Deadpool 2 Review

Before Hugh Jackman decided to hang up his proverbial Adamantium claws after 17 years of playing Wolverine on the big screen, Deadpool paved the way for a harsh R-rating. (Forget the pitiful Wolverine: Origins that introduced an inferior Deadpool as the cancerous mutant Wade Wilson whose mouth was sewn shut.) Played to a perfect tee by smarmy Canadian Ryan Reynolds, the original  film introduced the world to The Merc with a Mouth with its fourth wall breaking jokes, self-realization, wanton violence, and lover of all things katanas and unicorns.  

With Deadpool 2, is it possible to have lightning in a proverbial bottle twice?  The answer is an astounding “YES!”

Deadpool 2 Review by Chimera's Comics

DeadPool 2 is a worthy sequel from the director of John Wick, the same flick that reignited Keanu Reeves’ career.  From the start of the explosive beginning, tongue meets cheek with a riff on James Bond films openings combined with a song provided by Canada’s other famous export, Celine Dion.  Deadpool 2 ups the ante in terms of over the top CGI  violence with limbs being severed and torsos being separated.  

While the original was more about jokes at the expense of Hugh Jackman, Green Lantern, etc., Deadpool 2 has jokes that fall flat with references to dub step.  The sequel relies more on set pieces and less on CGI till the final battle at The Essex Orphanage.  (Only true Marvel fans will understand that Easter Egg.)

Deadpool 2 Review by Chimera's Comics

Ryan Reynolds truly loves The Merc with a Mouth and doesn’t phone in his Oscar worthy performance.  The supporting characters, Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and Weasel, make a big return to the sequel. Dopinder, the innocent and loveable kidnapping taxi driver, also takes center stage along with affable, Peter, a Members Only jacket wearing Everyman with no discernible mutant powers.  (I am anxiously awaiting a Dopinder in taxi Funko pop or a Peter with parachute Funko pop!). New characters Bedlam, Vanisher, Shatterstar, and lucky mutant Domino are the new members of X-Force in the limited time some of them are on screen.

Deadpool 2’s secret weapon is Cable played to gritty perfection by Josh Brolin (AKA Brand from The Goonies and Thanos from that small Summer blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War.). Without going into spoiler territory, Cable’s convoluted origin from the comics is glossed over.   Brolin plays the time traveling soldier from the future with glee with his bevy of futuristic guns, pouches, and fanny packs.  New Zealander and Kiwi, Julian Richardson, from The Hunt for The Wilderpeople, is an impressionable John Connor  with a love for prison wallets while Cable is a Winter  Soldier Terminator hybrid  with no sense of humor from the apocalyptic future.

Wear your crocs, bring your unicorn dolls, and tiny hands to the movie theaters this weekend to watch Deadpool 2!

Chimera’s Champion Comics: Centipede #2

I think there’s always been a little overlap between the fans of comic books and video games, especially arcade cabinet classics with enigmatic stories and a strong focus in visual branding. In fact, back in the days of the Atari 2600’s prime, DC Comics published a line of mini-series all linked to video games, including ‘Swordquest’, ‘Atari Force’, and more. Now, Dynamite has taken over releasing a brand new series of ‘Atari Classics’, including a new take on ‘Swordquest’, and the topic of our discussion today, ‘Centipede’!

The pleasant surprise of these books is their unconventional way of telling the story of the games themselves, but also stories of the people who fell in love with them. ‘Centipede’, for example, chronicles the adventures of Dale, a lone survivor of a planetary cataclysm, and his crusade to defeat the giant monster that ravages what’s left of his city.

What’s more intriguing about this latest issue is the exploration of human psychology withstanding complete isolation. Dale is almost literally alone with his memories of the people who were once in his life, the small joys and frustrations he’d experienced in a more trivial life. The only other living thing he’s left to interact with is a frankly mindless creature, the centipede. All Dale can do is continually outsmart and attempt vengeance on the monster while barely escaping with his life. But then, without the centipede, what else would he possibly do with his time?

