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Captain America: The New Deal (Review/Retrospective)

Oh, God — How could this happen here?

– Steve Rogers, Captain America #1

It seemed inevitable that Captain America would have to respond to September 11th. After all, the terrorist atrocities were an attack on the American way of life, and the iconic superhero was perhaps the hero best equipped to explore the scars left by the still-recent attacks upon the American psyche, much as his Secret Empire plot allowed him to respond to the Watergate Scandal. Unfortunately, John Ney Rieber’s work on the character is – while well-intentioned – clumsy, awkward, groan-inducing and cliché-ridden. Even the fantastic artwork of John Cassaday cannot salvage the run from its own tired and trite pseudo-philosophical ramblings.

Subtle.

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A Stinger in the Tale: What’s the Point in a Teaser the Audience Don’t Get?

The Avengers was released on Friday in the UK and Ireland. It’s well worth a look, and it’s quite impressive how well director Joss Whedon managed to fuse these separate mythologies into one almost-cohesive film, even if it is a bit of a muddled mess at times. However, make sure that you remain in your seats as the credits role, as there’s a special surprise waiting for fans – just like at the end of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger before it. It is a pretty big deal for comic book fans such as myself, those of us with a passing knowledge of the Marvel Comics canon. Still, I can’t help but wonder what more regular and casual movie-goers might make of it.

Running the (infinity) gauntlet...

Note: The teaser is obviously spoiled below. Also, I saw an early cut of the film, and there was no second stinger attached, as rumours have suggested might have been added late in the day. Based on those rumours, and the actors involved in the shoot, it’s more likely that scene was more accessible, but I still wonder what regular fans will make of the sequence that appears at the end of the first set of credits.

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Kurt Busiek’s and George Perez’s Avengers – Avengers/JLA (Review/Retrospective)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Read our review of The Avengers here.

Avengers/JLA is about as nerdy as a comic book crossover can get. Really. It takes two teams of superheroes which were both formed to allow existing heroes to team up… and then teams those two teams up. It’s pure geek chic, after all. I have no shame in admitting that I enjoyed on a purely fanboyish level, my inner eight-year-old ecstatic at the idea of taking so many toys out of so many different boxes and bashing them together which such delightful cheer. It’s not an essential story, nor a brilliant one, nor a creative one – but it does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives us a gigantic crossover between two of the more recognisable Marvel and DC superhero teams.

The very definition of awesome...

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Non-Review Review: The Avengers (aka Avengers Assemble)

The Avengers has a lot of geeky charm to it – the sort of giddy “this is so cool!” spectacle that appeals to the popcorn-munching child in each of us. That’s more than enough help it coast through a somewhat muddled first act, through a stronger second act and into a truly awesome finale. I think that the carefully choreographed large-scale action sequence that caps the film off might be worth a ticket alone. While there seem to be some very fundamental problem juggling a cast this large in a movie that technically a sequel to at least four films, Joss Whedon knows his audience well enough to ensure that most of the individual moments are satisfying, even if the overall film feels a tad uneven.

Three of a kind...

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Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Volume 1 (Review)

April (and a little bit of May) are “Avengers month” at the m0vie blog. In anticipation of Joss Whedon’s superhero epic, we’ll have a variety of articles and reviews published looking at various aspects of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

It’s fascinating how Marvel managed to effectively reinvent the Avengers franchise over the better part of the last decade, pushing the title to the centre of their publishing line and revitalising it – both through Mark Millar’s alternate-continuity Ultimates and Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers. Both were poles apart from the type of books fans associated with the property, favouring sweeping and blockbuster storytelling in the place of the more conventional soap opera antics. As such, Joe Casey’s miniseries, offering a reflection on the first few years of the team, feels like something of a polite acknowledgment of the legacy of the team, and an attempt to celebrate their history together.

Not quite a train wreck…

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Non-Review Review: Captain America – The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger doesn’t have the heart of X-Men: First Class or the wit of Thor, but the story of Marvel’s star-spangled superhero does have its own charms. Part of it reflects its lead, little Steve Rogers, an appealing and sincere earnestness in dealing with material that it would be too easy to cynically dismiss. The First Avenger embraces the cheesiness at its core, and offers a rather stunning version of THE great American myth. Zack Snyder would do well to play close attention when bringing that other America fable to the big screen.

Patriot games...

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All This Flying is Making Me Tired: Superhero Fatigue…

Well, blockbuster season is really kicking into swing at the moment. Next week will see the release of X-Men: First Class, which will be the second major superhero movie of the summer, following Branagh’s superb Thor. There are two more due to touch down before the end of the blockbuster season, Green Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s fascinating how large the superhero genre has grown in recent years, to the point where one might legitimately argue that it has subgenres. Part of me wonders if this particular blockbuster fad is approaching its climax – if the superhero movie might out-stay its welcome, and go the way of the Western.

Is the superhero genre's blackest night ahead?

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