What I Want to See: DCEU

It was announced today, that Henry Cavill is no longer going to be the live action Superman in the DCEU.  It was recently confirmed (and long rumored) that Ben Affleck was not going to be Batman in the DCEU.  So, the DCEU is down 2 of their three most iconic characters, and many people are speculating a ‘soft reboot’ of the DCEU in general.  Of their 5 films so far, the only success across the board (critics/fans/box office) has been Wonder Woman, and so this might make sense to do.  Especially since Wonder Woman and the upcoming sequel take place before the events of the other 4 films released so far.

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Now, I personally think this reboot idea will likely take some of its cues from what happens with December’s Aquaman film.  We already saw Jason Mamoa as the character in Justice League, and I’ve heard virtually no complaints about him, but an Aquaman stand-alone will be a completely different thing, and so we really won’t know until it comes out.

There is also the forthcoming Shazam, scheduled for next April.  Now, Shazam hasn’t appeared in the DCEU previously, so if Aquaman tanks and they go full steam ahead on the reboot, Shazam could be part of the ‘new’ universe, or if Aquaman is a success, it could be tailored into the ‘newish/soft reboot/whatever they’re going to call it.’

maxresdefaultI knew nothing about this character, and the trailer sold me.

So let’s make the assumption that some kind of reboot is going to happen, and I will tell you what I want to see with that.  Ok?

I want to see this reboot build characters individually.  I’m not saying not to put Easter eggs, or slight references to each other, but let’s not get to the second movie before we have a full blown cross over.  If in Wonder Woman ’84 we see some story about a ‘meteorological event’ which implies Kal El’s (Superman) arrival, that’s fine, but I don’t want Jason Mamoa or Shazam or anyone else to show up.  Get several stand alone films under your belts, like you should have done the first time around.

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The second thing that I want to see happen, is I don’t want Superman and Batman to show up for a while.  It might sound dumb, and I’m sure people hate hearing about the MCU as a model, but Marvel didn’t have access to their A listers when they started, and it forced them to build characters and not assume we knew who they were, it forced them to get creative and be better story tellers.  I think Batman and Superman are too iconic to start.  Let’s deal with Shazam, and Cyborg, and other characters that the general film going audience that aren’t comic book readers aren’t familiar with, and start world building through them.  There is some brand recognition with characters like Flash and Green Lantern, but use those characters to bridge the gap between the audience who know nothing, and the audience who totally get it.  Then once you’re several successes deep, you can start introducing Superman and Batman.  This exercise, will also help you to understand how to create those characters more memorably, to not be coming at them as the icons they are to the general public, but to fill in and establish all of the layers that have comic book fans hooked.

Two MCU Films at the Box Office…

Avengers: Infinity War is coming out in just a couple weeks, and it will very likely dominate the Box Office, this isn’t surprising, and if you’d asked someone a year or two ago, they’d have known then that it was likely.  Right?  Here is what was unlikely, but is now seeming incredibly likely:

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Black Panther, will still be in the top 10 spots at the Box Office when Infinity War comes.

Never before, have we seen two MCU films (I’m not sure we’ve ever seen two films of the same franchise in general) dominate the box office at the same time, but we’re about to.  So I wonder what this means for both films.

In case you’re unaware, Black Panther has not only been raking in more money on a week to week basis than almost any other film since it’s release, but it has been moving in on the all time earners.  As of this past weekend, it took down Titanic, as the #3 earner domestically of all time.  It currently stands at #10 globally of all time (not taking inflation into account), and is only $32 million from the #9 spot, and $41 million from the #8 spot, which when you’re looking at the fact that it made $8 million last week, seem a plausible outcome.

31F3511B-8547-43DA-8488-30F23D9E75CEOne thing, that I think could happen as Infinity War looms over us, is that I think it is possible, that Black Panther gets a resurgence in the week or so prior to Infinity War, after all, if you’re an MCU fan, and there’s a chance to watch the previous film in theaters, then the following day/week/whatever watch the most current, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll take that.  Will it be some massive swell that pushes Black Panther to the #1 spot on either the domestic or global lists? It seems unlikely (the domestic record is Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $936 million, to Black Panther’s $665 million;  globally, Avatar has the record at $2.78 billion, while Black Panther is currently at $1.3 billion) but that doesn’t matter, because it’s potentially going to change a lot of things about how films are made.  It bought legitimacy for so many different aspects that may have been overlooked before.

