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BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

Round 1, Battle 5

follow the bracket here!

INHUMANS: ATTLIAN RISING #1

VS

THE INFINITY GAUNTLET #1

inf_gauntlet_1

One of the major dangers of a GIANT, EPIC, WORLD-ALTERING, CROSSOVER EVENT in the comic world is to lose the humanity amongst all of the SWEET EPIC SHIT. The small, simple moments that make fans fall in love with the characters get lost in the necessitated threads connecting one story to every other story (or at least to the main story) rippling through the multiverse. Another danger is that the story is connected barely at all, a 1-2 page intermission in the issue reminding the reader of all money and time they should be spending on the event if they want to be in the know. *

*Hey Filterinos! To get the full scoop on this critique, check out PopFilter Presents: BattleworldBattleworld articles 1-4. –THE BOARD

 

 Based on the covers alone, I assumed Inhumans: Attilan Rising #1 (Charles Soule, John Timms, Roberto Poggi, Frank D’Armarta) would out pace The Infinity Gauntlet #1 (Gerry Duggan, Dustin Weaver) easily. The art for the Attilan cover is distinct, crisp, and straight up cool. Gauntlet looks like generic space opera comics but for the Disney-set.

Now early on, both issues work incredibly well, for pretty similar reasons. Rather than zooming out and covering numerous characters at once, they both open on small sets of groups wandering in their respective wildernesses that are now strewn throughout #Battleworld. They both play with tropes of other genres: Gauntlet post-apocalypse that’s so popular this century, and Attilan leaning towards a WWI spy drama. They handle their differing group dynamics equally as well. Gauntlet stars a family (a father, two daughters, and a grandfather) sticking together in a post-apocalyptic city trying to escape “Bugs” that may have killed the mother in space. Missing parent tragedy? Check. Small story focused on human emotions and interactions against a backdrop of a deadly world. Check.

But Attilan opens with this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 6.59.15 PM

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 8.02.07 PM

Fuck. Yeah. That’s a 1920s gangster GhostRider. 

A ragtag resistance group trying to de-hulkify Hulkland of Battleworld to grow their resistance group. AND their group consists of Marvel players so small their powers and personalities are new, and there’s no baggage to get through. Just “oh shit, that’s sweet” moments. So if both issues are avoiding the major crossover dangers, and telling more intimate stories, what separates them?

images-15

Well, Inhumans: Attilan Rising throws away the promising initial beats it sets up by shifting to Medusa, Dr. Doom, and a bunch of politics it doesn’t need. At least not in the starting issue. Also, let’s not try to parse out if this Medusa is the same as the Medusa who appeared in A-Force, or if they know each other exist, or can be in the same room, or one dies if the other dies. I hope it’s an alternate version, otherwise there’s a sliding timeline in the Battleworld books, and that’s the kind of shenanigans that made this crossover necessary. Not only does the focus shift to a confusing conundrum, but Doom is shoved in ordering Medusa to get a hold on her kingdom. There’s that annoying tie-in from the first paragraph! Not to mention the exposition heavy dialogue strains under the weight of explaining how this specific Manhattan kingdom operates, how Battleworld operates, how these characters operate. While it’s a fun and wide-reaching idea that a reader could pick up any issue as their first issue of Battleworld, covering the same bases in almost every first issue is getting fucking exhausting. But there’s one moment that Attilan really cemented how much it seemingly wanted Gauntlet to move on in the bracket:

 Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 7.00.13 PM

This.

We’ve gone too fucking far. When you take a badass silent hero, and turn him into a Humphrey Bogart’s try-hard little brother, we’re done. This is the shark-jumpingest character twist of Battleworld so far. And I pray to Uatu we don’t see worse. Not only does it eviscerate what makes Black Bolt so cool, it boringly maps out how this specific series is going to play out. Close your eyes, and think for half-second, and you’ll be able to map out to 99% accuracy how this story is moving forward. And while it may be a fun journey (and the espionage parts were fun), it’s just not strong enough to continue. There’s an alternate reality where Attilan moved on. Based on the potential promised by the first couple of pages of both books, the caper could have won out over the post-apocalypse given the latter’s saturation. But major sidetracking on Attilan’s part, and some smart decisions in Gauntlet clinched it.

Because The Infinity Gauntlet did something incredibly brave—it introduced brand new characters to the Marvel universe. Gone completely is the baggage of past storylines. Gone completely are fan expectations. The weight on Duggan and Weaver is still heavily present, but it’s a pure weight, a hopeful weight: they just need to show us a compelling story. And they do! The characters may be archetypal right now, but groundwork for developing the personalities and their dynamics are laid out. There’s a complexity in this issue that is effortless in a way Attilan crumbled under trying to get you to be impressed. The creative team behind Gauntlet lays out the immediate danger for the Bakian family clearly– get the hell away from giant space bugs. But the real danger that the Bakians don’t see is the animalistic take on Thanos stalking in the shadows. This isn’t the overlord/general/mastermind we’re used to, but the way Weaver draws him is cat-like, just another beast in the wild. The few panels they show him are more intimidating than anything the MCU has done with him yet.

 Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 7.40.40 PM

Lurking in the shadows will never not be scary.

 While this book is juggling immediate danger with imminent danger, and family dynamics with survival, it very quietly tells an origin story. Because our narrator, Anwen, who I haven’t had a chance to mention yet, this smart, spunky, outspoken, strong female, is going to be Marvel’s next breakout superhero. I predict the 2010s are remembered for giving us Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and Anwen Bakian. So not only have Duggan and Weaver started a delightful (SELF-CONTAINED!) adventure within this sprawling saga, they’ve slyly put forth an argument that it’s okay if some of our old favorites die off in this universe blender. There are new heroes out there to fall in love with.-MG

 

Follow Mike on Twitter @Microphoneyo!

Super Hero Hour Hour 5/29/15

Play

This week, Ryan and Mike discuss the new iZombie and Daredevil episode 107. They also give out the first annual Hourie for “Best Leading Performance”. Get your head right and dig it!

PopFilter Podcast Episode 198, pt. 2

Play

The exciting conclusion the the Taste Buds (TM) getting destroyed by David Lynch!

And if you enjoyed this episode, you have Professor Todd McGowan to thank! Go get his book The Impossible David Lynch and get yourself learned on some important film stuffs!

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

Round 1, Battle 4

follow the bracket here!

INFERNO #1

Inferno

VS

ULTIMATE END #1

Okay, so comic books are a major thing right now and everyone is good with that. It’s cool because I am also super good with that. I’m not going to freak out about it so stop thinking that I’m going to freak out about it. Today, instead of freaking out, we’re going to look at the merits of Ultimate End 001 vs. Inferno 001. One is about a bunch of superheroes doing things and the other is also that. Okay, stalemate. Let’s do this.

Not a picture of me about to write this article.

Not a picture of me about to write this article.

Inferno is a crazy tale of someone named Piotr (which is an admittedly stupid name) trying to rescue his sister, whose name is also painfully Russian. She is trapped (or not) in a living, breathing tower that was once the Empire State building but now houses hell on Earth (or at least a crazy fucking den of dastardly demons). Got it? Good. Ultimate End follows basically every superhero from the Marvel universe that has had or will soon have a film dealing with a gigantic rip in the universe that has caused all kinds of things to happen that very clearly should not have happened. With me so far? Great. Without spoiling too much of the sweet pages of either issue, Ultimate End is our winner. And while it does have a slightly better known cast of crazy characters, the reason it is the victor in this battle is two-fold.

Not seen in either book, Bikosaurus Rex, whose powers are far too numerous and obvious to name.

Not seen in either book, Bikosaurus Rex, whose powers are far too numerous and obvious to name.

To begin with, comic books are won and lost between the huge battle scenes. You know the type; big, hulking monsters getting punched and kicked by our superheroes while dealing out their own brand of pain over two or three pages where the only dialogue is “ooooof” or “faboom”. In between those pages, you get a voice, an idea and a perspective of what an author is trying to do with his cast. What does Brian Michael Bendis have to say about Spiderman that hasn’t been spewed across pages and screens for decades? When a group of heroes is chatting, does the dialogue bend to the characters or do the characters find a way to fit into the narrative? While Inferno does a good job of making me care about characters like Colossus and Domino that I am all but completely unfamiliar with, Ultimate makes familiar characters act in an unfamiliar way and I buy it hook, line and sinker.

Psych! I don’t care about Domino!

As if that weren’t enough, the artwork in Ultimate blends and helps the story in a much more natural way than Inferno. With Inferno, Javier Garron is doing masterful work that makes you forget that you’re reading and feel like you’re watching. Unfortunately, Inferno drew the short straw in being forced to spar with Ultimate, which finds a way to balance Bendis’ insane balance of humor and action with Mark Bagley’s odd ability to enhance or counteract those moments through his artwork. Even with his seemingly intuitive knowledge of how to work with Bendis, without a doubt, Bagley’s most impressive artistic moment was his ability to turn a bright white light into something that you felt you had to squint at until you realize that it’s a fucking comic book and the light isn’t actually getting brighter.

Psshh...like I even care about bright lights.

Psshh, like I care about bright lights. I don’t even care about Domino…

For everything Inferno did right, Ultimate End found a way to do super right. It’s easy to get immersed in both books right off the bat, but in a battle of comic books, it only seems fair that the most super challenger moves on.

