News

Super Heroes, Secret Identities, and Identity Changes

Super Heroes, Secret Identities, and Identity Changes

It’s becoming a trend in the realm of super-heroes to trade identities. Whereas twenty years ago, it was an interesting story, and only lasted a short time (Batman/Azrael, etc.), now it seems to be a long term move meant to shock (for lack of a better term) and draw in readers. From the All New Captain America, to the gender-bent Thor, it seems like comic books are trying to appeal to new audiences. But how long can this trend last?

1. Hulk – With the upcoming title, “The Totally Awesome Hulk”, Marvel is not only changing the title of the book, but also the identity of the jade giant. This won’t be the first time the Hulk books focus on a new Hulk (from Banner and Hulk being separate entities, to General Ross Hulking out as the Red Hulk, it’s been done over and over again for decades), but it is shaping up to be the most drastic, and possibly lasting. There are a few possible identities to the new Hulk, but we won’t know for sure until the book drops. Who can it be? Let’s discuss.

totallyawesomehulk.jpg
Amadeus Cho? Could the super genius teenager take Hulk’s burden? Perhaps someone without an anger issue could truly harness the Hulk’s abilities to the fullest. Could he choose to lift Banner’s burden? Or does he steal it? That’d be an interesting turn of events. But what about Rick Jones? The longtime Hulk supporting character could take the mantle. Long-time friend of Banner, perhaps Jones decided it’s his turn to take the mantle, and relieve Bruce of his curse. That would be a great story as well, with Jones having a hard time controlling the Hulk, and Banner training him to be the Hulk the world needs… But that’s all speculation. It could be anyone from Amadeus Cho, to Rick Jones, but why is the arm blacked out? Perhaps it’s someone who has lost an arm in recent years…

Maybe not.

When will Hulk go back to being Bruce Banner? 3 months tops. Sales will dip, the new Hulk will get cancelled… This isn’t as compelling a change as Thor’s, so here’s hoping it doesn’t last. They’ll probably force it a year until next summer’s event, but let’s hope things go back to normal sooner.

2. Thor – With the new identity of the female Thor finally revealed, I thought it was about time we talked about it. Most people were bothered by the gender-bent Thor, although over the years Thor has been a frog, a horse faced alien, and more recently with the Thor Corps, well, everyone. But now that Jane Foster has been officially revealed as Thor, could this be something we’ll see tying into a third film? Who knows, but I like what they did here. Jane is suffering from cancer, and with every transformation, her condition worsens… I like that. There are consequences to being Thor, and finally they made the character interesting again. In forty years, the character have gone through minimal changes. It’s about time they made the God of Thunder interesting again.
When will Thor go back to being… Thor? Hopefully never. Jane Foster is an interesting Thor, and with cancer being her reason for wielding the hammer, I’d love to see her keep the mantle for as long as possible. Thor (the man) is still around as the unworthy Odinson, utilizing a badass ax that is cool enough to slice through the armor of Celestials, like Galactus.

3. Captain America – If you thought Thor being a woman caused outrage, imagine what happened when they made Captain America black! If you’ve been living under a rock for a while, let me tell you what happened. Steve Rogers lost the infinity formula/super soldier serum that gave him his age defying abilities, and at a whopping 80+ years old, Cap couldn’t wield the shield as readily as he used to. He passed on the shield and name to long time friend, and sometimes partner Sam Wilson, also known as the Falcon. Giving Cap the ability to fly and defend America is cool and all, but it’s getting a little over-played. They’re slowly taking every characters identity away from them, and passing it off to a sidekick. This isn’t the first time this is happened, when Bucky took the mantle a few years ago, and in the 80s and 90s when Cap retired. Several soldiers have taken the name over the years, so it’s only a matter of time before Mr. Rogers takes the name back.

How long until Steve Rogers returns? 6 months to a year. Marvel is making more and more of their decisions long-term, so this one will be around a while, but not permanent. Next years summer event will have to top this years, so what would make more sense then seeing everyone return back to their old selves, to top this year’s ‘everyone loses their names/powers/ teams/etc.’

