The Punisher #218: Frank Castle with War Machine Armor, Oh Yeah

With The Punisher’s entry into Marvel Legacy the hook is Frank Castle now has War Machine armor. After seeing the preview covers, we get to see how The Punisher gets the armor. Now the responses to this have either been excitement or extreme unhappiness. It’s The Punisher and opinions about him are all over the map. Frank Castle is a polarizing figure at the best of times. Every writer has a different take on him with mixed to critically acclaimed results. There’s no ambiguity about Frank Castle, he is who he is and he believes what he believes. Now we all get to find out what direction this series goes in with a new creative team. Let’s see how this goes down as I dive into The Punisher #218.

Weirdly enough I had a feeling I’d want to say something on The Punisher as I saw him in the armor. The concept fascinates me.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Comics

I appreciate how Matthew Rosenberg started off the issue. It blurs the lines between a serious Frank Castle and a more humorous take on the character. Rosenberg is going for a Frank that conveys every aspect of The Punisher in one way or the other. He picks a bit of each column in the life of Frank Castle and goes from there. You get your over the top mega violence mixed in with Nick Fury explaining why Frank is the way he is to the reader. Balance with this character is not easy to find at all and this issue tries hard to find it and it succeeds. I admittedly have some Punisher blind spots but this I feel strikes a nice balance tone wise.

I also want to mention this as we go further into The Punisher #218, it is totally new reader friendly. Jump right on in and you will be fine.

There’s not much I don’t like here and because of the fact that it is fun. Rosenberg slows it down just enough to set up War Machine and then back to the business at hand. What’s cool is Rosenberg is making a point to say, this is Frank in the War Machine armor, but he’s not War Machine. The back matter that Rosenberg writes makes it clear that Frank is wearing the armor, but War Machine will always be James Rhodes. I will be curious what this story will end up leading to as Frank is now at another level wearing the War Machine armor. Whatever happens though, the stakes are higher than ever and Rosenberg is showing that it’s going to get crazier from here.

We’re going to get look at more of the story of Punisher #218 we get into the art as there are a lot of cool moments here.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Nick Fury and Frank Castle

Special note: I really would love to try this egg drop soup as I am a fan of a good egg drop soup.

There’s one piece in particular that I want to focus on for starters, the Nick Fury and Frank Castle chat. Guiu Vilanova captured Rosenberg’s words beautifully with the Fury and Castle chat. Every second of that conversation flowed well and felt as dynamic as any action scene. I particularly love the expressions on Fury’s face as it makes sense that he would be more expressive than Castle. Then as the camera so to speak was moving around making the place seem less static and adding energy to the chat. It also helps that Lee Loughridge’s coloring illuminated the piece, the shadows and light gave it such a cool atmosphere. An enlightening chat with excellent execution.

As for the rest of the stuff, this comic looks good without a doubt. As noted from the Fury and Castle chat, the action scenes give another of detail to the wonderful glory that is Frank Castle. Rosenberg’s script shows that in action, that is when The Punisher comes to life. Vilanova’s art captures the action here in brutal and gleeful detail. Especially in the expressions, the only time to really see Frank smile is when he’s in his element, which is when he’s in the midst of battle. It’s interesting to me how that’s handled. Now I also want to mention Cory Petit’s lettering as it really works for this script. The big and loud letters work to the explosive art and colors here. Beautiful work all around.

The Punisher #218 Marvel Legacy Box Smash

If you’re in the midst of binge watching The Punisher on Netflix, I highly recommend grabbing #218 as part of your adventure.

Now this is only the start of what Rosenberg and his team has in store for The Punisher. We know why Frank has the War Machine armor and what he’s going to be up to with it, now we see what happens from here. This issue was a lot of fun but I get the feeling the stakes are going to get higher from here. I like what I see and I can’t wait for what happens next. Good work all around from this new team. I am excited for what’s to come with this series.

 

 

 

 

Captain America #695: Getting Back to Basics in Marvel Legacy

How do you go forward with Captain America in the aftermath of Secret Empire? Well Marvel did it in the best way they could and for the most part it worked. Not saying as much about the event itself, that’s a story for another day, but it did work. Now we get to see Steve Rogers as Captain America re-establishing himself once more. Our Steve Rogers took out Hydra Cap and now he is taking it to the road. Mark Waid was the man who revitalized Captain America back in the 90’s and once more for Heroes Return, now he is back at it again for Legacy. Even going as far as to get Chris Samnee who is perfect for creating that old school vibe. Will lightning strike three times? Let’s find out on this wonderful little journey as I dive into Captain America #695.

