Tag Archives: fantastic four

Comic Book Update: Preacher: Dixie Fried | X-Men: FF | Iron Man: Extremis Comic Books | My Reviews 23 SEP 2013

Every now and then I’ll pick up a comic book to read, though I have to say that these days it is pretty few and far between. Anyway, here’s a quick roundup of some of the graphic novels I did in fact encounter over the last couple of months…

Preacher: Dixie Fried (Volume 5) (1998)

preacher volume 5 fried dixie comic coverAfter destroying the headquarters of the all-powerful Grail conspiracy and freeing his hard-drinking vampire pal Cassidy from its dungeons, the Reverend Jesse Custer is about to reunite with his straight-shooting girlfriend Tulip O’Hare and resume his hunt for answers from an elusive God – provided that Tulip forgives him for leaving her behind during his little rescue mission.

But getting those answers will mean delving into the hidden mind of Genesis, the angel/demon offspring that has fused itself to Jesse’s soul, and that will require some serious spiritual excavation – the kind that only real, down-home black magic can offer. Luckily, Cassidy happens to know a voodoo priest in New Orleans who can help unlock the Genesis memories in Jesse’s head. In the same breath, unluckily, Cassidy also has a cult of bloodthirsty vampire wannabes in New Orleans after his head!

Even after all of these years Preacher still holds up as a thoroughly entertaining ready, a seriously black comedy drama that doesn’t care what sacred religious cow it touches, or in most cases, bruises. Twists and turns a plenty, weird and generally terrifying characters and situations, both subtle and not so subtle bits of injected dark humour, and just all in all a very engaging and gripping story, from start to finish.

And needless to say, Volume 5 (Dixie Fried) in this saga by writer Garth Ennis doesn’t disappoint in any of the above regards.

At the same time, artist Steve Dillon produces some fantastically detailed and emotive visuals to back up this great read, making Preacher: Dixie Fried a good recommendation to any of your not easily offended comic book reading friends.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preacher_(comics)

X-Men: FF (2012)

x-men ff trade paperback comic book coverWhen the Future Foundation discovers a distress beacon from another dimension, they turn to the heroes best suited to help: the X-Men! But these are strange times for both teams: the X-Men are aligned with their arch-nemesis Magneto, while the FF has forged an uneasy alliance with their own eternal enemy, Dr. Doom. When the two teams hop dimensions to rescue Cyclops’ ex-girlfriend, sea captain Lee Forrester, they encounter dinosaurs, alien invaders and an old friend in Skull the Slayer. But what is the greatest threat? The dinosaurs? The aliens? Or Doom and Magneto?

Plus: the mutant super heroes meet the new Ghost Rider!

Collecting X-MEN (2010) #15.1 and #16-19, the X-Men: FF trade paperback is written by Victor Gischler and illustrated by Jorge Molina, Mirco Pierfederici and Will Conrad.

The Ghost Rider meet-up aside (which feels like a forced exercise in padding to be quite honest), the X-Men: FF story arc turns out to be a hugely entertaining one, delivering a solid story that has all the hallmarks of action, adventure, humour and big fight scenes that you have come to expect from a great X-men comic book tale. There is plenty of “screen time” for all the involved cast members (both X-men and Future Foundation) and as per usual the interactions between the various team members, not mention the teams themselves, make for an engaging read.

(And besides, who doesn’t like a story set in a dinosaur-filled, lost Savage Land type setting anyway?)

Visually I have to say that I enjoyed the pages from all the artists involved, with all three art teams delivering work that is stylistically fairly similar, thus making the story feel a little less disjointed than what it could have (a problem often encountered with multi-artist story arcs). The colouring throughout is gorgeous, as expected from one of these top shelf franchises, and overall I have to say this is an enjoyable read to pick up if you have some spare time on your hands.

Obviously not a very deep, dramatic or seminal story being told here, but pretty damn good entertainment nevertheless!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Men

Iron Man: Extremis (2005)

iron man extremis trade paperback coverA landscape of terrifying new technologies threatens to overwhelm fragile mankind! What is Extremis, who has unleashed it, and what does its emergence portend for the world?

Extremis is a 2005 six part story arc from writer Warren Ellis and artist Adi Granov that sought to redefine the character into a more modern day setting. It’s an extremely popular Iron Man story and indeed, elements from the arc were lifted to form the basis of the excellent Iron Man 3 movie.

Whilst this story of a virus capable of creating incredibly powerful superhuman subjects which after sabotage is set on a direct collision course with a greatly outmatched Iron Man is certainly entertaining and makes for a great tale, I have to say, I don’t quite get why it is such a highly regarded Iron Man arc. I do get the fact that it serves the purpose of redefining a more modern Iron Man quite well, but I have to say that for me it felt like more of a throw away story arc than anything else – and the often forced dialogue didn’t really help its case either.

On the art front Adi Granov’s visuals are amazingly detailed and gorgeous to look at, but in the same breath suffers from the problem most photo realistic artists suffer from – panels appear very static and it is difficult for a reader to get much in terms of action and movement out of it.