4. Batman – This month’s Batman 41 saw Jim Gordon take up the mantle of the Bat (after Azrael, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and many others have all taken it up, Bruce approved or not), after Bruce’s death at the end of the ‘Endgame’ story arc. Both Joker and Batman died together, but with this year being the Joker’s 75th Anniversary, how long can he possibly stay dead? And with a possible Bruce Wayne sighting at the end of the first issue with Jim Gordon, it seems like it is just a sales grab.

How long will Gordon be the Bat? Two or three months, tops. Bruce might already be making his way back, so let’s hope this is a single story-arc.
5. Spider-Man – Another post-Secret Wars announcement from Marvel will see Miles Morales (The Ultimate Spider-Man) will have a title in the main lineup of Marvel books. Secret Wars is a segue between the collapse of both universes and the “new” Marvel Universe, which will be mainly an amalgamation. But with Miles Morales being announced as the new Spider-Man, what does this mean for Peter Parker? I doubt he will die (although, like everyone on this list, it would not be the first time), but if he does, it will be very short lived. With Marvel’s obsession with the multiverse and alternate versions of characters, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Spider-Men/Spider-Verse ongoing title gets announced, featuring Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker, Miguel O’Hara, etc. It would be great to have a few different/related Spider-Man books on the shelves each month.

But how long will Miles be the main man in the Spider-Man mask? Odds are he won’t. He probably will be one of many Spider-Men swinging around the Marvel Universe. Peter Parker is one of the most popular comic book characters Marvel has, and they would be foolish to take him out longterm.

What does this mean for identities in the Comics? With DC’s changes with Batman, We Are Robin, and a few others, and Marvel’s constant changes with characters all the time, it’s hard to see the trend stopping anytime soon. These characters have all been the same for decades, and changes are usually temporary. Sometimes change is good (Thor), but sometimes it can be an annoyance (Hulk, Batman). These days with film versions doing away with secret identities, and the identities of heroes constantly changing, are identities a more fluid concept? Constantly changing, never staying in one state for too long, what message does that send?

Well, secret identities are more important than ever, and with heroes constantly switching it up, it’s putting their personal lives more and more at risk, which leads to great stories. Furthermore, the more identities change, the more the writers have an opportunity to tell new, exciting, and unique stories. Secret identities are antiquated concepts in comics, and the truth is, characters are at their best when they have nothing left to lose. The most compelling stories are the ones where their loved ones are in danger, and their lives are on the line. When Peter Parker gave up his identity to support the Superhuman Registration Act in Civil War, Aunt May was shot by a sniper, and Peter was driven to a place we have rarely seen him; a place of anger. A place where vengeance is all he can think of, and the Kingpin was in his sights.

Superman is another character whose identity has recently been revealed to the world, and his powers are broken, and he’s on the run. Where will this take him? Probably one of the most exciting places he has ever been and I’ve been bored with him for years.

Fun Finds

Fun Finds

 

Do you know what a dobsonfly is? I didn’t. But I learned rather quickly.

A dobsonfly is native to the Americas, Asia, and Southern Africa. It’s found mostly near water (small streams, swamps, sometimes rivers, etc.) and has a very short life span. They mainly reproduce for the entirety of their lives, and do not eat to live (which probably explains their short lifespan).

I found this little guy (actually, girl), and discovered compared to it’s contemporaries, this one is rather small. Sorry, I didn’t have a banana for scale, but this one fits in the palm of your hand, while others can grow to be 8-10 inches in length.

The males have long, tentacle-like pincers, while the females have short, strong ones, and the bite is extremely painful. I was going to use my hand for scale, but then I found this out. What a terrifying looking creature, no?

Jurassic World Review

Jurassic World Review

Jurassic World blew up in it’s opening weekend, and also took the record for biggest opening weekend of all time, much to no one’s surprise. If you’ve ever seen Jurassic Park (and if you haven’t, what are you doing with your life?), you probably have fond memories of the film terrifying you when you were younger. Jurassic Park was one of the most successful films of the 90s, even going as far as blowing up the box office back then.

