Tag: marvel

Marvel Movie Rankings

When Marvel’s Blade reached the big screen my world changed. Below are my rankings of all Marvel movies since 1998. I’ve rated on rewatchability, characters, plot, and special effects. I generally ignore how closely it follows a comic plot as long as it maintains the same spirit.

 

 A  2017  Logan
 2016  Captain America: Civil War
 2016  Deadpool
 2014  Guardians of the Galaxy
 2014  Captain America: The Winter Soldier
 2012  The Avengers
 1998  Blade
B  2017  Thor: Ragnarok
 2016  Doctor Strange
 2000  X-Men
 2015  Ant-Man
 2017  Spider-Man: Homecoming
 2008  Iron Man
 2017  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
 2002  Spider-Man
 2014  X-Men: Days of Future Past
 2011  X-Men: First Class
 2002  Blade II
 2012  The Amazing Spider-Man
 2008  The Incredible Hulk
 2003  X2
 2015  Avengers: Age of Ultron
 2004  Blade: Trinity
 2010  Iron Man 2
 2003  Daredevil
C  2013  The Wolverine
 2004  Spider-Man 2
 2011  Thor
 2014  The Amazing Spider-Man 2
 2011  Captain America: The First Avenger
 2016  X-Men: Apocalypse
 2006  X-Men: The Last Stand
 2007  Ghost Rider
D  2009  X-Men Origins: Wolverine
 2013  Iron Man 3
 2005  Fantastic Four
 2003  Hulk
 2013  Thor: The Dark World
 2004  The Punisher
F  2011  Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
 2007  Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
 2008  Punisher: War Zone
 2007  Spider-Man 3
 2005  Elektra

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The Age of Apocalypse: The Best of the Worst Possible Futures

Contributed by Max Bowen

I recall a time at a comic shop when I dared utter the phrase “I really liked the Age of Apocalypse” storyline. The owner, as close to a living personification of the Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy as you’re ever likely to find, immediately launches into a tirade about how it’s actually the worst series ever, snatches one of the trades off the shelf, and then dares me to read it.

Keep in mind I own all the trades, so making me read this really isn’t that big a punishment.

“Well, OK, I will, I say.” Because it’s awesome—but not just because it’s a good look at a bleak future.

Age of Apocalypse (AOA), was a four-month spinoff series launched in 1995 that asked the question “What if Charles Xavier never founded the X-Men?” The answer is pretty damn dark, as the immortal, Darwin-obsessed mutant Apocalypse is able to rise to power and conquer much of the known world. Humans are reduced to a minority, hunted down, and placed on the short end of the stick. All told, they’re looking down the barrel of extinction, and Apocalypse is all too happy to pull that trigger. Only one man, the time-displaced Bishop, remembers the world as it should be, and he’s on a quest to make things right. From the company known for putting out alternative storylines, this one stands out to me as one of the best.

I won’t spoil all of it for those that haven’t checked it out, but the series is rife with ironic twists. The biggest of these is that Magneto, one of Xavier’s greatest foes, ends up leading the X-Men, now a resistance group dedicated to bringing down the big man. The entire familiar X-cast is there, all in unexpected new roles, or with major shifts to their personalities and it’s a great read, if for no other reason than to see what changes have been made to your favorite mutants.

OK, sales pitch aside, the message of the series as I see it is that one life touches many. Xavier dying before his time radically alters the Marvel Universe as we know it, showing us that without his influence, the worst of us are given the chance to show some good, and those with the purest souls can easily stray to the dark side.

But what about the rest of us? Most of those reading may not rise to his level of fame, but what we do still makes a difference, even if it’s a small one. What kind of impact do we have on the people we know, and what would their lives be like if we had never entered the picture? Yeah, I know, it’s the same message in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but it resonates, even today.

Think back to those you spend a lot of time with: have you ever influenced them, either for good or for ill? Did they take your cue in planning their own lives, or making their own decisions? It’s not a bad thing—A lot of us will ask “what would so-and-so do?” I often thing of my mom and what advice she would have when I’m in a tough spot, and I think we all have someone whom we’ve changed their lives.

Consider that, and maybe you’ll see that you have made a difference for the better, and maybe you can do it again for someone else. Or maybe you’re actually the villain. Maybe you gave some bad advice that leads the listener to really screw up their lives. I suppose the lesson to take is to consider your own words and deeds, and if there’s someone out there that uses them as a blueprint for their own decisions.