Still, it was a good read and on the whole the art IS gorgeous, making it a certainly recommendable read, particularly for those already heavily invested in the Iron Man universe.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremis

Comic Art: Hulk vs. Thing by Simon Bisley Comic Book Art | Comic Books 05 DEC 2011

It is a classic match up in the comic book world, namely the unstoppable Incredible Hulk versus the Fantastic Four’s resident rocky orange power house, the Thing. Both don’t give up much in terms of raw power and to a degree, invulnerability, making for a proper knock down slugfest every time these two go head to head.

But what happens when you turn this power battle of street shattering proportions over to one of the world’s finest producers of psychotic, stylized, twisted, dark and dramatic art, British-born 90’s punk comic art legend, Simon Bisley?

Well, then the epic battle looks a little something like this:

Comic to Live: Images of Jessica Alba as Invisible Woman Comic Books 28 MAR 2011

Originally called Invisible Girl, Susan Storm is the heart and soul of the Fantastic Four as Invisible Woman, older sister to Johnny Storm and wife to Reed Richards. The first female super hero to emerge from comic books’ Silver Age, Susan Storm gained her powers in the same cosmic radiation accident that saw the creation of Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch and The Thing.

Her ability consists of bending light waves around her, turning her invisible to the naked eye. However, in addition to this, she can advance this invisibility over other objects, as well as project and create powerful invisible “force” objects that can act both as a shield or as a weapon.

In the beginning her passive powers made her the damsel in distress, meaning she became the hostage in all the early adventures, before learning of her potential and going on to be one of the more powerful heroines in the Marvel Universe.

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Jackie Chan, Fantastic Four & Iron Man 2 My Life 21 MAY 2010

I actually had a pretty decent weekend last weekend, despite the fact you can’t really look back at it and say, “wow, awesome, cool” or anything like that. As expected, Chantelle was back on full duty for the weekend and so Friday night saw me entertain myself, which pretty much meant some more 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa gaming action and the watching of a classic Hong Kong Jackie Chan piece, Crime Story. As of late I’ve been laying my paws on all Jackie Chan’s older stuff, and man am I enjoying his work. Proper pure adrenaline Hong Kong gun action, high drama and the occasional laugh or two, his body of work really does bring a huge smile to my face! :)

Saturday I got down to a whole lot of my private website work, tinkering with the blogs, sorting out some outstanding online issues, and of course tackling the housework, before Mr. Brown finally arrived at my doorstep and the day of geekery could finally begin.

Needless to say, with him having to write up a review of the game anyway, a lot of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa was on the cards for the day and so we tackled the game on World Class and attempted to head for World Cup Glory. However, the higher difficulty setting really did get the better of us and at the end of a good couple of hours’ worth of game play, all we had to show for it was a lot of tension-induced sweaty palms and tears down our faces. We also slotted in a look at the Spider-man: Web of Shadows game I laid my hands on and did some co-op on Hellboy: The Science of Evil that Terrance and the boys gave me for my birthday.

We broke a bit as I organised supper on Chantelle’s request, cooking up a delicious batch of pancakes, before Chantelle joined us and the three of us got comfy as I slotted in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer for the night’s viewing!

Sunday and I was once again left to my own devices, meaning I managed to slot in plenty of Spider-man: Web of Shadows, comic book reading and some web tinkering once again, though I did take a break in the afternoon to catch Iron Man 2 at Ster Kinekor in Somerset Mall, all on my lonesome I might add.

The movie was perfectly okay, a standard enjoyable comic book movie, though I must say it didn’t really have the charm of the first movie and as such I walked out at the end feeling that this was probably a movie I could have easily skipped. That said, I was quite thrilled at the little Thor hint at the end of the credits! :)

Chantelle, tired and hungry after work (hey, she’s living for herself and jellybean at this moment), called in and asked that I meet her at Spur for supper and so under the care of the same waitress who forgot our starter last time we were there, enjoyed a great meal together in one another’s company.

And that was that as far as I can remember. In other words, nice! :)

Ultimate Fantastic Four: The Fantastic Comic Books | My Reviews 17 MAR 2010

The Fantastic – When ten-year-old scientific genius Reed Richards is chosen to be part of the United States top research and development programme, events are set in motion that will give birth to the world’s First Family of Superheroes!

Twenty-one years later Reed Richards leads a pioneering research team that includes Susan Storm, her hot-headed, younger brother Johnny and Reed’s oldest friend Ben Grimm, into the parallel dimension known as the N Zone. Disaster strikes however, during the teleportation experiment’s main test-run and a remarkable metamorphosis takes place, endowing the incredible quartet with fantastic powers: powers that draw them in conflict with the monstrous Mole Man!

Ultimate Fantastic Four: The Fantastic collects the first six issues of the popular Fantastic Four modernization series set in the Ultimate universe, written by acclaimed comic scribes Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar (who literally live worlds apart) and illustrated by the legendary Adam Kubert of the well known Kubert stable of pencillers.

