhero and trying her luck as a private investigator (fueled by alcoholic beverages). The trailer, embedded below, shows all of that and more.
Featuring prominently in the clip is Luke Cage. The hero formerly known as Power Man, Cage becomes Jessica Jones’ confidante, lover, and husband. Underneath numerous super villain attacks and the occasional superhero civil war, the two have one of the most realistic relationships in comics. They clearly love each other deeply, but they also struggle. I’m curious to see how the relationship is portrayed in the Netflix series.
The best part of the trailer is Zebediah Killgrave. Known as Purple Man in the comics (I’m not sure if the Netflix series will use such a silly name), this villain uses mind control for some truly messed up activities. As in Alias, it appears that Killgrave used his powers to torment Jessica Jones in numerous ways. She’s still traumatized by the experience and she’s haunted by Killgrave every day of her life. When Killgrave was announced for the series, I wondered if the show would go as far with him as they did in the comics. The trailer strongly suggests that Netflix Killgrave is just as f*cked up as comics Killgrave.
As a fan of the character, I really enjoyed the Jessica Jones trailer. Some of my friends are down on Krysten Ritter, saying that she doesn’t have the right attitude or body type for Jess. After seeing the trailer, I couldn’t care less about that. The tone looks correct and I can’t wait to to binge-watch the messed up adventures of a super-powered PI when the series hits on November 20.
How it Should Have Ended is one of my favorite YouTube channels, but the content has been lacking in both quantity and quality for the last few months. Thankfully, the guys and gals at HISHE got their groove back with this excellent LEGO The Avengers: Age of Ultron in Two Minutes video. It’s a glorious piece of stop-motion video that pokes fun at everything people loved and hated about The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Check out the clip below and let me know what you think (please!).
Canon is a touchy subject for nerds. Fundamentalists loathe when their beloved sci-fi and fantasy properties are taken in different directions by creators of non-canonical works. Others appreciate when established properties are taken in all-new, all-different directions. Today I want to talk about a few nerd-specific cases of canon and hear your feelings on the matter.
Star Wars: Let’s kick things of with one of the hugest nerd properties in existence. Many Star Wars fans were delighted by tales of the Expanded Universe (EU). The EU had several excellent Star Wars books written by several great authors. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, it wiped out the existing EU and rebranded it as Star Wars Legends. Shortly after that decision was made, Disney created its own EU.
Many Star Wars fans were outraged by the move. They loved the books and felt robbed that they were no longer part of the proper Star Wars universe. While I empathize with that point of view, killing the previous EU didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the many Star Wars books I read and nothing can take that away. It doesn’t matter that these stories are no longer “official.” They entertained me and that hasn’t changed.
Gotham: Yesterday in the RPadTV Google Hangout, the Gotham television show was briefly discussed. This reimagining of a pre-Batman Gotham is controversial among nerds. Some people hate that Batman’s rogues gallery was up and operating well before the Dark Knight arrived to Gotham. I believe it was RPadholic Smartguy that said that having Joker without Batman doesn’t make any sense.
I definitely agree with the sentiment that having most of Batman’s villains in pre-Batman Gotham is silly. Like many comic-book fanboys, I am of the opinion that superheroes and villains fit into a nerdy chicken-and-egg scenario. Gotham is full of weird villains because some rich guy in a bat costume started being a vigilante there. Having these colorful criminals established in Gotham before his arrival doesn’t make sense to me.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t bother me that Gotham isn’t canon. What bothers me is that it’s a crappy show. The writing is trite and the acting is mediocre to poor. Bruce Wayne once said that criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot. Apparently they’re middling television actors too.
Marvel Secret Wars: Closing things out is Marvel’s Secret Wars crossover series. Due to a confluence of ridiculous events, the Marvel multiverse has become a singular mashup. The past few months of Marvel stories featured reimagined worlds and reimagined characters. All of this will lead up to the all-new, all-different Marvel Universe.
I have a few problems with the Secret Wars. The obvious one is that most of the stories aren’t very good. The secondary problem is that the crossover event interrupted several books that I was enjoying. Lastly, none of these stories matter in a canonical sense. The Marvel Universe is going to reboot and my time has been wasted with months of filler stories. While part of my problem with Secret Wars has to do with canon, most of it is that the damn thing is taking too long and most of the writing has been forgettable.
Your Take: Looking back at what I just wrote, I suppose canon doesn’t matter much to me. A good story is a good story, whether it’s official or not. Naturally, I want to hear your thoughts on nerd canon. Feel free to use the examples above or bring up any of your own. Do you place a high value on canon? Or is something entertaining simply entertaining?