 

With Love,
Jason R. Noble

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

WEEK TWO PREVIEW

 

ROUND ONEBATTLE FOUR

ULTIMATE END #1

Ultimate_End_1

BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (w) • MARK BAGLEY (a/C)
Variant Cover by DAVID MARQUEZ
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
YOUNG VARIANT COVER BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
• MILES MORALES and the rest of the heroes of the ULTIMATE U face final extinction
• As the end of their world becomes inevitable, will the heroes’ heartbreaking sacrifices make any difference?
• The dramatic end of an era begins here!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

VS

INFERNO #1

INFERNO_1

DENNIS HOPELESS (w) • JAVIER GARRON (a/C)
VARIANT COVER BY ADI GRANOV
• Spinning out of the universe-shattering events of Secret Wars comes a new twist on the X-Men classic that’s a whole hell of a lot hotter than you remember
• 5 years ago a band of demons rose up out of the fiery depths and turned Manhattan into Hell on Earth. The X-Men fought to vanquish the demon horde and… The X-Men failed.
• Welcome back to the Inferno.
• On this the fifth anniversary of Manhattan’s fall, Piotr Rasputin is leading a small band of mutants back into the Inferno. Colossus doesn’t know what they’ll find on the other side of those flames but he knows for certain… They’re not coming back without his sister.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE FIVE

INFINITY GUANTLET #1

inf_gauntlet_1

GERRY DUGGAN & DUSTIN WEAVER (w) • DUSTIN WEAVER (a/C)
VARIANT COVER BY ADI GRANOV
YOUNG VARIANT BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
BLANK VARIANT ALSO AVAILABLE
Think your life is hard? Anwen Bakian’s family lives in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, scrounging for food and avoiding giant bugs intent on eating them. Mom left years ago to join the Nova force and never came back. So it’s just Anwen, her dad, her sister and her grandpa against the huge insects. That is, until she finds a mysterious stone that may or may not hold incredible cosmic power. Don’t miss this incredible new series by DEADPOOL writer Gerry Duggan and EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE writer/artist Dustin Weaver that will set the cosmic table for the Marvel Universe for years to come!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

VS

INHUMANS: ATTILAN RISING #1

Atilian_Rising_1

CHARLES SOULE (w) • JOHN TIMMS (a)
COVER BY DAVE JOHNSON
Design Variant by DAVE JOHNSON
VARIANT COVER BY W. SCOTT FORBES
YOUNG VARIANT BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
BLANK VARIANT COVER
• There is a rebellion brewing on Battleworld and it stretches far and wide into every domain. Medusa, ruler of Attilan, is tasked with uncovering the leader of this uprising and scuttling it with extreme prejudice. When she discovers the leader of this rebellion is Black Bolt, however, things get complicated.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE SIX

MODOK: ASSASSIN #1

MODOK1

CHRIS YOST (w) • AMILCAR PINNA (a)
Cover by DAVID LAFUENTE
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• In a world populated by the most fearsome thieves, murderers and ne’er-do-wells, there is one who is a HEAD above the rest…
• Enter, M.O.D.O.K.: The Mental Organism Designed Only for KILLING!
• Killville’s very own Merc with a Maw is open for business! But his next job may be biting off more than he can chew…
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

VS

OLD MAN LOGAN #1

OM_Logan_1

BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (w) • ANDREA SORRENTINO (a/C)
Variant Cover by STEVE McNIVEN
VARIANT COVER BY ANDREA SORRENTINO
YOUNG VARIANT BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
BLANK VARIANT COVER
• Enter the Wastelands…a realm where all heroes have been murdered by their arch-enemies, villains who now rule over the land with an iron fist. In the midst of this dystopian chaos, one man may make a difference…a reluctant warrior who was once the greatest mutant of all…a man known as OLD MAN LOGAN.
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99

ROUND ONEBATTLE SEVEN

SECRET WARS 2099 #1

SCWARS_2099_1

PETER DAVID (w) • WILL SLINEY (a)
Cover by Dave Rapoza
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• When everything ends, it’s time to go back to the future. Revisit the world of 2099 and see it a whole new light, as characters who have never been seen before make their first appearances – including the AVENGERS 2099. Can the ideal of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes survive in a world where megacorporations rule with an iron fist?
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

VS

SECRET WARS JOURNAL #1

SW_JOURNAL_1

Prudence Shen & Michael Rosenberg (w)
Ramon Bachs & Luca Pizzari (a)
Cover by Kevin Wada
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
WITNESS THE STRANGE TALES OF BATTLEWORLD! TWO SCINTILLATING STORIES OF SECRET WARS!
• Is LADY KATE of 1602 the nefarious HAWKEYE BANDIT who robs from the rich and gives to the poor?
• Can an enslaved band of MUTANTS in EGYPTIA overthrow their overlord, KHONSHU?
• Can YOU afford not to read the coolest, hippest, most continuity-important book in all of SECRET WARS??? Because this is TOTALLY THAT BOOK. But don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our little Secret…Wars Journal.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

Round 1, Battle 3

follow the bracket here!

