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Cream of the Comics – 5/23/2007

Criminal #6
Criminal #6Criminal #6
written by Ed Brubaker, art by Sean Phillips

Captain America #26 comes out this week, following up on his almighty death from last issue. Last week was the closing (of sorts) to the year-long “Rise & Fall of the Shi’ar Empire” in Uncanny X-Men. Daredevil dares to be a devil. Or so I presume. What do all of those books have in common with Criminal? Writer Ed Brubaker.

This guy is in the absolute top tier of comic writers today, and while he’s banging out some popular hits on the mainstream Marvel titles, what’s slipped under too many radars is that he’s been writing one hell of a book in Criminal. The first five issues were a single storyarc, and they were simply fantastic. The story started about a heist that went bad, and then it went worse, and then it went even worse. I cannot recommend these issues enough, and if you haven’t read them, you can buy them now for real cheap in trade paperback.

This week, we begin a new storyarc with a new main character. Phillips and Brubaker are starting (almost) over from scratch, so if you skipped the first 5, then forget it, it’s fine – you have a second chance to start fresh with this book. Here’s the promo text:

Twenty years ago, Tracy Lawless traded the crime-ridden streets of the city for a life in the military, and itís a decision heís rarely regretted. But now heís walking out of the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq and back into the world he grew up in, to find out who killed his brother Rick, and why. But truth is one of the few things uglier than family history, and the only thing Tracy has in his favor as he unravels the twisted strands of the criminal life his brother led, is that no one knows who the hell he is. And what they donít know, just might kill them

Cream of the Comics – 5/16/2007

Ultimates 2 #13 comes out this week. I’m telling you this, because I can see how you might miss it, or not even be expecting it. If you’ve been buying the series, then – much like me – you’re probably more than a little relieved to be seeing it end. I’m not even looking forward to it. I’m just looking forward to being done with it. So, now for something I am looking forward to…

X-Factor #19X-Factor #19
written by Peter David, art by Khoi Pham

Peter David has been toiling along on this title, diligently writing interesting stories and absolutely wonderful character interactions, despite getting shafted with a rotating cast of artists that won’t stop. A recent high point of David’s work on the book includes leader Jamie Madrox (AKA, the Multiple Man) accidently bunked up with both M and Siryn on the same night, after getting drunk and hooking up with one, while a somewhat horny multiple of himself went to bed with the other.

This issue, unfortunately, will likely be a little light on such shenanigans. However, it does seem to be working hard on story points. I will warn you – the stories David tackles deal intimately with the fallout of House of M (“No more mutants”, remember?) and Son of M (Quicksilver can use crystals from the Inhumans to give former mutants their powers back – if you missed it, consider yourself caught up. Oh yeah, and he’s a little crazy now). If you have zero interest in the subject matter, this is still a pretty great book. It’s really well written, and it’s a great example of why a Peter David book is generally a pretty sure bet. And if you do have an interest in the material, then I can’t really imagine why you wouldn’t be reading this book already.

That said, last issue tied up a kind of meandering storyarc where Jamie was out collecting rogue multiples of himself (one had become an agent of SHIELD, one had become an agent of Hydra, one got himself shot to death by a bunch of cops right in front of him, and so on, and so on), so this issue should be kicking right into story material. Don’t be a jerk; jump on now and catch a great book before it’s gone.

Hi-Res Transformers Movie Character Images

Michael Bay has posted hi-resolution stills of eight Transformers from the upcoming movie, and they provide a pretty clear look at what these characters are going to look like when they’re standing still. There isn’t much more to say – or see – here without spoiling yourself with their appearances, but you can see them at his blog or just continue after the jump for mirrors.
[Read the rest of this entry…]

Tim Roth Cast as Abomination in The Incredible Hulk

The Abomination
Tim RothWith Ed Norton cast as Bruce Banner, and Liv Tyler cast as Betty Ross, looks like it’s time to start casting the bad guys – And Tim Roth has been cast as The Abomination, longtime enemy of The Hulk.

The story of the Abomination – at least in the comics – is that of a former KGB spy named Emil Blonsky who becomes exposed to Gamma Radiation (the same radiation responsible for the Hulk’s powers). However, instead of transforming back and forth like Banner does, Blonsky becomes permanently trapped in his hideous, mutated form, and he retains the same level as intelligence as always. You can try to track down the semi-recent retelling of his history in the Incredible Hulk: Destruction miniseries by Peter David, but as it’s not collected in a trade yet, good luck to you on that.

