Tags Matching: Mark Millar

The Avengers Ultimatium

With release of Thor and Captain America right around the corner, and Joss Whedon already at work on the set of The Avengers movie I thought it would be good time to look at what could possibly be seen as the best source material for that movie. The Ultimate Avengers, or simply The Ultimates was yet another attempt of Marvel to reboot their already confusing universe. But unlike most reboot/alternative realities this one paid off; with the legedary duo of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch at the helm it’s no wonder. Millar’s take on The Ultimates is an interesting mix of real world humanism and superhero action which for any comic writer presents as special kind of problem. On the one hand you’ve got a who’s who of Marvel royalty which means you’ve got to make sure everyone gets equal coverage and that your characters are balanced, but you also have to make that the story doesn’t drag otherwise readers will lose interest. Millar manages to pull off, in my opinion, the impossible creating flawed yet still heroic icons that rethink the nature of the superheros. Added to this is amazing art styling of Bryan Hitch [a personal favorite of mine] who draws superheros in more a classical style as good looking people who just happen to be in ridiculous shape; the one exception obviously being The Hulk. Out of all the Ultimate story lines this is my favorite, it has sharp writing that easily out does any movie script and the action is some of the best I’ve seen in any Marvel comic. If you’re looking to pick up volume one kerrypride1 has it.

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Old Man Wolverine

I think I’ve effused love for this storyline previously, but it finally hit the shelves as a collection and figured this is a good opportunity to get it out to those who prefer the format with a spine as opposed to the floppies.

A total masturbatory future/alternate world story, it’s almost hard to write one of these that isn’t fun – but it’s happened enough that when it’s done right it should still be noted. Millar did very well in the same way that a good pop song hits you on the radio. The song hits all the right notes, good cadence, simple, and instantly memorable. Millar didn’t attempt to squeeze too much minutia or detail into the book, using allusion as opposed to elaboration to get to his ends. It’s one of the keys to quality writing, but especially in the visual story telling world. With a book, you read and paint the picture in your own mind. Comics give you the picture too… so if there’s no gaps for your mind to explore, the book leaves nowhere to roam outside the frame. Old Man Logan nailed this.

Oh and Steve McNiven is the king of the mountain of artists these days. Perfect tone and pacing,  and the graphic finale of this story matched that ‘instantly memorable’ quality that Millar set throughout.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #32

Mark Millar has a real wow factor. I feel as though he can turn non-believers into the faithful with his recent comic work, both with Marvel and his creator owned. In particular, his Fantastic Four run felt like a true redemption song for most readers…

#32 – Fantastic Four 555

The first issue of the run is good, but really just samples and sets the table. Here’s the first course, and it’s a doozy. Something for everyone – it has new characters, old characters, speed and the flow of the story is amazing. This is the poll setter of the first story arc, and just dominates. Read the first issue to become intrigued – read this to become engulfed.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #47

Mark Millar brings the noise when he takes on a series. In recent memory, his run on Fantastic Four, as mentioned here, is excellent. One of the true marks of a great writer is to be able to take on the different voices and tone of each series – from Wolverine to Fantastic Four to… well, here ya’ go.

#47 – (Marvel Knights) Spider-Man #1

Throw Millar’s writing and the art team of Terry and Rachel Dodson into a pot with Spider-Man and boom – a great spider-man tale that I think has been overshadowed by some of the more Amazing-centric stories of recent years.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #68

HOLY SLOW MONDAY BATMAN!

I’m guilty. Been crazy at work. But got time for this post, and a big handful tomorrow. As many, many, many wise man have said…

Git ‘er dun. (I Cringed.)

#68 – Fantastic Four 554

It was all new. It was exciting. It was… the same old Fantastic Four. The team we have known for going on 50 years VERY soon. But after some ehh years (excluding the Waid / Weiringo team) the FF have had a lot of poorly directed storylines.

Mark Millar came in and kicked ass. (Full of puns today, I’m trying to rein them in.) He took the original recipe, stripped away all the superfluous nonsense and revitalized this series, even if it was just a brief run. This being the first issue really gave the gravity that while this was your father’s fantastic four, it was finally as sharp, fresh, and quick as the original series had been in 1963. It had all of the equatable (galactic implications x family conflict) needs without any of the (convoluted history x complicated family melodrama) failings that plague the series. The dialogue speaks volumes – it’s been at least 30 years since anyone’s written Mr. Fantastic as well as Millar did here.

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Kick-Ass: The Comic Noize Review.

This past weekend, I settled myself down in the bowels of my local multiplex (as opposed to the bowels of my local Multiplex, which would just have been gross on all sorts of levels) and prepared to enjoy 2 hours or so of superhero satirizing snarkiness.

I’d say I got about an hour and a quarter. Maybe an hour and a half.