 

SECRET WARS: BATTLEWORLD #1

download

VS

SPIDER-VERSE #1

SPIDERVERSE_1

 

“Blessed are the nerds, for they shall inherit the earth.” -Matthew 5:5

…mostly

 

We are living in a world that would have been inconceivable 20 years ago. Nerds/nerd culture has gone from the physical representation of what it meant to be uncool to the complete and utter domination of every single cultural medium, from industry (the tech industry in Silicon Valley,) to fashion and pop culture. It is officially hip to be square. Kids now wear glasses to look cooler (Where was this trend when I was in middle school? I missed this crap by a decade. ) Nerdiness has become such a desirable attribute, it is practically  a currency by which people now evaluate social value. Only the outcasts at the office can’t talk at length about what is going on in Westeros in an age where every blockbuster movie is about superheroes.

Hipster style icon Steven. Q Urkel

Hipster style icon Steven. Q Urkel

But what is a nerd, exactly? Is it a generational shift in style? Is it something more? Thankfully, self-professed super nerd Patton Oswalt did the world a favor and defined what it means to be a nerd. According to Oswald, being a nerd simply means being a die hard-fan of something. Being a nerd means giving yourself over to a fandom. A nerd dedicates a lot of time to learning about and admiring a specific art outside of him or herself. So much so that this nerd feels like he or she has a stake in the thing that he/she loves–that enjoying whatever it is that this fan enjoys  it is essential to who they are as a human being. This person reaps real value from their identity as a fan. In a way, nerds are art lovers.

Just like every other pretentious art lover.

Just like every other pretentious art lover.

 

Comic books have always been an attractive medium for nerds. The world of comic books lends itself very well to fandom. From what I can tell, this is because most comics are written and drawn by fans, for fans. It is also a system that rewards fans for loyalty and dedication to various houses, universes, and story lines. Marvel’s Battleworld Battleworld series is the ultimate culmination for the “just for fans” fans , the ones already hooked on the drug. This is because this series relies on readers who have prior knowledge of story lines, who already have strong loyalties to characters, writers, inkers, etc. This also means this bracket is going to piss a lot of people off and incur more hate mail than any single one of us has ever gotten combined.

Will probably include a rape threat. These people are nuts.

But not so fast, nerds. These brackets aren’t about fandom. This isn’t about who’s the better character between Thor or Spiderman. This bracket isn’t about any story that came before. Nor is this bracket a platform for the writers to show off who has the superior knowledge of the 616, Ultimate Universes or Multiverse. What this bracket is about is what comic told a better story in 22 pages. In this round, Secret Wars: Battleworld told the better story.

 

There are thousands of characters in the Marvel multiverse, which means there are could potentially be thousands of characters here. How often are we going to sit back and take a minute with any of them? Secret Wars: Battleworld seems like it could be a crap shoot, as we’ll probably get different creators with each story, but for this story – for this one particular issue – we get to spend two nice, tiny moments with two (horribly un)nice characters. I don’t know why the Punisher has the powers of Stephen Strange, and I don’t know why M.O.D.O.K. is going through such a family crisis. Maybe I’ll find out later. But for know, I can sort of see the world through these sets of eyes, a world that is horribly messed up for them, and horribly confusing for us, as readers. And for the rest of the event, every time the Punisher and M.O.D.O.K. pop up, I’ll think “Oh yeah. These guys. I spent a moment with them earlier.” It was a well written, well thought out moment, and I can relate to them more than the rest of the jamokes in this wacky comic book.” That’s not a thought you will have often in your life, so hold on to it while you can.

 

The story out of the first issue of the Spider-verse is a lot more scattered. The issue bites off more than it can chew by introducing too many characters without getting in depth with any of them. This leaves the reader feeling rushed, confused. It is one thing to write a story with characters that are already well established. It is another thing to utilize characters with established histories and then forget to tell a story. That is exactly what the Spider-verse fails to do: tell a story. For this reason, Battleworld: Secret Wars moves on to round 2!!

-Stephanie Rose

PopFilter Podcast Episode 198, pt. 1

On this, the first of a two part PopFilter 101, the Taste Buds (TM) tackle their greatest foe: knowledge.

That’s right, your favorite three internet greats are tasked with watching SIX DAVID LYNCH FILMS! Tune in and hear them discuss Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man and Lost Highway as equal parts AFI geniuses and donkey-ass morons with more than a little help from David Lynch luminary, professor Todd McGowan, author of The Impossible David Lynch.

Get ready to have your mind, amongst other things, blown. And be sure to tune in for the second half, in which the buds all dig into Dune, Mulholland Drive and Eraserhead. It’s so good!

 

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 1, BATTLE 2

Follow the bracket here!

