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Monday, April 30, 2012

Marvel's The Avengers Movie Review

Marvel's The Avengers is, pardon the rhetoric, a historic feat. Bringing together characters from four different movies into one super-film has never been done before. There's no precedent, no measuring stick to compare to, save for the fact that its got big names like Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man to carry it. So what can we expect from a movie like this?

Three words: Pure. Distilled. Awesome.


When Loki (Tom Hiddleston in his usually devious best) comes back to earth to wage war, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles a team of super-powered proportions: Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Steve Rogers aka Captain America (played to a T by Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth, godly as usual) and Bruce Banner aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo in what probably is the best Hulk we've seen so far), supported by Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) and Hawkeye (just Jeremy Renner being badass). But they're not just bringing their considerable skills to the party...they've got some major egos and some ugly baggage as well. Will they be able to work together as a team before Loki turns Earth into his own little playground?

It's a silly question, though...of course they will. It's the ride that'll blow your mind.

Director Joss Whedon single-handedly silenced ever hater he had (including me!) by showing he knows the material, knows what to do with it, and knows when to let it loose. And let it loose he did...The Avengers is, simply put, a comic book realized on the big screen. The constraints of gritty realism has no place here. The colors are brighter, more hopeful. The heroes jump higher and punch harder. The villains are deliciously smarmy and like to monologue a lot. The dialogue is pitch-perfect with just the right amount of camp. And the entire movie makes you feel that anything can happen...and does! And I'm not just being my lovable huckster self here...if you ever wanted to see Hulk take down a giant alien spaceship with his bare hands or wanted to see Cap and Iron Man team up to beat up bad alien dudes, your dreams come true right now.

Forget about the rumors about this movie being basically Iron Man 3...everyone gets their Crowning Moment of Awesome here. Everyone. Even Black Widow. Even Hawkeye. Even Agent-freaking-Coulson. Never thought I would see a well-rounded superhero movie in my lifetime, but here we are, seeing all these heroes together in one movie like they've always meant to be, and it is glorious.

I laughed, I cried, I screamed "Awesome!" together with the people in the theater. No words can describe, short of the clich├ęd epic, what kind of experience this movie actually is. For me, Marvel's The Avengers is a wow-a-minute thrill ride that proves that a movie with superHEROES is definitely possible AND bankable. You owe it to yourself as a comic book fan to experience this. Watch it with your folks, with your friends, with anyone. Watch it twice. Buy the DVD. Watch it. Highly recommended!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Avengers Assemble @ Serangoon Nex, Singapore!


I was fortunate enough to be in Singapore during the Avengers Assemble event at the Serangoon Nex Mall last Saturday, April 28. The comic book geek in me got excited, as I'm sure there will be tons of neat stuff to do over there.

But you know what's even neater? Hot Toys will be at the event!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Avengers Mjolnir Papercraft

For hawk-eyed (!) fans out there, you would have noticed that Thor's mighty hammer Mjolnir gets a facelift in Marvel's The Avengers movie, sporting a new handle design and other little details. To celebrate the launch of the movie, I've now distilled the new look into a new Mjolnir papercraft!


My last papercraft design required large-format printing, but this new version can be printed out in 8.5" by 11" sheets! Now you too can run around with an up-to-date, bigger and meaner version of Thor's hammer! Totally safe to throw at your friends! But I don't guarantee you can call it back to you.

Here's the download links to the PDF file:


(Both links contain the same file, so you only need to download from one!) 

As always, the papercraft design was based on Tektonten's amazing Thor hammer design. Any comments and suggestions about this template can be directed via my email (beholdthegeek[dot]gmail[dot]com). Enjoy! And thanks for reading!

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Week in Comics: April 20, 2012

It's a week full of loud fisticuffs and silent but deadly escape artistry here at Behold the Geek! What did I get myself into this week? Read on to find out!


Wolverine and the X-Men #9 is a sorta unofficial tie-in to Marvel's AvX event, going into greater detail about Wolverine's dillemma concerning Hope, the Phoenix Force and his allegiances (being both an X-Man and an Avenger). Jason Aaron avoids the pitfalls of most tie-ins, blending AvX's plot points seamlessly into a day-in-the-life at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, and I love it. Aaron taps into something emotional and deep here, and you feel for Wolvie as he's once again asked to do what any lesser person in his position would fear to do.

But the book's not all heavy...there are lots of cute and unexpectedly heroic moments here that makes it all interesting. And man, Chris Bachalo's art is a welcome sight in this book. Nobody draws crazy action like he does, and he's surprisingly apt at the slow and steady moments as well. All in all it's a decent issue that touches upon a major crossover event like AvX, but doesn't forget its own voice. This gets a 4 out of 5.


Speaking of AvX, Avengers vs X-Men #2 is what the first issue should have been. The floodgates of pain have been opened, with both the X-Men and the Avengers going at it with gusto, one-upping each other in strength, wits, preptime and caption boxes that make the action seem more dire than it actually is!

The issue is bursting with action, and I'll forgive you if you miss some decent character moments from Jason Aaron's scripts, but what we mostly get is setup and stuff we already know. It's fun to watch it all go down, though, even if it sometimes gets a little WTF-inducing (can anyone say microscopic telepath tasers?). John Romita, Jr.'s art is surprisingly good. His action scenes are less scritch-scratchy and easier to follow, even if some moments that needed more oomph were missing them. I want to FEEL every punch in a book full of punching, you dig? I didn't sign up for Red Hulk giving Colossus what seems to be a back massage (though some of you out there might have?)!

The event is starting off in the right direction, at least. Action out the wazoo and decent art make for a decent comic. But like I said in an earlier post, if you want your fill of superhero throwdowns, you're better off just getting AvX: Versus. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.


