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Ultimate Comics Avengers by Mark Millar Omnibus (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. And because it’s release day in the rest of the world, here’s a second Avengers-related review. And it’s a long one.

They say you can’t go home again. The Ultimates was easily one of the best comics of the past decade, and perhaps the comic that really got me into the medium. A clever, timely, astute and well-considered exploration of the superhero in the twenty-first century, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch undoubtedly had a massive influence on everything that followed. Of course, all this would seem to be for nothing when Jeph Loeb took over the franchise for Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum, two stories that were very poorly received and damaged the franchise quite considerably. So Millar’s return to write four six-issue miniseries of Ultimate Comics: Avengers seemed like a breath of fresh air. Critical and fan reaction to his twenty-four issue run has been somewhat muted, and there’s no denying that a lot of the magic from that origin story was lost. That said, I’ll concede to finding it an interesting, complex and occasionally compelling examination of Millar’s views on superheroes.

Not quite the ultimate Avengers comic…

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S.H.I.E.L.D: Architects of Forever(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.” Today we’re looking at a miniseries exploring the history of S.H.I.E.L.D., the organisation which has played a big role in the Marvel cinematic universe.

Jonathan Hickman is something of a rising star at Marvel, with his acclaimed work on Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four and Ultimate Comics: Ultimates, along with character-centric miniseries like Ultimate Thor and Ultimate Hawkeye. Much like Jason Aaron, the writer has demonstrated a remarkable ability with both the smaller cult characters in the universe, as well as some of its bigger names – it has been argued that Hickman has been doing fascinating things with characters who had stumbled a bit of late in Marvel’s shared universe, like Nick Fury or the “first family” of the company, the Fantastic Four. Hickman has a wonderful talent to combine old established concepts with clever new ideas to produce an interesting result. S.H.I.E.L.D., documenting the history of Marvel’s premiere espionage organisation, demonstrates this quite well.

At least what I understood of it.

The SHIELD protects us...

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Ultimate Comics: Thor (Review/Retrospective)

With the release of Marvel’s big-budget superhero action movie Thor this summer, we’re taking a month to celebrate the God of Thunder. Check back each Wednesday for a Thor-related review.

“It burns,” Thor tells us as the comic opens. “The world tree burns… Surely this is the end of all things…” Yes, Jonathan Hickman suggests, it is indeed the end, but it is also the beginning. The lives of gods, like the myths themselves and the comic books they inspire, are cyclical and endless. This scene, as Nazi stormtroopers and frost giants march on Asgard, might be the end, but it is also the beginning.

Thor Smash!

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Thor And Internal Consistency…

I am growing more and more excited about Thor as every little snippet of rumour leaks out about casting. Which is odd, because Thor is one of the movies coming out on the road to The Avengers which I really don’t care that much about. It’s a superhero movie about a guy with a really big hammer – I don’t want to see that version of Thor. On the other hand, my interest was piqued from the moment that Kenneth Branagh was announced as director. Kenneth Branagh’s Thor I am interested in seeing. Particularly if it stars Robert deNiro and Jude Law. Still, my inner nerd remains skeptical about positioning a film based on myths and magic so firmly as a cornerstone of the on-screen Marvel universe.

What's the point of being the God of Thunder if you can't use it to dramatic effect every now and again?

What's the point of being the God of Thunder if you can't use it to dramatic effect every now and again?

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