It’s Bold, it’s Bright, it’s Colorful, and it’s excitement personified in Captain America #695.

Captain America #695 Cover Marvel Comics

Let’s begin our little adventure here simply, this is good. Captain America #695 is a good comic. I did not envy Mark Waid and Chris Samnee coming onto this series but my goodness were they up to the task at hand. You can see the name of the game was take Captain America back to basics and it works. It’s optimistic in the midst of everything that happened and is going on and you can’t help but smile at Captain America punching Nazis. Okay they’re a group called Rampart and they don’t openly say Nazis but dude, they’re Nazis, Captain America is punching Nazis, that’s awesome. You can’t help but dig that scene.

What’s also cool is the surroundings of the story, Captain America, Nebraska. They have a massive festival every year and you get a glimpse into how many people like the guy. You get classic Captain America fighting the bad guys, showing how good a person he is, and also showing that as Steve Rogers, he’s just a normal guy figuring things out. At his core Steve as Captain America is a hero of the people, so Waid emphasizes that a lot in this story which is wonderful. Waid reminds us that Captain America is someone that can rally the people at his core and that’s what Waid does in this first issue. It all clicks but what about the art? Oh the art deserves a focus of its own.

Captain America #695 Action Sequence

Chris Samnee and the art team on Captain America #695 went above and beyond the call of duty for this one.

Chris Samnee’s art is fluid, fast, crisp, and gorgeously clean. It’s the perfect fit for what Waid is up to with this story. Waid’s story reflects every bit of Captain America you could imagine and in turn Samnee’s art reflects it, heroic Cap, immensely likable Steve Rogers, and inspirational Cap, a lot of these pages could be posters as they are that iconic. It’s also nice to see Steve Rogers being the most Steve Rogers he can be. When he’s a little overwhelmed by a whole day dedicated to him, you can see in the art just how he feels. Samnee draws such a classic Cap that you can’t help but smile ear to ear. Waid hit the artist jackpot with Chris Samnee. Yet another feature for this comic is the coloring, my goodness gracious the coloring.

Matthew Wilson’s colors on this story are eye popping beauty. Outside of any scenes with fire or say intense action, these colors pop off the page. For everyone who’s been wanting a story where everything is clicking on all cylinders, congratulations this is it. The optimism within this comic is unreal. You get bright colors, exciting art, and Joe Caramagna’s letters have an old school, pop off the page energy to them as well. Truthfully, I think I’m as surprised as anyone as to how much this all came together so swimmingly. Great art all around to match Waid’s script the oozes with joy and a genuine love for our humble hero.

Happiness and Optimism rule the day in Captain America #695 and that my friends is a good thing.

Simply put, go buy this comic. If you’re a lapsed fan and want to give our hero another shot, this is it. Waid, Samnee and the rest of the team bring life back to this character and a sense of fun long missed in this series. Try it and see what you think, it may take time for some but for me, I’m a happy camper right now.

By Request: Thoughts on Batman: The Dark Knight III: Master Race

My podcast partner in crime Matt Lune asked me to write a thing on Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race, so here you go buddy. You could also call this DK3 as it is the third one in the Frank Miller Dark Knight saga. To say I was less than optimistic about this was an understatement. Batman: The Dark Knight is a solid read while Batman: The Dark Knight Returns/DK2 is downright strange. Trying to explain DK2 to people is tough as nails as that sucker goes all over the map story wise. That’s not to say anything about Frank Miller’s writing and art too on DK2. Then you get into Lynn Varley’s coloring and it’s a mixed bag of tricks. It’s a strange story so that is what I had to work off of for DK3. Enough with the intro, let’s get this started. On with the show!

Batman: Dark Knight III Master Race Feature Image

Matt, pal, buddy, while this was better than I ever imagined trying to put this whole Batman saga into any coherent structure is a trip.