It’s not that Kick Ass was a bad movie, or even a bad adaption. It’s not. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s violent, it’s snarky, and at times it’s stupid. It’s everything you could want from a comic that was fun, funny, violent, snarky, and at times stupid. It’s just that somewhere along the line, they forgot what they were making fun of, and the movie turns into a full blown wish fulfillment superhero fantasy.

Production wise and acting wise, there’s nothing to complain about. The movie looks top notch. All the actors more than pull their weight, and Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl especially is going to come out of this with a cult following (which given her age, and the age of the character, is kind of creepy).

And of course Nicolas Cage puts his usual unusual touches on his role, using what’s been described as an “Adam West” voice during his costumed scenes as Big Daddy (though to me it was far more William Shatner). And there’s a point later in the movie where he seemingly channels his own performance in the camp classic remake of The Wicker Man.

(No, really, it’s up for sale. And has a bid.)

Certain critics have been harsh on the movie for the character of Hit Girl, Roger Ebert especially. And after seeing the movie, while certainly not offended or disturbed, I have to say, I completely understand. One of the few notable changes the movie made was to remove a certain twist from a certain characters origin (I’m trying to stay spoiler-free here), and by doing so they dulled the clarity of the “a real world kid sidekick would be a sociopathic mess stripped of an actual childhood” idea. The movie took more subtle paths towards this, such as shooting a big rescue scene from her perspective, making it look like a first person video game. So it’s clear to me how someone could miss the point.

(The point of this… much less clear.)

The long and short of it is, Kick Ass is a good movie. First and foremost, that’s what it is. And it certainly lives up to the superficial levels of the comic book. It’s the satirical part that it falls short on (and this is coming from someone who has his doubts as to just how much satire Millar was actually pumping into the comic in the first place; based on his past works, he strikes me as the type of guy who came up with the 11 year old mass murdering superhero idea first and the parody aspects of it second), as it drops the promised “these aren’t your same old superheroes” idea and settles for the standard Hollywood superhero movie route of big showdowns, big FX, and a happy ending. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, and it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it as just a plain old cartoony shoot em up action movie.

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Trouble, Galactus, and just who is this Aunt May?

Aunt May. I mean, here’s the real deal. 

She looks OLD. I mean, she always looked REALLY old. Shouldn’t they have called her “Granny May”? Depending on the artist, she never looked younger than 65 and sometimes looked as old as Methuselah. John Romita Jr. would sometimes throw down an Aunt May who looked like she might’ve scared off the Roman invaders, yknow? 

But in 2003, Marvel decided to attempt an Aunt May (and therein, a Spider-Man) origin story written by heralded writer, Mark Millar.

What resulted was a somewhat mature take on Aunt May and her sister, Mary, on a summer romp where they just so happened to meet a couple guys named Ben and Richard. Shenanigans commence and… well I won’t spoil the story. However it had some MAJOR ramifications on the  Spider-Man world, and readers were not really happy about it. The series itself was considered a risky move, the combination of photo covers (featuring teenage girls in bikinis) and the borderline cheesecake style of Terry Dodson (one of my favorite comic artists, as it is. I’ll go into it some other time) made for some really heavy-handed discussions about the place of this in comics. And that led to what the place of this particularly story held in the Marvel cannon. Well… *SPOILERS*

The 2003 limited series Trouble was marketed as the “true origin” of Spider-Man. In that story, teenagers named Ben, Richard, May and Mary met while on summer vacation, and May became pregnant with a child she named Peter. None of the characters’ last names were revealed. The story did not become canon because of its negative reception.  *END SPOILERS*

And so what we do know is – She’s Spider-Man’s aunt, she’s OLD, and she’s died about 40 times. Here’s a notable one from the 90’s. Note to self – remember this cover for your “worst use of diecut covers ever” post. 

Oh… and this one time she apparently bronzed herself, kidnapped a child and defeated the world eater, Galactus. And that’s pretty much all you need to know!


Kick Ass kicks ass.

Since a new Kick Ass movie poster was just released (and does that movie look like it’s going to be awesome or what? Nicolas Cage alone is worth price of admission.), I thought it would be appropriate to showcase a few auctions featuring Kick Ass the actual comic.

For the autograph hound: issue #1, signed by writer Mark Millar, artist John Romita Jr, and… Jane Goldman? Yeah, I went “who?” too, then I googled her. She’s one of the writers for the movie, and she’s British and hot and usually has pink hair, and she hosts a paranormal investigation show… yeah, you kind of need her autograph.

For the art collector: A Romita sketch of Kick Ass… done on the back of a baseball jersey? Hey, whatever.

And for the uninitiated: all 7 issues of the comic. Yes, that’s right, an ongoing comic series that has only gone 7 issues has a full length motion picture coming out already. But it’s one that looks really, REALLY good, and the comic itself is really, REALLY good (when it actually comes out), so let’s give it a pass on getting a little big for it’s britches, shall we?

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