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Late, but still here, Hibbs sorta is in 5/9

Brian Hibbs

Staggeringly, I’ve still barely read any comics this week, due to a confluence of many things, but maybe fewer means more in depth? Let’s see below the jump!

Part of it, for me is being hit by crossover burnout hard this week — 3 different “Night of the Owls” tie-ins, which, basically, all have the exact same story, three from AvX (more on that later, I suspect), and two parts of “The Culling”, which, surprisingly, isn’t leaving the involved books cancelled. Ugh.

(I think I’ve mentioned before that I kind of have to get through the shittier books first each week, before I “let” myself read the presumed good ones, because otherwise I’d never read much of the superhero books, and, then, wouldn’t be able to do my job as effectively.)

There’s only two things I read that I feel like saying anything about this week…. but first, a late-ish movie review!

AVENGERS:  because we’re in the last week’s of elementary school right now in San Francisco, things are crazy hectic with performances and other end-of-the-year stuff, so I didn’t get to see this until this weekend. On the upside, I got to see it with two eight-year-old boys, which was kind of awesome in and of itself.

I don’t think it’s any real surprise after the film has made One. Billion. Dollars!….but, jeez, what a terrific film! I walked out thinking “Oooh, I want to see that again”, and I’ve already had one customer in the store tell me he’s seen it six times so far. Yikes!

What I think I like the most about it is just how strong the script was, giving every character plausible character arcs, a place to drive the greater plot, and a moment to shine with how awesome the characters are. That’s a crazy hard trick.

It also worked remarkably well as a Classic Marvel Comic Book — it’s absolutely a continuation of various threads from other movies, but if you never saw those movies, everything you might need to know is clearly spelled out in both dialogue and action — worked better, in fact, most current Marvel comics do in that regard!

Honestly, most big budget blockbuster movies are usually ultimately shallow affairs more about spectacle, but Avengers very nicely ties all of it’s set pieces to individual character’s arcs.

The action is big and crazy and maybe even, post 9/11, a bit disturbing, but it’s also very well shot and staged, and things are almost always clear as a bell of what is happening. It also showed just how terrifying super-humans can be as engines of utter destruction.

I really think this might just be the most perfect super-hero film ever made — it has as much brains as brawn, and it juggled a gargantuan cast of characters with the utmost of aplomb.

There were a few things I didn’t really like — I thought Scarlett Johanson was really kind of one-note/look through the whole thing. And I don’t believe her as a Russian even one bit. I also thought the new Cap mask looked pretty bad. I thought Hawkeye’s arc was weakest (though it tried really hard to find a way to make “real” Hawkeye’s “reformed villain” origins work in movie continuity), and took him off the board for too much of the film. I thought the death in the movie was kind of uneeded, and the “hey, we got blood all over your nostalgia!” was a bit off-note for the rest of the film. But, hell, those are all just quibbles really. None of that could possibly take away from my consensus that this was an EXCELLENT movie!

Joss Whedon should now be allowed to do whatever he wants, however he wants (though that’s been true for years), for doing such a loving job in bringing to the screen such a remarkable version of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby’s (among many others) creations.


Just two comics I want to talk about, as I noted, so here we go:

TRIO #1: Here’s one of those weird riddles of comics and ownership and all of that. John Byrne is well beloved for his run on FANTASTIC FOUR, a run which certainly couldn’t have been without Lee & Kirby before him. Byrne doesn’t/can’t work at Marvel any more, but many people seem to want nostalgia from their superhero works, and they’re sad he can’t draw FF any longer. Ah ah, but what if Byrne instead came up with something that was remarkably LIKE FF, but wasn’t legally-actionably the same, huh? There’s a brute made out of stone, and a character that both stretches and turns invisible, and they’re fighting some sort of a sea ruler and… well it hits every note just right, but it’s just enough different. I’d almost say it’s like “What if Paul McCartney, rather than Neil Innes, formed The Rutles?”

So if you want to read Byrne doing the almost-FF (and, if you like action adventure “classic” Marvel-style comics, yeah you probably do), then this is certainly the thing for you. I thought it was pretty GOOD.


WALKING DEAD #97: I’m not afraid to say that I think TWD has been a smidge off its game the last few months, with the super-crazy-hyper competent ambassador from the big settlement really feeling kind of out of place, but now that we’re starting to think about starting to work through a “Big Bad” again in the form of Negan, I’ve lost most of my hesitation. This arc is looking as strong as the book has ever been, which is great because this is the first issue that will come after the second compendium ends (and/or v16), and is a great place to jump on to the monthly reading experience. This was VERY GOOD.