Marvel has released a teaser trailer for the upcoming Jessica Jones series on Netflix and announced its release date. Following up on the success of Daredevil, Jessica Jones is the second direct-to-Netflix series from Marvel. The current plan is to release Luke Cage and Iron First series before the four heroes team up in The Defenders. Jessica Jones will be released on November 20, 2015. Similar to Daredevil, all 13 one-hour episodes will be available at once, so plan your binge-watching accordingly.
As for Jessica Jones, she was a reluctant superhero that retired due to a traumatic experience. She went onto a successful career as a private investigator, as well as a reporter for the Daily Bugle, before serving as a supporting character in various Avengers books. Her stories are very unique, with dark and mature twists. It was fun reading Jessica’s transformation from a b-list hero to a victim to a confident woman to a kick-ass mother. Her books are some of the most “real” stories in the Marvel Universe.
While the Jessica Jones trailer doesn’t reveal much, the visual style is striking and reminiscent of the Alias comics the character starred in. Like her future teammates in The Defenders, Jess is considered a “street-level” hero in the books. I expect the series to dark, to keep things consistent with Daredevil and to reflect the character’s nature (and also because lighting is expensive!).
I’m really looking forward to Jessica Jones for several reasons. I’m a fan of the character and I enjoyed the Daredevil show. I’m anxious to see how Marvel continues its Netflix buildup to The Defenders. Even though I’m familiar with her story, I’m already rooting for Jess to overcome her dark past and emerge stronger than ever. Sadly, one of my favorite aspects of the character won’t be seen on Netflix; I love how she looks at her superhero career as a failure, but the young Marvel heroes are all Jessica Jones fanboys. After you check out the trailer below, be sure to check out the Young Avengers panel under the trailer so you can see firsthand what Jessica Jones fanboys are like. And when you’re done with that, kindly let me know how you feel about Marvel’s Jessica Jones series on Netflix. Excited?!? Ambivalent?!? Hate it already?!? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).
You’ve been thrilled by the adventures of African-American Captain America. You’ve journeyed into mystery with the mysterious female Thor. In December, you’ll be getting a Korean-American Hulk when Totally Awesome Hulk hits shelves. Ethnic and sexual diversification in Marvel Comics is an ongoing process — one that Marvel seems to be keen on pursuing. It also seems to be a process that some readers are against. How do you feel about diversification in the Marvel Universe? Is it necessary? Is it being forced? Let’s examine the issue and discuss (please).
There are many longtime Marvel Comics readers that don’t like their icons being altered. They want Steve Rogers as Captain America, not Sam Wilson. They want the son of Odin to be Thor, not a women with a secret identity (for seven issues, anyway). Lastly, they want Bruce Banner as the Hulk, not Amadeus Cho. These readers are traditionalists that prefer stories about characters they’ve known and loved for decades. Changing the identity, ethnicity, or sex of an iconic character is jarring to these readers. Staying true to years of material is more important than diversification to these guys and gals, which is completely understandable since this is entertainment.
There’s a subsection of the readers mentioned in the last paragraph that claim they want to see a more diverse Marvel Universe, but would prefer diversification through new characters. They want their icons to stay as they are, but wouldn’t mind if they were joined by all-new, all-different characters that represent various ethnicities, genders, religions, sexual orientations, etc.
For reasons that escape me, there are some readers that are fine with the majority of superheroes in the Marvel Universe being white males. For my part, I feel that diversity is overdue, but shouldn’t be forced. That said, diversity in the Marvel Universe has been silly for decades. Most of the action takes place in Manhattan, arguably the most diverse city in the world. Similar to how Friends — a show about six white people that only have white friends — was a ridiculous representation of New York life, Marvel has done a poor job depicting the diversity of New York through its heroes.
At the end of the day, I don’t care that Sam Wilson is Captain America. I care that his costume sucks and his stories have been boring. I don’t care that the new Thor is a woman. I care that she’s being written by Jason Aaron, one of my favorite comics writers of the last ten years. I’m not particularly enthused that the Hulk will be Korean-American. I’m terribly excited that Greg Pak will be writing the stories and that they’ll feature Amadeus Cho, a character that I love.
Would I like to see more diversity in the Marvel Universe? Of course I would, but I understand that it’s a process and things are moving in the right direction. For the most part, I enjoy comics that entertain me with writing. It doesn’t matter if they’re about Filipino-American heroines with cosmic powers or homosexual ice mutants that have arrived from the past. If the writing is great, make mine Marvel.
Naturally, I want to hear your thoughts on the matter. How do you feel about diversification in the Marvel Universe? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).