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On the other hand, how will Black Panther affect Infinity War at the Box Office?  My guess, is that it will help it.  From the trailer, it appears that Wakanda is going to play a major role in the film, as well as including multiple characters from Black Panther in addition to the title character.  If people loved Black Panther, they’re getting a sequel of sorts, while it’s still in theaters, and I think that will translate to big Box Office numbers, in addition to the fact that the previous 2 Avengers films have both ranked higher than BP so far in the global market, and let’s face it, whether it’s a good film or not, it’s got EVERYTHING, and so this film would have to be absolutely atrocious to not do amazing numbers in the Box Office.

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Ultimately, if I’m wrong, and Infinity War somehow kills Black Panther’s momentum, it’s already done so well that it hardly matters, on the other hand, I do think that Infinity War could potentially hurt some of the films coming out in the month or two afterwards.  Whether you think Solo is going to be good or not, Disney’s kind of taking a risk putting it a month after Infinity War.  I do think Deadpool 2 is far enough away that it should be able to be successful regardless of the shadow that Infinity War casts (either way, chances are Josh Brolin has a good few months).

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What I Want to See: Chadwick Boseman

Black Panther is coming out next week, and I really wanted to write a What I Want to See in honor of it, but the truth is, that Black Panther as a character was the MVP of the one Marvel movie he’s been in, has had one of the coolest trailers in the MCU, looks like he’s could be the MVP of Infinity War.  As a movie, Black Panther boasts one of the more exciting casts, and crews of any MCU film to date.  Ryan Coogler coming off of Creed to the MCU is an inspired choice. So I didn’t want to do a What I Want to See about Black Panther.  I have faith in this, and What I Want to See, is what they’ve got, I think it’s going to be amazing.

I first saw Chadwick Boseman in 42, as Jackie Robinson, and he was great in that film.  Then a year later, he was James Brown, and I haven’t seen that, but again he looked awesome in it.  Then we got to see him as Black Panther in Civil War, and he stole the show.  This last year, he played Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.

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He’s played 3 men who have been hugely important in the conversation of race over the last 70 years, and one of the most important fictional characters in the same area.  I really only know about these 4 roles, and I already consider Boseman to be a legend.

What I want to see, is Boseman get to play the big two.  The two big names we think of when we think of race in the last 70 years, I want to see him play Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  I think that he has the acting chops, and I would love to see what he can bring to these two characters, and while it may sound ridiculous, I’d be interested in seeing him do both in the same film.

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I think that it wouldn’t get taken seriously enough, but with two characters like that, two characters who we often think of as Yin and Yang, it would be really interesting to see what one actor can bring to both roles, to juxtapose them through one actor giving two performances.  I think the only man (at least right now) who could do that role, would be Chadwick Boseman.  I think he could give enough nuance to distinguish the two roles, and with make up they could make him look like two different people, and what we’d get would be something bizarre, but potentially really incredible.

We’re in a time where we’re seeing some very creative methods of telling historical stories.  Hamilton casts against historical race in order to show the spirit of America, we’ve seen time travel tell the story of JFK’s assassination and what his legacy may have been in 11.22.63.  We’re ready for something like this, and if you got someone with a really interesting direction style and Chadwick Boseman playing the leading roles, it could be amazing.  That’s what I want to see.

PODCAST: 2018 Movie Preview (Part 2)!

Hey, everybody!

It’s Paul here and I should have had this up yesterday, but better late than never! Here’s Part 2 of The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim 2018 Movie Preview! Of course finishing out the episode with me until Tim makes his triumphant return, is super guest co-host Ryan McDonald! In Part 2 we start smack in the middle of the summer movie season and then finish out the rest of the year. It’s a great Episode and I hope you all enjoy it. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/13823508

 

 

PODCAST: The Best & Worst Of 2017 (Part 2)

Hey, everybody!

It’s Paul

This week on “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim”,  we present Part Two of our monumental episode looking back at the Best and Worst, Films , TV shows, Comics, and more of 2017!  In Part One we mostly talked about the best and worst TV shows we’d seen over the past year (with a little bit of talk about movies). In Part Two, we shift focus to our favorite and our most disappointing movies of 2017. Plus, towards the end of the episode  I cover some of the big comic book news of the year and list a few of my favorite graphic novels! So, definitely check it out. It’s a great episode. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/13683756

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PODCAST: The Best & Worst Of 2017! (Part One)

 

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Hey, everyone

It’s Paul

So this is it! We made it through 2017! Building World’s Best Media, writing articles and reviews, and recording podcasts have all been an absolute blast for myself and the incredibly talented people who contribute to World’s Best Media. We couldn’t have done any of it with the support of our listeners and readers. So thank you very much, it means the world to us.