OK, time to go get ready for the NEXT week’s worth of comics…

What did YOU think?


12 Responses to “ Late, but still here, Hibbs sorta is in 5/9 ”

  1. I agree with your review of Avengers, though I did have some friends who hadn’t seen the Cap movie express confusion over the significance of Hydra–who they are, why their tech is important, etc.–so that might be something requiring the previous movies to fully understand.

  2. Avengers movie spoilers

    Why did Hulk help the Avengers in the final battle? Why didn’t he rage and beat up everyone without differentiating from friend or foe? I feel like I missed something.

  3. Brian,

    A bit off-topic but I am curious about something. With Ivory Madison being a part of this big scandal involving city officials (for non-SF readers this covers it: http://www.baycitizen.org/crime/story/neighbor-center-mirkarimi-controversy/), has there been any interest in Huntress: Year One at the store?

  4. Arturo: I thought the same thing (and I’m sure we’re not alone) but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment and they certanily have ample opportunity to give us an explanation in the sequel (where I expect Hulk to ultimately function as a viable member of the team).

    Brian: I also agree with some of *your* quibbles (re: Hawkeye and Black Widow) but it’s almost frustrating that I can’t feel any of these quibbles are more than just quibbles! I still say the first Spider-Man film is the best, if only because Avengers (in my opinion) doesn’t stand alone, but who cares right? It was awesome.

  5. I didn’t think the Hulk’s motivations needed any overt explanation. My assumption was that it had to do with Banner’s mental/emotional state at the time of each transformation. The first time he was deeply suspicious, feeling that he had been betrayed by SHIELD in general, and Black Widow in particular, since she recruited him. Later, Banner was fully aware of the stakes and willing to put aside his differences with the Avengers to face the aliens. Further, the end of the Ed Norton Incredible Hulk implied that Banner was starting to learn how to control his transformations.

  6. The reason why the Hulk fights alongside the Avengers at the end is the same reason (spoiler!) John Wayne doesn’t kill the girl at the end of The Searchers. They wanted to give the audience a happy ending. I think Whedon was basically trying to do what Cole Moore Odell says but I think that’s way too pat a resolution, especially given how quickly the whole “Hulk tries to kill Black Widow” thing is vanished down the memory hole. The Hulk as friendly teammate is probably the biggest of all the minor quibbles I could have with The Avengers, but who really cares when the overall film kicks so much ass!


  7. I think Hawkeye being used by Loki was less an ode to his villainous comic origin and more about making him a viable member of the team. People have long been pointing out that Black Widow and Hawkeye are a little out of their league next to Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Cap so the movies needed to prove the characters could stand on their own.

    Widow at least beat up security guards in Iron Man 2, but all Hawkeye had done in the movie was point an arrow at Thor and argue with Colson. By making him a credible threat to the team he could later be a valued addition.

  8. Ian Brill: No, not a single question or request.

    Brandon Y: The first Spidey movie is perfectly fine, but I liked it better when I saw it the first time as Tim Burton’s BATMAN (seriously, the plot structure is IDENTICAL)

    RE: Hulk in general. I’m of the interpretation that Hulk is just Banner, only more pissed off and larger.


  9. The Hulk that tried to kill Natasha had just been manipulated by Loki, blown up, and had machinery dropped on him. (And when she was no longer in front of him, he just kept going.)

    The Hulk that fought alongside the Avengers had taken Tony’s advice, stopped treating his rage as The Other, and embraced his potential. (Which is why he saved Iron Man.)

    Yeah, sure, both Hulks took a cheap shot at Thor. But really, who doesn’t want to punch Chris Hemsworth in the face?

  10. “The Hulk that fought alongside the Avengers had taken Tony’s advice, stopped treating his rage as The Other, and embraced his potential. (Which is why he saved Iron Man.)”

    Not to belabor the point, but the idea that Banner masters the Hulk after a couple of comments from some guy he’s never met of before is fairly weak and fatally undermines the whole concept of the character. I mean, there’s a reason why the Hulk didn’t last with the Avengers in the comics and that’s because to do so, you’ve got to turn him into a big green version of Wonder Man.


  11. As a prior poster pointed out, though, they did note several times prior that he had come a long way in controlling when and where he hulks out. In fact, at the end of the last Hulk film he was basically already a “superhero”: fighting Abomination, saving Betty/the general, and then peacefully jumping off once the villain was defeated. So to have him effectively function as part of a team, more than a year later, is a fairly reasonable progression of his character (and as David Oakes noted, the out-of-control Hulk on the carrier was being influenced by Loki’s glowy stick).

  12. Agent Coulson: LMD.


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