Supergirl #8 sees the aftermath of Kara's battle with the Worldkillers. Escaping from the police with the help of the mysterious Siobahn Smythe, our Maid of Might lies low and goes on a night out of town. But there's more to Siobahn than she's letting on...

Let's start with the good: the legendary George Perez on art. The dude's still got it, and I love how he lends a classic feel to one of my favorite books. Speaking of classic, Michael Green and Mike Johnson reintroduces the classic villain Silver Banshee into the DCnU this ish, but less villain-y and more well-meaning punk rebel who doesn't want to live in her father's shadow. It's fun to note that Siobahn is the first person Kara's gotten really close to since coming to the DCnU, and their similar circumstances will make for some interesting interplay down the road.

Good story with great art, more than I could ask for in comic books these days. Supergirl #8 gets a 4 out of 5. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.


It's been a while since I've seen X-Force on a good old-fashioned kill mission, so in Uncanny X-Force #24 they do just that, tying up loose ends from some of their previous adventures...namely, the Age of Apocalypse (AoA) version of Iceman!

This is mostly AoA Nightcrawler-centric issue, and Rick Remender paints him as a soul tortured with the prospect of killing AoA Iceman, one of his truest friends in their home dimension. But something happened between them that drives him to complete this mission, and seeing it all unfold is a treat in itself. Lots of funny, awesome and heart-wrenching moments here, made better with Phil Noto's surprisingly nuanced and detailed art. Once you get to the last few pages, you're sad, happy, shocked and appalled, and it feels good. After that boring Otherworld storyline, Remender and co. really needed this return to form, and they just delivered splendidly. This gets a 5 out of 5. Pick this up on sight!


Finally, we get to The Sixth Gun #21, which is a 'silent issue' (meaning, no word balloons whatsoever). And boy, did Cullen Bunn choose the right time to attempt this...this is Becky's one-woman mission to rescue Drake Sinclair from the lair of the Knights of Solomon!

The silent issue, IMO, separates the best comic creators from the mediocre. With some comics relying heavily on dialogue and written descriptions to clearly describe what's happening, taking all that away and relying only on the visuals to help the story along is the greatest test of both comic book writer and artist. It's a good thing then that it's Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree doing the test, and they not only pass, they graduate summa cum laude on their first day. Bunn's deft direction and Hurt's choice of panel layout and camera angles are pitch perfect. Even with only the visuals guiding us through, Becky and Drake's daring escape still reads like the most exciting and epically cinematic thing you'll see on the comic book racks this week.

No words needed to be said. And that's awesome. This gets a 5 out of 5. If you want to know what a perfect silent issue looks like, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.


A great week in comics if I ever had one! The Sixth Gun is still awesome, and I'm glad Uncanny X-Force is back to stabbing threats to mutantkind! Got any comments? Suggestions? Violent reactions? Drop me a line via the comment box below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

5 Best Summer Vacation Spots in Comic Books

Take out the frisbees and the sunscreen lotion...summer is here! And where summer is, the itch to go on a summer road trip ain't far behind! There are a lot of great real-world locales to get your tan on, but did you know that comic books have their share of sweet summer vacation spots too? You're in luck, because today I'll list five comic book locations that would make good summer getaways...provided you survive the experience!


Savage Land (Marvel Comics)

If your tastes in vacation spots run along the exotic and dangerous, the Savage Land is the place to be this summer! A prehistoric tropical haven in the middle of Antarctica, the Savage Land is home to real dinosaurs and other Marvel oddities, and your summer itinerary here will usually involve running from T-Rexes and mutates or going on safari tours with bikini-clad jungle adventuresses like Shanna the She-Devil (or buff dudes like Ka-Zar, for the ladies in the audience). Can't beat that!


Atlantis (DC Comics)

Diving's a great summer pastime, and if you're lucky, you'll dive deep enough to discover Atlantis, the undersea kingdom! Guys like Aquaman have lived and ruled this fantastic place, and it's home to a myriad of undersea wonders that would make good summer vacation scrapbook photos. Just don't ask Aquaman to talk to fishes!


Gen13 Base, La Jolla, California (Wildstorm)

During Gen13's heyday, their base of operations was one of the most happening places in the Wildstorm universe, and an ideal, low-cost summer getaway. Its teenaged members spent most of their off-days lounging around in bikinis either by the beach or their own swimming pool, and for some reason bad guys come knocking on their door right about that same time. Coincidence? But hey, if the idea of watching a swimsuit slugfest doesn't interest you in the slightest, there's something very, very wrong here.


The Fathom universe (Aspen Comics)

One way to beat the summer heat is to go for a good swim, and there's no better place to do that than in the vast oceans of Aspen Comics' Fathom. The Fathom comics define 'wet and wild', with its heroine Aspen Matthews and her friends spending a good deal of time in the oceans, fighting bad guys either underwater or over them. Swimming with one of the sexiest women in comics? That's a good summer vacation right there.


Any beach during a summer episode (most manga)

Even mecha pilots and magical girls aren't too busy to go to the beach. The beach episode is a staple of most manga and anime, and for this geek, one of the best places to spend your summer. It's got the ingredients of a perfect vacation: sun, sand, and catgirls in bikinis playing beach volleyball or eating watermelon. We all know it's just a reason to put the main characters in skimpy swimwear, but who are we to argue with that logic?


Man, how I wish I could be in the beach with the Fathom or the K-On girls right now! I hope you enjoyed my list of the best summer vacation spots in comics, and I hope it inspires your next summer trip! Got more great summer vacation spots? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!
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