Tag Archives: The Avengers

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #5

Due to there being a 3-way tie for 5th place in the poll, it took awhile to actually decide a top 5. But we finally have it sorted out. So without further ado, let’s get started on the countdown of the greatest collection of villains, as voted on by you.

We begin our journey with Marvel’s primary supergroup:

The Avengers

pp5qq7iisexdlzwp0iay

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes don’t have quite as lenghty a list of major adversaries as some of the other protagonists in the poll, but the level of a threat that their villains typically pose is quite high. Which makes sense considering that the whole point of The Avengers is to deal with threats that no hero could handle individually.

 

annihilation_conquest_vol_1_5_textless

Atop their list would be Ultron, an android bent on the annhilation of the human race. Created by Hank Pym, and given his brain patterns, Ultron is as brilliant as he is powerful. Equipped with an army of drones that all share a hive mind, a myriad of laser weapons, the ability to control and/or transfer his memory and personality into other mechanical devices remotely, and an exoskeleton made of the virtually indestructible metal adamantium, it’s not difficult to see why he has remained such a constant thorn in the side of The Avengers.

 

89a103559c1f1c938dea9433b981f9dd

Not far behind Ultron on the list of Avengers baddies would be the maniacal Kang the Conqueror. Using time-traveling technology from the 30th Century, Kang (who is a decendant of Mr. Fantastic, with connections to Dr. Doom as well) travels from one time period to the next attempting to establish himself as ruler. Even though he possesses no actual superpowers, his genius-level intellect, his knowledge and skills in physics and engineering, and armor and technology from far more scientifically advanced times, Kang has been a major villain for several of Marvel’s heroes, but most notably The Avengers.

 

masters-of-evil-2010colorlr

Essentially the antithesis of The Avengers would be the Masters of Evil, a team of major, and sometimes not so major, villains banded together to destroy their heroic counterpart. While the team has gone through several incarnations, it is usually lead by prominent Captain America big bad Baron Zemo. The first villains to really bring the fight to The Avengers instead of the other way around, they have attacked The Avengers Mansion on several occassions.

 

735953-taskmaster_paco_medina05

It would be very easy to dismiss The Taskmaster as a major player, but that would be a mistake. While he has no superpowers outside of “photographic reflexes”, the ability to absorb, recall, and replicate knowledge and information instantaneously. This allows him to mimic and predict the movements and tendencies of any hero he sees. His in-depth observation of The Avengers has allowed him to replicate the hand-to-hand combat skills and athleticism of Black Panther, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Captain America, as well as Cap’s abilities with his shield, the marksmanship of Hawkeye and Black Widow, and the swordsmanship of the Black Knight. It may not seem like much, but he has proven time and time again to be a threat worthy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

 

loki-art

While he is most notably a villain of Thor, Loki has been a significant adversary of The Avengers as well. In fact he inadvertantly lead to the creation of the team. He had used The Hulk as a puppet to try to get revenge on Thor. Eventually his deceit is discovered and Rick Jones, Hulk’s sometimes sidekick, reaches out to Iron Man, Ant-Man, and The Wasp to assist them in defeating Loki. From that moment on, he has remained a fly in the ointment of The Avengers.

 

38ed1ec60774ae20a8df0c7e05ad2319

Arguably the greatest single threat to the Marvel Universe was Thanos when he wielded the Infinity Gauntlet. Granted virtual omnipotence from the Gauntlet, heroes (and even a few villains) from across the galaxy joined forces lead by The Avengers in an attempt to stop Thanos from destroying all life in the universe. Even after his defeat in the Infinity War, The Avengers have continued to battle The Mad Titan over his obsession with death.

Advertisements

The 25 Greatest Comic Book Movies (Revised) – Part 5

This is it. The top 5 greatest comic book movies of all-time. The final installment is pretty much unchanged from the last time, with only one new addition, and all the rest remaining in the same slots as before. With each having two films in the Top 5, we can definitively say that The Dark Knight and Captain America series are the best comic-based franchises Hollywood has produced.

5. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain-America-Civil-War-main-poster

The lastest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While not a direct adaptation of the story arc from the comics, the film hits a few of the high points, but takes the story in a completely different direction in others. A compelling story, fantastic acting (especially from Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther), one of the most complex villains in the MCU so far, great direction, and amazing fight coreography make this a truly incredible film. Getting to see Spider-Man come home to the MCU was another highlight.

 

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

captainamerica252ebf76418156

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a game-changer for comic movies, and the greatest solo film in the MCU. Far more a smart, political thriller than an overly action-heavy popcorn flick, this movie covers some major topical issues that we’re facing in a modern, technology-driven world. Aside from showcasing how intelligent a comic-based movie can be, the film also rocked the Marvel Cinematic Universe to its core with the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., the outing of HYDRA, and the faked death of Nick Fury. The fight coreography is the best ever in a comic movie, and in the conversation of best in cinema, period.

 

3. Batman Begins (2005)

batman_begins_teaser_b

The first chapter in Christopher Nolan’s reality-grounded Dark Knight Trilogy. Finally a Batman story that showed the audience how a billionaire orphan became the world’s greatest detective and guardian of Gotham City. A great script and Nolan’s brillaint direction are paired with spot-on casting across the board, with Christian Bale (Batman), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), and Liam Neeson (Ra’s al Ghul) giving particularly great performances. Cillian Murphy also delivers a wonderfully creepy portrayal as the Scarecrow. This is easily the greatest origin story in comic book movie history.

 

2. The Avengers (2012)

The_Avengers_(film)_poster_011

The culmination of the first phase of the most ambitious project in cinema history, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’d seen two movie franchises mash up (Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator) to varying degrees of success, but to combine four individual franchises in one monster team-up was ground-breaking. Intricately weaving them into one universe seemed a near impossible task, but Marvel Studios and Joss Whedon did so marvelously (pun intended). Getting to see alpha personalities of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, and Nick Fury all thrown together was truly a sight to behold. Whedon also hammered out a great story that brought them all together in an organic, unforced manor (unlike a certain DC team-up movie).

 

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

2008-dark_knight-5

Easily the greatest comic book movie ever made. In terms of pure storytelling, The Dark Knight is unmatched. Powerful and epic in scope, yet minute in subject. The diametrically opposing ideas of order vs. chaos have never been so beautifully displayed. Bale and Oldman again, give strong performances, but they along with everyone else that has ever been in a comic movie, are completely overshadowed by the masterful work of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Ledger brings a real-world darkness and insanity to a role that is so often portrayed as silly and/or over-the-top, earing him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the lone major acting award win for a comic book movie role.

 

I’m looking forward to revisiting this list again next year. Can movies like Suicide Squad or Dr. Strange claw their way onto the list? We’ll find out.

Spoiler-Free Captain America: Civil War Review

Civil_War_Final_Poster

Due to a very busy schedule, and then an unfortunate stomach bug, I wasn’t able to see Captain America: Civil War until this past weekend. This delay gave me plenty of time to read tons of reviews, which pretty much unanimously praised the movie. Some went as far as to call it the best offering from the MCU to date, and more than one said it was the greatest superhero movie ever. Even with those very lofty remarks, I tried my best to go in with lowered expectations. Though with my love for Captain America, and the fact that my favorite superhero of all, Spider-Man, would be making his MCU debut, I probably failed to lower them too much.

will-team-stark-kill-cap

 

I can say with certainty that my expectations were met. Can I say that they were exceeded? Sadly, not really. With that said, I don’t want to make it sound like this was in any way, shape, or form a “bad” movie. Quite the opposite, it was a great movie. But lofty expectations will make cynics of us all.

Fear not, faithful reader: NO SPOILERS lie ahead.

