Showing posts with label agent carter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agent carter. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The 2016 Kryptos - Television

way more effort went into this graphic than I want to admit

2016.  It seems so far away now.  Heck, Christmas was, like, two years ago at this point.  But let us remember that all too vital part of all of our lives - TELEVISION.

Oh, you don't own a television?  You haven't had cable in ten years?  Well, la di dah, mister fancy pants.  Some of us stay in touch with the people.

Between cable, internet streaming options and sports, it was certainly a year in which I watched a metric ton of TV.  You couldn't not be told you had to watch this show or that show by your friends or co-workers.  And some of them you didn't try, some of them you watched and didn't like and just prayed they'd never ask about whether you'd tried it or not, and some of it was maybe not the best thing but you still tuned in.  And some of it you set your schedule around watching.

Here's a quick rundown of some of what we watched:

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Marvel Watch: Captain America - Civil War (2016)



Let''s be honest - if you're trying to look at Marvel movies as individual installments - you're utterly missing the point.  I suspect you're the sort of person who, while selecting a computer, asks the sales associate what gauge typewriter ribbon this contraption will require.  The strength of the Marvel U is the serial nature and continuity, something more traditional critics seem to balk at, continually expect to flounder, but then engage with once they get down to brass tacks in their discussion of the semi-annual Marvel release.  Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the culmination of the past decade's worth of Marvel studios box office success, tight narrative management, and editorial vision of a shared universe reflecting the best aspects of more than 50 years of Marvel comics.

I should point out right here that I still have not seen Batman v. Superman, so I'll do my best not to make any comparisons between this film and one I haven't seen.  It's not fair to either.

My relationship with the original Civil War comics from Marvel is not a great one.  I loved the art in the main series, but I didn't entirely buy either Cap or Tony suddenly coming to their respective positions, and due to events in recent Captain America comics - Steve had unmasked on camera and said his name directly into a microphone as a sign of strength while confronting terrorists (it was just post 9/11) - I didn't really think it made sense for him to be the standard bearer in the comics for being anti-government management.  After all, Steve has been roughly a government op for SHIELD since his return in the 64' era and getting his own title.

At the series' conclusion, it felt like they took dozens and dozens of comics, from the mini-series to the associated mini-series, to the in-continuity issue tie-in's, to tell a story which only really needed about 5-7 issues to tell.  And, at the conclusion of that series, I dropped Marvel as a line, except for, I think, Black Panther - which I only stuck with for a while longer, and then Cap.  They were headed into doing the same thing over again with another storyline (that Skrull dealy-o), and I just raised my hands and said "I can't afford this, and you need to do this better".

Thus, I was a bit skeptical when Marvel selected Civil War as the basis for its next storyline for Cap following Winter Soldier.  If I was cheered a bit, it was that I felt Winter Soldier was an entirely new story using pieces of the comics (which I'd enjoyed terrifically), maintaining the central conflicts and many of the characters while telling an entirely different story.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Marvel Watch: Agent Carter - Season 2



Tuesday evening saw the conclusion of Season 2 of Marvel's Agent Carter, a short-run ABC television program.  ABC is, of course, a Disney company, and Marvel is also owned by Disney.

The show is a spin-off from the Captain America movies and a lodestone pointing to the mid-20th Century origins of the Marvel comic characters and the fictional origins of the doings of the Marvel Universe films.  If you're not keeping up (and both ratings and anecdotal evidence suggests you're not), Agent Carter follows the post-WWII, post-Captain America: The First Avenger doings of Special Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Science Reserve - the forebear of SHIELD.

You may remember Peggy as the uniformed sidekick to Tommy Lee Jones as Steve Rogers transformed into Captain America, who stayed on the radio with him as he piloted the Red Skull's plane into the Arctic.  Yes, yes, I was quite smitten with Agent Carter back during the first go-round, and I was a bit disappointed that - as we then jumped to the 21st Century, that was the last we were going to see of Peggy.  The film had written Peggy as pointing a new way forward for female characters in Marvel movies, and, Peggy was based on a character from the comics, who - in turn - reflected the sort of bad-assery women were displaying in all sorts of very, very real covert and resistance-fighting roles during WWII.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Marvel Television: Jessica Jones and the New Era for Marvel



I'm about two months behind everyone else finishing the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones, a spiritual sibling of the much celebrated Daredevil, and as far from the TV-logic and twee shenanigans of Agents of SHIELD as you're likely to get.

