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Saturday, April 25, 2015

DC July 2015 Solcits: Taking Cues from Marvel and the End of Fables


With yesterday's article covering Marvel's solicited comics for July of this year, it's time to take a look at the Distinguished Competition, so to speak.  June will see DC go through a mini-relaunch of sorts as a number of new #1's are released and on-going titles see some major face lifts.  July continues that trend, and the number of pages DC is taking from Marvel's playbook with Hawkeye and other titles begins to become a lot more clear.

Below you will find my picks for the ten most note-worthy of DC's July offerings.  Be sure to check out Newsarama for the full listing.


1. Cyborg Out on his Own - As DC continues to add more diversity to their line of comics, Cyborg finally gets his own ongoing series.  Not only is this DC's only title to be told from the perspective of an African American, but it is also being written by an African American.  Progress is progress no matter how late.

CYBORG #1
Written by DAVID WALKER
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO


The machine that gives Cyborg his powers is evolving! The only problem is that machine is his body and he has no idea what’s causing these changes!







2. Black Canary or Spider-Gwen? - One of DC's many new titles that seem to take more than a little inspiration from Marvel's current line of comics is Black Canary.  While more female-centric comics is great, hopefully the final product doesn't end up being as similar to Spider-Gwen as this solicit sounds.

BLACK CANARY #2
Written by BRENDEN FLETCHER
Art and cover by ANNIE WU


In the wake of their first major fight, Dinah’s realized that her new bandmates are completely unprepared to keep themselves alive in a scrap…so it’s time for a training montage! (Cue the squealing guitars!) Plus: Who is Bo Maeve, and why does she hate Black Canary so much?





3. Dr. Fate Shows Promise - Another of DC's new titles which hopes to bank on the success of indie-inspired superhero comics.  What is unclear about Dr. Fate is whether or not this is Earth-2 or the new DCU.  Although, with DC's sudden apathy towards continuity, it seems unlikely this will be addressed until the time comes for a crossover.

DR. FATE #2
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art and cover by SONNY LIEW


The new Dr. Fate is already having trouble controlling the power of Nabu – and time is of the essence because he’s about to be tested by an ancient evil!







4. Prez Brings (Hope and) Change - Prez was perhaps the most unexpected of DC's new series announced a few months ago.  As the upcoming mini-series has no real ties to any other DC series or superheroes, this one could be the biggest game changer for DC.  The solicit definitely gives off a fun, care free vibe that DC's comics have been missing.

PREZ #2
Written by MARK RUSSELL
Art and cover by BEN CALDWELL


With the election in chaos and a Congress mired in corruption, Twitter sensation @corndoggirl becomes the first teenaged President of the United States!








5. The New Batman vs the GCPD - Numerous comics in DC's July solicits promise to feature this mysterious new Batman.  Certain Free Comic Book Day spoilers point out the identity of that Batman and, for that reason alone, this new story in Detective Comics may be the most interesting outside of the main Bat-book to incorporate this mysterious figure.

DETECTIVE COMICS #42
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art by FERNANDO BLANCO
Cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL


The all-new Batman tries to find his place in Gotham City! But how can he manage his already uneasy relationship with the GCPD?





6. Superman Returns from Convergence for a Crossover - The reveal of Superman's secret identity to the entire world is undoubtedly a turn in storytelling that will affect more than just the main Superman book.  So, of course, DC is using the opportunity to have all their Superman titles connect with the new story "Truth".  It seems unclear if this is a true crossover or if each title simply provides a different angle on the idea.

SUPERMAN #42
Written by GENE LUEN YANG
Art and cover by JOHN ROMITA, JR. and KLAUS JANSON


The Superman epic you never expected – “TRUTH” continues! Has Lois Lane betrayed Superman with the truth?





7. The Justice League United gets a New Team - While Jeff Lemire is going to be sorely missed from JLU come June, this issue may just prove that this quirky series can still be exciting.  The JLU was already composed of mostly C and D-listers, but the addition of some of these characters just may be enough to bring in some new readers.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #11
Written by JEFF PARKER
Art by TRAVEL FOREMAN
Cover by ANDREW ROBINSON


The Convergence is over! Now, Alanna Strange, Stargirl and Equinox must assemble brand-new and wildly untraditional teams of heroes and villains to work together and stop another cosmic catastrophe before it happens. In this issue: Mera, Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing and Etrigan!




