Marvel’s Jessica Jones #1

Jessica Jones

Steven Spielberg recently talked about superhero movies and said that they will go the way of the western eventually. If you read his comment in full, and respect his status in Hollywood, you’d know that he is absolutely right. Something new will eventually come along that will entrance the public and superhero movies will take a much needed break. Everything has a saturation point. Too much of it and you will get tired of it. Like when I had my free trial to Apple Music and used Siri to make a playlist based on the top twenty hits from the year I was born. I had to explain to my kids what disco when they were taking a breath from laughing. Disco music in and of itself is not bad. There are some real gems that are still great to listen to, plus it helped influence The Rolling Stones with one of their biggest hits off their Some Girls album, Miss You. But much like Disco had its day where people finally had enough (and then the songwriters of disco went to work with country pop singers like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton but that’s another story.), superhero movies will slow to a crawl in terms of being made.

Until then, we’re still in a golden age of story telling if you like comic book stories. Once technology caught up with the imagination of comic book creators, it really opened the flood gate as to what could be done with movies. DC had massive hits in the 70’s and 80’s with Superman and Batman. Those two stories though could reasonably be told without too much in the way of special effects. Marvel for the longest time couldn’t catch a break. Apart from The Incredible Hulk and their cartoon line ups, they couldn’t get Hollywood to really use their stories in the right way. If you ever caught the 70’s Spider-Man television show you’d see how right I was. Or the Captain America movie starring JD Salinger’s son.

That movie alone was probably the death knell of a company that had no business making comic book movies. 21st Century Film Corporation made the film, that company being run by the former owner of Cannon Films, the makers of cinematic classics like Masters of the Universe, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (You know a movie is bad when on the director’s commentary for the movie, the first thing the writer of the film does is apologize to the audience for making a bad movie.) I remember watching a movie at the local theater when I was a kid and saw this teaser.

By today’s standards, yeah it’s cheesy. But in late 1989 this was a pretty bad ass way to get a young kid excited for a movie. Then…the movie never came to theaters in my town. I should thank them for that.

It wasn’t until Blade and X-Men that Marvel stories were finally translated to the screen in all their glory. Some movies may not stand the test of time (I’m looking at you all iterations of Fantastic Four) but they’re better than Captain America from 1990 or other earlier attempts at making cinematic Marvel movies.

Once Marvel got their act together they decided it would be wise to be the controlling destiny behind the movies based on their intellectual properties. And why not. For every Spider-Man that was made, there was an Ang Lee Hulk movie that didn’t quite get it right. So they made their own production company and movie history was born. They have been able to seamlessly blend their characters into one shared universe. While you don’t have to watch every single movie to get what is going on, you can get more from your experience if you do so. Now they’ve branched into television. That started with Agents of SHIELD. Then they made the bold move to make Netflix shows.

Daredevil is the first of a planned group of shows that will culminated in an Avengers like television show called The Defenders. We’re going to get Daredevil (and The Punisher which I am squealing like a little girl about!), Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. There’s already talk of more shows on the way as well. Maybe a Fantastic Four television show anyone?

Jessica Jones in the second show from them which will debut in November. The trailers have been great, especially this one.

Everything you need to know about the character is in that teaser. And you don’t even see her face.

This comic is a brief teaser for the new show. It’s really just a scene, a study of her character. She meets up with Turk, who was a minor bad guy in Season 1 of Daredevil who is recuperating from a beating he took at the hands of Daredevil. Jessica sneaks her way past the police and confronts him about back child support and tells him he should be more of an influence in his children’s lives. Yeah, she’s not delusional and doesn’t think for a minute he will listen. Which is why she steals the money he had left in his wallet and takes off. Simple scene really. But it goes a long way to show what motivates her.

I am really excited for the show and can’t wait for November to get here. Marvel has done some amazing work in getting lesser known characters into the public eye. While big names will always rule the roost, for Marvel to continue to be successful they have to make their entire catalog palatable for the public. Before Guardians of the Galaxy came out internet message boards were claiming that would be the first Marvel failure because who would want to see a movie involving characters you know nothing about? Marvel’s secret? Make a damn good story with characters people can relate. Easier said than done to be sure but Marvel has done a fantastic job in using their lesser known characters than DC which still wants to rely upon the big two, Batman and Superman, to get people into the movie theater.

This issue is a must read. It’s another great tease on what I am sure will be a great show. And hey, we’ll finally have an American made show that will allow folks to see David Tennant show his acting chops on that people will actually watch.