Now with this being the end of the year and all, Tim and I decided it would be a good time to do a look back at the best and worst of 2017. We cover everything from the best and the worst movies, comics, TV shows, books, and more. It’s a 2-Part Episode and Part-One mostly focuses on TV. Or should I say content? A large portion of the shows we discuss in this episode come from streaming services. How we watch television has already drastically changed from 10 or even 5 years ago. With big companies like Disney and Warner Bros. starting their own streaming services in 2018 and 2019, things are going to change even more. It’ll be interesting to see where things go…

Also expect a Review of the Netflix show, Mindhunters, later this week. And  of course keep an eye out for part two of this episode.

Anyway, THANK YOU! Have a safe and Happy New Year and check out part one the episode below or subscribe on iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/13683765

Thanks for listening!

-Paul

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PODCAST: Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi SPOILER Review!

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Hey Everybody,

It’s Paul

After months of waiting, It’s finally here! Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi has hit theatres at last! We couldn’t wait to dive into this podcast. This Episode is so EPIC that I  needed TWO guest co-hosts to handle it! (Unfortunately Tim was out of town this weekend).With me on the show is long time World’s Best Media contributor Ryan McDonald; as well as friend and supporter of World’s Best Media, Mr. Matt Supple. This episode is FULL SPOILERS!!! And there’s A LOT to unpack. So, wait until after you’ve seen the movie (or if you don’t care). There was a lot to unpack and go over, but I think we did a good job. Enjoy! Listen here or on iTunes :

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/13595419

STAR WARS RETROSPECTIVE (PART 4): EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE

Hey everyone,
Here’s the next in our series of articles looking back at the Star Wars Saga. Today we look back at the one, the only, the ORIGINAL, STAR WARS EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE. This excellent article is written by our very own Ryan McDonald and it is not to be missed. With respect to all of my other fantastic writers, I think this may be my favorite article in our Star Wars series. Enjoy!
-Paul

 

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Star Wars EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE written by Ryan McDonald
Unfortunately, I can’t remember the first time I saw Star Wars, (I can remember the copied VHS tape I had) but I really can’t remember the exact moment I saw it. I feel ashamed being as Tim called me in his Phantom Menace article, a “Star Wars Guy”. I wish I had some great “blown away” story about seeing it as a kid and it changing my life forever. What I can always remember though is, how it felt, or should I say how Star Wars makes me feel. Having watched Episodes I to VI in a single day (ladies, I’ll post my phone number in the comments) I know if someone had never seen a single Star Wars movie, I would definitely have them start with Star Wars Episode IV New Hope. A New Hope has a timeless quality to it that makes it feel brand new every time I see it and I keep getting sucked down the rabbit hole again and again every time I watch the movie.

 

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I think what gives the movie this unique quality is how you’re just immediately thrown into this world. Most movies that take a place in a fictional universe tend to take up a lot of screen time, or even whole movies, setting up the history of the world before they can tell story they actually want to tell. I think George Lucas brilliantly began the Star Wars saga in medias res, with what would later learn was the fourth movie, right in the middle of a chaotic shoot-out between the Rebels and the Imperial army. He has you follow C-3PO and R2-D2, two seemingly unimportant characters as they escape from this conflict, unintentionally find Luke Skywalker and along the way uncover Princess Leia’s secret mission for R2 to find the mythic Obi-Wan Kenobi, thus our first steps into this larger world.

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Let’s highlight Princess Leia Organa for a minute here. In my opinion she’s truly the first female bad-ass in science fiction movies. One moment I absolutely fucking love, is when one of the imperial Stormtroopers finds her during the aforementioned shoot-out and says “there’s one, set for stun” like she’s just some defenseless little thing who poses no threat, so I’ll just stun her and BOOM she just blows him away. She seems to have this stigma of being a damsel-in-distress. Yes, the fact that she did have to be rescued and the “help me Obi-Wan Kenobi” message doesn’t really help my case here. I love that she was hurling insults as Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin took her prisoner, tortured her and eventually blew up her home planet. She would later go on in the trilogy to have some truly great moments, like killing the Al Capone of the Star Wars universe, Jabba the Hutt. Princess Leia was a trailblazer in film. I think future sci-fi heroines like Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor owe Leia some kind of gratitude or at least their creators do.