8. Section Eight Brings the Humor - As mentioned with Prez, DC is in bad need of a comic series that is actually funny.  Unfortunately, any of their books that seem like they will be fun, entertaining, AND bring laughs are all mini-series.  That being said, Garth Ennis' Section Eight is sure to be the most quirky and most likely well written of all these funny books.

SECTION EIGHT #2
Written by GARTH ENNIS
Art by JOHN McCREA
Cover by AMANDA CONNER


It’s Green Lantern’s turn in the barrel as Sixpack’s quest for the eighth Section Eighter continues. But what does GL himself think about all this? Why is Sixpack hearing voices? And can Bueno Excellente really have found love? Find out in part two of the miniseries the creative team themselves are calling an unprecedented masterpiece.



9. Sweet Tooth Gets a New Collection - If you for some reason missed out on Sweet Tooth, the short-lived Vertigo series written and drawn by Jeff Lemire, you missed one of the most emotional, character-driven stories to ever come out of the company.  Now that series is being put back out in hardcover form and you better get a slice of that pie.

SWEET TOOTH DELUXE EDITION BOOK ONE HC
Written by JEFF LEMIRE 
Art and cover by JEFF LEMIRE


In issues #1-12 of the acclaimed series by Jeff Lemire, meet Gus, a human/animal hybrid who was raised in isolation after a pandemic that struck a decade earlier. Now, the death of his father has left him alone – until a drifter named Jepperd promises to help him find a refuge for hybrids.






10. Fables Finds an Ever After - If you are new to Geek Rex, you may not know just how much I love Fables.  Though the series was not always perfect, it will always be my favorite comic of all time for a multitude of reasons.  It all comes to a close in July with a final issue so big it is being solicited as the 22nd volume of the trade paperbacks.  Hopefully this series can end on a high note.

FABLES VOL. 22 TP
Written by BILL WILLINGHAM
Art by MARK BUCKINGHAM, STEVE LEIALOHA, ANDREW PEPOY, MARK SCHULTZ, GENE HA, NEAL ADAMS and others

It’s the final trade paperback volume of FABLES! No, wait – it’s FABLES #150, the grand finale of the best-selling, award-winning comic book series! And it’s also an original graphic novel in the tradition of 1001 NIGHTS OF SNOWFALL! Yes, it’s all this and more! Join us for 150 – that’s, right, 150! – pages of new stories starring your favorite Fables, all from the mind of Bill Willingham. It all starts with an 80-page lead story illustrated by series regulars Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha, plus stories illustrated by Mark Schultz, Gene Ha, Neal Adams, Andrew Pepoy and many more!

Don’t miss the final bows for Boy Blue, Stinky, Lake and more in this once-in-a-lifetime issue that also features a foldout cover by Nimit Malavia that opens into a four-panel mural! It’s even got metallic ink!


What are you excited to read from DC this July?  Anything not here you want to see?  Let us know in the comments below!

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There's A Dark Knight 3 Coming...And Kyle Continues To Ponder It


Yesterday afternoon, DC Comics announced the upcoming release of the third (and final) part of Frank Miller's Dark Knight series, The Dark Knight: The Master Race, would see release this fall. Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is considered one of those seminal comics, along with Watchmen, Maus, Sandman, etc, that changed the form towards a more mature type of storytelling. To this day, it's still placed on a pretty high pedestal and informs much of the Batman we see in present day, both in Scott Snyder's current run and the character's onscreen adventures in both the Nolan trilogy of films and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

I read it as a kid, and once again when I was in college, I like it well enough. I don't think it's quite Watchmen level good, but there's a certain earnestness there that's difficult to deny.

Miller's sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was less well received...actually, let's be honest, it was outright reviled by most corners of the comic reading world. As discussed on our podcast episode that focused on this more challenging Miller work, I rather like it. If nothing else, I don't think there's such a massive gulf in quality between the two works, except for perhaps that last issue.