 

Mighty Avengers #13

Mighty_Avengers_Vol_1_13

Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Mighty_Avengers_Vol_1_13

The Good:

In this issue we take a bit of an interlude to see how the Secret Warriors, a team who’s first issue I had reviewed previously (https://jousmafiles.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/secret-warriors-1/) but who I didn’t know too much about. Seems that the team was brought together by Nick Fury initially to fight against the Skrull invasion because he needed a team of people he knew he could trust, a team that was not on anyone’s books. A team led by everyone’s favorite Inhuman, Daisy Johnson. (She’s known as Skye on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD television show.)

I have a soft spot for any comic that begins just a few blocks from where I am reading it. It opens in Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon where Daisy meets up with Nick Fury who is in disguise. The disguise is actually pretty funny. In the main Marvel story line, Nick Fury is white. He was only established as black in the Ultimate universe created by Brian Bendis. In this issue, he meets up with Daisy in disguise as the black version of himself in the Ultimate universe.

I liked the interaction Daisy had with each new team member that Nick Fury suggested she speak with. Even a jarring intro she had with a young lady who could read the future seemed natural. While I don’t have a clue where Daisy fits into the grand scheme of things in the Secret Invasion, the team that’s been put together is an interesting group.

The artwork did a good job in showing the individuality of the characters. The scene I enjoyed most was the intro to Doctor Druid’s son. He’d arrived at Doctor Strange’s old home for help where Daisy meets up him. He knows something is up due to having some powers but he doesn’t know where they come from or how to handle them. When Daisy tells him she can help him get a grasp on everything, the smile he gives when hugging her is priceless.

The Bad:

Based on the cover of the issue you’d think that you’d have an issue dealing with the Skrull versions of the heroes we all know and love. You’d be wrong. While the story told in these pages wasn’t bad by any means, it is a kind of bait and switch. Nick Fury has already been introduced into the story so having him on the cover would not have been too far fetched to have. Yet we think we’re going to see Captain America and encounter nothing of the sort.

The story itself, if you can even call it that, felt too short. While it could be said that this could be due to enjoyment of the story, that the story was so good that it felt like it was over before it had a chance to start, I counter that it felt fast because not much of anything really happened. We meet a group of people who on the last frame are lectured by Nick Fury about the pending invasion as they glance of pictures of people Fury believes to be potential Skrulls.

While you don’t doubt that Nick Fury has his heart in the right place, similar to The Punisher you have to ask why he takes some of the actions that he does. He seems to feel that the ends justify the means and that in the name of world peace it is ok to deceive, lie to , hurt, and even have killed people you may love and respect. We get that the Skrull invasion is a pretty serious threat and that big decisions will have to be made but at this point, Nick Fury is in charge of jack shit. His getting involved without SHIELD being involved just makes no sense and makes me not really care for the character that much.

They’re touching on this albeit briefly in the Marvel Movie universe as well. While Nick Fury is supposed to be in charge of the Earth defense force, he keeps a lot to himself and doesn’t trust too many people. There’s a plan B for everything. Again, you sense that he has the right intentions for his actions but in the movies you can’t tell me he didn’t know Hydra had infiltrated SHIELD. There is no way he is that dumb. And if he knew Hydra had infiltrated SHIELD, why didn’t he do anything about it? What is his end game?

The art for this issue, while much better than the last issue of Mighty Avengers, still has that sloppy feel that I didn’t really care for. I like my art a lot cleaner than what is presented in this issue. Locations don’t really appear real. Characters have this non-realistic look that is quite jarring. The disguise I had mentioned Nick Fury was wearing earlier looked nothing like his Ultimate universe self looks like which pretty much ruins the point of having that joke. If you didn’t know about the Ultimate Nick Fury, you have to ask yourself why Nick Fury is walking around in public in black face and how anybody could fall for it?

Bottom Line:

I was harsh on this comic. In some ways it deserves it because there is not much going on. What it does though is introduce you to a new set of characters that I am intrigued to know a little more about. Who are these people and what are their links to characters we may already know? How will they work as a team? Will Daisy Johnson be a good leader? All questions I want to know the answer to. For that, I have to give the story a 7.

The art I am conflicted on. I think it looks horrible. It does however have a couple of good touches such as how Doctor Druid’s son was depicted which was nice to see. I really wish it was much cleaner because the mess really detracts from what was done well. For sloppy drawing, I have to give the art a 4.

This is not a bad issue. I am not looking to see people purposely skip this issue because there is a lot to enjoy. Just know that you are not getting a comic classic. This will just get you to the next issue of the Secret Invasion.

