Avengers Confidential, Black Widow & Punisher

SHIELD is on a mission to stop a global terrorist organization, Leviathan, at the same time that The Punisher is on the trail of an arms dealer. SHIELD needs intel form the dealer, and Punisher just wants to …uh, punish him. Black Widow interrupts Punishers mission and he winds up in SHIELD custody. The Punisher, not the bad guy, who escapes while SHIELD agents, including Nick Fury, Black Widow AND the Punishe all bicker and brawl. Kinda stupid.

Anyway, there’s a lot of “we do this my way” tug of war between the spy and the vigilante as they investigate what Leviathan is up to. Which is, specifically that Leviathan is creating programmable super soldiers with stolen SHIELD technology. Strike two when it turns out to be all Natasha’s fault.

SPOILERS AFTER THIS GIF- not that you should care. I want to save you from this movie.

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The former SHIELD scientist was in a relationship with Natasha Romanoff. But she was always going on missions and he wasn’t a powerful hero and therefore felt inferior… so he faked his own death and started working for the enemy AND experimenting on himself so that he would be super enough for Widow. Oh, fucking spare me. This is just another one of these “working women make men feel inadequate” shit shows. STAHP. How would this woo her? And you faked your own death, how does this establish trust? And if your response is “well, I can understand feeling inferior next to Black Widow, she’s a fucking bad ass.” I feel you. But think about it. They were already in a relationship. He doesn’t do it because he might be a liability to her, like that enemies might get to her because he’s weak and that would put them both in danger. He does this because he can’t compete with her work schedule and he’s not as bad ass as her and her coworkers. Would Pepper Potts fake her own death and conduct risky experiments on herself? Would MJ? Would Lois fucking Lane?! Fuck to the no. Why? Because in the patriarchal system that we live in, the dude is supposed to be tougher anyway.  So the fictitious women and the folks who write them understand that this wouldn’t be impressive. It would be deranged. And Widow’s former fling is portrayed as deranged… but also a terrorist org has supersoldiers because Widow wasn’t a doting housewife. Oh fuck off.

There were fight scene between Widow and the traitor AND Widow and the Punisher where she didn’t land a blow. So she was so badass that she earned this tragic and twisted love story… but not bad enough to actually.. you know, hold her own on her own.

Aside form that the art was underwhelming, the voices were poorly selected and the music was tacky. I was actually surprised at how much I hated this. It’s written by Marjorie M Liu who recently provided a “legend” for Red Sonja and notably the X-23 series.

The whole “reprogramming heroes” has been done before. SO MUCH. They’re powerful, what if their powers fell into the wrong hands?! DC is a little more infamous for that overused plotline, but come on. We get it. Being a human weapon is a huge liability. And that Widow was dispatched to save the entire Avengers from becoming unstoppable killing machines SHOULD have been badass… except that it was her “fault” for not making her man feel like the man? BOOOOOO

There were good things: Amadeus Cho, a young prodigy with a pet fox and a crush on Black Widow was a fun character for a bit. Fury admitting that Widow and Fury were dispatched because he could cut them loose. The good guys not always doing good things.

There’s a video where everyone makes it clear what they thought they were doing. But I can really only give this 2/5 Stars.

 

(all new) Marvel Now! Point One

This $6 book features previews/prologues for some debuting/rebooting series that start up in the next month or so. These include Ms. Marvel, Silver Surfer, and Black Widow. The framework for these really random stories follows Loki in the search across space and time for 5 keys. My favorite of which was the first, he wins the key from a face eater in a poker game and escapes by giving the toothy aliens paper cuts on their eyeballs and making a run for it.

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Silver Surfer gets a retro look courtesy of Michael Allred. Allred is well known for the indie comic “Madman” which I haven’t read but my boyfriend told me was kind of like Adventure Time but for grown ups. The art is very distinctive (Pete picked up on it from across the table and distracted by empanadas). Dan Scott crafted a tale for Norrin where he in travelling in a very Whovian way with companion Dawn Greenwood. She doesn’t know as much about him as she could…

I couldn’t work up any interest in the All-New Invaders story.