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Leia’s rescuers are our two heroes, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Han was what every fan wanted to be, smooth, all the best lines, coolest ship and he had the best partner-in-crime ever, Chewbacca. Luke was who every fan actually was, the kid stuck in a rut, longing for more. Luke gazing off into the binary sunset on Tatooine with John Williams’ music doing what it does best is the epitome of that Star Wars feeling for me. I whole heartedly believe that a huge part of the success of these films is the Incredible music of John Williams. He’s carved out some of the best themes in movie history, but his music for the Star Wars Saga, is the playbook on how to score anything. Literally every character, moment and scene has some kind of musical acknowledgement. They never felt repetitive or feel copied and pasted from one scene to another, they just felt right. Williams is so fucking good he even makes the background music in the Cantina bar scene memorable.

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B9AD0E4D-0813-4B5A-A5E4-EC466D52825DSpeaking of the Cantina, let’s talk about something I never saw before in any sci-fi movie, a dive bar. Filled with every awful looking creature you can think of: yeti-thing, thirsty-rat, butt-face, satan-guy etc. they’re all just hanging out, drinking like regulars you would see at any dive.

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One of these scumbags makes the fatal mistake of messing with Luke and attacking old Ben Kenobi resulting in Ben cutting its fucking arm off. The band stops playing and all the patrons are just staring at Ben, Luke and the severed arm on the floor, only to immediately go back to what they were doing, the band continues to play, not giving the slightest shit, CLASSIC DIVE BAR, I love this place.

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I obviously can’t talk about A New Hope without mentioning is main antagonist, the one, the only Darth Vader. Without the influence of the prequels, we only knew Vader as the half man/half machine Imperial Commander, who could strangle people with his mind and stuck to his belief in the long forgotten Force. To me, Vader is at his coldest in this installment, strictly business, trying to locate that damn Rebel Base. The only tiny crack we see in his armor is when he sees Obi-Wan for the first time in very a long time. What I love is just how much I felt their history, in the way these two characters felt each other’s presence in this moment. I love how the shot lingers on Old Ben as he walks down the quiet Death Star corridor then comes to a slow stop. We see Vader standing there with his lightsaber drawn, just waiting for him and of course, that breathing.

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Their duel that follows is barely a duel really and I don’t think it was meant to be either. Their dialogue during this scene is almost unnecessary; the sound of the lightsabers, Obi- Wan’s facial expressions, Darth Vader’s body movements and the lack of music does it all, you know shit just got real.

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Obi Wan sees Luke and the gang escaping, that stirring force theme whispers its way into the foreground again, he holds his lightsaber up to his face, closes his eyes in moment of Zen and Vader takes him down. I remember being full-on panicked when Old Ben died “what the fuck are they gonna do now?”

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A New Hope’s final act is Luke in his X-Wing with his fellow Rebel pilots, against Darth Vader and his TIE Fighters in a dog fight along the crevice of the Death Star. Han, who bailed earlier, shows up just in time to knock Vader out of the fight and give Luke a clear path to destroy the Death Star, stopping the Empire…for now.

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When I saw the Death Star explode in theatres during the 1997 Special Edition re-release, I think the entire audience reacted as if something had actually blown up inside the theatre, everyone screamed and immediately began laughing and clapping when the scene ended.

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The movie of course ends with a medal ceremony for Luke and Han (not for Chewbacca though? I call bullshit) bestowed upon them by Leia and the Rebel alliance leaders. The recipients turn and face the audience as they are applauded to one final reprise of the Star Wars theme and cut to stars in space…and cut to me buying hundreds of toys, making friends who also love these movies, seeing every episode after with these friends and feeling it every time.

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May The Force Be With You…

Ryan

 

P.S. A note from Paul, our Editor In Chief…

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Han Fucking shot FIRST!

 

The Best Graphic Novels You Should Read After Seeing Thor: Ragnarok

Hey, guys

By now a lot of you have probably seen Thor: Ragnarok. I saw it and thought it was a blast, if you’ve haven’t had the chance yet, check out our podcast, “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim”, where we discuss and review (with spoilers) Thor: Ragnarok. It’s one of our best Episodes and we had a lot of fun making it.

I’m always looking for an opportunity to talk about comics. This seemed like a great opportunity to recommend some Comic Books/Graphic Novels to read AFTER you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok. This film was filled with references and Easter Eggs to some classic Marvel stories. Much of the plot and story elements of Thor: Ragnarok are heavily influenced by 2 or 3 Marvel Graphic Novels, which I’ll list below. I’m also including a few books that are great places to start if you’re looking to read some great Thor or Hulk stories, but aren’t sure where to start.