Secret Warriors #1

Secret_Warriors_Vol_1_1

One of my favorite shows on television right now is Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Now admittedly the show is a bit uneven. For every exciting episode there is an episode that makes you shake your head wondering why the show ever got made. (It helps that the studio that makes the show is the one putting it on the air. Just like Moonlighting in the 1980’s, the network saves major money putting on a show that they make themselves which makes them much more lenient when it comes to stuff like ratings.) I think what the show has gotten right is the fact that they have pretty much inserted themselves into the Marvel Cinematic Universe quite flawlessly. While out of the gate there was more of an expectation that we’d somehow see Iron Man show up on the show, Agents of SHIELD has settled into a nice little niche of its own, mainly as an introduction for characters that may be minor now but could potentially be big later, like the Inhumans.

Season 3 debuts near the end of the month. One of the advertisements of the show mentioned a group called the Secret Warriors.

agents-of-shield-season-3-secret-warriors-crop

Doing some research I discovered that the Secret Warriors originated with the comics. They were a group of mercenaries put together by Nick Fury (the WHITE Nick Fury) whose leader was Daisy Johnson, who is currently a character in Agents of SHIELD that we know as Skye. So in order to know a little more about the group I decided to dive in to the first issue.

Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Secret_Warriors_Vol_1_1

The Good:

The story, while short, went along at a good pace. The comic made me appreciate how the producers of the show did their research for the character of Daisy because she came across pretty much just like she did on the show. She was a leader for the team that Fury put together after SHIELD was disassembled in the comics. The Secret Warriors were sent on a recon mission that went bad and were attacked. The attack did a nice job in showing the distinct personality of the characters albeit briefly.

I really liked Nick Fury in this comic. While I’ve known that Nick Fury was originally white, my only real exposure to him has been through the Samuel L. Jackson inspired character that was in the Ultimate comics and as shown in the films with the actual Samuel L. Bad Motherfucker Jackson. The great thing Nick Fury in this comic showed was the brilliance in Brian Bendis for pretty much taking the same damn character…and making him cooler by making him Samuel L. Jackson. There really is no difference in the characters. This shows that, unless you’re making a movie based on the life of Doctor Martin Luther King Junior and want to cast Tom Hanks in the lead, changing the race of a major character in a story is irrelevant as long as the character’s race doesn’t somehow affect the story in a major way (like my previous example, though in my twisted mind I would kind of want to watch Tom Hanks as Martin Luther King. But hey, you’re talking to a guy who paid to see Freddy Got Fingered in theaters twice!)

The artwork was pretty solid in the issue. It had the classic realism that I love in comics, reminiscent of golden age comics but updated for modern audiences. Basically, more attention to the little details while the main characters look magnificent.

The Bad:

As mentioned, the story was short and that is not a good thing. Just when you’re getting interested in the story the issue ends. Obviously, the medium of comics tells their stories over multiple issues. I’m not complaining that the story was not resolved in one issue. My complaint, which is getting to be a major theme I am noticing with comics in general, is the fact that individual issues do not always work well as individual works.

Let’s bring up a movie example, The Empire Strikes Back. As far as plot goes, the story was not resolved. Han Solo was frozen in carbonite and shipped off to Jabba. Luke Skywalker lost his hand and his pride after his battle with Darth Vader. Princess Leia found love after losing her family and an entire freaking planet and ended up losing that love the moment she admits her love. There is a lot left on the table in terms of story that is not resolved. But the ending of that film was perfect because it had the emotional ending we were all looking for. The main characters all learned from their failures and knew what needed to be done to move on.

This issue had nothing like that. It had a shock ending that was meant to get you to read the next issue (which was a good ending by the way) but the path you took to get there was disjointed. It felt like highlights from a much bigger story. Parts were missing which ended up making me lost.

The artwork again was pretty solid. To nitpick, I would have to say that it did underwhelm me in terms of what it had to offer. Sometimes you know what an artist is really into their work. While the art itself may not be perfect their passion for the piece will ring out causing you to be more invested in the story. While the art was pretty decent, it didn’t really bring me into the story more. I didn’t feel like I was stepping into a new world, more like an artists rendition of a Hollywood movie set.

Bottom Line:

This comic is far from perfect. While as an individual issue I can’t say it is too enjoyable, I would have to say that overall it did enough to make me want to read issue two which means it did it’s job. I give the story a 6.

The artwork wasn’t bad. While I wouldn’t say it was the greatest artwork in comic history, it wasn’t sloppy like some comics today are. While it did come across like an artists rendition of an action movie, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For that, I give the art a 6.