Avengers: Endgame goes all Scandinavian…

The Superbowl has come and went, and for those of us who give zero fucks about the game get to pick apart the trailers for forthcoming films, which this year includes the latest 30 seconds or so of footage from Avengers: Endgame. The footage is dark, as in BBC 4 Scandi crime drama dark as the films looks as if it’ll deal with the results of Thanos’s snap which wiped out half the life in the universe.

It’s a pity Marvel have toned down the Thanos of Jim Starlin, who did the same thing because he essentially wanted to fuck Death so like any lovestruck bloke, he did something massive to impress her. The film Thanos has a rationale which from a certain point of view makes sense, but just keeps Thanos at the level of being a psychopath as opposed to a psycho-sexual tyrannical lunatic who wants his old purple chap in the actual physical representation of death. I admit that’d be hard to sell toys off the back of such a concept but still…

Anyhow, I’m glad Marvel aren’t going to brush over the effects of the Snap but at the same time I’m sure they won’t spend the entire film dwelling on it as this is the culmination of a decade of world-building while setting up the next decade of Marvel’s film and TV production. We also know from announcements that the dead will return and the trailer for the new Spider-Man film suggests the world isn’t affected with the snap, so clearly there’s a Big Red Button reset coming which is exactly what’s happened in the comics so, so many times.

Still, we only need wait til April.

Comic shops should be stocking these books for Avengers: Infinity War fans

Avengers: Infinity War is packing in cinemas around the planet, and this should be a boom for comic shops around the planet too but after three plus decades in comics I’m betting there’s shops missing tricks because of a mix of not knowing what to do or/and Marvel being rubbish in keeping their work in print.

But if you’ve watched Infinity War and want more big purple Thanos action throbbing on your bookshelves and don’t want to spend the very rapidly increasing prices for back issues (things like Silver Surfer #44 will be selling for around 100 quid by the end of May at this rate, almost doubling its value) so if you want better options try these.

Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin.

This has the first appearance of Thanos from Iron Man #55 (currently selling for the GDP of New Zealand)  as well as Starlin’s excellent Captain Marvel stories. Although the film arm hasn’t used Captain Marvel yet (film coming in January 2019) there’s much in here they have used as a influence.

Warlock by Jim Starlin.

Simply some of the best comics of the 1970’s. Starlin’s Warlock stories had a strange, trippy, even underground feel but the stories which close off the first phase of Thanos stories that feature the Avengers, Warlock, Captain Marvel, Spider Man and the Fantastic Four’s The Thing are the comics that defined the epic cosmic superhero saga. There’s big chunks of these stories DNA in Infinity War.

The Avengers/Defenders War written by Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, Jim Starlin and drawn mainly by Sal Buscema.

These aren’t just fun superhero comics, they also feature an appearance from Thanos, plus these are the issues which defined the relationship between the Vision and Scarlet Witch.

Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim.

Starlin and Marvel left Thanos in the realm of death for 13 years which is an eternity in superhero comics terms. In 1990 Starlin returned to Marvel and brought Thanos back.

The Infinity Gauntlet/Infinity War/Infinity Crusade by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim.

There are multiple versions of all three trade paperbacks, plus hardcovers, plus there’s trades of the associated tie-ins and spin offs but this seems to be the main core of what Marvel are loosely adapting though there’s clearly material from more recent works from the likes of Jonathan Hickman…

And of course Jim Starlin

This is by no means a complete list. I personally think Marvel’s milking of the character in the last few years has produced some dreadful comics, but these are your core books that realistically, as long as Marvel or your distributor has them in print/stock you should have at least one of each to recommend

And if you’re not a retailer and want a reading list then there you go. You should be finished by the time Avengers 4 comes out next May.

 

I have seen Avengers: Infinity War and my first thoughts are…

First of all, there’s no spoilers, just comments so you’re safe.

Firstly I hope they’ve made Jim Starlin a multi-millionaire. There’s beats, even large chunks of dialogue from Starlin’s Thanos stories going back 45 years here.

In fact the DNA of Starlin runs deep in this film to the extent Marvel Studios give him his own special credit in the exceptionally long credits you have to sit through to get to the post-credit scene that you have to watch not just because it’s an essential bit of plot for what’s coming next, but because there’s a nice gag.

Overall the film works amazingly well but there are issues that probably will be resolved with a 4hour blu-ray cut.

Thanos is the main character here. The Avengers and their allies are along for the ride.

There’s deaths. Some of them a bit more vicious than I was expecting for a 12A so if you’re bringing small children be warned.

It is enormously entertaining and as for the length, I never checked my watch once in 150 minutes til after a quite brilliant final shot.

The trailers have lied to you. You don’t know what to expect so the less you know about the film the better.

You will have to have seen Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok to pick up what’s going on, and yes, the latter film’s post-credits scene

As much as it pulls from Starlin, it owes a debt to Crisis on Infinite Earths. That’ll involve spoilers to explain.

The effects are great but there’s one awful bit of CGI that distracts in a crucial emotional scene.

The big fight between Thanos’s Black Order and the Vision and Scarlet Witch in Edinburgh has lots of little gags that’s only funny if you’re watching this film in Scotland.

More later but if you’ve read superhero comics for any length of time then this is essential viewing but seriously, I hope Jim Starlin goes to bed tonight on a massive bed made of money.

From the New Gods to the Avengers

If you’re a superhero comics fan of any description then today is an amazing day because the New Gods; Jack Kirby’s masterpiece of fantastic imagination, is being made into a film by Ava DuVernay. A lot of people, including people who read comics and are part of the ‘Geek’ boom don’t realise that the New Gods are the well in which much of what is here now comes from. No New Gods and Star Wars is very, very different. No Darkseid and comic book villainy is very different. There’d be no Thanos for a start.

A New Gods film done right could be astonishing as Jack KIrby’s imagination has barely been represented to its full potential on the big screen, however with the Avengers: Infinity War trailer you can see little bits of Kirby there, not to mention Jim Starlin who created Thanos.

If I was 14, I think I’d be unable to walk after watching that trailer as it really is more or less everything I’d want to see in a superhero film.  I mean, Capitan America taking on a cosmic baddie like Thanos is a Jim Starlin classic moment.

Which will be something we’ll see on the cinema screen.

So, strap on a new pair of underpants and get set for a 14 year old fanboy inhabiting a middle aged man’s dream…

So, the Avengers: Infinity War trailer…

The Avengers: Infinity War trailer has hit which means a tsunami of insufferable reaction videos from many, many wankers but it does look like huge fun. Take a look if you’ve not already seen it.

15 seconds or so of the trailer is made up of the Marvel Studios intro. There’s no mention of the film being based on this comic…

That comic was written by Jim Starlin and drawn by George Perez. Starlin is the creator of Thanos, the Infinity Gauntlet, the concept of the Infinity Stones/Gems, Marvel’s version of Death, Pip the Troll, Gamera, Drax, and pretty much all the characters not created by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko which will appear in this film.

There’d be merry hell if say, the Lord of the Rings films had excluded Tolkien’s name from the marketing and I know the Marvel films have credits to the actual creators of these concepts and characters hidden in the endless trawl of credits that intersperse short teasers for future films or in-jokes, but it’d be nice to see a little bit of blowing up the name of creators to shine the light on them and give them the credit they deserve rather than just mindlessly cheer on the product of one of the largest multinationals on the planet.

So go read the comics. They’re fun and Starlin and Perez were having the time of their lives creating them. It’s also some of Perez’s best work. Trust me, it’ll make you look forward to the film more…