It’s a no-brainer that a film sequel to one of the most successful films of the last twenty years would be successful again. But was it really as good as the credit it’s been given? Most of it is due to nostalgia, and the success of Chris Pratt. The film was great, don’t get me wrong, but most reviews gloss over most of the things that were wrong with the film. If you want a review of how amazing the film was (and admittedly it was), you can try just about any other review website (although many give it mixed reviews).

1. COMMON TROPES: Too many common tropes from the original reappear in this film – Flares to distract the T-Rex, the apex predator of the park escapes, two kids are lost in the wilderness of the park, and way too many direct references and parallels to the first seem to play mainly off of the nostalgia factor, and less on common sense story telling. You’d think Dr. Wu’s prior experience with working with the first park would teach him that making far more terrifying dinosaurs is just a bad idea. Mixing a T-Rex with other apex predators is very dangerous territory, and after everything that happened at the original park, you’d think this idea would not have made it to completion.
Also, you’d think Misrani, the owner of the park, would have been smarter than flying a helicopter to hunt the Indominus Rex on his own. Wouldn’t one of those highly trained military guys he had with him been smart enough to step in and tell him it was a bad idea? And don’t you think one of those guys would have been smart enough to fly the chopper on their own, rather than risk an amateur pilot getting them all killed?
You really have to suspend your disbelief for this film.

2.MISSING INFORMATION: No mention of any of the events that took place after Jurassic Park. Are those events still canon? With The Lost World being based on the Michael Crichton novel (and official sequel to Jurassic Park), those events should have been mentioned, and maybe even worked into the plot. Whatever happened to the second island? Was their a clean-up crew sent to contain the island? Are all those dinosaurs still on the loose? And so close to this open park? These seem like important details.

“Site B,” the red-headed step child of the Jurassic Park Franchise

3. THAT’S JUST BAD BUSINESS:  The whole “we’re not telling you what this dinosaur was made of” aspect of the plot. Yeah, it made the new Rex more Indominus or whatever, but, if you know any latin, you know that Indominus means “untamable.” An untamable dinosaur that no one knows what it is? That seems rather important to the safety of your employees and park attendees. A smarter businessman never would have allowed something this possibly dangerous to be bred without more information. And Henry Wu has gone from innocent scientist to complete sociopath. What happened? Did money go to his head?

4. RAPTOR TRAINING: The militarization of the raptors. Brilliant, don’t get me wrong, but the whole idea of breeding raptors for military purposes is terrifying. Done right in a sequel, it could make sense, but the idea of “let’s let more dinosaurs out to deal with our escaped dinosaurs,” is just stupidity. And now with mystery embryos being stolen by Wu (much like Dennis Nedry in the first film), that could lead to some pretty terrifying outcomes. I’m hoping it doesn’t go as far as the original concept of “Human-dinosaur hybrids.” It would be great to see the military drop some raptors on some terrorists and watch them get eaten, but wouldn’t that bring the film into “Rated-R” territory? It just might.

This almost happened. Almost.

5. THE LETDOWN: The Indominus Rex wasn’t as terrifying as they built it up to be. With the trailers not showing the hybrid from hell, it was built up to be far more terrifying than it actually was. It was essentially a long armed T-Rex, with some spikes and new abilities. It was terrifying because it had camouflage (it barely used), and it’s ability to mask its heat signature. But as far as it looked? It had a very “Godzilla” feel to it.

But with all that’s wrong, what could the franchise do to keep going strong? I have a few ideas.
1. HYBRIDS:  If the next film features human-dino hybrids, I’m done. I will just drop this franchise like a bad habit. Now, with the idea of technological disintermediation, the same could happen with the genetic research Henry Wu has been working on. With the way technology has gone more “open source,” it’s easy to see that perhaps other companies could head into the same direction as Henry’s work. Perhaps we could see creatures from other time periods as well, or more dinosaur parks opening up all over the world. Wu might not have the monopoly on his genetic work, and the technology behind it could be spreading to other companies… More parks, more dinosaurs, more danger throughout the world… Jurassic World… Hmm…

2. WEAPONS: This could lead to a new style arms race, with dinosaurs being used by the military in place of soldiers, and the fallout that would ensue. Perhaps the Jurassic World name change could mean so much more… Perhaps the dinosaurs start leaving the island, even finding a way to survive the supposed contingencies (“Life finds a way”).