Yes, you may not be the one to change the world, but you may change a life. And honestly, that’s a pretty big deal.


Max Bowen is the host of the Citywide Blackout Radio Show.

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They call him DOOM

Here’s the thing: I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine who was commenting on my Doctor Doom T-Shirt (favorably, of course) and we got to talking, as geeks do, about which villain in the comics is the best. He suggested the Joker.

Okay. He MIGHT be right. I mean, come on, the JOKER! He’s amazing! He is the only guy who faces off against the Batman without even blinking. He freaking killed Robin and in one version of DC’s future he even killed Lois Lane just to piss off Superman. We’re talking a guy with testicular fortitude on an epic scale! I’m exceedingly fond of the Joker. I could write articles about the man.

Instead, however, I’m here to talk about Doctor Doom. He may or may not be cooler than the Joker, but for my money he is, hands down, the greatest villain in the Marvel Universe.

Say what you will about Marvel Comics (I’ve been known to have a complaint or two myself, but honestly, I love them) but if there’s one thing they really know how to do, it’s allowing the characters to evolve.

Let’s take Victor von Doom as an example. When he first showed up in the pages of the Fantastic Four, he was just a dude in gray armor who was holding a mysterious grudge against Mr. Fantastic. Boy, howdy, did that ever change.

Let’s take a quick summary. Once upon a time Doom and Reed Richards, also known as Mister Fantastic, went to the same college and were rivals after a fashion. In the standard as told by Richards, they were equals, but Richards found a flaw in the schematics and equations that Doom was working on and tried to warn him. Doom failed to listen and was hideously scarred in the resulting explosion.

Expelled for performing unauthorized experiments, Doom left and sought other sorts of knowledge.

That’s Reed Richard’s version of events. According to Doom, Richards made alterations to his equations in a fit of jealousy at Doom’s sheer genius and those alterations led to the devastating explosion and resulting expulsion from school. I leave it up to you to decide who told the truth.

Doom went on to seek mystical knowledge. He already knew a good deal because, well, his mom was a witch and she had some serious mojo going on.

Okay, from humble beginnings, right? Victor von Doom was born to Cynthia and Werner von Doom, both of whom were gypsies. Cynthia dabbled maybe more than she should have, and wound up possessed by a demon. That demon didn’t really possess her so much as send her on a rampage against the Baron of Latveria, whose soldiers tended to do whatever they wanted to do when it came to the gypsies. That meant stealing from them, beating on them and doing what despots have done to women for far too long.

One of the soldiers got lucky and managed to kill Cynthia.

Not too much later, Werner suffered the consequences of not successfully tending to the baron’s child. That left Doom an orphan who was taken in by his gypsy brethren.

It also left him about as solidly vengeful as Bruce Wayne. Wayne became Batman and declared an unending war on the criminals of Gotham City (Sorry, wrong universe, but you get the idea.)

Doom took a different path.

What was his motivation? First, revenge on the Baron. Eventually he got that and from that vengeance he maneuvered his way into being the king of Latveria. That was just part of his trek, of course. Because there’s lots of revenge to be had out there.

See, the thing is, Doom was a bit of a momma’s boy. He took it personally that his mother’s soul was ragged down to Hell when she died. A gigantic portion of his motivation was to get her back from Hell. Eventually he succeeded, but that’s not the purpose of this particular essay.

What is the point? Evolution of character.

Seriously, few characters have changed as much over the years as Doctor Doom. But as much as he’s changed, he remains mostly the same: a powerful arrogant and impressive force to be reckoned with. Listen, mostly he’s survived stuff that would have killed anyone else and he’s done it by sheer force of will combined with a mastery of technological skills that rivals Reed Richards and Tony Stark alike. That would be Mister Fantastic and Iron Man respectively, folks. He’s gone toe to toe with both of them on numerous occasions, by the way, and currently, he’s outlived both of them, but it’s comic books, so you never really know.

Doom mastered science to the point that little Latveria is one of the wealthiest countries around based solely on his patents. He mastered magic well enough that he’s also been known to go a few rounds with Doctor Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme. Seriously, the man gets around. He’s basically fought every hero and every villain you can think of in the Marvel Universe and some of them on multiple occasions. In one storyline DOOM 2099, he even traveled to the future and pretty much fixed all the stuff that was going wrong. Maybe not a superhero at that point, but certainly a repairman with an attitude and the power to back it up.