While I’m not yet sure if this is incidental or with purpose, these new Dynamite/Atari titles have had a distinct goal in trying to offer LGBT representation to their lead characters. We’re taken on a journey through Dale’s memories just as much as a journey through the war-torn, deserted streets of his old home. The reader meets his friends, family, and lovers, and loses them with him, too. It’s an intensely emotional story to go through when all you’re expecting is a space adventure fighting alien monsters. Max Bemis’ previous works (‘Worst X-man’, ‘Foolkiller’) are no indicator of what he’s capable of, not until his full potential is seemingly released from the confines of Marvel’s limitations. Frankly, most of the big hitters could use some letting loose in terms of content and story. How else do you think we’ve received such gifts as Neil Gaiman? The artist of the series, Eoin Marron, brings visual believability to a creature and our hero just as he decorates simple, but rich landscapes of the mind and the outer universes with comedic charm. His style is so reminiscent of ‘Tank Girl’ that it makes the grit and antics of the story even more convincing, and yet he gives the world of ‘Centipede’ a Mad Max-ian quality for enthusiasts of barren, apocalyptic cyber-punk fables with heart.

I’m hard pressed to decide which of the new Atari series I enjoy more, but this latest issue of Centipede is yet another rung in the upwards ladder of quality content coming from Dynamite’s new take on classic video games. These series are the comics I look forward to the most in my subscription, not just epic tales of hunting monsters in space, but stories of the people in them, and the people who loved where they came from.

-Dani

Chimera’s Champion Comics: Empress Vol. 1

Marvel joins forces with Millarworld! Their ‘Icons’ subsidiary was an open invitation for them to delve into more ‘mature’ works before they were willing to plaster ‘explicit’ labels on to their everyday hero books again, a move that was very common in the early 2000s but only just now resurging fully in the last year. Empress has been their limelight title and now it’s finally been collected into its first volume, seven issues of epic science-fiction space travel adventure and alien intrigue.
So what to say about this series without underselling it?
The story as a whole is simple and elegant, a nice change from the typically complicated plots and stingers from Mark Millar, and this is paired with an equally simplified rendering by Stuart Immonen, one of my absolute favorites. Again, to say these elements are simple is NOT to insult or demean this comic. Rather, it feels very much like Saga, where it says what it needs to and moves on to more important matters, which is giving the reader a fun experience with a group of eccentric and fascinating characters and environments.
The cast in this comic are given a great treatment, well-rounded with emotional sensitivity just as easily brought on as a trained beating. Their goal is escape and each member of the family and crew feel rather differently about that goal, reflected especially in the eyes of the children who are caught between losing their father, but also that he happens to be a deranged overlord akin to Thanos.
The twists of the plot are necessary reveals with weight behind the drive for each character instead of the usual contrived and nonsensical shocker that superhero comics are particularly guilty of lately. It’s really nice to see a comic that sets up such a grand scale of story, taking place in the great expanse of outer space, and yet they humble it with problems that are timeless and common, if not unspoken.
I’m way too excited for the next installment of this series, whenever it’s meant to come out, but in the meantime, I have no qualms in rereading this awesome tale. Did I mention there’s dinosaur steeds? Sorry, I should have sooner.
TL;DR: There are dinosaur steeds.
-Dani

Welcome Home, Spider-Man: A Spider-Man Homecoming Review

I counted down over 500 days to the release of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. So long, in fact, that my countdown increased when they pushed the release from November 2001 to May 2002. And I’ll never forget the pure, unbridled joy I felt seeing that movie for the first time. 15 years and dozens of superhero movies since then, and Spider-Man Homecoming managed to capture that magic for me again.

Find Your Place In The Universe

What makes Spider-Man Homecoming so magical? The obvious answer is the one Sony and Marvel put right in front of you: this is IN the Marvel movie universe. And in that regard this movie is awesome. Seeing Spider-Man team-up with Iron Man is amazing, pun intended, plus you get to see the Marvel Universe from the ground floor. What do alien invasions and the age of heroes mean to blue-collar, street level guys like Adrian Toomes or worried family members like Aunt May? Seeing all of this spun before your eyes is impressive. Sony executes this not only through big moves but by literally dozens of tiny easter eggs.

Come On, Peter

But that’s not all that makes this film so terrific. Rather, it’s the portrayal of Spider-Man in a way you’ve never seen before: he’s truly a screw-up, trying his best, and constantly out of his element. It’s what makes Spider-Man so relatable, and entry point into the Marvel Universe that’s exciting but simultaneously relatable. “Find your place in the universe” was the tagline and it’s really true. Where would we fit in to such a world of gods and monsters? As hapless victims, running screaming from Ultron? Would we be mighty gods like Thor? Or, like our friendly-neighborhood wall crawler, would we be doing our best to make a difference and embrace our changing world with excitement? Spider-Man Homecoming explores the MCU from the ground level.