Batman: Dark Knight III Iron Suit

Put it this way, I’m not going for a formal review structure here. As I was reading it mainly for my own curiosity. I thought this whole thing was going to be bonkers sauce times infinity. After DK2 I was expecting insanity fuel from on high. What I got was entirely different from what I was expecting. Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race feels more like a sequel to Dark Knight than DK2 did. Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello together created a strong read that has its moments of pure insanity yet it all works in the favor of the story. I’m also not going to spoil it, I could but I won’t. This really does need to be experienced at least once, like I said it isn’t a bad read at all. I am as surprised as anyone else.

The simple version of this story is straight up it’s Carrie Kelly taking over for a supposedly dead Bruce Wayne as mentioned in the story. Not a big spoiler to say that yes Old Man Bruce is in play yet what a turn it all takes within the tale. I also dig that it uses the expanded DCU to a more coherent effect here. You get Atom, Flash, Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman all used and to good effect too. As for the ultimate villain, freaking Kryptonians from the Bottle City of Kandor. Then you add in the wild card of Superman and Wonder Woman’s daughter Lara and you get a lot of fun players. You even get Commissioner Yindel making a return in here, in which I love that Andy Kubert kept that heavy Miller influence to her design, I like that.

Wow this going way more positively than I ever imagine, but I did like it. I really did.

Batman: Dark Knight III Car Smash

There’s a lot of wild moments in here. I do say Azzarello balances out Miller, which is weird but it works. If this was Miller unfiltered I wonder what this would have been like. The major Miller factor in this is he does a lot of the art for the mini comics in the book. Eduardo Risso does the art for a full Wonder Woman story and John Romita Jr. does the breakdowns for a Green Lantern story that Frank Miller does finishes for. Overall though, the art for the mini comics is mostly Miller and overall it’s not bad. It’s miles ahead of his work on DK2. The main pencils for the story itself by Andy Kubert is amazing throughout, with Klaus Janson doing some excellent inking for it. This is where the art geek out begins.

Special note: The Eduardo Risso story was a lot of fun too, I really liked his take on the Wonder Woman vs. Lara fight. Very cool.

With the Frank Miller bits, sometimes it is a little wonky similar to DK2 at times but it is way better. Good inking and coloring go a long way in his portion of the story. Even in the pieces that Frank Miller does all the art himself it doesn’t look too bad, Alex Sinclair does a lot of the coloring here and Klaus inks Miller on some of the stories and it looks good. Andy Kubert’s art is amazing throughout and Brad Anderson’s coloring, oh my goodness it is gorgeous. Kubert captures the splashy powerful nature of Azzarello and Miller’s script and takes it up a few thousand notches. If anything else, even when the story gets a bit bonkers you will have a good time. Yeah, this is a lot of fun all around.

Yes, Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race is bonkers at times but it embraces it. I can dig that.

I am as surprised as anyone else to say that Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race was a lot of fun. As I said going into it, I was expecting to dislike it but by the end I really enjoyed myself a lot. Sometimes all you need is simply a book to have a freaking good time with and this book was it. If you’re looking for a book that feels much more like a true sequel to Dark Knight Returns, this is it. Life gave me a good surprise with this one so well done Miller and Azzarello, this was a rollicking good time. Thanks for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GWL Reborn 9/12/17: That’s the Issue Episode 15 Where We Get Metal

Please excuse the title of this That’s the Issue post, I couldn’t help myself. Yes, That’s the Issue Episode 15 covers many topics. We wanted to address the death of Len Wein as that one hit the same day as we recorded this episode. Matt and I were trying to make sure we got the pronunciation of his last name right. We got it right in the end though. Then we dive into DC’s Metal, Scales and Scoundrels, and more from there. The new format of us chatting comics and becoming the most laid back podcast on the Internet works. Now that we’ve got the lovely intro out of the way let’s get this show on the road. Onwards to episode 15 of That’s the Issue! It’s only going to keep getting better from here.

Episode #15 Featured That's the Issue

Funny aside for this episode of That’s the Issue but it really is easy to embed Soundcloud podcasts on WordPress.

As always feel free to fire Matt and I a line on either our personal twitter handles or on the handle for the show. Send us questions too at thatstheissue@gmail.com or even on our twitter handles. We are always open to feedback and answering a question or two. After the last episode where Matt and I killed our filters we were especially curious as to what people were saying. Seems like people enjoy Matt and I just chatting with each other and it has helped us out a lot. We may have to make this “Most Laid Back Podcast on The Internet” a tagline at this point. I know I am having a lot more fun with doing this podcast as Matt and I have easy chemistry on this show. It’s overall nothing but fun.