3. SERIES FAVORITES: I’d also like to see the return of series favorites, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, the original kids… The possibilities are endless. Grant and co. could be involved in an opposition to the military’s proposed plans, and teaming up with Chris Pratt’s Owen could lead to a great cast, and a much more fan-friendly film.

4. MORE DINOSAURS: Everyone wants more dinosaurs. This film featured six or seven actual species, with most of them getting glorified cameos. Where were the dinosaurs from the original films? Why did the park gloss over so many animals, it seems weird to me. This film really should have been the film with all the dinosaurs that fans grew accustomed to. They played off the nostalgia factor in every way they could, but they didn’t show many of the dinosaurs we all know and love from the previous films.

5. NO MORE KIDS: Can we also leave out kids? I’ve had enough of the kids being involved, and with the possibility of the dinosaur aspect being taken out of a park setting, how many times can you throw kids into that scenario? Especially if the film takes a more militarized aspect, how can you justify kids being around? The idea is just getting too played out.

6. REALISTIC DINOSAURS: With Wu’s genetic tinkering being the focus of the next film, most likely, I’m hoping to see more hybrids, as long as they stick with dino/reptile DNA. We could also see more dinosaurs as they are actually thought to look. With modern paleontology starting to think of dinosaurs as having feathers, perhaps we can get more realistic dinosaurs from that perspective. The film mentioned that the dinosaurs were made as people think they are, not as science knows they were, but perhaps Wu could start using bird DNA to create some realistic feathered dinosaurs, but I kind of hope they only do that if they can pull it off properly.

At the end of the day, we’ll have to wait and see what the next director is willing to do. Colin Trevorrow did a great job, but he’s not coming back to direct. He’s going to sit back and let another director leave their mark on the franchise, so let’s see what happens next…

 

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Spinoff

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Spinoff

With Flash spinning out of Arrow, and an upcoming spin-off coming out of the Arrow-verse (starring The Atom), and Marvel’s Daredevil leading into AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and others, it was only a matter of time before Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD got it’s own spin-off. This time it’s apparently going to star Adrienne Palicki’s Bobbi Morse and possibly the rest of the “Real SHIELD.” bobbi morse

Here are a few possible plots I’d like to see explored.

1. Guest appearance by Jeremy Renner/Past romance with Hawkeye: What better way to bring out some jealousy (and witty banter) from Lance Hunter than to surprise him with a reappearance by her ex-boyfriend/current Avenger, Hawkeye. It’d be a great way to bring out some relationship struggles (Even more so than now, with the two being on different sides of a SHIELD Civil War).

 

2. When the rights to the Skrulls revert back to Marvel, it would be interesting territory to do a full blown Secret Invasion film/mini-series (Netflix?) leading into several characters on the Marvel shows having been Skrulls for an undisclosed amount of time, with the fallout lasting for months, even years. Secret Invasion could lead into Young Avengers (Hulkling), and could tie a lot of properties together. There’s definitely a need to get the Skrulls onscreen, and if they can’t, perhaps they can bring back the Chitauri (the comics sometimes cousin of the Skrull).

 

3. In the comics Mockingbird sustained a mortal injury, and Nick Fury injected her with a cocktail of serums that gave her strength (Super Soldier Serum), and slowed aging (The Infinity Formula), which is essentially the same process that Coulson went under. I’d like to see this storyline explored in some capacity, giving her the same superhuman abilities that she so fervently hunts in others. It’d be great giving her a secret from the team that would eventually be what brings the “real SHIELD” to understand Coulson’s interest in Superhumans. She could eventually fight alongside the Avengers.

bobbi morse 2

4. AIM, The Ten Rings, The Hand, Alpha Flight, Zodiac, etc. Hydra has had its time as the enemy of SHIELD, and there are so many more evil organizations that should get their time. AIM isn’t necessarily “dead,” and with ownership in the comics changing hands more than Tony Stark changes suits, it only makes sense that they would make their way back, along with the Ten Rings terror organization, The Hand (NINJAS!) and other evil organizations. But evil isn’t the only thing that SHIELD would be exploring… If Marvel gets any of the rights back that Fox holds, one thing I’d like to see is a Canadian led rival to SHIELD/The Avengers: Alpha Flight. Perhaps SHIELD/The “Real SHIELD,” would need to infiltrate the team/organization and see what they’re up to.