The tension between Cap and Iron Man (the real crux of the war) is palpable and feels genuine. Both Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. stayed true to form and played their parts to perfection. Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow was very good in the somewhat limited role she was given. But the real gems are Black Panther and Spider-Man, played brilliantly by Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland respectively.

CaptainAmericaCivilWar_Trailer2

The Russo Brothers did an incredible job fleshing out every character’s motivation and each character had their moment to shine without becoming tedious. Which is no easy task for a cast this large. Much like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the fight scenes were amazing in their storytelling. The fight choreographers deserve a ton of praise for their ability to create seamless fights with each character fighting with an individual style (Cap and Bucky fight with a very gritty, visceral style, Black Widow is much more acrobatic and Judo-based, Black Panther, while also very high-flying, is more focused on striking).

3058531-1280_captain_america_civil_war_black_panther

The one negative that I’ve read from a lot of critics is the film’s villain, Helmut Zemo. I, however, really enjoyed him. He’s not your typical super villain, and is much more about working in the shadows, and I thought that was a great choice for this type of movie. Plus, let’s face it, aside from Loki, most of the villains in the MCU have been pretty one-dimensional. Zemo is anything but. Without giving anything away, he is very much a product of the world in which the MCU takes place. It is a little disappointing that he never dawns his signature mask from the comic.

Helmut_Zemo_(Earth-616)_from_Captain_America_Vol_6_1

The only real problem I had with the movie was that while for the most part, the pacing was crisp and constantly moving forward, it did tread water for a little bit about halfway through. But once the big battle between the dueling hero factions takes place, the film is propelled forward for the rest of its run time. While the film uses the “Civil War” story arc from the comics as a guide, the two are very different. So even if you’re a fan of the comic book story, there is plenty to keep you entertained and guessing.

captain-america-civil-war-tv-spot-hints-at-a-change-of-heart-for-black-widow-black-wid-949756

Overall, I cannot say that Civil War is the greatest superhero movie ever…I’m not sure I can say that it is even quite as good as Winter Soldier. But it’s certainly close. It is definitely better than The Avengers: Age of Ultron. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone that enjoys superhero cinema, or just enjoys a good action flick (though without seeing at least some of the other MCU movies, you might be a little lost from a plot standpoint).

Final verdict: 9 out of 10.

Captain-America-Civil-War-Trailer-TeamCap-low-res

100 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time – Part 15

Because I’m kind of just ready to move on to other things, instead of just giving a 5 character entry with descriptions, I’m just going to list the Top 30 with a picture. Sorry if you were enjoying it in the original format. Maybe one day I’ll go back and finish it that way. But until then, here goes:

 

30. Jesse Custer

Jesse Custer

 

29. Dr. Strange

Dr. Strange

 

28. Green Goblin

Green Goblin

 

27. Darkseid

Darkseid

 

26. Thor

Thor

 

25. Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler

 

24. Rorschach

watchmenart-rorschach

 

23. The Thing

Thing

 

22. Martian Manhunter

 

 

21. Jean Grey

Jean Grey

 

20. Cyclops

Cyclops

 

19. Deadpool

Deadpool

 

18. Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor

 

17. Mr. Fantastic

Mr Fantastic

 

16. Catwoman

Catwoman

 

15. Daredevil

Daredevil

 

14. Nightwing

Nightwing

 

13. The Flash (Barry Allen)

Flash

 

12. The Hulk

Hulk

 

11. Wolverine

Wolverine

 

10. Iron Man

Iron Man

 

9. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

Green Lantern

 

8. Magneto

Magneto

 

7. The Joker

The Joker

 

6. Dr. Doom

Dr Doom

 

5. Superman

Superman

 

4. Captain America

Captain America

 

3. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

 

2. Batman

Batman

 

1. Spider-Man

Spider-Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time – Part 11

50. Thanos

Thanos

Possessing incredible superhuman strength and endurance, telekinesis, a brilliant scientific and strategic mind, and an obsession with the embodiment of Death, the being known as the Mad Titan is one of the most formidable in all comics. Unique among major villains in that he is not the nemesis of any one particular hero. Through his callousness and attempts to impress Lady Death, Thanos has crossed paths with virtually all cosmic heroes, and just about all of the Earth-based ones as well. Never was he more powerful than when he located all six of the Infinity Gems and created the Infinity Gauntlet, granting him control over reality, time, space, power, the mind, and the soul. He was omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent…basically the most powerful being to ever exist.

49. Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch

The daughter of Magneto and twin sister of fellow mutant hero Quicksilver. As her name would imply, Wanda Maximoff has the ability to cast all sorts of spells and hexes, but what makes her truly powerful is her ability to alter and control reality itself. So incredible is this power that in the “Decimation” story arc, with the utterance of the simple phrase “No more mutants,” Scarlet Witch wiped out about 99% of the world’s mutant population. With her mutant genetics, she has had short stints with some of Marvel’s X-teams, but she is most often portrayed as a long-standing member of The Avengers. Her tenure with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes eventually lead her to a romantic relationship with the android Vision.

48. Loki

Loki

The Norse god of mischief, Loki is the adopted son of Odin and brother of Thor. Loki desires for nothing more than power and control. He believes that his brother is a brash, hot-headed, brainless warmonger who is far less fit for the throne of Asgard than he. Because of this the relationship with his adoptive brother is almost always one of contention, though they have worked together one more than one occasion. Loki is also responsible for the creation of The Avengers, as events he set in motion necessitated several of Earth’s heroes banding together to stop them.

47. Captain Marvel (Shazam)

Shazam

DC Comics’ Captain Marvel, though due to a lawsuit with Marvel Comics, he is otherwise known as Shazam. When the child Billy Batson utters the word “Shazam!” he transforms into an adult with power that rivals that of Superman. He is virtually immortal and invincible, can shoot and control lightning, has a genius-level intellect, can fly, and possesses superhuman strength and speed. While Captain Marvel is typically regarded as a character from a bygone era, he was never more modern or relevant (or dangerous) than he was in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s masterpiece Kingdom Come, when he is manipulated and controlled by Lex Luthor into a climactic showdown with the Man of Steel…a fight that eventually leads to the death of nearly all of DC’s heroes.

46. Archie Andrews

Archie

Another iconic character from a simpler time. The last holdover from the days of wholesome, strictly family-friendly comics. Portrayed as the all-American boy-next-door, Archie Andrews and the comic that shares his name epitomized the look and feel of the 1940’s and 50’s. Unlike most comic characters, whose appearances change slightly depending on the artist, Archie and the rest of the gang from Riverdale have remained mostly the same throughout the vast majority of their 70-plus years of existence. Only in the recent years was a change made to make the characters appear more current. The cartoonish style in which the characters were drawn has become synonymous with the characters themselves, leading people to refer to it as the “Archie-style.” Archie is also notable in that he is the only major comic character to have an entire publication company named after it.

100 Greatest Comic Characters of All-Time – Part 10

55. Dr. Manhattan

Dr. Manhattan

The lone super-powered hero in Alan Moore’s deconstructionist masterpiece Watchmen. After an experiment gone wrong turns Jon Osterman into a being of almost limitless power. Able to manipulate matter down to the molecular level enabling him to change his size, and create completely independent duplicates of himself, he is also granted telepathy, telekinesis, force field projection, intelligence beyond any human, time perception (being able to see the past, present, and future all at once), and is virtually indestructible and immortal. Manhattan’s growing apathy towards mankind turns the superhero archetype on its ear, showing just how disconnected from ordinary humans a super-powered being would truly be.