PLANET HULK #1

planet-hulk-2015-teaser-109483

VS

Secret_Wars_MASTER_OF_KUNG_FU-600x910

MASTER OF KUNG FU #1

Reading Marvel comics always feels like walking in on a group mid-conversation – you just nod and try to mimic their emotions. If you’re at least slightly familiar with Marvel Comics, it’s like walking in on a group of old friends mid-conversation at your high school reunion. You’re familiar with a version of these characters, but things have obviously changed a good deal since you last saw them. You’ll wander through their meandering stories and whisper “When did Captain America get a battle axe and a red Dinosaur” to yourself later on, feeling old and alone.

Sometimes you feel more old, sometimes you feel more alone

sometimes you feel more old, sometimes you feel more alone

Planet Hulk may be the worst offender in this category. Like of all time. I thought Planet Hulk was a Planet that Hulk was on, not a Planet (of) Hulk(s). The difference is neatly explained in a 10-page addition to the Planet Hulk storyline in which a wily employee of BannerTech Industries sacrifices himself to turn a gamma bomb, stolen from BannerTech and then launched at their own HQ, into a…different Gamma bomb? Like one that hulkifies everyone it touches rather than disintegrating them. It’s really a terrible design for a bomb – “Just so you know, before we sell this to you, it can be easily modified mid-flight into a gaint hulk ray that will turn everyone you just tried to murder into the strongest beings on the planet.” Also Planet Hulk really isn’t about Hulk, it’s about Captain America, who, as I mentioned, has a fucking battle axe and a pet dinosaur now.

not MY Captain America

not MY Captain America

Master of Kung Fu is refreshing in its limited scope. There’s a giant tournament every so often to determine who gets to be emperor, and the emperor’s fuckup son wants a shot at the throne so he can be less evil than his dad. The son’s been in hiding for years, reveals himself in the first issue, and papa sends some evil cronies after him – nice and simple. I mean I just summed the whole thing up in two sentences. Of course that also sort of betrays the story as being pretty bland. Being limited in scope is nice but less bombastic does not automatically mean better and Master of Kung Fu works through its non-bombastic paces with such a rushed, cursory tone that it’s hard to actually enjoy. Master of Kung Fu seems like an opportunity to get some storytelling into Battleworld that is isn’t burdened by a massive backstory but winds up being limited in scope like Saltines are limited in taste.

Saltines - Limited in Scope!

now with 30% less scope!

I’m not usually a big fan of The Hulk as a character, and it’s specifically because he lends himself too easily to dumb shenanigans like planets full of himself and whatnot. But this is part of Battleworld—the biggest, dumbest, most McGuffiniest thing Marvel’s undertaken in a good while. So I’m willing to give Planet Hulk a lot of extra leeway. There’s like two panels of a single page in which a giant group of Thors fight a giant group of Hulks and it’s just the tiniest aside from the real story. Since we’re already at a place where Marvel’s two biggest multiverses have literally collided and are duking it out on a planet called fucking Battleworld, why not let go of your reservations and see what it’s like to be an insane person for a bit?

shine on you crazy diamond

shine on you crazy diamond

And honestly, Master of Kung Fu felt…a little flat to me. He’s a pretty standard character in a pretty standard setting, and to an extent so are of the characters in Planet Hulk, but they’re in a big, dumb standard setting with lots more craziness going on. I love to root for the little guy, but Master of Kung Fu seems like a middleweight fighter in a tank battle right now. Winner: Planet of Hulks

COME BACK TUESDAY FOR SPIDER-VERSE VS ULTIMATE END!

Super Hero Hour Hour 5/22/15

Play
Play

This week, Ryan and Mike delve hard into the season finale of The Flash! They also let everyone know about how the rest of the super hero television shows went this week.

It’s amazing. Don’t believe me? Well…you’re wrong.

PopFilter Versus: Scalped

Play

In this episode of PopFilter Versus, the gang returns to Jason Reads a Comic with an all new writer! Yes, having gone through the works of Brian K. Vaughan and deeming him worthy, Jason is now forced to read Jason Aaron. Ryan guides him through the crime series, Scalped.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLDBATTLEWORLD

ROUND 1, BATTLE 1

Follow the bracket here!

A-FORCE #1

portrait_uncanny

VS

enhanced-buzz-wide-10401-1423150953-19

DEADPOOL’S SECRET SECRET WAR #1

For whatever reason, I’ve jumped into Battleworld Battleworld attempting to read these books as a first-time reader. Maybe it’s because some of the PopFilter writers working on this tournament are newbies, and I’m hoping they can enjoy these books without needing a lifetime of studying the Marvel Universe(s). Maybe it’s because I want a major comic book company to finally succeed in planning an event that actually does bring a new generation of readers to comic books. Whatever the reason, it’s made me re-focus on what it takes to create a first issue, or what a first issue needs in order to be successful. In the first battle of the first round of BWBW, we get an issue that nails it.