Now as always we are one of the easiest podcasts to find on the Internet. You can find us on Soundcloud, Stitcher, Podbean and even on iTunes! Feel free to leave us a review on iTunes too as it does help more people to discover our humble little show. Thanks for listening and being part of the That’s the Issue universe.

 

The Great Social Media Battle of 2016: Marvel vs. DC Movies

DC Marvel Social Media Logos

Copyright: Logos from Marvel and DC Comics

Social Media was a unique place in 2016 within pop culture. There are many factors to dive into but one stood out, Marvel vs. DC Movies. You had MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) represented by Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, both for the most part getting positive marks. With the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) you had Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad getting decidedly mixed reviews. Now the battleground with MCU and DCEU gets interesting with social media comes into play. We had an MCU backlash happen within the social media landscape and a battle with DCEU over their content as well. With both MCU and DCEU fans in a divisive and comical at points battle online, I’m going to explore this a bit. So let’s dive into the Great Social Media Battle of 2016, MCU vs. DCEU.

Let the Social Media Exploration Begin!

Now I debated writing a column like this for ages. You could see me on my own twitter debating this idea. Yet it’s been in me for months now to write about this. Possibly because I seem to be a rare voice of calm in the midst of the social media battles. What was so frustrating about the MCU and DCEU battles is these arguments would borderline on the ridiculous. Take note of this, the petition against Rotten Tomatoes. People got mad about Rotten Tomatoes and how MCU films scored higher than DCEU films. Among the many arguments, the Rotten Tomatoes battle on social media bordered on the hilarious. Simple version, people thought Disney/Marvel bought Critics to give Marvel movies good reviews and DC films bad ones. Yes, a petition was started over this and it is as silly as it sounds.

Now in my own personal perspective, I enjoyed the films of the MCU and DCEU alike. None of them were perfect but I had a good time at the theater watching them and ultimately that’s what counts. Same with other viewers who liked the films. Yet some, a mighty battle was in full swing over which company had the superior films. Arguments were varied from thoughtful to downright insane arguments. Usually, it boils down to if you like or dislike a film but some people then get into full-blown hysterics and war begins. Many of you out there reading this who are on any kind of social media, you have seen the threads and are likely getting flashbacks. I wasn’t immune to it either as everyone got dragged into these threads at one point.

From these Social Media arguments on MCU vs. DCEU, It boiled to another conversation, tone.

Now another argument that initiated a lot of quirky situations is the tone of the MCU vs. DCEU. MCU trends towards a lighter tone, brighter costumes, and overall a friendly atmosphere for the viewership. Now for DCEU it has trended darker with a more intense tone to the films. Yet a lot of people weren’t happy with the darker tone. Look at the MCU, they have a gameplan and they know where they’re going to go. DCEU saw the films making money, but not as much as Warner Bros. would have liked, especially with Batman v Superman. Now going forward DC is working towards a lighter tone in their films, as noted with Geoff Johns stating as much. Now the DCEU is forming a game plan and we’ll see how Wonder Woman and Justice League are received next year.

2016 was a divisive year on many fronts, so what does 2017 hold?

Now MCU wise we have Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, and Thor: Ragnarok hitting in 2017. DCEU has their powerhouse lineup and Marvel has a powerful lineup too. Next year is going to be stacked and I can imagine that the arguments will be a wild ride come 2017. We’ll see what the lighter tone of DCEU will be and what will happen with that. With the MCU we’ll get to see if they can keep the money train rolling on into 2017. The fans on social media will keep the fire and hype for these movies throughout the year, good or bad.

Many arguments will be held over the coming months as the MCU and DCEU make announcements and as the films are released.  2016 was a weird year on many fronts. If you’re wondering, no one won the Marvel vs. DC argument with the films. At the end of it all, it’s all about what you like. There’s no big conspiracy from either Disney or Warner Bros. with these films and the critics. People like what they like and critics are like anyone else, they like what they like. A good or bad movie is in the eye of the person watching it. If someone likes or hates something, no massive tweet storm, facebook post, or whatever else, it won’t steer them to your way of thinking. It may give them a new perspective but won’t change their mind entirely.

No one ever wins in an Internet battle, it just gets weirder and more annoying as it goes along.