I'm going to throw this out there, and I'll ask you to stick with me:  Jessica Jones may be, to live-action superhero media, what Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen were to comics in 1986.

Way back in the late-90's/ early-00's, I was reading a lot of this new kid, Brian Michael Bendis, who had some indie success with Goldfish, Torso and other gritty crime books (and Torso is still an amazing read, the based-on-real-events story of famed lawman Elliot Ness trying to find a serial killer in Cleveland after putting Capone behind bars).  He followed this by teaming with Oeming on Powers, a "cops in a world with capes"  comic with a decidedly Rated-R bent, and I followed that series for years.  Around 2001/2002, Bendis and Gaydos brought Alias to Marvel and minted their new MAX imprint - a line of comics with a hard "R" rating, but absolutely within the Marvel Universe.  Something even DC blanched at, separating Vertigo from DCU proper circa 1994.

This was about fifteen years after the atom-bomb of Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns exploded in the comics world and, in the aftermath, the idea that comics could reach an adult audience was left behind in the radiation and sand burnt to glass.  Bendis was part of the generation who came into the field when a few things were happening.  (A) Reaching an audience older than 17 was now possible - which meant the very real-world problems facing actual humans could be discussed in comics, even with a superheroic bent, which (B) meant that the comics companies were setting up imprints to deal with this idea, keeping their mainline branding safe for the parents associations who would show up and breathe fire and throw comics retailers in jail from time-to-time for not carefully shelving their wares.  And, of course, (C) Marvel was dealing with bankruptcy.  I have very little positive to say about 2001-era Marvel honcho Bill Jemas, but he was certainly willing to try new things, and all of that risk-taking has indirectly led to the Marvel we think of today.

Alias showed up in this market as a sort of indie-within-the-Big-2 title.  It was something to see a character who smoked and drank and had sex with Luke Cage (which she does in the first few pages of the series - so I feel spoiler free), and met Carol Danvers for coffee.  It was a detective series.  There was something in her background we'd get to sooner or later, some dark reason she'd quit heroing, but at the outset, it seemed to just be a series about a failed superhero making ends meet and seeing real human foibles and crime in the underbelly of the Marvel U.

So... the TV show.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Marvel Watch: Ant-Man (2015)


I was never skeptical of an Ant-Man movie.  For folks who have long followed my ramblings, you know I have a very simple rule for why I'll give anything a go when it comes to sci-fi and superheroes:  there is no such thing as a bad idea, only bad execution.  Frankly, when people were predicting doom for Guardians of the Galaxy because (oh my goodness!) it wasn't a known quantity!  and it had a raccoon and tree-man! I was left scratching my head and saying: well, those aren't actually problems for a movie.   Those are just new or odd things.

Re: Ant-Man comics:  I have a pretty huge gap in my comics' knowledge regarding Hank Pym as Ant-Man from the classic Marvel U, and I was just left confused by Mark Millar's take on Pym in The Ultimates, that I sort of believe has taken Pym off the playing board for Marvel forever.  I'm totally unfamiliar with anything about Scott Lang other than that - he exists in the comics, I guess?  It seems like I saw him in a Marvel role-playing game supplement.  At some point I read one issue of something called Irredeemable Ant-Man, which didn't really work for me.

So, there you go.  I basically can't tell you anything about Ant-Man as a comics figure beyond the period in the 1980's when Hank Pym was adventuring with no mask and just growing and shrinking things and using the heroic name "Hank Pym" as part of West Coast Avengers.  But check in with me if you have questions about Super Turtle.  I have wisdom.