I’m a big advocate for the medium. Anytime I write an article about great graphic novels, I usually include an Amazon link for the comic book I’m recommending so our readers can easily find the book if they decide they want to check it out. This wasn’t part of any promotion we’d arranged with Amazon, I just wanted to point people in the right direction. But World’s Best Media has grown way beyond the blog I started. We want to continue to give you all of our great podcasts, articles, reviews, videos and more of the best content possible. So, now if you decide you want to purchase one of the graphic novels, movies, or any other stuff we recommend, by going through the Amazon links we provide (like the ones below), a small percentage of the money goes back to us at World’s Best Media to help keep us up and running. So if any of you want buy any of the things we recommend, going through our Amazon Affiliate link would be a huge help and massively appreciated. We don’t ask that you go out of your way, but if you’re going to buy something on Amazon anyway, It’d be great if you went through our links. Thank you so much for all of your support.

Now, here are the best Comic Book/Graphich Novels to read after you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok…

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Planet HulkWritten by Greg Pak/Art by Carlo Pagulayan & Aaron Lopresti

Planet Hulk is sensually Gladiator in space starring The Hulk instead of Russell Crowe. That’s one hell of a hook. In the Marvel comics there’s a group called The Illuminati, they consist of key, powerful individuals from each corner of the Marvel Universe, all of Marvel’s different groups like The Avengers, X-Men, FF, etc. are represented in some form form or another. They include Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, Reed Richards, Charles Xavier and more. They’re kind of a bunch of pricks actually
Fearing that he will eventually become too dangerous and get out of control, The Illuminati (the pricks that they are) form a plan to trick Banner and send him (Long with the Hulk off Earth permanently ). They pick an uninhabited, ideallic, peaceful planet with everything he needs supplied on the ship to live out his natural life in comfort. In the eyes of Illuminati they are protecting the planet Earth and giving their friend Bruce Banner what he’s always wanted: some peace, to be left alone (Sure, justify it all you want you fucks). Being geniuses and all, you’d think that once Banner was on the space ship and a tape plays explaining what his so called “friends” had done to him, that The Illuminati could have predicted The Hulk would go apeshit and fuck up the space ship. Which, of course, he does. This knocks the ship off course and instead of landing on paradise planet he ends up on Sakaar , or as The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy called it, “The Gaping Asshole Of The Galaxy: 2016”. Ruled by a tyrannical King, one of the biggest parts of Sakaar’s culture is their Gladiator matches. The upper class of Sakaar watch various alien beings fight to the death. Using a device that allows the King of Sakaar and his minions to control Hulk, he reluctantly becomes a gladiator in the Gladiator Arena. Needless to say it’s fucking awesome. I’m sure you can imagine The Hulk would be pretty fucking good as a gladiator , even on an alien plane. The device keeping him a slave only keeps him from escaping, otherwise when he’s in the arena The Hulk cuts loose big time. It doesn’t take long for Hulk to becomes their star gladiator and eventually after making some a few friends and even falling in love, he leads a revolution to free all the slaves. I’ll stop hear because that’s the basic set up and it wouldn’t want say anymore to ruin the story. One of the unique and touching things about this comic is that out in space, The Hulk doesn’t look like a monster (he’s still scary to the other aliens when he wants to be) and all of admiration, acceptance and love that he was denied on Earth, he found here on this far away planet. It’s a great story with a gut punch of an ending which I won’t spoil here. The vast majority of The Hulk stuff in Thor: Ragnarok is from the Planet Hulk story. But not just that there are places and characters that are important in the comic that pop up in the new film. Including Korg the rock man and Meek his little friend he carries around, they’re key characters in Planet Hulk. Don’t think that just because you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok that the Planet Hulk storyline is spoiled, it goes in some very different directions. It’s a modern classic Hulk story and any Hulk or Marvel fan needs to give this one a shot.

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Thor: Dissassembled Wrtten by Mike Avon Oeming/Art by Andrea Di Vito

