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Books & Comics

Can we talk about Marvel NOW’s Thunderbolts a sec?

Marvel NOW‘s most fascinating new premise isn’t exactly what fans were hoping for. Any chance of turning this monstrous, sun-burned ship around?

Thunderbolts NOW cover

PREVIOUSLY… ON COMIC BOOKS: Hot off the heels of DC’s New 52, Marvel spun its 2012 annual event, AVX, into a half-expected, universe-wide reboot called Marvel NOW! The most notable shake ups were evident in their flagship titles and new blood was injected into creative teams. Some of the X-Men joined the Avengers. Doctor Octopus became Spider-Man (wait– what?). And once again, a new team of Thunderbolts hit the scene.

Nope, not those ”Thunderbolts.” In the interest of somehow further cluttering 60 years of tangled continuity, Marvel debuted a new team of well-known characters under the same moniker as an unrelated 15-year series just as a nod to a nickname of an alter ego character who first appeared in 1962. Get it yet? No? Too late. Boom: Introducing Marvel NOW’s Thunderbolts, written by Daniel Way and drawn by Steve Dillon. Read on…

The Amazingly Superior Spider-man is neither Amazing nor Superior, Discuss

SPOILER WARNING

I’m going on a little bit of a rant here true-believers, so if you haven’t read the last few issues of TASM and don’t want to know what happens, turn back right Marvel NOW!

The Amazing Spiderman Doc Ock CoverAs you may have heard, Marvel is in the process of giving their characters a fresh start in the the mega-event Marvel NOW! Coinciding with this event is the seven-hundredth issue of The Amazing Spider-man, the web-slinger’s first regular, monthly title which began in 1963. Marvel is now (see what I did there?) ending that streak on a nice round number. Less than two years after killing off ‘Ultimate’ Spider-man, they are stickin’ it to poor Peter Parker and laying him to rest once again.  I have always given my best effort to approach these big sensationalist events in the Marvel Universe with an open mind, and can appreciate the fact that these characters have been around for 50+ years and it’s tough to keep things fresh, but Marvel, dude, I think a web line has been crossed here.

Let’s go over the course of events that have lead to the big finale. I knew that this was going to be a controversial ending and I wanted a little bit of context, so I started with issue #698 and #699 before nabbing the whopping eight dollar #700. As of #698, Doc Ock is withering away and dying in prison. When Octavius is believed to be moments away from death, he calls for a meeting with Spider-man. Once Spider-man is at his bedside (it sounds weird already right?) it is revealed that it is Peter Parker who is actually in Otto Octavius’ sickly and dying body and that Otto is in Peter Parker’s body a la Freaky Friday.  After a series of chases and fights, we start to think that Peter might pull off the switch and get his body back, but time runs out and he dies in Ock’s body. Before he does though, he somehow gives Otto his memories and we see all of the iconic moments in Spider-man’s fifty year history pass through Otto’s mind. Naturally, that leads him to want to be a hero. Not only does he want to do good, he declares he wants to be a better, Superior Spider-man and one-up the poor, departed Peter Parker. Read on…

I am Sherlocked and So Can You

The Sherlock Holmes stories are probably the second most easily acquired books in the world (they’ll be first as soon as hotels start answering my calls about providing them in hotels). Every bookstore contains some version or other of the complete works, every library has multiple copies, or they’re a ctrl-T away and downloadable for free here or here (legally, they’re public domain).

So you’ve got them, that’s great. Then what? Fifty-six short stories and four novels is a daunting number, and it can be a little worrisome figuring out where to start. Chronologically? Alphabetically? Randomly, until you lose track of which one you’ve read and which one you haven’t already? Fear not, here’s a quick guide on where to start if you’re brand new to the stories: Read on…

Retrospective: V for Vendetta

V for VendettaV for Vendetta

I caught the Wachowskis’ film adaptation of David Lloyd and Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta during a lazy Saturday HBO binge several years ago. Though I was loosely familiar with the iconography associated with the tale (what denizen of the internet hasn’t seen a Guy Fawkes mask here or there?), I was ignorant of the actual source material. The movie is a solid action piece, one which culminates in a knife-throwing, explosion-packed climax revealing to those damn fascists that they can’t stop a legion of V’s. Cool, but also disappointingly simple. The ruthless, antagonistic government is so dehumanized they might as well be zombies or robots (or even robot zombies). V is so crafty and cool he might as well be Batman. In a society that bent out of shape, who wouldn’t root for an enigmatic anti-hero? Especially one with Huge Weaving’s voice. Bottom line, I’d seen that story before.

So, thinking I’d somehow completed my V for Vendetta experience, I turned off the TV and promptly forgot it even existed. That is, until I got ahold of the compiled version of the comic a few weeks ago thanks to Rob. Read on…

Is That a Martini in Your Pocket…? Best Bond Girls from the Books

In time for Skyfall, a look back at Ian Fleming’s top 5 most interesting Bond girls (yes, they exist)

For recent generations, Bond has been a strictly cinematic institution, a Hollywood pursuit – which is a shame because Mr. Fleming’s original writings are really something to behold (so that’s what it feels like to be “the-book-is-better” guy). One part tantalizing travelogue, another part Cold War fantasy, and three parts old, racist great uncle bending your ear; they are rich, pulpy, espionage tapestries. Bond on film became a genre standard that is inexplicably now chasing Bourne… but Bond on the page? It feels like Mad Men stirred in a bubbling cauldron of Marvel Comics. Let’s be honest, that sounds awesome (and it so totally is).

Read on…

Unfilmable: Why Some Books Defy Adaptation

Cloud Atlas finally came out this week and, honestly, it looks like a bit of a hot mess. As fellow Gosu contributor Rob said on twitter:  ”We didn’t know what kind of movie you’d like, so we made all of them.” That plus some racist undertones make it seem like the book is just one of those things that can’t be adapted. Not that that’s ever stopped a director from trying, successfully or not, to film the unfilmable.

Read on…

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Various writings about Movies, TV, Games, Books, Comics, and Technology. You know, nerdy stuff.


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