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Marvel Casting Update – Avengers: Age of Ultron

News and rumors on the casting for Avengers: Age of Ultron is accelerating, so now’s a great time to catch up and reflect on the announcements. Here’s the cast with my casual commentary and arbitrary grades assigned.

Note: I’m only looking at only cast who will appear for the first time in Avengers: Age of Ultron. I’ll get around to the characters introduced in other movies (like The Falcon) in another post.

Ultron: James Spader

Image courtesy of: The Nerdist

I think it’s great that we’re getting Ultron as a villain in Avengers 2. Since Scarlet Witch is in this movie (more on that in a minute), and Ultron created Vision, is it too much to hope that Joss Wheedon will use Avengers 2 as a launching pad for that Vision and the Scarlet Witch TV series I’ve been pining for? Read the rest of this entry

Casual Comics Rewind Review: Vision and the Scarlet Witch Volume 1, Number 3

Issues #1 and #2 of Vision and the Scarlet Witch are in the bag – review-wise. And, I’m loving them as much as I did the first (through 30th) time I read them. Even though it’s been about two decades since the last time I read this series, I’m still madly in love with the craziness of Marvel mini-series from the 80’s.

Behold! Vision and the Scarlet Witch Volume 1, Number 3. Written by: Bill Mantlo

Coming into the third issue of this four-issue miniseries, we’ve come to expect a pretty even split of action and family drama from the Vision and the Scarlet Witch mini-series. “Blood Brothers” doesn’t disappoint. Read the rest of this entry

Digital Comics Deal – Marvel’s Age of Ultron 75% off

Hey, there casual comics fans. Need to catch up on the Age of Ultron series before Avengers 2: Age of Ultron hits the big screen next summer? For a limited time, Marvel is selling the entire Age of Ultron miniseries for 99 cents per issue.

That’s right all 11 issues in this 10-issue miniseries (drat you, Marvel, and your accursed numbering scheme) are $3 off – a savings of $33 if you buy the whole series. But the deal ends at 11 pm Eastern on January 2. Check out the details at:

http://comicstore.marvel.com/Age-of-Ultron-Sale/comics-collection/2262

Issue “10AI” throws off the whole numbering scheme…

– CCG

Casual Comics Rewind Review –Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1

So, as followers of the blog may remember, I still harbor massive affection for the Marvel characters, Vision and the Scarlet Witch, based on their classic adventures from the 80s. With Scarlet Witch confirmed for Joss Wheedon’s “Avengers 2”, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the classic mini-series that cemented my love for these two.

(For those not in the know, Elizabeth Olsen has been confirmed as the Scarlet Witch in the upcoming Avengers 2 film)

Elizabeth Olsen? OK, I buy it.

I picked up the original 4-issue mini-series (along with the follow-up 12-issue series) when I was at San Diego Comic Con this past July. How did the series hold up against my memories after all these years?

It’s simultaneously more corny, yet more fun than I recall.

Issue#1: “Trick or Treat”

Before we get started, I should give a shout out (more commonly known as “listing credits”) to the creative staff:

Scripter: Bill Mantlo

Penciler: Rick Leonardi

Inkers: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey

Colorist: Bob Sharen

And, of course… Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter

Page one, a splash page, illustrates everything I love about this series. Vision is wearing dungarees and a windbreaker that bears his trademark high collar. Scarlet Witch is dressed in a pantsuit, but still has her iconic cape and headdress. They’re just chilling and having a stroll on Halloween night in front of a giant mansion in a New Jersey suburb, while a kid in a Spiderman mask is the only one to notice they look out of place.

At the outset of the issue, it’s clear that the couple has quit the Avengers in order to settle down and have a “normal” life. So why are they still wearing at least 33.33% of their normal costumes. A worse disguise even Clark Kent couldn’t wrangle.

But I love the clunky romance and awkward exposition that informs the reader just who this Marvel Universe power-couple is. Good old Jarvis even shows up. Why would the butler employed by the Avengers drive hours to help straighten out the newly purchased home of a couple of quitters? Did Stark pay him time-and-a-half?

Or maybe he sent Jarvis to their house in a moment where he wasn’t thinking straight.

The issue mostly serves to inform casual readers of the time exactly who Vision and Scarlet Witch are. For the uninformed, here you go:

Scarlet Witch – Wanda Maximoff started as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants with her brother, Quicksilver. Both were revealed to be the children of Magneto. They quit the Brotherhood and were asked to join the Avengers. Eventually, Wanda learned to harness her mutant probability powers by Agatha Harkness, a real witch.

That synopsis comes from the actual comic. If you’re like me, you might be surprised that they joined the Avengers, not the X-men, and that there’s no mention of Professor X in her education.