Cream of the Comics – 5/9/2007

Nova #1
Nova #2Nova #2
written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, art by Sean Chen

My surprise delight last month was issue #1 of Nova. Having read Annihilation I was definitely looking forward to the series. After all, it was the same team that wrote his lead-in book to Annihilation, and that was probably my favorite of the four that were made. While this book wasn’t as deep on story as I expected, it was one hell of a thrill-ride, all the way through. Sean Chen doesn’t have a long resume of work, but I was definitely pleased with his work here. He showed some gorgeous spacescapes, his aliens were nicely alien looking, and he did some great, great action sequences. Even better, the book was written very clearly, in a way where someone who didn’t read Annihilation could pick it up and run with it.

If you missed the first issue, you missed one of the better new series to come out in the last couple years. It’s a crapload of fun and excitement, and it’s a lot of fun to read, if for no other reason than that the Worldmind that Nova’s constantly dealing with is kind of an arrogant prick. Issue #2 lands this Wednesday, and with Nova’s newfound galaxy-class power levels, it looks like he’s about to come face to face with a post-Civil War Iron Man, which I can only hope results in Iron Man getting turned into toothpaste.

Your store may have another copy of Nova #1 lying around, so grab it if you can, and grab issue #2 while you’re at it. This book kicks ass.

Hi-Res Iron Man Movie Stills

Iron Man Movie
Iron Man Movie Suit - Hi-ResIron Man Movie, Tony Stark - Hi-ResSuperHeroHype has two images from the Iron Man movie, one of them new, one of them not – both of which we’re mirroring here for your viewing pleasure. On the left, you’ve got Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. And on the right, you’ve got a much bigger version of that Iron Man suit image, which is just absolutely glorious. Which image you’re likely to prefer of course depends on whether you’re more into mechsuits or guys with goatees.

Iron Man Movie Suit & Set Pictures

Iron Man Movie

Iron Man suit in action
Image mirrored
from has a mole on Iron Man set, and if you don’t mind some pretty minor spoilers, you can go see the pictures that prove it. But don’t worry – we’ll keep this newspost spoiler-free for ye faint of heart. The image we’ve got mirrored on the left is pretty representative of them all anyway – save for the last one, which actually shows off the suit’s eerie, glowing eyes.

Other than the images, the page has a rundown of what they saw on set, including Iron Man facing off against a stand-in for what’s likely to be a computer-generated enemy, a semi-truck with big ol’ holes in the side, and the crew regularly having to fine-tune the suit as it was being worn. They’ve got a few more details than that, like how their guy “was surprised at how agile the Mark 3 suit was. At one point I swear the guy was tap dancing on set.” But mostly, that sums it all up for you.

And even bigger news than the pictures, the page is supposed to have video of the Iron Man suit too (I assume it’s of the same quality as the images), but I looked and I looked, and I couldn’t find a working link for it anywhere. We’ll definitely keep you updated if it turns up.

Liv Tyler to Play Betty Ross in The Incredible Hulk

Liv TylerFollowing news of Ed Norton cast as Bruce Banner, we now have news that Liv Tyler has been cast as Betty Ross, a role which had been filled by Jennifer Connelly in the previous Hulk movie. Adding this to the Lord of the Rings on her resume is really giving her some solid geek-cred.

According to Marvel, “As Betty Ross, Tyler will take on the lead female role. Ross is a scientist and has been Bruce Banner’s key ally in the quest to rid him of the Hulk. Bruce’s condition has immensely complicated their longtime romance, and has finally forced Betty to try to put the past behind her. The new movie’s story unfolds when the pursuit for The Hulk – the world’s most misunderstood, primal force of fury – heats up, finding Bruce Banner on the run attempting to cure his condition before his pursuers capture him. This chase is something that Betty cannot ignore – sweeping her right back into Bruce’s life and the heart-pounding action that follows.”

So, Liv Tyler as a love interest? Great! Liv Tyler as a scientist? Well, a that’s a little more questionable. What do you think about this casting decision? Leave a comment below!

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