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In the early aughts, a legendary comic book writer named Brian Michael Bendas began his run on what would become a classic run on the Avengers franchise. Before the main event you series began, he wrote a miniseries that set up the events of his upcoming Avengers run called Avengers Disassembled. Avengers Disassembled had a massive impact on the Avengers comics that are still being felt today, over 15 years later. The Avengers would never be the same. Along with this massive status quo change, many of the flagship Marvel characters got the similar clean slate treatment where big cataclysmic events happened in their lives. So there was Iron Man Disassembled, Captain America Disassembled, and most relevant here Thor Disassembled. Thor Disassembled is the biggest influence on for Thor: Ragnarok besides Planet Hulk. In the story, Ragnarok the Apocalypse for the Norse gods has begun. Loki, Hela, Surtur The Fire Demon, and Fenris Wolf all play a huge part. Ragnarok was an event that had been prophesies for centuries, so the Asgardians knew that one day this day would come. Much like the events of Thor: Ragnarok, Thor, Odin , Loki, and all the other gods were destroyed along with Asgard. However in Norse mythology death and rebirth is cyclical. Much like the revolving door of life and death in Comics. After Ragnarok it was destined for the gods to be reborn and starting with Thor, the new all father, Odin’s time having past. Though beloved by some, this is not a fantastic graphic novels by today’s standards. There are other Thor books that a excellent reads (a few I’ll list below). While Thor Disassembled isn’t great when compared to Marvel’s storytelling out put over the last 15 – 18 years. It’s not going to be one of your favorite comic books of all time., but it has some great moments especially if you’re interested after seeing Thor: Ragnarok. Asgard and everyone in it are completely take off the board in the Marvel Universe for several years after this story. However, that is far from the end of Thor Odinson and The Asgardians in the Marvel Universe.

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World War Hulk Written by /Art by John Romitta Jr,

After years of living a happy life and ruling the planet Sakaar with a wife and child on the way Hulk was finally at peace. Until the ship that brought him to the planet Sakaar in the first place (built by The Illuminati, these fucking guys again) suddenly explodes in a devastating wave killing Hulk’s pregnant wife, unborn child, dear friends, and more. Hulk has anger issues in the best of times, so after this, well… woe unto those who stand his way. As far as the Hulk Is concerned, The Illuminati are responsible for this death and destruction. Hulk gathers his greatest and most trusted warriors (including Korg the rock alien from Thor: Ragnarok) and comes to Earth in a Sakaaran Warship, seeking vengeance with brutal and unstoppable wrath. These fuckers finally pushed The Hulk too far. Thus World War Hulk begins. The Hulk has one main target, those pricks in The Illuminati: Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Namor, and unbeknownst to Hulk (the deceased, at the moment anyway) Charles Xavier. He means to make them pay for the lives they took and the mistakes that they made. Many classic comic book questions like who would win in a fight between The Hulk and (X) are answered here. This is balls to the walls action, but there are some great character moments throughout. Including some surprising revelations about exactly who are Hulk’s friends and who are his enemies. It’s a great book and a great sequel to Planet Hulk.

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Thor: God of Thunder Vol.1 Written by Jason Aaron /Art by Esad Ribic

Thor: God of Thunder was started by Jason Aaron during Marvel’s, Marvel Now ! Initiative. It was by far one of the best books that came out at that time. Even though there’s been all kinds of crazy Marvel events and Thor books under new names, Jason Aaron’s Thor epic is still going strong, just under the new name, The Mighty Thor.
Thor: God of Thunder follows Thor through the eons and focuses on Thor at three very different points in his life. The past, present, and the distant future. The past, when he was a young irresponsible drunk, hanging out with the Vikings on Midgard, slaying any monster he could find, sleeping with any women he could find, and spending the entire time drinking copious amounts of ale. His dream is to one day weird the mighty Mijonir. This is not the Thor we know today, this is the Thor who is not yet worthy to wield the mighty Mijonir. He loves Earth and the humans who occupy it, but he doesn’t have the same humility and respect for humanity that we tend to see in Thor, but the hero is in there.
In the present, we see the Thor we know and love, the god that has become worthy to wield the mighty hammer. Thor: The Avenger. Hen he may be god, but he’s the type of guy you’d like to hang out and have a beer with. He’s gained some depth and humility since his younger days and learned the value of responsibility.
Finally we see millennia into the future where Old King Thor is one of the final gods in existence. Midgard has burned. Thor is The All-Father to a ruined and desolate Asgard. His only company is the wave after wave sent to him by Gor The God Biutcher. He is in a constant state of exhaustion to keep the army of his vicious and me at bay. Thor looks a lot like Odin here, he’s missing an eye like we see in the movie, and he seems to be missing his left arm. I’m not sure what the arm is made of, but it look similar to the material The Destroyer is built from. Any, even though I’m sure he‘d like his flesh and blood arm back, the one that’s forged for him functions exactly like a “normal” arm. We find out later in the story that after Thor lost his arm, the dwarves, the best smiths and makers in all of the nine realms forged him an arm prosthetic that makes him as good as new.
The common thread throughout the story, as we see Thor in these three very different points in his life is Gorr The God butcher. He’s basically a serial killer for god‘s. An absolute sadist and one of the dangerous most dangerous foes Thor has ever encountered. Why he is doing this and how he became so powerful is revealed throughout the story, so I won’t spoil it here. But it’s a fascinating and thought provoking story. Future All-Father Thor is keeping Gorr’s minions at bay, but Gorr’s real weapon is the Necrosword. This is rather cool Easter egg from Thor: Ragnarok. For reasons unknown, Hela wielded The Necrosword in the film. All that crazy black shit she could use to attack people and the fact that she was seemingly unstoppable, a lot of that came from the Necrosword, a incredibly powerful weapon. Don’t get me wrong, Hela is monumentally formidable on her own, but with the Necrosword she’s nearly impossible to beat. And to be honest I do not think she died in the destruction of Asgard. (Also, the inclusion of The Necrosword make hopeful we may see Gorr make an appearance in a Marvel film down the line)
That “God Butcher” storyline is probably one of the best Thor comics that has been written in years and it kicked off a run that continues to be one of my favorite books to come out month after month. When all said and done it will be hard to choose which story from this epic Thor run that is my favorite. Jason Aaron will be remembered as one of the greatest Thor writers we’ve ever had. If you like Thor at all this is an absolute must.