 

It seems like it’s going to be hard to reboot a universe with dozens of titles that are so attached to past Marvel events. That’s not the case for A-Force, which probably owes more to DC’s Wonder Woman than it does to anything from Marvel’s back issues. It tells the story of an island, located along the Wall that protects Battleworld from a bunch of Ultrons and zombies, that is the home to seemingly all of the women in the Marvel Universe. It’s not a secret island – all of the men know where it is – and yet they just allow it to be full of peace and harmony, somehow avoiding rubbing their proverbial penis all over it. One panel shows Luke Cage shopping at a farmer’s market, and I’d venture to say it is the best farmer’s market in all of Battleworld. The island is protected by A-Force, a team made up of many Marvel female characters. Like all of them. She-Hulk is the leader, Medusa wants to be, and Captain Marvel is the island badass. Even Nico’s there, which is always welcome. And if you don’t know who any of those ladies are (it’s not like they are in any of the Marvel movies that have been released yet), that’s O.K.

IW

(Not from A-Force #1)

The book starts with a description of Secret Wars/Battleworld that does more in 20 words than I did with 2000 last week. And as our narrator walks us through a normal day of expositioning, we meet all of the ladies, complete with those little boxes that tell us their names and power sets. Six pages in and we get it all. It’s established that the island is perfect, then something goes wrong, then something gets worst. Sure, that’s how literally every story ever works, but here it gets put in the forefront, without the crushing continuity in the way. It’s a strong start, and exactly what I was hoping for.

enhanced-3782-1406837314-1

(Not from A-Force #1)

That isn’t to say that its opponent, Deadpool’s Secret Secret War, was total bullshit. Writing Deadpool seems like it’s like constantly walking a tightrope: fans demand he be funny (which is hard on it’s own), but it’s very simple for those attempts at comedy to become incredibly grating. I think the key is moderation. No one should be demanding that every word bubble shooting from Deadpool’s mouth is legendarily funny. Too often, it feels like the author went back through his boring, vanilla dialogue and re-wrote each line so it felt more…Deadpooly. Cullen Bunn does a pretty good job here of toning down the banter, but ultimately we’re left with Deadpool running around roasting 80’s superheroes, and not much else. There’s some good takes on the over-exposition of 80’s Marvel comics, and the bloatedness of event comics and general, but it’s hard to compete against a comic as clean A-Force #1.

IW

(Not from A-Force #1)

So congratulations to the ladies of A-Force, including writers Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson, as they move on to Round 2 and leave G. Waderow Wilson in the dust.

 

– Ryan Haley

 

COME BACK TOMORROW FOR MASTER OF KUNG FU VS PLANET HULK!

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD – WEEK 1 PREVIEW

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

WEEK ONE

 

ROUND ONE, BATTLE ONE

aforce1

A-FORCE #1

* Marvel’s Mightiest Women finally get their own explosive series!
* In a secluded corner of the Battleworld, an island nation is fiercely protected by a team of Avengers the likes of which has only ever been glimpsed before
* Fighting to protect the small sliver of their world that’s left, the Amazing A-FORCE stands shoulder-to-shoulder, ready to take on the horde!

 

 

 

 

VERSUS

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DEADPOOL’S SECRET SECRET WARS #1

* NOT A SECRET WARS TIE-IN!

* Well…it is…but not THAT Secret Wars.

* Remember the original Secret Wars from 1984? And remember how Deadpool played a huge important role in it? Wait…you DON’T? Then you need to read this series immediately and be educated! From the team that brought you DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED comes the most Secretest War of all!

* Plus: a bonus Deadpool Contest of Champions tale!

 

 

 


 

 

ROUND ONE, BATTLE TWO

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MASTER OF KUNG FU #1

* Welcome to the mystical land of K’UN LUN, where the study of martial arts reigns supreme!
* In a world where everyone is well-trained in at least some form of deadly combat, what becomes of a drunken, drop-out failure?
* If anyone speaks out against Emperor Zu, the price is their head! Good thing Shang-Chi’s a man of discretion and…oh, who are we kidding. This is going to get nasty.

VERSUS

PLANET HULK #14388389-planet_hulk_1_cover

* A forbidden zone of wild HULKS
* A battle-worn gladiator named STEVE ROGERS
* A journey that could break the spirit of a world’s greatest freedom fighter.
* PLUS: A back-up story by a surprise creative team!



ROUND ONE, BATTLE THREE

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SPIDER-VERSE #1

Spinning out of the SPIDER-VERSE event, a team of Spiders finds themselves face-to-face with Battleworld! Starring SPIDER-GWEN, SPIDER-MAN NOIR, SPIDER-MAN: INDIA, MAYDAY PARKER, SPIDER-UK and SPIDER-HAM!

VERSUS

 

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ULTIMATE END #1

* MILES MORALES and the rest of the heroes of the ULTIMATE U face final extinction

* As the end of their world becomes inevitable, will the heroes’ heartbreaking sacrifices make any difference?