5. Film tie-ins: With two SHIELD organizations (maybe they’ll integrate, but until they do, it’s safe to say there’ll be two SHIELD shows, and each of them will have their own unique teams dealing with their own unique threats. Perhaps Coulson’s SHIELD can continue to gather Avengers level allies, while the other SHIELD deals with other threats; either way, it’d be interesting to see where the films affect the shows, and whether the Netflix shows even tie in at all. With so many things going on in the MCU, it’d only make sense to tie events together.

 

What other stories do you think the spin-off should touch on? Which SHIELD characters do you think/hope will appear? Let us know in the comments! We’ll be sure to keep you updated in the coming months.

The Five Best Things About Gotham (And Five Things We Hated)  SPOILERS EVERYWHERE

The Five Best Things About Gotham (And Five Things We Hated) SPOILERS EVERYWHERE

I won’t admit to liking Gotham. I am a fan of the premise, however, and I do like the way a few of the characters are portrayed. However, there are a few things that bother me (and I don’t just mean changing character’s hair color, age, etc). On that note, this list is not about what I hate, it’s about what I have been enjoying. It took a while for me to get over the fact that this isn’t the Batman show of my dreams, and it’s not even close to accurately portraying most of the characters, but sometimes that’s OK.
I love continuity, and when things tie together (like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the CW’s Arrow and Flash universe, etc.), but this show seems to have tossed out the typical Batman timeline in favor of changing things up. At first that bothered me, but after having read comics like Old Man Logan and Spider-Man: Noir, and having watched X-Men: First Class, I realized something. A good adaptation of a story doesn’t have to be 100% accurate. I do appreciate some care taken when handling beloved characters. Change can be good, but taking a character and changing the fundamental behaviors and personality traits that make them good is a terrible thing. I decided to make a list of the 5 best things about the show, even though I greatly dislike it, and also point out the 5 worst things about it.

Best:
1. Zsasz – A huge departure from the deranged serial killer of the comics, Gotham‘s Zsasz is deranged as well, but also a lot more badass. He’s a hit man for the mafia (and yeah, he’s started cutting himself, but he’s yet to murder to “save people” and send them “to heaven” or whatever it is Zsasz actually does. He also uses firearms rather than a knife, but the character is still evolving. He’s one of my favorite parts of the show so far, and I can’t wait to see where the writers take him.
Best Moment: Walking in on Fish Mooney about to torture Penguin. “Looks like Fish Mooney’s is the place to be tonight!”

https://i0.wp.com/static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11118/111188754/4132134-5357070562-gotha.jpg

2. Penguin – Although the look is off, the casting is brilliant. Robin Lord Taylor is a brilliant actor for the twisted mind that is Oswald Cobblepot. He may not look the part, but he depicts the character wonderfully, even if the character is a little inconsistent at times. His rise to power is compelling story telling, and I would love to see a more in depth look in a comic series someday. As for now, I’ll stick with Gotham, even if I personally find it to be the worst comic book show on television (followed by the Batman show CW has. It’s called Arrow.)
Best Moment: The cold-blooded murder of the guys that picked him up when he was hitchhiking. That’s the Oswald Cobblepot we all know and love!

3. Gordon – Lacking the mustache, the hair color, and the glasses, this version of Gordon is something new and fresh, and although I don’t always like the show, Gordon is a great character to watch on the show. Especially when he gets angry. I was initially turned off by the casting (I didn’t think Ryan Atwood would make a good Jim Gordon, but I was wrong), but he grew on me. I hope to see Mr. McKenzie grow that mustache and perhaps throw on some glasses, as time goes on.
Best Moment: After catching the cop that ran from him for possibly murdering a witness, Gordon brings him in and throws him in a cell. The look in his eyes as he admitted to “making a statement,” shows McKenzie’s acting chops, and his ability to play “bad cop” as well.