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Indestructible Hulk Written by Mark WaId/Art by Various

Indestructible Hulk is a great series from long time comic book writer Marc WaId. Basically, Banner has come to terms with fact that he and The Hulk are one being, he’s made his peace with the monster inside him. But he wants to be remembered for more than just the destruction caused by The Hulk. People often forget that Banner is in the same intellectual league as men like Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Hank Pym. With the possible exception of Pym, because he created fucking Ultron, these men will be remembered for their incredible scientific achievements. While Banner will be remembered for being a monster. So, Banner approaches Maria Hill who is the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the time. He proposes that she sets him up with a lab, resources and staff to build wonders: new, clean renewable energy, cures to cancer, solutions to the negative impact of climate change, etc. In return, she gets The Hulk. Even though he’s gone to extraordinary lengths to greatly reduce the risk of turning into The Hulk, Banner has realized that Hulk episodes are inevitable. When that happens, it’s Hills job to step in and aim The Hulk wherever the smashing needs to be done. Because there’s no shortage of bad guys, terrorist groups, and super villains up to no good on, a daily basis, all around the world in the Marvel Universe. It’s really fun book with great art that does something different with The Hulk: Bruce Banner Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. There are a lot of great guest stars from throughout the Marvel universe including Tony Stark, Thor, Beast and many more. Waid’s entire run on the series is collected in one easy to read volume. Highly recommended.

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Honorable Mention:

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Ultimate Wolverine Vs Hulk Written by Damon Lindelof/Art by Leinil Francis YU

Wolverine and The Hulk are long time rivals. Even though this story technically takes place in the Ultimate Universe (Before it merger with Marvel Earth-616 or Marvel Earth Prime as it’s now known. Wow. What a nerdy sentence. I’m proud of myself) it’s a great story with some very minor, superficial things that carried over into Thor: Ragnarok. The fact that the story has beautiful art and was written by the creator of LOST is a big draw too. Great book to check out.

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Avengers Disassembled Written by Brian Michael Bendis/Art by David Finch

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This was the main story that Thor Disassembled tied into. This is NOT required reading if you’re just looking for cool Hulk and Thor stories to read after you’ve seen Thor: Ragnarok. However, it is the beginning of Bendis’ modern classic Avengers run, which ran for close to a decade. Fantastic Avengers stories. Start with Avengers vol.1 Breakout and keep going from there if you’re hooked.

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Thanks for reading!

-Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What I Want to Happen: Pixar

 

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I’m a big fan of Pixar’s films.  When Toy Story came out, I was 11 years-old, and I’ve kind of grown up with them.  What’s been nice, about growing up with Pixar, is that they had such an amazing record (still have a good record).  After Toy Story came A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2, neither of which was as deep as Toy Story, but certainly weren’t vapid either.  After Monster’s Inc., and Finding Nemo was The Incredibles, and it lived up to the name.  I was twenty years old, and watching Pixar do the unofficial version of Fantastic Four that we have still yet to get, but totally deserve.

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After The Incredibles, we got Cars.  Now, Cars is an article all in itself, but to try to quickly summarize what I have to say about Cars is: I personally think it’s the weakest Pixar original (it’s a total knock off of Doc Hollywood) which pains me, because George Carlin is one of my favorite comedians/celebrities of all time and he voiced Fillmore; it is the pivot point film between a Disney/Pixar partnership, and Disney owning Pixar, and was used as part of the negotiations; and so while I think it’s the weakest, in a lot of ways I still think it’s better than a lot of other films, and it’s important.