* The dramatic end of an era begins here!


PopFilter Podcast Episode 197

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This week, the taste buds build an Actionbuster (TM) mountain for the years 2001-2005! Did your favorite new-ish school action stars make it? Listen in to find out!

They also dig into the fourth season of Veep and discuss the merits of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper! IS THAT NOT ENOUGH?! Fine! They also do their best to induct another entity into the PopFilter Hall of Fame.

(Editor’s note: The unused subtitle for this episode was “Now That’s What I Call a Podcast volume 197!”. But then again, that’s always been the unused subtitle. It’s hard out here for a pimp.)

Super Hero Hour Hour 5/15/15

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Play

This week, Ryan and Mike talk about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D! They also talk about all of the super hero television shows based on comic books. What’s better than that? Nothing. The answer is nothing.

The answer is nothing,

PopFilter Versus: Disney Rides Bracketology

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The Magic Kingdom holds a special place in millions of hearts, young and old, around the world. But there are a lot of shitty rides there. Let’s be real– no one actually likes Small World, and if you say you do, you’re a damn liar blinded by misplaced nostalgia.

In this episode of Bracketology, Jason, Mike, and Ryan battle out the top 16 Disney Land rides to find the ultimate Disney experience!

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

Review us on iTunes!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD

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PopFilter’s giant summer event begins here!!!

The biggest pop culture event of the summer has already happened, as earlier this month the Avengers pulled together and somehow beat Ultron, something that I’m sure shocked us all. It was big and dumb and awesome. It promised to change the status quo, but then forgot to. It did, however, hint at how things could be different in the future. It jammed together all the characters it could, whether it made sense or not. It was a blockbuster of a fireworks show, delivering all the explosions you wanted. What it lacked in depth, it set-up solo movies in the future as places where you can get your depth from. At this point, most people know that all these characters are based on ideas that were made up in the three-color funny pages, but did you know that everything else I just described was taken from comic books too?!?

For decades, mainstream comic companies have used the summer as a time to unleash an AoU-like blockbuster on unsuspecting audiences. Each comic’s storyline is stopped dead in its tracks so that it can sort of touch on this other big thing going on somewhere else in the world. They’re always big, they’re always dumb, they never change the status quo as much as they want you to believe. The one thing they have over the movies is that Marvel still gets to use all of their characters when they’re in comic book form. That means in these events you get to see Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Thing alongside all of the characters from the MCU. Every summer they say that this is the big one, and it’s never the big one. Although this might be the big one.

All summer long, PopFilter is turning their sights on to Marvel’s Secret Wars, their big summer blockbuster that doesn’t just gather everyone in their universe, but (supposedly) ends it. We’re going to throw every new title into a bracket and force them to do battle against each other. That way, you’ll know which new titles you should be reading, and which ones you can skip. The comic fan’s mentality of “I have to read everything to understand anything” is one that’s filled with disappointment and heartbreak. Don’t be that guy. Let us be those guys. You be the guy who stays updated on everything that’s going on, and just reads the good stuff. Before the bracket starts next week, let’s go over what you need to know about the old Marvel universe, what this may mean for the future, and what Marvel events are like in general.

WHAT’S THE REAL WORLD REASON FOR THIS BIG DUMB SHIT?

For a long time now, both Marvel and DC have functioned in a Multiverse. In each Marvel universe there is a different Earth, a different Spider-Man, a different Stan Lee cameo, etc. This concept takes stories like 1602, which is a reimagination of the Marvel Universe in Elizabethan times, and changes it from a cool story that you can enjoy separate from the mainstream comics, and turns it into a different universe that exists concurrently with the mainstream universe. Mainstream Marvel is Universe 616. MCU is Universe 199999. And the Ultimate universe is, of course, Universe-1610.

15 years ago, everyone was tired of all of the continuity in the 616. It was too hard to have the characters do anything without reading 1000 other books beforehand, to make sure that you weren’t betraying the characters or their history. So Marvel had an idea. They could just start over. Peter Parker back in high school. Charles Xavier starting to round up mutants. Reed Richards building a rocket to space. These wouldn’t just be among the countless re-tellings of these character’s origins, but would reset everything. Readers could start fresh, and writers and artists could tell these classic stories with whatever updates they wanted. The problem was that regardless of the balls it took to create the Ultimate universe – a name that lets you know exactly when it was created – Marvel had shrinkage when it came to also killing the 616, with all of the rich history and characters it had spent the last 40 years creating. So they decided that both lines would run at the same time. Horrible idea? Absolutely.