 

 

Vision – He’s a synthozoid. So apparently that’s a thing. His body was created by Ultron and his mind was created from the mental patterns of Simon Williams (aka Wonder Man). Also… his body was mostly made of the original Human Torch (who was an android, not Johnny Storm).

Put it all together and you have two characters with convoluted backstories – both the “children” of two of the biggest baddies in the Marvel Universe.

Confusing? Sure. But, who wouldn’t root for these crazy kids to make it?

Each issue in the series features a small crisis that actually serves as a springboard to dive more into the history of each character.

In this issue, the couple is attacked by trick-or-treaters that have been transformed into real-life ghouls. The bulk of the issue is spent introducing (reintroducing?) the Vision and Scarlet Witch, their life and family situation and a gloss-over on their origins. There’s a very interesting bit where Vision tries to phase through a ghost. The effect on each of them is unexpected, to say the least.

In retrospect, much of the dialog may seem a bit trite, but the story is well-told. Artistically, the book still holds up very well. Several sequences are epically innovative, twisting supernatural planes and a hero who can become intangible into a visual treat.

Overall, Vision and Scarlet Witch #1 lives up to my recollection and, in fact, clued me back into many parts of the Scarlet Witch’s back story I had previously forgotten.

And, since it’s not really that “in demand”, I got it for a buck. You could find way worse ways to spend a dollar.

This comic is certified “Casually Awesome”!

–          CCG

Coming soon… Casual Comics Rewind of Vision and Scarlet Witch #2-4

Casual Comics Guy Reviews: Avengers A.I. #1

Avengers_A.I._Vol_1_1

I kind of missed the “I”.

Writer: Sam Humphries
Cover Artist: Dustin Weaver and Marte Gracia
Art by: Andre Lima Araujo

Being a casual comics guy is hard these days. Last week, I stopped in at the local comic book shop and grabbed a handful of titles, just to catch up on things. One of the “hot picks” of the week was Avengers A.I. #1. Why would I try my luck on such a complicated premise, you might ask?

Just look at the cover. There’s a big Avengers logo with the word “Avengers” and the #1. Being overwhelmed with the wall of comics and the amount of things I didn’t recognize, I gravitated to the Avengers logo. As in my review of “Deadpool Kills Deadpool”, I assumed that a first issue of anything would be a good jumping off point. Plus, why is Doctor Doom now fighting with the Avengers? I wanted to know.

Besides, what even is an Avengers A.I.? How was I supposed to know that’s a real thing?

I didn’t understand good chunks of the story, but I did like what I got.

So the new Avengers A.I. roster breaks down like so:

  • Vision (I’ve always like the Vision. Whatever happened to that baby he had with the Scarlet Witch? Maybe I don’t want to know…)
  • Victor Mancha (I think I vaguely remember him being part of the Runaways)
  • Monica Chang (who?)
  • Doombot (OK. Interesting.)
  • Hank Pym (Ant Man, Giant Man, Yellowjacket, etc.)

Even though this is an “Avengers” comic, Captain America turns up for just four panels. I guess they’re letting anyone use that name now. Tony Stark may want to look into copyright infringement laws.

The story: So, Hank Pym has messed up something, again, and is the only person who can fix it… again.

Here’s what I understood. There was an event called “The Age of Ultron”, but I missed it. The recap said something about time travel… killing Hank Pym in the past to stop Ultron… oh, no, that caused more problems… future and present Hank Pym had to save past Hank Pym, but Hank changed somehow and now there are “unanticipated consequences”.

Man, I don’t know if reading the full “Age of Ultron” series made it easier to understand, but the recap gave me vertigo.

Having wildly messed things up in the “Age of Ultron”, surprise, things are falling apart. The A.I. Hank Pym created to destroy Ultron is now, itself, a threat. When will this guy learn? There’s a throwaway line in the comic about Tony Stark being “off planet” and Reed Richards being in another dimension, which explains why S.H.I.E.L.D. is still willing to work with Hank Pym. All the really smart guys are on vacation.

Like I said, it’s all very confusing, and I never thought Hank Pym was a likeable character. But, I still liked the book. First, there’s a scene where Hank Pym grows to giant size and is supposed to appear threatening. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but that scene is hilarious because he looks more constipated than anything else. Also, Hank Pym gets punched in the face and that’s a bonus.

The Vision is extremely interesting, and watching him evolve himself was intriguing. The sci-fi element of the comic is much stronger than its action or adventure content.

The best addition to the comic is the Doombot. Still retaining its original personality, that of Dr. Doom, it has now been programmed to serve the Avengers.  I’m still not sure why it would be a good idea for the Avengers to enlist a Doombot to help out, but I’m glad they did.

If I see issue #2 on the shelf sometime, I’ll pick it up and give it another shot.

–          CCG