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After the pivot of Cars, a reinvigorated Pixar went into what I think was their renaissance creating Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3 (the latter 2 were nominated for Best Picture Oscars, the former each getting Best Screenplay nominations).  These 4 films, should definitely be mentioned when discussing the best animated films of all time.

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Then after the renaissance came the other shoe.  Part of Pixar’s agreement with Disney, was that they would create sequels to their most successful box-office films.  After Toy Story 3, we got Cars 2.  Now personally, I think Cars 2 is better than most will give it credit for, but it is certainly a departure from the depth of the four preceding films.  We’ve since got Brave (an attempt at a deep dive which falls a little flat), Monster’s University (a serviceable prequel), Inside Out (the only foray into greatness since TS3), The Good Dinosaur (akin to the A Bug’s Life, in it’s fine but doesn’t match the glory of the prior film), then Finding Dory (again, it’s a serviceable sequel, but nothing special) and Cars 3 (I haven’t seen it yet).

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The reason that I wanted to do this article, is that in couple of weeks Pixar is going to release their next film, which will be an original, entitled Coco.  I really hope Coco is good, but I’m worried, because it looks like Pixar’s amalgamation of two recent animated films Kubo and the Two Strings mixed with The Book of Life.  Now, I’m sure it is not a knock-off of those two films, but I hope it’s dissimilar enough.  I want to see them really be creative and deep again, and this may have the potential, but I’m nervous.  The film’s done though, so I want to talk about the future past Coco.

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Pixar has five films they’re currently working on, but only 2 have been officially announced; The Incredibles 2, and Toy Story 4.  Personally, I don’t want too many sequels from Pixar, since their strength has really been in originals, the exception of course being the Toy Story films, so while I thought TS3 wrapped things up nicely, I’m keeping a very open mind on this.  As for the Incredibles 2, the original warranted a sequel more than any other Pixar original, and the first came at the beginning of the superhero era in film, so to check in with the family now with how the genre has changed is exciting.

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But ultimately, I want more originals.  One of the things that really has been great about the Pixar films that have been amazing were 2 things, originality, and character connection.  I think people have misread the formula, I think they see Toy Story and think “kids like toys, lets make a movie about toys” or “kids like animals and adventure, let’s make a movie about animals and adventure (Up),” but the reason why we really fell in love with those movies is that Woody learns that he has to share Andy’s love, or that Ellie got to live the adventure she always wanted, and Carl finally did too.  (BTW, I’m tearing up just thinking about Carl and Ellie, can you say that about any other 5 minute relationship in film history?)

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If Coco for all of it’s “Dia de Muerta” makeup, which totally does look cool, doesn’t have some strong clinching emotional connection, it’s going to fall flat.  That’s what I want to see, I want them to be the master manipulators that we all know they can be, and tug on our heartstrings.  This is less likely to happen in sequels, because it seems to be something forged in the examination of new characters, although each Toy Story movie so far has managed it, that’s because each time the relationship with Andy, the Buzz and Woody relationship, and the relationship with their purpose in life altered to examine it.  I hope the 4th manages to continue this, I hope that The Incredibles turns from Bob’s insecurity about domestic life, and how he loves his wife and kids, to him now knowing who he is again, being able to guide them more. I guess don’t have a clue what direction I want the Incredibles to head in, but I don’t want rehashing of the same basic emotional connections the way that I think some of their lesser sequels have.

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Ultimately, I suppose the sequels aren’t going to stop, but let’s take ratio which seems to be a little more than half of the recent movies have been sequels, and flip it.  Do sequels that are organic, but not necessarily just because they sell well.  Pixar currently has an amazing legacy in the making, and I think there is a lot of promise assuming they make some adjustments.  Look at their parent company Disney’s legacy.  Disney, love them or hate them, has had an incredible run for 80+ years, and although there have been some lulls, ultimately they’re doing great.  But one thing they do, they have places to put their lesser sequels.  Sure, they’ll make the Cinderella 10: Back In The Saddle, but it’s straight to video.  This is the way to make cash-grab movies, and not tarnish your legacy.

Lastly, I want to say, I’m going to continue to see every Pixar film until they have thoroughly defeated my spirit, and I don’t think they’re even close yet.  Their worst film is still better than most, I just want to see them return to being better than EVERYONE.

Written by Michael Cole