Does Whatever A Spider Can

I’d be remiss if my review didn’t address the action and the effects. This is the sixth Spider-Man film, so you’d think you’ve seen it all. And yet Spider-Man has a fresh energy, incredible power with less refinement than either McGuire or Garfield, providing stunts and battles that still wow and thrill. His new suit, complete with all the bells and whistles you’d expect in threads made by Tony Stark, brings to life such classics as the spider-tracers and web gliders, while also introducing new elements like the AI Karen or over 500 different web combinations.

I’m Batman…I Mean, Vulture

The many battles with the Vulture are brutal. He’s vicious and frightening, with a costume cleverly designed for function (like his “claws” that are really like forklifts designed for gripping heavy cargo during heists) while still resembling his namesake (like the fur-lined collar of the bomber jacket). And on that score, Michael Keaton portrays Adrian Toomes as far and away one of the most layered, compelling villains in the MCU. One dimensional villains with no sympathetic qualities or believable motivations plague these movies (I’m looking at you, Ronan) and yet here we have a villain who you see struggling economically, and whose vicious temper really only comes out in defense of his beloved family, along with a code of conduct that gives you a respect for him as well.

More Than Moral Support

Speaking of Keaton, he’s first among an excellent and diverse supporting cast. Peter’s high school friends represent many races and genders, and while our main character is still a straight white male, it’s definitely encouraging to see just how well-rounded his world is. Marissa Tomei shines as Aunt May (and the movie has a lot of fun with how attractive old “eat your wheat cakes” has gotten), along with excellent performances from Zendaya and NAME OF LIZ ALLEN, and a small but memorable part of Donald Glover as NAME, who in the comics is better known as the Prowler and the uncle of the Miles Morales’ Spider-Man.

Spider-Man Homecoming Review by Chimeras Comics

Spidey Hits Home

Last, it’s worth noting how fun this movie is. From Captain America’s cameos, to Spider-Man’s lovable attempts to be helpful, to quirky supporting characters like Flash Thompson or the sandwich shop owner, Spider-Man Homecoming had me grinning ear to ear for the first forty-five minutes straight.

For me, the Spider-Man movies are deeply nostalgic and deeply personal. The message of power and responsibility could be said to be the center of any superhero story. These movies remind me of my father, who hooked me on Spidey through cartoons when I was a child and watched patiently as I got older but never grew out of it. And now they’re something I get to share with my brother, who as a 16 year old could easily be Spider-Man (actually quite literally).

Homecoming hits home because it gives us the fledgling teenage superhero, a hero you root for not because he’s unstoppable but because he isn’t. Because he makes mistakes. Because he’s the ultimate underdog. And because he keeps bouncing back.

When he’s not selling comics, Carmelo Chimera is practicing law and working on the release of his upcoming graphic novel, Magnificent.

Chimera’s Champion Comics – Aquaman #25

 

Never could I have imagined reading or enjoying Aquaman. It’s not a knock to the character, but rather a testament to my fickle nature, especially when it comes to superheroes. I’ve spent most of my life as more of a ‘Marvel girl’, having grown up learning to read with X-Men comics, and aside from my high school years spent reading Batman and being ‘edgy’, many classic DC characters have remained outside of my radar until the past six years or so.

 

Right out of the gate, I’ll admit the only thing that drew me to this issue was the announcement that Stjepan Sejic (Sunstone, Ravine) would be producing art for a short run of the series (as well as an upcoming issue of Suicide Squad!). Being one of my favorite artists in comics right now, I tend to collect anything he creates just to see it and give it a try. Inevitably, I dove into Aquaman and was visually delighted.