Maybe I just need to re-read The Dark Knight Returns again.

Here's what we know about The Dark Knight: The Master Race

It's being co-written by Miller and Brian Azzarello, it'll be 8 issues long and will come out twice monthly starting sometime this Fall. No artists have been announced thus far, but BleedingCool had a number of rumors on that front months ago. 

I'm not really sure what to think about this project. The title is certainly ill-considered, given the obvious connotations, and as Miller's political views continued to move more and more to the right in recent years, I can understand why fans would be really alarmed by that development.

Miller is definitely not the same writer that wrote The Dark Knight Returns, he's not even the same guy who wrote The Dark Knight Strikes Again really. One look at All Star Batman and Robin (which has its merits) and Holy Terror (which does not), basically underline the continued downhill slope his writing has taken. But, the great equalizer here is Azzarello, or at least he is in theory.

Azzarello, whose Wonder Woman run was easily the best comic of the New 52, has had some pretty decent success writing Batman. I greatly enjoyed his Flashpoint tie-in, Knight of Vengeance, which one could argue is easily one of the best Batman stories of the decade. And while I found collaboration with Lee Bermejo, Joker, very disturbing, there was certainly a sense of ambition there.

That ambition would, in theory, have me more interested in whatever this new Dark Knight ends up looking like. On the other hand, Azzarello has also been DC's go-to utility writer in recent years, and when he's used in that fashion, he's often less successful. The most obvious corollary is his work on the Before Watchmen project, as neither of his entries in that controversial series are ones that I'd call particularly notable and while I'm not sure how much of The New 52: Future's End has his stamp on it (I'd assume 1/4th), that book was pure drivel.

The question at hand, which Azzarello is going to show up? The inventive, wonderful writer that actually made me a Wonder Woman fan or the guy pumping out whatever DC's current big initiative is. Given the recent concerns over Miller's health, I think it's pretty clear that Miller is only plotting this, at the very most, with much of the heavy lifting being done by Azzarello. Like I said, this is both good and bad, as it could curtail Miller's worst instincts, but it might also drown out some of those moments that are unique only to Miller. The risk of homogenization is also high, but again, it all comes down to Azzarello. 

Either way, that title sucks. I'm also going to miss Miller's art. Though if DC wants to hire David Mazzucchelli or Klaus Janson to handle interiors, I wouldn't complain.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Let Jared Leto's Joker Wish You A Happy Friday Night!

For weeks and weeks, we kept getting teases about Jared Leto's hair, his voice, and any other scrap of information that the internet could pull together about what his Joker looks like in David Ayer's upcoming Suicide Squad.

The wait is over folks, as Ayer has tweeted out the first official Joker photo in honor of the Joker's 75th anniversary:


Not sure how I feel about the grill, and some of the tattoos (though they line up pretty well with the rumors that this Joker would look a bit like Jim Lee's from All Star Batman and Robin), but there's something really unsettling about Leto's appearance here...dare I say, it captures the kind of manic energy I was hoping we'd see in our next on-screen Joker. I'm rather creeped out looking at him, and that may be just the desired effect that Ayer and his team are going for.

Also, while I know that's a riff on the whole "tear on the face" prison tattoo bit he has going on there...is that maybe a "J" for Jason Todd? Possibly a stretch, but we did apparently see a Robin costume in that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer.

I'm sure this totally won't dominate the weekend at all.
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The GeekRex Podcast Episode 90: Daredevil and the Netflix Model


On this week's episode, we discuss Daredevil, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Bloodline, and delve into the problems with and future of the Netflix binge-watching model!



Listen in the player below, or check us out in iTunes. Remember, if you like the show or have any ideas or suggestions, please rate us in iTunes or drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook!

Music In this Episode:
Daredevil Theme Song by John Paesano


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Marvel July 2015 Solicits: Secret Wars and Corporate Synergy!


It's that time of the month again: solicitations!  This time, we get to find out what to expect in July of this year from Marvel, just as May is about to begin.  As with May and June, July features Marvel's line mostly taken over by Secret Wars, but that doesn't mean there aren't also some new series/collections as well as some returning series.