Widely acknowledged as the first real superhero group, the Ultimate Fantastic Four updates the classic flying into space origin and instead replaces it with a secretive government-initiated parallel dimension teleportation experiment gone awry – resulting in the birth  of our four intrepid heroes, maintaining their original powers but making some significant changes in terms of age and personality to the four.

Of course what comes out of the six issues neatly bound to one another is pretty much the origin story, a little background history from each character, the initial awe and wonder at the new powers received and of course the obligatory first face-off – which just happens to be a particularly impressive lizard like monster that threatens all of Manhattan just by sneezing sort of thing.

It’s the classic tale revamped but with the new personality twists we get to see an awkward but intelligent Reed without his leadership abilities and a more direct and forceful Susan. Funnily enough though, despite their change in age, Johnny and the Thing pretty much stay as is, meaning that in the end there really wasn’t all that much that Millar and Bendis could throw at these two to initiate just that little bit of a change the Ultimate is so about.

In terms of writing, there is loads of depth in terms of story advancement and character building, but all beautifully wrapped up in some great dramatic moments tempered with a lot of humour and one liners, making it a great introduction for newcomers to the Fantastic Four lore but particularly satisfying to readers of old. These two widely differing in style writers have come together with a great collaboration that reads easily and well, maintains much of what makes Fantastic Four the Fantastic Four, but at the same time through a new slant on the story that is quite enjoyable to work through.

In terms of artwork, Ultimate Fantastic Four really shines brightly thanks to Kubert’s wildly energetic and detailed pencils, which he combines with some awesome and often quite exaggerated facial expressions that makes for a slick read. He nails the humorous moments right on the head and captures the intense action to great affect, making the Ultimate Fantastic Four quite the visual experience.

In addition to Adam’s great pencils, mention must be made of Danny Miki and John Dell’s great inks that do wonders to give that extra depth but maintain the crisp sharpness of the visuals, and paired up with Dave Steward’s great colouring palette, we’re let with a simply sublime looking product.

In summary, there really isn’t much not to like about this first collection of the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic series. Great writing with a modern twist on a classic storyline, good characters to relate to and some beautiful visuals, this is definitely one of those comic events well worth picking up – especially if you already fall well within the classic Fantastic Four fandom! :)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Fantastic_Four

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer My Reviews 04 JUL 2007

Fantastic Four   Rise of the Silver SurferSaturday evening saw me joining Merkaba and Ryan for the viewing of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. While I wasn’t expecting too much from the movie, I did manage to psyche myself up before the event by crushing Merkaba and Ryan at FIFA 07 earlier in the evening (Okay, crushing is over exaggerating a bit, and Merkaba did manage to draw a game, but I still didn’t lose any match to either of them. They even tried to beat me later in the night after the movie, but still to no avail :D)

I saw the first Fantastic Four and although not a brilliant movie, it wasn’t half bad, managing to keep my attention for the duration of the movie. Having seen most of the superhero movies now being churned out by Marvel, it has become pretty apparent that the writers have now found the formula for the super hero movie and are sticking as close to it as possible. And surprise surprise, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was no different from any of Marvels latest offerings. Which actually isn’t a bad thing.

All the actors from the first movie reprise their roles for this sequel and to great affect. The castings for the characters are spot on (well except for Jessica Alba as Sue Storm – but we all know why she was cast for the role in the first place, so I wont pursue that one. Incidentally, once again she briefly appears without her clothes on) and it is great to see the roles played exactly as they would have been done in the comics. Ben, Johnny and Mr Fantastic leap seamlessly from page to screen and even long time readers of the series cant really complain.

This movie deals with the first major Fantastic Four story arc from the comic universe, namely the introduction of the world devourer Galactus and his first herald, the Silver Surfer. – Story synopsis – The Silver Surfer has tagged Earth as Galactus next meal and it is up to the Fantastic Four to save the world once again, all while dealing with the return of Dr Doom and trying to fit Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman’s wedding in at the same time.

GalactusDisappointingly though, the director decided to replace Galactus rather campy humanoid form, replete with purple skirt and giant purple hat, with a rather wimpy giant cloud. Guess there are some things special effects companies simply refuse to help portray :)

Actually I cant really moan about this movie at all. It moved along slickly, combining some decent humour with nice action sequences and although the story overall is a little campy it fits the superhero story genre perfect. The special effects were top notch as always and the soundtrack blended in well with the movie, never being obtrusive in the least.

I suppose to sum it all up, I kind of liked it for what it is. It is a good, perfectly average super hero movie, nothing more, nothing less. It wont win any Oscars but it is an enjoyable movie which doesn’t feel too long, moves along nicely and keeps you more than adequately entertained. If you are looking for something decent that the family can enjoy or just to pass the time, the Fantastic Four will do the trick quite nicely.

Fantastic Four   Rise of the Silver Surfer 1 Fantastic Four   Rise of the Silver Surfer 2 Fantastic Four   Rise of the Silver Surfer 3