But to my surprise, I was captured by the story as well, written by Dan Abnett (Resurrection Man, Legion, The New Deadwardians). This special-sized anniversary issue had a lot of ground to cover following the events of previous Aquaman issues, all while beginning a new story arc to follow, and it really stepped up to the plate. The underwater kingdom of Atlantis doesn’t just feel like a city with a big, blue backdrop. There’s real immersion of design to reflect that you are in the ocean, where every movement conjures bubbles and waves in your wake, where coral and shipwrecks are the foundation on which homes and businesses are built. It’s not a Disney mermaid-world, but a functioning landscape that just happens to be underwater. While this is represented visually with a stunning attention to detail per panel, it’s also inherent in how the characters are interacting and living through political turmoil.

 

Our new antagonist Corum Rath has the potential to be a real Kingpin of Atlantis with the way his schemes are playing out, and I hope he gets at least a nice five-issue saga to establish just how he and the Drift took over everything, why Aquaman would fear or hide in wait from them, and how Mera’s return and reunion with Arthur will make a difference in the end. There seems to be quite a few factors at play with the rebels of the Ninth Tride and new mutations of merfolk stirring things up!

 

In summary, this issue serves as a great way for new readers to get into Aquaman, a very nice build on top of the foundation of the existing series, and a gorgeous tale of other worlds to enjoy visually and verbally.

 

-Dani

Chimera’s Champion Comics – The Flintstones #12

 

Chimera’s Comics presents a series of recent, or upcoming titles that showcase the excellence of graphic storytelling and the comic book industry! The following article is written and presented by Dani of the LaGrange staff:

 

The Flintstones comic has come to its final issue, a bittersweet conclusion to a critically acclaimed series of outstanding wit and endless charm. Many were skeptical at issue one, especially with the title being solicited by DC for teens and adults, as opposed to the expected kids classic. They’ve been doing a lot of that lately, first with their release of four Hanna-Barbera/DC crossover titles, continued next week with six Looney Tunes/DC crossovers. So how do you take these characters, each from wildly different worlds and backgrounds, and make that work?

 

I’ll admit, it’s hit or miss.

 

The Flintstones, however, has been a consistent hit, and their final issue is no different, a perfect tribute to end the title and pay tribute to the original cartoon, as well as the social climate of humanity in modern times. It’s lovingly wrapped in stone-age comedy, but it reveals quite a bit of truth about people and the timeless need to question, to believe, to persevere, and to cooperate with one another. Mark Russell (writer of the rebooted Prez) shows a talent for endearing readers to a message, and not just for the reason of cliche’s originating from somewhere. He presents, alongside the fabulous art of Steve Pugh (Hellblazer, Animal Man), a portrait from another time just as much as a mirror of the reader, I’m sure.

 

 

The flair of the series has been its wonderful re-imagining that resonates with the adults and teens who grew up watching the cartoons, which itself shared some pretty smart humor with its viewers (often through the woes of the animal workers). This comic is just an extension, a story of many stories that seems to always have been in our hearts and minds, but just never came to fruition.

 

I know, that’s really sappy, but honestly, just read this last issue, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason this series has received so many positive reviews (though it honestly astounds me that it didn’t receive any nominations for the Eisner Awards this year). Issue twelve is a great send-off to the Flintstones, but also serves as a stand-alone story about a classic cartoon family, and really, a story about us all.

 

Stop by Chimera’s Comics LaGrange and Oak Lawn to grab yourself a copy, or pre-order the collected Flintstones Volume 2, available October 2017!

Wonder Woman Film Review – Spoiler Free

I have a 9-year-old niece named Gabriella, who came to see Wonder Woman with us on Thursday for our private screening at Hollywood Blvd. And when the movie ended, she was practically shaking with excitement. I imagined what it must have been like for her, a young girl, to see this incredibly powerful, larger than life woman on screen in all her magnificence. I got chills when I realized that this will be the moment Gabriella looks back on as the moment she became a lifelong fan.

Patty Jenkins’ film is a masterpiece, standing head and shoulder above every other movie in the DC Cinematic Universe and really above most super-hero movies. This was the other-worldliness of Thor meets the period-piece intrigue of Captain America, all with the veneer and class of the Christopher Reeve Superman films. Here’s my quick, spoiler-free analysis:

The Tone Was Just Right

Notably, all of the DC movies so far have suffered from a serious lack of fun. That, and sunshine. Wonder Woman delivers both, and plenty of it. On Paradise Island, the movie practically glows. The Amazons shine quite literally like a beacon of hope and light and love, all while remaining some of the fiercest warriors you’ll ever see.

