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Earth X (Review/Retrospective)

To get ready for Iron Man 3, we’ll be taking a look at some Iron Man and Avengers stories, both modern and classic. We hope to do two or three a week throughout the month, so check back regularly for the latest update.

“Your kind does love to rewrite history, Richards,” the Watcher observes towards the end of Earth X, after we get an introduction and brief recap of the life of Tony Stark. Almost every issue of the collection opens with a review of an iconic Marvel character’s back story, as writer Jim Krueger and plotter Alex Ross attempt to tie the tapestry of the Marvel universe together in some way. It turns out that everything a character underwent wasn’t just their own personal development, but part of a broader tapestry of history within the Marvel universe. No character evolution, it seems, happens in isolation. Everything is interconnected, even if we (or the writers or the characters) never realised it at the time.

Earth X is really just an attempt to tie most of the Marvel universe up in one gigantic knot, to connect everything to everything else. In a way, published in 1999, it seems to foreshadow the current era of Marvel publishing, where absolutely everything within in the shared universe must somehow be connected to something else. Avengers vs. X-Men, for example, would connect the Phoenix from the X-Men to the Iron Fist mythology. Grant Morrison’s New X-Men connected the Weapon X project to the development of Captain America. The X-Men and the Avengers must be united as part of Uncanny Avengers.

In many ways, Earth X reads more interestingly as a treatise than as a comic story. It’s far stronger as a thought-experiment than an actual narrative. It’s more fun on purely technical level, watching Jim Krueger and Alex Cross connect all those dots, than it is as an adventure in its own right.

Stellar...

Stellar…

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Adam Strange: Planet Heist (Review/Retrospective)

This month I’m taking a look at DC’s massive “Infinite Crisis” Event. Although it was all published in one massive omnibus, I’ll be breaking down the lead-in to the series to tackle each thread individually, culminating in a review of the event itself. Check back for more.

Note: Although technically not a lead-in, and not included in the Omnibus, Planet Heist leads directly to Rann-Thanagar War, so I thought I’d take a look at it. Also, it’s a pretty damn fine series.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Adam Strange. Along with The Flash, Strange’s adventures in Mystery in Space are among my favourite of DC’s Silver Age comic books. (That would suggest a fondness for Carmine Infantino, who – his Batman work aside – is certainly a favourite of mine.) I’m boggled that DC has never managed to make more of Strange than they have. A delightful science-fiction concept, blending John Carter of Mars with a fifties ray-gun aesthetic, it seems ripe for pulpy exploitation. In fact, before Marvel announced Guardians of the Galaxy, I figured that Strange might prove DC’s best big screen hope of distinguishing themselves from Marvel.

Andy Diggle and Pascal Ferry’s Planet Heist is a delightful eight-issue miniseries featuring the character, updating him for a new era. I can’t help but feel a little sad that the pair didn’t extend the miniseries into a run, and that Adam Strange remains a neglected character in the DC pantheon.

All the Strange, Strange people…

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Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives, Vol. 1 (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

It’s very hard to believe, but there was a time when both Batman and Detective Comics were on the verge of cancellation. While the character had been one of the first major superheroes to emerge, and had a profound impact on many who followed, the fifties had not been kind to the Batman. When changes in the market forced the publisher to move away from the traditional crime stories, they tried to tell science-fiction epics. This approach actually worked quite well on Superman and Action Comics, as Superman leant himself to stories about aliens and other dimensions, but these elements felt somewhat out of place in a Batman comic book. In a last ditch effort to save the titles, editor Julius Schwartz was drafted in to revamp the character and his world, resulted in a “new look” version of the Caped Crusader who would inspire Adam West’s version of the character, but felt like something of a return to the character’s roots.

Na na na na na na na na…

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