Below are ten of the most noteworthy of Marvel's July 2015 solicits.  Be sure to check out Newsarama for the full list.

1. Ant-Man Returns (In Time For A Movie) - After taking a month off in June, Nick Spencer's fantastic series Ant-Man returns to comic shop shelves just in time for his cinematic debut.  Marvel enjoys their corporate synergy, while we get to enjoy one of their better titles once again.

ANT-MAN ANNUAL #1
NICK SPENCER (W)
RAMON ROSASNAS & Brent Schoonover (A)
Cover by DAVID MARQUEZ

• Just in time for the ANT-MAN movie (funny, that), it’s the team-up you’ve been waiting for: Scott Lang and Hank Pym, together again! Ant-bros!
• A classic villain makes his dreaded return!
• And a new hero is born! Well, not born, really -- he’s already an adult. Nobody wants to read about a super-baby. (Or do they?)





2. The Lando System? - No, Lando's not a system.  He's a guy.  And that guy is getting one of his own comic series from Marvel this July!  With a great writer like Charles Soule attached, it's safe to say that one of Star Wars most beloved characters is in good hands.

STAR WARS: LANDO #1 & 2 (OF 5)
CHARLES SOULE (W) 
ALEX MALEEV (A)

You know him...you love him...now, join him for his biggest caper as master of charm Lando Calrissian gets his very own comic book! Before he joined the rebellion, before he ran Cloud City, Lando made his way in the galaxy getting by on some swindles, some swagger, and a smile. Lobot at his side, Lando has a plan to steal a very valuable ship...but has he bitten off more than he can chew? Writer Charles Soule (DEATH OF WOLVERINE, INHUMAN, SHE-HULK) and artist Alex Maleev (DAREDEVIL, SPIDER-WOMAN, MOON KNIGHT) bring us the tale of a scoundrel in his natural element—trouble!


3. A New Guide to Marvel's Universe - Taking a page from Grant Morrison's playbook, Marvel is set to release a new guidebook to their own multiverse amidst the chaos of Secret Wars.  Essentially, this will serve as a guide for any readers not sure about the background of every single character and event involved.  One hopes they recommend to readers which graphic novels to pick up to get more out of said guidebook.

SECRET WARS: OFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE MARVEL MULTIVERSE #1
Written by THE OHOTMU TEAM, LED BY MIKE O’SULLIVAN & JEFF CHRISTIANSEN
Cover by MIKE McKONE
Worlds are colliding! Both on Battleworld, and in the SECRET WARS OFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE MARVEL MULTIVERSE #1 – a collection of all-new Profiles! Journey through Marvel’s multiverse:

Old Man Logan! The Ultimate Universe’s Spider-Man (Miles Morales)! The Age of Ultron! Weirdworld! The Spider-Verse event! The Age of Apocalypse’s Nightcrawler! Plus: profiles of the characters and events at the core of the Secret Wars: the Incursions of Earths, Namor’s Cabal, the Future Foundation kids and more! Also featuring key participants in previous Secret Wars: Volcana (Marsha Rosenberg), Thunderball (Eliot Franklin), the healer Zsaji, the Dark Elf Kurse, original Battleworld refugee Puff the dragon, and the Secret Wars II event itself! And because we love you: the Pet Avengers’ Throg, Lady Deadpool, Teen Hulk…and Obnoxio the Clown?!


4. Another Marvel Event Returns - As is probably obvious by now, most of the lands of the upcoming Battleworld in Secret Wars are comprised of event books which Marvel has published over the years.  One of those events is the oft-ignored Siege. Any similarities to the event seem to be in name only as this sounds like one of the more promising tie-ins.

SIEGE #1 & 2
KIERON GILLEN (w) 
FILIPE ANDRADE (a)

THEY CAN’T EVER WIN. THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE.
• THE SHIELD is the only thing that protects the more civilized areas of Battleworld from the ZOMBIE HORDES, DEATH MACHINES, AND ANNIHILATION WAVES.
•  Anyone who annoys Doom gets sent to The Shield. Anyone who gets sent to the Shield deals with ABIGAIL BRAND.
• Miss America, Lady Katherine, Kang the Conqueror, Leah Shieldmen, the Endless Summers Company, Leonardo Da Vinci and a cast of thousands will fight to the death to keep Battleworld safe. But don’t worry, Kieron Gillen is writing this book, so I’m sure everything will end happily for everyone.