54. Carol Danvers

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel. Binary. Warbird. Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers has gone by many names throughout her time as a superhero. Regardless of the name, due to an accident that melded her genetics with that of the Kree superhero Mar-Vell (the original Captain Marvel), she is one of the strongest women in all of comics. She has been a member of just about every major team in Marvel Comics, including The Avengers, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and S.H.I.E.L.D. Danvers is also responsible for Rogue having the powers of flight, super strength, and invulnerability, when the latter, upon the command of her mother Mystique, absorbs her life force and memories to the point of near death. While her memories eventually faded, Danvers’ powers remained permanently.

53. Megatron

Megatron

The ruthless leader of the Decepticons. Originally a great warrior that arose to challenge the corrupted government of Cybertron, and was even a mentor to Optimus Prime, he eventually became corrupt himself and far more than the regime he helped topple. He is bent solely on domination and power. Megatron is a brilliant military strategist, a deadly fighter, and as vicious and heartless as they come. He also wields a fusion cannon that is regarded as one of the most powerful weapons in all comicdom.

52. Storm

Storm

Because she can control all aspects of weather, Ororo Munroe was thought to be a deity by the Kenyan tribe in which she was born. After being discovered as a mutant by Professor X, she joins him back at his school where she quickly proves herself as a capable member of the newly re-formed X-Men. Storm even goes on to become the leader of the team when Cyclops temporarily steps down. Being forced to respect the power of nature and always keeping it in balance, has made Storm a strong but calm voice of reason to Marvel’s mutant family.

51. Hakweye

Hawkeye

Clint Barton was introduced as a villain to Iron Man, but quickly joined the ranks of The Avengers, and has been a prominent member ever since. While he doesn’t possess any real super powers, he is a nearly matchless archer and marksman, and is an extremely gifted martial artist and acrobat as well. Much like Carol Danvers, he has gone by many names throughout his crime fighting career: aside from Hawkeye, he has gone by Ronin, Goliath, The Golden Archer, and even took up the mantle of Captain America for a short time. The character has definitely seen a rise in mainstream popularity since Jeremy Renner’s portrayal of Clint Barton in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

We Finally Have Our Thanos

hdwallpaperpc_com_Thanos_Marvel_Hulk_The_Hulk_Spider_Man_1600x1200

With Guardians of the Galaxy coming out later this summer, and Guardians members Drax the Destroyer and Gamora having deep connections to him, one could guess that Thanos would be popping up in the film. Interestingly though, with only a few months left until the release of the movie, no one had been announced as playing the character. This lead most fans, myself included, to believe that either Thanos wouldn’t actually be seen on screen and only be mentioned, or that they were saving it for a surprise (possibly even just a stinger cameo again like in The Avengers).

Thanos-e1401483676973

Last week, both of those theories were shattered like Thor after Thanos turned him to glass in The Infinity Gauntlet, when it was officially announced that Oscar-nominated actor Josh Brolin will be providing the voice of the Mad Titan. Apparently, Thanos will only appear on screen as a hologram.

130106_josh_brolin_660

I’m not sure how I feel about the casting of Brolin. It’s nothing against his acting ability. He’s a very good actor and has been in some great films (True Grit, No Country for Old Men, and Milk, just to name a few). I’m just not convinced that he really fits the character. He’s not particularly tall (5’10”), muscular, or intimidating…three things Thanos most definitely is (Thanos is 6’7″). Brolin’s voice isn’t really what I envision when I think about what Thanos would sound like.

thanos-pic-x-large

Of course a lot of this can be covered up/altered using visual and sound effects. And it’s yet to be revealed whether Thanos will be physically played by Brolin, or if he will merely be providing the voice and motion-capture work like James Spader is for the CGI-created Ultron in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Because of this, I’m staying cautiously optimistic about the character’s representation. Brolin is a top-notch actor, so kudos to Marvel Studios for bagging another big time Hollywood personality to play such an important character in their Cinematic Universe. I’m definitely excited to see Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet story arc finally getting to be presented to the world on screen.

Avengers-3-Infinity-Gauntlet-War-Thanos