Things take a dark turn, though, when Wonder Women heads off to the front of the Great War (aka World War I), but unlike in Man of Steel or Batman v Superman, this tonal shift services the story. This whole film revolves around Diana’s culture clash, as she comes face to face with the darkness in the world, and ultimately becomes a source of light. Her naivety provides some light-heartedness without being silly. Best of all, the movie never falls completely into despair, while still delivering some moments so emotional I’m getting goosebumps reflecting on them.

The Action Was Incredible

Diana Prince kicks ass. Period. The dramatic use of strategic slow-motion to highlight her athleticism, the fast-paced battles, and the World War I backdrop make this a very memorable action film. She’s unleashed in all her glory, as powerful as she ever was and more powerful every second the movie goes on. Several times I literally exclaimed “WOW!” out loud. They don’t waste time showing her kick a man between the legs – something I find patronizing. No, instead she’s deflecting missiles and lifting tanks. Like she’s supposed to.

The Story – Comic Accurate, And Character True

Wonder Woman seamlessly tied in years of her continuity and multiple origins into a fast-paced origin story the doesn’t feel hamstrung by pointless exposition. Her adolescence and training comes quick, and it isn’t long before we see her in the present day.

But more importantly than reconciling her various origins and throwing in little nods to the George Perez-era comics, the movie remembers what she’s all about. Yes, she’s a warrior, but she’s a warrior for the sake of love and peace, not violence in and of itself.

Final Verdict

This is one of the most important films because for too long superheroes and comics books have been a boys club. But there have never been more women creators, fans, and characters. This movie will go a long way to better representing our diverse fans and helping them feel as included in this fandom as they always should have been in the first place!

Honestly, by now you should have stopped reading and gone to see the movie. Don’t wait, go now!

Help us celebrate all the women who make comics wonderful during our Wonder Women Weekend!

Chimera’s Champion Comics – I am Groot #1

Chimera’s Comics presents a series of recent, or upcoming titles that showcase the excellence of graphic storytelling and the comic book industry! The following article is written and presented by Dani of the LaGrange staff:

Marvel has taken an unusually large gamble with their recent onslaught of Guardians comics following the theatrical release of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (a whopping seven different series), and while most of them seem to be hit-or-miss additions, the latest release of ‘I am Groot’ is a welcome extension of charming adventure, if only for a specific audience.

 

Everyone’s favorite little Guardian Groot is deep into some mischief that sees him on an accidental solo trip through the cosmos, disappearing through inter-dimensional wormholes and becoming stranded on a foreign planet with some ‘familiar’ faces and some new ones.

The ‘cosmic’ subject matter of comics has long been a baffling trope, one that effectively explains-away the less ‘realistic’ portions of plot, but can serve as a confusing turn-off for new readers if not executed well. In the case of ‘I am Groot’, there isn’t much explanation necessary to the plot; the Guardians are somewhere in space, as they usually are, and they’re meeting other alien races through shenanigans, as they usually do. But there seems to be some hidden joke behind some of the aliens that turn up in the issue, and I find myself curious, and kind of ‘left hanging’ to know who they are. For older readers looking for a more gritty peek into the vast mysteries of celestials, gems of power or what-have-you, this may not be the book for you.

 

As a comic for kids or teens however, this book is a really nice simplifier to some of the complexities of the Marvel comic universe if not by visuals alone. Flaviano Armentaro (Power Man & Iron Fist, Harley Quinn and Grayson) gives energy to static of outer space with brilliant color schemes and painterly achievement. The vibrancy of these pages give new life to an otherwise dark abyss of stars and the space in between, catering to both the entertainment of spaceship action and the inquisitive exploration of strange, new worlds. Written with childlike ambition by Christopher Hastings (Adventure TimeDeadpool, and Howard the Duck), the story is one on-par with the film’s heart, where dysfunctional family silliness meets the dangers of being heroes-for-hire.

 

This is a surprising little book with a big soul and a lot of potential. If you have kids or young adults that are big fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is an excellent comic series to subscribe to. Right now, there’s actually rather few titles from the big hitters like DC and Marvel for children, so my hope is that this book will be an inspiring chieftain to sprout new books for readers of all ages.

 

Check out this premiere issue and subscribe to the series ‘I am Groot’, available now at Chimera’s Comics Oak Lawn and LaGrange!