• “Imagine NextWave as a tragedy,” says Kieron, if anyone asks him about it.


5. Battleworld Gets its own Thunderbolts - You may remember Josh Williamson, the winner of last year's Rexie for Best New Talent?  The writer behind THREE hit Image books: Ghosted, Birthright, and Nailbiter?  Well now he gets to enter Battleworld in his own series, and this one features a team of anti-heroes on a secret mission.  Sounds like Secret Wars has a Thunderbolts.

RED SKULL #1 (OF 3)
JOSHUA WILLIAMS (w) 
LUCA PIZZARI (a)

• One of the most vile villains of the Marvel Universe gets his very own twisted Secret Wars series!
• Red Skull should be dead but his legend grows, so a team of villains that includes Winter Soldier, Magneto and Lady Deathstrike are sent on a dangerous odyssey to the Deadlands to prove it…but no one ever comes back alive from the Deadlands!

• Forced to overcome zombies, Ultron drones and the Annihilation Wave, the rag-tag team of villains will find that they may bitten off more than they can chew…


6. The War Within The War - Charles Soule has two new series starting in July from Marvel.  While the Star Wars one is arguably more exciting, the return of Civil War less than a year before the film of the same name has all the makings of bestseller.  Luckily Soule's concept for the book sounds too good to miss.

CIVIL WAR #1
CHARLES SOULE (w)
LEINIL FRANCIS YU (a/C)


• The Civil War never ended. Welcome to the Warzone, where six years of non-stop battle between the forces of the Blue and the Iron have split the nation down its center, utterly transforming it. In a world of new alliances and strange enemies, President Tony Stark and General Steve Rogers meet to make one last attempt at peace.





7. Hydra Enters the Secret Wars - Rick Remender has had a lot to say about Hydra lately, particularly in his recent run on All-New Captain America.  Now the evil Nazi organization returns in Secret Wars, staking out one of the countries of Battleworld and forging their own utopia.

HAIL HYDRA #1
RICK REMENDER (w)
ROLAND BOSCHI (a/C)

• Peace Through Strength! Honor Through Obedience! Continuance Through Conformity!
• Hail Hydra! Immortal Hydra! We shall never be destroyed!
• Cut off one limb, and two shall take its place!
• We serve none but the Master—as the world shall soon serve us!
• It is a beautiful Utopia that Hydra has created.

• But when a lone figure from outside the Regime appears, could his very presence be enough to bring this perfect society to its ruin?


8. Shane's Favorite X-men Story Returns (Again) - If there is one X-men event that Marvel loves to return to again and again, it's Age of Apocalypse.  Although, when you have only one great X-men event from the 1990's, it makes sense that you'd want to capitalize on its success over and over.  To say I'm excited for this one would be an understatement.  Love the return to the original art style.

AGE OF APOCALYPSE #1
FABIAN NICIEZA (w) 
GERARDO SANDOVAL (a/C)


• His war has been won. The few humans left alive are enslaved, the mutant rebellion crushed. EN SABAH NUR, the APOCALYPSE, rules his BATTLEWORLD kingdom without mercy, but the terrorist X-MEN plan to end his reign. Success means finding one very special mutant named CYPHER and unleashing a weapon that will kill Apocalypse -- and possibly all mutants, too!



9. The Marvel Netflix Properties See Reprints - You may have missed this, but Marvel's new Netflix series, Daredevil, is pretty popular.  Though they will not get their own series for over a year, Marvel is already reprinting some comics for new readers to catch up on the exploits of Luke Cage and Iron Fist.  Daredevil is also seeing some reprints to aid the comic shop workers who have undoubtedly seen an influx of new readers curious about the character.