As per the movie?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Agent Carter Draws to a Close (and I'm a little sad)

I'm not sure how many episodes there wound up being of Agent Carter, or how many weeks.  I think the answer is "eight", but I didn't major in math, okay?

But it was a great ride, a lot of fun, and I really, really hope people who didn't watch the show during its televised run find it online.  I'd certainly be onboard for another 80 episodes, but I suspect nobody is asking me.



Most certainly tying into the Marvel Universe of both Captain America: The First Avenger and things to come in Captain America: The Winter Soldier - the show was not dependent on either for it's success, and stood alone as a rock solid entry in the Marvel U, working for me in a way that Agents of SHIELD, unfortunately, did not.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Some Interesting Bits from the Week

Sorry about the lack of posting.  Sometimes you look up and a whole week went by.

Things have been kooky busy at work as I mush my team forward toward several deadlines, and then, last night, I wasn't feeling well and I slept from 9PM - 7AM, which was glorious, but also a reflection of the fact that I had eaten some bad Chinese food the prior night and not slept at all.*

I don't want to post my Fifty Shades of Grey review until my pal gets a chance to get her notes together.  I want her to get first whack, er...  to take a crack at...  wait...  she's going to post her review first.  She is, literally, the one person that I was super pumped to see this movie with above all others.   And, yes, I totally DID go see it.  Spoiler alert: it may not have been my favorite movie.

Y'all know I like my Mad Men, and I'm also quite a fan of Archer on FX.  Shoemaker sends me this link that combines the best of both worlds.  Kind of NSFW, so, you know, proceed with caution.

More or less how my performance reviews go

Saturday, January 31, 2015

SW Watches: Captain America (2011)

It had been a while since we watched 2011's Captain America (or, Captain America: The First Avenger, if you want to get fancy).  I mean, not that long a while, but we kind of forgot to watch it to get prepped for Agent Carter, which, it seems, people aren't watching in significant numbers.

Which... what are you people doing out there?  Stop watching CSI.




If you saw Captain America 2 this summer, the difference between the two movies is certainly striking.  One a warm-hearted nostalgic superhero romp in a world of skeleton-faced villains and good guys on one side and bad guys in black jodhpurs.  Heck, it's got a musical number.  And, of course, Cap 2 being all about the excesses and compromised values of shadow wars and secret power grabs.

I don't have much to add.  You guys know I'm in the bag for the Cap movies.

I'm still glad Marvel didn't see any reason they needed to make Cap edgy or extreme or whatever.  Even in the context of our throwback-nostalgic-era of the movie which people still like to think of in Capra-esque terms, and which the movie plays to, Steve is the idealist to the point of getting beat up on the regular for standing up for himself and for pushing back against bullies.  That adherence to ideals is refreshing not just in this movie, but puts Rogers on a whole other level, giving his allies something to cling to in the storm in the sequel.  It would have been great to see a bit more of Steve Rogers as baritone voiced leader and less as buddy-calling-on-his-friends in the first installment, because I think that informed a bit about how Cap was made the hapless straightman a bit in Avengers.   But Cap 2 certainly took a different tack on that, and I expect something different in the coming Avengers sequel.

And, of course, the movie introduced us to Agent Carter played by Haley Atwell, and that is a very good thing.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Anybody Else Watch "Marvel's Agent Carter"?

Sure, if I was willing to bore you with my movie and TV habits of the past 18 months, I guess I'll do a post at some point regarding what television I've been watching.  This isn't that post.

I have tried Marvel's Agents of SHIELD on three... no.  Four separate occasions and have been unable to finish an episode, including the pilot.  Nothing about that show does anything for me, so it's been with - at best - a cautiously optimistic eye that I've been watching the development of Agent Carter.  Every once in a while in making a movie you capture lightning in a bottle, and certainly Haley Atwell's performance as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger seemed to be one of those occasions.   The part was well written, and Atwell did enough that not only is she one of the most memorable supporting characters in Marvel's expanded cinematic universe full of intergalactic gods and futuristic technology, Marvel Studios decided they could build a whole show around just Agent Carter.  So, Haley Atwell should feel pretty good about herself at the moment.