But it totally worked. It turns out Marvel readers had no problem reading stories about a married Peter Parker in his early 30’s, and a Peter Parker in high school with the dumbest hair you’ve ever seen, all at the same time. The Ultimate-line launched with Marvel’s hottest writers, and it was awesome. It sounded like it would be baby comics for babies, and instead it was great. But most of those hot writers left (Brian Michael Bendis is still writing Ultimate Spider-Man, 15 years later), and that lack of continuity all of a sudden became 15 years of continuity. The newness wore off, but when newness is your main commodity, how long do you really have anyway. So Marvel, always the last to know, finally figured out that no one cared about the Ultimate line anymore, and something had to be done.

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Well, Ultimate Spider-Man has the second dumbest Peter Parker hair you’ve ever seen.

The problem is that the Ultimate line has Miles Morales, Peter Parker’s Blatino replacement, and a popular character – far too popular to just kill off with the rest of the Ultimate line. Also, the Ultimate line has the Nick Fury that the MCU Nick Fury was based on, the one that was originally based on Samuel L. Jackson. You can’t get rid of him – he’s a movie star! So Marvel had no choice. They had to create an elaborate storyline, essentially ending the 616 as we know it today, so that they could salvage whatever pieces of the Ultimate line they wanted and get everyone into the same universe. It’s so dumb. I’m so excited. I’m so dumb.

WHAT’S THE COMIC BOOK REASON FOR THIS BIG DUMB SHIT?

 

Time travel is an easy way to make stories possible, and so superheroes, and their writers, use it alot. But what if there were repercussions to all of this time/space manipulation, other than readers rolling their eyes at a tired trope. It turns out, in the 616, there are. All of these egomaniacal, douchebag super heroes fucked around with time and space so much that they essentially broke it. That means that instead of different Earths occupying the same areas in different realities, multiple Earths are in the same reality.  I might be a little fuzzy on all of the science, but basically two Earths are about to slam into each other. And, as luck would have it, those two Earths are the 616 and the Ultimate Universe.

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The 616 Illuminati has known about this for some time. The Illuminati is a brain trust of genius dickheads, including Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Beast, Namor, and Dr. Strange. They allegedly have been working on a way to keep this incursion from happening, but have realized that the 616 has no choice but to destroy that other planet. Either the other planet dies, or everyone does. So they make their planet-destroying weapon, and attempt to lay waste to billions of people. But instead of our Marvel universe destroying that dirty Ultimate planet and creating 40 more years of continuity-filled stories, parts of the 616 and the Ultimate universe, along with parts of dozens of other Marvel universes, continuities, and storylines, are all sucked up and taken to a place called Battleworld.

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This room smells like dickhead.

BATTLEWORLD BATTLEWORLD


So if Marvel is going to take all of their characters from all of their universes and pit them up against each other, we’re going to do that same thing to their titles, writers, and artists. Starting next week, every single new title that comes out will be entered into the second biggest tournament of the summer. Just the first week alone sees an all-female Avengers team taking on Deadpool, a world of Iron Fists taking on a world of Hulks, and every Spider-Man taking on the end Ultimate universe. The rest of the summer will take us back to Civil War, Old Man Logan, the Siege, the Korvac Saga, Marvel Zombies, Age of Apocalypse, and many other Marvel events and storylines from comics’ past, some of which were good. 5 PopFilter writers have been tasked with reading and writing about everything that’s come out, with their Marvel experience ranging from lifelong fans to interested noobs. Their Marvel knowledge levels might be different, but their goals are all the same: eliminate the dreck, elevate the great, and band together to find the one Secret Wars comic you need to go back and read. Because, as always, there can only be one.

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PopFilter Podcast Episode 196

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On this episode of the PopFilter Podcast, Ryan and Jason discuss Snoop Dogg’s latest in Bush as well as Julian Moore’s apparently Oscar worthy performance in Still Alice. They also continue their Actionbusters ™ Mount Rushmore, declaring the four most amazing stars of action films from 1996-2000. It’s a hoot for your ear boot, which is “cool kid talk” for headphones.

Super Hero Hour Hour 5/8

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Play

This week, Ryan and Jason bid adieu to the masterpiece that was Gotham. Join them as they go through the roller coaster that was the big finale and the season in general. Plus, Powers renewal news and reviews of every comic book show this week! Get into it!

PopFilter Versus: Modern TV Romance Bracketology

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In a very special episode of PopFilter Versus, Ryan and Mike kick Jason out of the studio and get romantic. Listen in as they drink, and scream, and fight each other to find the best Modern TV Romantic Couple in an all new Bracketology!

PopFilter Podcast Episode 195

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On the 195th episode of the PopFilter Podcast, Ryan and Jason discuss the merits of a 1970’s made-for-TV movie in Duel and then try to decide why Happyish is a show that exists. They also continue their “actionbusters”(tm) Mt. Rushmore with the four best action stars from 1991-1995 being carved into a badass mountain. After all of that, they scream at each other about some shit that’s getting to big for its britches, telling everyone what to settle down about.

Aaaaaaaaand they get pretty drunk.