4. Bullock – Donal Logue’s portrayal of Harvey Bullock is everything you’d expect. He plays the character wonderfully, and often gets some of the best lines on the show. Harvey steals the scene, but even though he is sometimes shown to be a bit of a bad cop (in every sense of the word), he has a heart of gold (covered by layers of dirt, dust, and assorted filth) and would do anything to help Jim out of a jam. Partners for life.
Best Moment: Apparently Bullock has no problem bringing women over to Jim’s house to have sex with them while Jim’s lady is away.
Edit: My new favorite scene was when Bullock was questioning the sponsor for the man who was murdered. “How long do these things run, about an hour? So you could maybe go to dinner?” The whole scene was hilariously written.

5. Falcone – One of the most well written characters on the show, Carmine Falcone is a bit of a hard character to hate. Shown to not be such a bad guy (which contradicts the comics, since Falcone was one of the worst crime bosses to ever grace the streets of Gotham), Falcone shows a soft spot for Liza, and shows an even more ruthless side when he kills her, having found out she was working for Fish the whole time.
Best Moment: Just about every scene he is in is really well written, and shows depth to an otherwise two-dimensional character.

 

Worst:
1. Penguin and His Mother – As much as I love the twisted little freak that Penguin is, his character is greatly inconsistent. Early in the season he was shown to be ruthless, than at other times a bumbling, cowering idiot. After his death was ordered at the beginning of the season, and after working his way in with Maroni, you think Penguin would start packing heat! But no, when Mooney and Butch attack him at “his” club, they take him out easily. The writers seem to forget that time he killed a couple guys and took their wheels. What happened to that guy? Also, his mother’s accent is god awful and very cringe worthy. Every time I hear her voice I have to pause the show and take a break.

2. Fish Mooney – There are so many criminal characters to choose from to run a night club in Gotham, why did they have to make one up for Jada Pinkett-Smith? It’s silly! She could have literally been anyone and I would have been happier. Hell, I’d be more intrigued if Jada was Nora Fries. Anyone.

3. The Rogues – The age old question concerning Batman has always been, “Who came first? The Bat or the Rogues?” Did Batman’s appearance fighting crime force the criminal element’s hand into becoming something more? Or did the presence of the Rogues force Bruce’s hand? Gotham has established that the Rogues clearly came first. The show easily could have been a simple Police procedural drama filled with crime bosses and a few nods to famous characters. Instead, they chose to go full tilt towards the Rogues Gallery.

4. Nygma – Every scene with Nygma makes me very uncomfortable. Especially if that scene involves Kristen Kringle.

5. The Joker – Alluding to the Joker is one of the worst decisions this show could have made. I haven’t caught up to the episode featuring Jerome, but when I do I will update this post accordingly. The Joker is one of the rogues that should never appear before Batman, and his back story is far better to me as a mystery.

 

Freebie: My theory concerning Gotham possibly jumping forward in time may actually be coming true. With modern technology lacking prevalence on the show (No smart phones that I can really see, no computers, etc.) Jada Pinkett-Smith leaving the show (with only four episodes left), and Chris Chalk stepping in as Lucius Fox, I think the show might actually make a jump. Here’s why: Gotham needs more Bruce. Ten years in the future (or five, or eight) Bruce would be coming back from training (or leaving for it leading into a few branching story lines: Bruce training, Alfred’s search for Bruce, Gordon becoming Commissioner, etc.)
Lucius entering the show would mean a lot for Bruce if he did come back in Season 2 as a trained adult. He’d need Lucius to help him prepare for his vigilantism in Gotham. Not necessarily as the Batman, but as a masked vigilante jumping off roof tops and preventing muggings. That’d make for a good show. Bruce fighting crime, Gordon pursuing him for questioning, etc., and Alfred trying to talk him out of it. The show would be much better as a Batman: Year One adaptation rather than a Jim Gordon: Batman type of show.