Doom tends to fixate on Reed Richards a lot. Many of his schemes over the years have involved A) Killing Reed Richards (No success) b) Wooing Susan Richards, wife of reed (A surprising amount of success considering the horrible disfigurement) and putting an end to the Fantastic Four. Well now, the comic book has gone the way of the dodo bird, and while a few characters are still around, I’m gonna have to put that in the “win” category for the good Doctor.

In his time Doom has been a villain, a monarch, a dictator, a conqueror, a mad scientist, an evil overlord, a master sorcerer and, oh yeah, a god. That’s right. Once upon a time (actually more than once) Doom actually beat ALL the good guys and a lot of the bad guys, too. He became Emperor Doom and reshaped the universe in his image.

Here’s the thing. Doom is a megalomaniac. He doesn’t think he should be in charge, he KNOWS it. Currently, by the way, he has also added superhero to his resume. In the comic book THE INFAMOUS IRON MAN Victor von Doom is working toward redemption for his many past sins. There are a lot of them. He’s killed a lot of people and he’s tortured, beaten and vivisectionalized whomever he felt it was necessary to take care of. He’s even taken on Loki and a few other gods and that was before he became a god himself. Don’t worry too much. He’s still a megalomaniac and an arrogant bastard. Some things do not change easily.

Now he’s doing redemption. I don’t think it’ll last, but, hey, you never know, Currently his face is unscarred and he got his mom back from Hell. Might be he’s just relaxing for a while. Only two issues in and I’m enjoying the ride.

Want to know what else he did? He got imitated. According to George Lucas, Doctor Doom was a very heavy influence in the creation of a bad guy named Darth Vader. Imitation is the finest form of flattery. Seriously, horribly scarred wears battle armor, controls magic (or the Force, call it what you will) and is feared by all who come across him. Vader has Storm Troopers. Doom has Doom Bots and mechanical imitators who take care of business for him while he’s locked away in his castle and brooding, and experimenting, and considering what else he plans to do with the world that has offended him on so many levels.

And they say megalomaniacs never have any fun.


JAMES A. MOORE is the author of over forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Blood Harvest, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) Cherry Hill, Alien: Sea of Sorrows and the Seven Forges series of novels. He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President.

Never one to stay in one genre for too long, James has recently written epic fantasy novels in the series SEVEN FORGES (Seven Forges, the Blasted Lands, City of Wonders and The Silent Army). He is working on a new series called The Tides Of War. The first book in the series The Last Sacrifice, is due out in January. Pending novels also include A Hell Within (a Griffin & Price Novel) co-written with Charles R. Rutledge and an apocalyptic Sci-Fi novel tentatively called Spores. Why be normal?

Being a confirmed Luddite, he is working up the nerve to plunge completely into the electronic publications age.

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008MP0DT8

Marvel’s Jessica Jones – Not a Hero Because of Powers

Marvel’s Jessica Jones dares to tackle hard issues while remaining a thoroughly entertaining and action-packed superhero show.

I’ve often said that fiction gives us a safe place to deal with difficult issues. The fact that the characters are not real, and in this case have special powers, may make the issues raised in Jessica Jones more easy to view and discuss.

1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition (NAMI), 1 in 6 women will experience stalking, and 1 in 5 women will be raped at some point in their lives (National Sexual Violence Resource Center).

Despite these statistics, men and women dealing with rape, stalking, and mental illness remain dismissed, trivialized, stigmatized, and misunderstood. Discussing rape, stalking, and mental illness helps friends and family understand the complexities, challenges, and reality of these issues. This is why it’s important for writers to include these topics in their fiction, opening up discussion that can enable awareness, empathy, and understanding.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones explores:

  • Death, Loss, and Grieving
  • Parental Abuse
  • Partner Abuse
  • Stalking
  • Gaslighting
  • Rape
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  • Torture
  • PTSD

In the past, I was led to believe that a superhero was “super” because of his or her strength (of body and will), moral compass, and physical attractiveness. Aside from superior physical strength, Jessica Jones has none of these traits.

Jessica Jones is a rude, selfish, slovenly, mess of a human being. She drinks, vandalizes, and stoops to the same stalking behavior as her abuser. She makes terrible life choices. She is broken and hurting. She is real. And, in the end, she struggles to do the right thing.