POWER MAN & IRON FIST EPIC COLLECTION: HEROES FOR HIRE TPB
Written by MARY JO DUFFY with CHRIS CLAREMONT, ED HANNIGAN, BOB LAYTON & STEVEN GRANT
Penciled by KERRY GAMMILL with JOHN BYRNE, TREVOR VON EEDEN, MIKE ZECK, SAL BUSCEMA, LEE ELIAS, MARIE SEVERIN & ALAN WEISS


Marvel’s stronger-than-steel man of the streets, Luke Cage, partners with the mystic kung-fu master Iron Fist in the beginning of one of the greatest teams in comic-book history! Together, Power Man and Iron Fist are heroes for hire, taking on any any job, any challenge — so long as their clients can meet the price. But both heroes have long pasts and old foes out to destroy them. Between those menaces and making ends meet, it’s a life short on downtime and long on action! This inaugural Epic Collection features the beginning of our heroes’ partnership; guest appearances by the X-Men, and Colleen Wing and Misty Knight — the Daughters of the Dragon; and classic villains including Nightshade, Bushmaster and Sabretooth! Collecting POWER MAN #48-49 and POWER MAN & IRON FIST (1978) #50-70.

DAREDEVIL: TYPHOID’S KISS TPB
Written by ANN NOCENTI & STEVE LIGHTLE
Penciled by JOHN VAN FLEET, STEVE LIGHTLE, FRED HARPER & JAMES FRY
Cover by JOE MADUREIRA

Daredevil’s craziest ex-girlfriend, Typhoid Mary, stars in her own twisted fairy tale! Peek inside the crowded head of Mary Walker — whose dissociative identity disorder, and mutant talents for telekinesis and pyrokinesis, are a deadly combination. But could the psionic psycho become a force for good when she fights for women too powerless to defend themselves? Typhoid’s appetite for vengeance draws the attention of Ghost Rider, while her growing contempt for men places Daredevil and Wolverine in the line of fire. Meanwhile, it’s bad news for Peter Parker when he befriends the benign Mary, only for her newly discovered third identity to manifest itself. Spidey sure won’t want to say Bloody Mary three times! Collecting TYPHOID #1-4, MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1988) #150-151 and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #213-214 — plus material from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1988) #109-116 and #123-130, and GIRL COMICS (2010) #3.


10. Upcoming Movies Also See Reprints - Yay for all this corporate synergy in July!  Though July sees Ant-Man hit the big screen, Marvel is prepping for readers to find new interest in upcoming characters Doctor Strange and Black Panther.  Each characters begin to see classic runs collected.  Could new on-goings be far behind?

DOCTOR STRANGE: DON’T PAY THE FERRYMAN TPB
Written by ROGER STERN & PETER B. GILLIS
Penciled by SAL BUSCEMA & CHRIS WARNER
Cover by MIKE MIGNOLA

Flames of the Faltine! Is it getting hot in here, or is it just Mephisto? When Doctor Strange joins Reed and Sue Richards in battle with the Lord of Lies, the enchanting sorceress Topaz is freed from hell. But half her soul remains in torment. Can Strange complete her — or will he fall prey first to a siren’s song? Or perhaps to a feral feline demon? With a key part of his costume clawed to pieces, Stephen’s going to need a new Cloak — but when the unholy Urthona strikes, he might need a new body, too! The old saying goes, “Don’t pay the ferryman until you get to the other side.” But before Strange can reach it, there might just be a new Sorcerer Supreme! Collecting DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #75-81.

BLACK PANTHER BY CHRISTOPHER PRIEST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL. 1 TPB
Written by CHRISTOPHER PRIEST & JOE QUESADA
Penciled by MARK TEXEIRA, VINCE EVANS, JOE JUSKO, MIKE MANLEY, MARK BRIGHT & SAL VELLUTO
Cover by JOE QUESADA

Black Panther reinvented as a sharp and witty political satire? Believe it! T’Challa is the man with the plan as Christopher Priest puts the emphasis on the Wakandan king’s reputation as the ultimate statesman, as seen through the eyes of the U.S. government’s Everett K. Ross. As the Panther investigates a murder in New York, Ross plays Devil’s Advocate in an encounter with Mephisto, and a new regime seizes control in Wakanda. When the truth behind the coup becomes clear, T’Challa finds himself an enemy of the state — and a major revelation threatens to destroy his relationship with the Avengers! Plus: Meet Queen Divine Justice — is she ready to join T’Challa’s deadly crew of female bodyguards, the Dora Milaje? Are they ready for her? Hold onto your pants, because Ross sure can’t! Collecting BLACK PANTHER (1998) #1-17.