The arguments on social media with Marvel vs. DC movies will keep going and evolve in many strange directions. We won’t know the full scope of a DCEU tonal change until Justice League and maybe somewhat into Wonder Woman. Just as Marvel will have to keep on keeping on and we’ll see how things go for them in the new year.

If you take anything away from this, let people like what they like. In my own case, I want both the MCU and DCEU to have a great 2017 ahead. If you like both, that’s awesome and the best way to be in my opinion. If you prefer MCU over DCEU, that’s okay too just don’t be a jerk to the fans who prefer the DCEU. Same goes for the DCEU fans, don’t be jerks to the MCU fans, be nice to another in 2017 as 2016 has been weird enough.

Just be excellent to one another my friends.

It’s interesting how this became much more thoughtful as I wrote it. At this stage though I am tired of the battleground and want some kind of unity in this crazy universe. For 2017 give me this Internet, quit it. You can have debates about the films of the MCU and DCEU without it becoming a mega battle. Enjoy what films you want to enjoy and may 2017 be one with less ridiculous Internet fights.

 

 

The Walking Dead: Processing the Aftermath of Negan’s Vampire Bat

Negan Walking Dead Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Copyright: AMC Networks

The season premiere of The Walking Dead Season Seven has come and gone. After a long Spring and Summer, we finally know who felt the wrath of Negan’s Barbed Wire Bat Lucille. Fitting though that it was called Negan’s Vampire Bat in the premiere, hence the title of this article. I wrote an article back when The Walking Dead had that brutal cliffhanger and this is my follow-up to it. As reactions to the cliffhanger ending were divisive, the aftermath of the premiere is going the same way. Instead of a generic recap of the episode, let’s process the season premiere together. I need to process the season premiere as much as you all do. On with the show as we all process the aftermath of The Walking Dead season premiere. That Vampire Bat did a number on us all.

Yes if you haven’t seen the Season Premiere of The Walking Dead, there are spoilers. So many spoilers.

If you didn’t see the big bold letters, yes I am spoiling things so if you haven’t turned away now, it’s your own fault at this point. So are we good? Okay cool.

To reveal who died right off the bat, Abraham and Glenn were the casualties. Abraham was someone loosely expected to die in many online articles and Glenn we were prepared for. Glenn died in the comics under Negan’s hand and it was even more brutal than the comics. Now the way both deaths were handled, that’s where things get weird. For one they didn’t reveal the deaths of Abraham and Glenn right away. To see the deaths you were already expecting to happen, you sat through two commercial breaks. I’m okay with set up but I got to the point where I was saying, “C’mon, get on with it already!” before the deaths were revealed. Both deaths were done well, brutal, but done well. Seeing it in a comic is one thing but on a TV show, that’s a whole new dimension. That was some tough television to watch.

That Walking Dead Episode was tough to watch at points, seriously.

As TV was The Walking Dead season premiere bad? It wasn’t bad TV in my opinion because of the fact that the entire time I was engaged, especially after the reveal. Once I knew who died I was invested in the story more. A lot of the episode was driven by Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, he had to do the heavy lifting. Most everyone else was reacting to him and it worked. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has always been a good actor but he took it to the next level as Negan. Everyone else in the show did a great job in reacting to the dark powerhouse that is Negan. This was pure setup for the season to come and it set up a lot of questions which is a good thing.

I’m optimistic about the season to come for The Walking Dead but they better not pull a stunt like that cliffhanger again. I completely understand why they did the cliffhanger but they should have done that ending at the end of the Season Six finale. One reason being that Negan is such a big deal villain that to set up such a cliffhanger like that was unnecessary.  The show was already renewed and even now it is renewed for Season Eight. Walking Dead doesn’t need stunts at this point, tell your stories, make them good and make them count. The Walking Dead gets fans talking and that’s good but shock value can only go so much further with this series.

Don’t Focus on Shock Value and Make Great TV, That’s all you need.

This was a good start to the season for all intents and purposes. No matter what, the ratings are going to be huge and people are going to watch. Even if The Walking Dead loses viewers, it will take a long time for the show to take any kind of hit from it. Negan set the series off into a daring and dark new direction with two characters already down for the count. Time to see if the rest of Season Seven lives up to the promise of the powerful and unforgettable season premiere.