To me, Jessica Jones is hope. Not the fantasy of rainbows and pixie dust, but the embodiment of something good rising from the ashes of abuse, violence, and heartache.

Want more about Jessica Jones? Check out my DragonCon Panel Discussion.


E.J. Stevens is the bestselling, award-winning author of the IVY GRANGER, PSYCHIC DETECTIVE urban fantasy series, the SPIRIT GUIDE young adult series, the HUNTERS’ GUILD urban fantasy series, and the upcoming WHITECHAPEL PARANORMAL SOCIETY Victorian Gothic horror series. She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines. Her novels are available worldwide in multiple languages.

BTS Red Carpet Award winner for Best Novel, SYAE finalist for Best Paranormal Series, Best Novella, and Best Horror, winner of the PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy Novel, Best Young Adult Paranormal Series, Best Urban Fantasy Novel, and finalist for Best Young Adult Paranormal Novel and Best Urban Fantasy Series.

In addition to 15 speculative fiction books, E.J. has written two how-to guides on self-publishing and book marketing. She also owns the award-winning blog, From the Shadows.

When E.J. isn’t at her writing desk, she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

Join the E.J. Stevens newsletter and learn about news, events, and ghosts. Monthly news updates, tour photos, and exclusive reader perks (FREE reads & giveaways!). Learn more about E.J. at www.EJStevensAuthor.com.

X-tinction Agenda, An Arc to End All Arcs

X-tinction Agenda is a story arc from the 1990s that encompasses three mutant superhero teams: the X-Men, X-Factor, and the New Mutants. It was produced in the halcyon days before certain film depictions hopelessly mangled beloved storylines (I’m looking at you, The Last Stand).

The storyline begins in Uncanny X-Men #270, when a strike group from Genosha is ordered by its leader, Cameron Hodge, is sent to the X-Mansion to kidnap Storm and the New Mutants Wolfsbane, Rictor, Boom Boom, and Warlock. Hodge is aided by the X-Man Havok, who had a frm of amnesia at the time.

So, what is Genosha, and why did said Genoshans go around kidnapping mutants? Genosha is an island off the east coast of Africa, close to Madagascar. It operated as a free state and was a very rich country, with its wealth and prosperity a direct result of its mutant slaves. Yep, you read that correctly, all the mutants on Genosha were brainwashed government slaves.

Genoshans began testing their children for mutant genes early on. If a child tested positive their free will was stripped, and they became mutates. They could be further mutated to fill certain labor shortages on the island, ensuring that the mutants toiled away while the rich got richer. The island ended up with certain labor shortages, and this gave Hodge the supremely bad idea of kidnapping some X-Men. That did not end well for him, most of the mutants, or Genosha in general.

The arc has a bittersweet ending, rather than a happily ever after. Warlock sacrifices himself to save his teammates, and the brainwashing leaves Wolfsbane stuck in wolf form and psychically bonded to Havok. Storm, whose body had been devolved to that of a child, regains her adult form and full use of her powers. The X-Men also get their first look at the “new” Psylocke, since these events take place right after she was rescued by Jubilee and Wolverine (that’s the Lady Mandarin storyline, another excellent arc well worth your time). X-Tinction Agenda is also when everyone’s favorite Cajun, Gambit, becomes an official X-Man.

Genosha’s story is still relevant today. Political agendas around the globe tout reduced rights and/or access for certain groups of people, be it based on race, religion, or lifestyle issues. (Yes, I realize that “lifestyle issues” is a huge umbrella to stick things under, but this isn’t a political blog. Y’all catch my meaning, amiright?) In the US, the current president-elect has openly stated he’d like to have all Muslims register with the state, an act eerily reminiscent of what happened in Europe in the days leading up to World War II. You’d think these world leaders would kick back and read a few comics, and realize that holding one group apart from the general population based on differences beyond anyone’s control never, ever ends well.

Maybe Chris Claremont will run for president in 2020. Him, I’d vote for.

X-tinction Agenda spans nine issues, and has been collected into a trade paperback. It was written by Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson, and drawn by Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, and Jon Bogdanove. There’s a lot of character growth packed into these issues, and it’s definitely worth your time.


Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library.) An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Connect with Jennifer online at www.authorjenniferallisprovost.com

Bibliography
Copper Girl – Urban Fantasy
Chronicles of Parthalan – Fantasy Romance

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