What are you excited to see from Marvel this July?  When do you think Secret Wars will finally come to a close?  What's next for Marvel?  Let us know in the comments below!

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GeekRex Quick Take: Ex Machina

The Buzz: The buzz on this one begins and ends with Alex Garland, the writer of films such as 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd moving into his first directorial feature in Ex Machina. Garland has had a very impressive resume, and it could be argued that he is one of the most consistent writers in "genre cinema", and while writers don't always translate into great directors, the overwhelming praise for this film coming out of SXSW quickly turned Garland's behind the camera debut into the must see film of April.

Having a hotter than hot Oscar Isaac sure doesn't hurt.

What's Great About the Movie: Twilight Zone fans, take note: this is basically the movie you've been waiting for and the on-screen representation of Rod Serling's ideas that Black Mirror wishes it could be. Garland's screenplay is immaculately constructed while asking large-scale ethical questions about artificial intelligence's impact on humanity and what constitutes a relationship between two beings. You might say, didn't we see this in Her already? And from a macro-perspective, you wouldn't be wrong; but the key here is Garland's affinity for mass audience thrills. Where his penchant for twisting and absorbing other genres all within the same viewing experience failed to quite take off with Sunshine, he nails it here. Garland's best move is weaving in and out of horror, creating a sense of tension in every scene that could have easily been played in a more straight-forward fashion. Even when the film slows, there's a feeling of the unknown around every corner, and by the time Ex Machina reaches its climax, you'll find that (barring those who are particularly versed in this sort of big message Sci-Fi) your expectations have likely been upended. 

But beyond a wonderful premise, script, and sterilized clean art design; the real draw of this film is in its lead trio of performances. Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander each give mesmerizing performances, with Isaac particularly as a standout. Sure, you've probably seen this video of him "tearing up the fucking dance floor", but his performance throughout is wonderfully nuanced. I can't remember the last time I saw a character that I both loathed and really liked at the same time, but that's the sort of moral quandry Ex Machina finds me facing.

I also cannot go without praising the design work, particularly for Ava, which displays both innate humanity and near clockwork gear-grinding. She's both clearly a person, and not. Again, this reflects the same back and forth you feel throughout about almost every aspect of the film itself. It's worth noting, Ava's concept work came via comics artist Jock, who also worked with Garland on Dredd.

What's Not-So-Great About the Movie: Nothing really, this is a perfectly executed science fiction exercise that does exactly what you'd hope for.

Final Verdict: If nothing else, given the upcoming slate, Ex Machina is probably the best movie about robots you're going to see this year. The fact that it has a lot more going on underneath the surface, and enough thrills to satisfy even the most jaded audience goer makes this a must see and probably the best film of 2015 so far.

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YouTube Video Brings Some Color Back Into Man Of Steel

Man of Steel is endlessly fascinating to me. While I appreciated the central thesis: "How would Earth react to finding out there's life on other planets?", some of the choices made have been the source of discussion for years now. The one that I found always stuck out most was the desaturated color palette that director Zack Snyder used to reflect the more dour themes of the movie. 

While it makes sense in concept, a more realistic Superman should probably be reflected tonally in the visuals, it ended up sucking some of the splendor out of the film for me personally. Man of Steel had some of the best visual effects and action cinematography (the two areas in which Snyder really excels) of any superhero film, but the overwhelming sense of grey made everything look rather sludgey. Now, thanks to the folks at VideoLab, we get a chance to see a somewhat brighter take on the material. Their team turns the color up a bit and show us what Man of Steel would look like if it were just a bit more red and blue. Check it out and gaze at what might have been:
   

For what it's worth, we're all still debating the film to this day, so clearly somebody did something right. That's more than we can say for some of the lesser Marvel offerings or the latest Spider-Man picture.
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