“Hey Cullen! Isabella! Get in the house this instant!”
Did you know that in 2009, according to the folks at Social Security, the most popular names for kids were from vampire fiction? And it’s not Dracula, or Vlad, or Alucard or Vampira. That’s old school thinking. The new popular names are from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, the book-and-movie franchise.
Cullen jumped up 300 spots on the list from the previous year, Jacob is #1 for boys, Isabella (the formalized version of Bella) is #1 for girls and Bella is #58. I think it’s great that the Twilight series of books and movies has spawned an entire generation of children named after the characters. I hope it means that naming your kids Peaches, Apple, Brooklyn and Pilot Inspektor in lockstep with nutty celebrities is on the outs, and the Twilight franchise as name-generator is in.
So did you see Iron Man 2 yet? Did you, huh, did you? Two things amaze me about the Iron Man franchise. One is that Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play Tony Stark. There’s none of the brooding self-importance that comes with other super-hero movies - Iron Man is serious but it’s also fun. The other is that in the right hands - and there are hundreds of right hands on any movie - even a second or third tier super-hero property can be turned into a good movie. If Downey, Jr. was playing Hank Pym in the Ant-Man movie, I’d be there in a minute.
Now while you’re saving your money for the Iron Man 2 DVD, here are a few fun things to occupy your eyes and mouse.
Brian Hibbs: I know why people, myself included, like to talk to artists and writers because it’s all so cool, but I think more interviews could be conducted with retailers since they are the comic book business. Retailer Brian Hibbs is a very smart guy - I may not always agree with him but he carries a good argument with him and he knows his business. Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter gets to the heart of the matter with a lengthy but hugely worthwhile interview.
Rating: *** 1/2*
Marvel Comics is promoting their latest blockbuster crossover Siege as a project that has been seven years in the making. It began with Avengers #500 when writer Brian Michael Bendis first took over the title. The storyline was called Avengers Disassembled where the Scarlet Witch went crazy, the Vision was destroyed, and Hawkeye and Ant Man (Scott Lang) were killed off. It was a good story and a huge turning point for the team that left many fans very angry as fan favorite Hawkeye was killed in an unsatisfactory manner and the New Avengers were then launched with a non-traditional lineup which included the Sentry.
As the years have gone by, we’ve had various crossovers such as Civil War, Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign which further complicated the lives of the Avengers and the Marvel Universe in general. All of this has lead us to Siege, which is a storyline that will focus on Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers invading Asgard to expel it from the Earth. This was a very good start. Osborn wants power and looks at Asgard as a roadblock. With the assistance of Loki, Osborn is able to get a reason to invade Asgard.
During the Civil War, innocent civilians were killed during an incident involving the New Warriors. Loki is able to replicate a similar incident using the Asgardian Volstagg who battles the U-Foes which results in the death of thousands of civilians at Soldier Field in Chicago. Osborn’s Dark Avengers are not too willing to go along with the invasion - especially Ares who promises Osborn if this is a trick of some sort, he will kill him personally.
First we got a glimpse of Iron Man 2‘s War Machine; now Paramount has released an image of Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko a.k.a. Whiplash.
Set against a backdrop of newspaper clippings centering on Tony Stark’s nontraditional superhero reveal that he was Iron Man, Rourke doesn’t don a mask as the Russian criminal (at least, we have yet to see an alternate costume change for this character) but does not look any less menacing and crazed.
Are you buying Rourke’s portrayal so far?
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This issue was a test for me. I’m not up on my current Marvel continuity and even if this was a Double Jeopardy round I don’t think I could tell Ultimate Avengers from Dark Avengers or even The Avengers with Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg. I prefer Marvel’s weirder mini-series and one-shots these days, whether it’s Marvel Apes, Marvel Zombies or the new Strange Tales.
So when this first issue came out, I thought I’d pick it up as a test. Will this issue seem like so much super-hero hieroglyphics that I’d need a Rosetta Stone of Continuity to keep up? Or will I be able to just leap into it and be entertained? In other words, how quickly will I have to go to the Wikipedia to figure out what’s going on?
The answer: I didn’t need Wikipedia at all. Yeah, Fury now looks a lot like Samuel L. Jackson (that’s the power of a multi-picture movie deal in the Marvel Universe), Carol Danvers (the one-time Ms. Marvel back when Mark Millar was in diapers) is now the director if S.H.I.E.L.D. Hawkeye is not only carrying a gun (yup), he’s now looking like some kind of ninja warrior in an outfit from a bad 1980s-era comic, wearing a mask that looks like he stole it from Bug’s Fourth World Kirby closet. Oh, and Tony Stark now looks like the current Robert Downey, Jr. and drinks and parties like the old Robert Downey, Jr.
My choice for best monthly comic book series for 2008 is Captain America. I am not a professional reviewer. I don’t get paid to read every comic book from every company that comes out month-to-month. I collect only a handful titles every month because that’s all I can afford - and all of those titles consist of DC and Marvel comics. So before anyone starts complaining about this book was better, etc, etc, I am only giving you my opinion and I welcome any and all disagreements, but from what I read this year Captain America was by far the best and most consistent month-to-month title published this year.
I finally got Iron Man on DVD the other day. Whenever I get a DVD of a comic book movie I ALWAYS get the double disc set because of the extras. I saw when I was ordering it online that this DVD had a history of the character in comics. I love comics and I love history so this was a win-win situation.
So I sat down one night and began watching the extras first before I even watched the film. I saw the film in the theater, so I could wait until I saw the extras first.