Mission: Impossible or James Bond? – Why I’m an M:I Kinda Guy

Growing up as an adolescent of the ‘90s the discussion of whether you preferred Mission: Impossible or James Bond for your spy-faring feature films was a resurrected area of pop culture discourse.  In 1995 Pierce Brosnan would debut as James Bond in GoldenEye, the first Bond film in six years, the longest gap ever between films in the franchise (at least as of this writing).  In 1996, Tom Cruise would star as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible, the first film adaptation of the TV series that ran from 1966-1973.  I’ve always gotten the sense that James Bond is the more beloved pop culture figure.  He obviously has the wider reach, with a film series spanning fifty-three years and twenty-six films.  But for my money (metaphorically speaking as well as literal money in the form of movie tickets and first VHS (!) then DVD purchases), 007 has nothing on the Impossible Missions Force. Continue reading

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The Despicable Deadpool: What’s So Entertaining About Pain?

When I returned to comics in 2015, one of the first trades I read was Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan’s hardcover collection Deadpool (Vol. 1), containing the first twelve issues of their run going back to November 2012.  It was a Christmas gift from Kalie and my first real experience of the Merc with a Mouth, outside of occasionally seeing him as an X-Force villain back in the ‘90s.  I was instantly in love with the character!  Posehn and Duggan’s take became the primary lens through which I view the Regeneratin’ Degenerate.  With The Despicable Deadpool #300, Gerry Duggan ends his five-year run on the title.  Over the years the tales have gotten darker and darker, as he’s broken Wade Wilson to a painful degree.  As I read these stories my heart hurts, and I can’t help but wonder why do we partake in stories where the characters we love are damaged so severely? Continue reading

The Irreplaceable Brilliance of Black Widow

In 2010, Scarlett Johansson brought Natasha Romanoff – the Russian assassin turned S.H.I.E.L.D. super spy turned Avenger, the Black Widow – to life in Iron Man 2.  Since then, she’s appeared in seven different Marvel movies, more than any other Avenger save Iron Man (nine) and Captain America (eight (and the only reason Cap beats her is because he has cameos in TWO films)).  In addition to screen time, I would also argue the Black Widow is more important to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, story-wise, than any other Avenger save Tony or Cap.  Despite that, we still have yet to see a Black Widow solo movie.  Yet, as one of the MCU’s richest creations, she’s worthy of serious acclaim.  This piece has been rolling around in my head for some time.  Given Avengers: Infinity War’s release this week has me looking back, getting nostalgic over, and celebrating the MCU, it seemed like the perfect time to finally write it. Continue reading

Lovin’ Loki: When A Villain Evolves

As early news for 2012’s The Avengers began to spread, we learned (much like in the comics) the villain who would unite these heroes for the first time was a familiar face.  Loki Laufeyson had survived his self-imposed fall from the Bifrost at the end of 2011’s Thor and would be leading a Chitauri invasion force to take Earth as his own.  This had two major implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  First, most obviously, it gave the Avengers a reason to form.  Second, it showed the MCU was finally ready to depart from the default/cliché ending to almost every superhero movie ever.  A villain had lived!  This would be a game changer.  In allowing Loki’s character to evolve (over the course of five films by the time Avengers: Infinity War hits), fans have been able to embrace him as Tom Hiddleston has built an engaging, complicated, and evolving character. Continue reading

Make Mine Captain Marvel!

This is it folks…my 200th post on MY COMIC RELIEF!!!  Just as I did with my piece on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for my 100th post celebration, I wanted this one to be extra special.  And I could think of no better subject than Captain Marvel.  Carol Danvers was one of those characters who exploded into popularity during my seventeen year hiatus in comic reading.  She’s also one of the characters I was most excited to meet when I returned!  I don’t think it’s at all hyperbolic to say Captain Marvel represents the future of Marvel Comics.  Reinvented by Kelly Sue DeConnick, shepherded through the Second Superhero Civil War by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, and now under the brilliant stewardship of Margaret Stohl, Carol Danvers has become Marvel’s true North.  Providentially named, I believe Captain Marvel represents the best of what Marvel Comics was, is, and can be. Continue reading

Spider-Man: Worldwide – I’m Finally, Fully HOME

This is an important post for this site.  Well, it’s an important post for me I guess, that’s a better way to put it.  It doesn’t have a strong, driving social justice message.  It isn’t a call to action.  It isn’t a heavy analysis or anything like that.  But for the first time in almost twenty years, I’m finally reading The Amazing Spider-Man again every month.   For someone who’s always loved Spider-Man as much as I do, this is important.  It turns out, being back in the current life of Peter Parker means even more to me than I thought it would. Continue reading