Black Widow gets real. Really real. And beautiful. Subdued colors, soft features, water colors; Phil Noto’s art in her tale, “Predator,” is simply gorgeous. Nathan Edmondson presents her as we’ve come to know her: cunning, mischievous, bold, sassy…  conflicted and deadly. Always a predator.

The first glimpse of Ms.Marvel really made this worthwhile to me. A shapeshifter trying to be everything to everyone, fighting trash monsters, working her way up to hero status. Hideout envy. Meanwhile she still has family obligations AND school… her family pressures her to be a straight A student, wants her to marry a nice man… she might be a shapeshifter but can she fit their expectations? G. Willow Wilson’s “Garden State of Mind” made me remember what it was like to be a Sophomore and have my sassy pants on. Adrian Alphona’s art the scene, the costume is on point. They keep it modest and authentic and I dig it.

The Avenger’s story “Short Term Fixes” has Hulk loose on the SHIELD helicarrier again. That’s always happening.

Ms.Marvel the “shape changing, mask-wearing, sixteen-year-old super Moozlim from Jersey City” and Loki being Loki were certainly the highlights. The Silver Surfer was good but I will probably never keep up with the series. 

This book is mainly for the completists (or the curious) preparing for the next wave of books. I would have saved my six dollars if I didn’t fall into both of these categories.

Agents of SHIELD Episode 4

Stockholm, Sweden. Men with red faces walking in straight lines and being generally weird walk through a rather unimpressed crowd and board a subway train. They are being trailed by a serious woman, “black, athletic build, late twenties early thirties” with headphones in her ears. She boards the train with them and breaks the emergency glass. She kills them all, and cuts off one’s hand. 

25 men, same suits, same briefcases, 25 different routes, same meeting place. Skye thinks the woman was a mind reader. It also turns out that the woman is a rogue SHIELD Agent. 

“It’s amazing, every year this job gets easier.” Coulson remarks …But who does flickr? haha. Skye finds pictures of the men in masks on instagram… kinda didn’t need a hacker genius for that. Just saying.

The rogue Agent was Coulson’s protege, Akila, and Skye gives him a “What ever weird stuff she got into, it’s not your fault.” speech, which leads me to believe that she’s still on Team Rising Tide.

The Rogue Agent saved a woman working in a hotel, told her to visit a doctor and the woman had a tumor, her life was saved. Fitz-Simmons, happy to stay in the van and miss the action with Skye are hacking umm… stuff? And hack into *a camera on a moving truck that has an x-ray cam that’s about to run into them* …ummmm… WTF technology?

Skye still can’t shoot anyone. AND Fitz-Simmons and Skye roll over in the van. BUT they all return safe and sound. Skye is full of pep and optimism that she can find the feed that she was using to watch them… THE CAMERA IS IN HER EYE. SHE IS THE CAMERA! Fitz-Simmons have never heard of anything this small being functional.

Coulson wants to bring her in May wants her dead. Ward sides with May. Skye notices that she has a note written asking if she can sleep and Coulson knows she’s being controlled. Later Skye confides in Coulson and then tells him she has her back on the Rogue Agent front.

May, who should have been watching the feed decided to run over there and confront her.  But “they” are watching her and there’s a rule, Akila tells Agent May “Either I kill you or they kill me.”

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Can May have more than one expression, please? Please?

Other Agent smashes the lamp and nearly shoots May as Coulson busts in. Akila is with Coulson and there’s a kill switch in her eye, Ward is wearing glasses that mimic the feed as he does Akila-like things (Skye helps). Akila asks Coulson why he is being so compassionate, “Where’s the I told you so?” and Coulson says, “That’s not me anymore.” May watches the interaction and it’s clear she’s harboring a grudge.

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In an op gone wrong, Akila was captured and blind in one eye, she was in a cage at the bottom of a copper mine for 4 years before they fixed up her eye. She was grateful until they started giving her orders. Akila never met anyone in person, but he writes English like an Englishman. Coulson extrapolates more from her clues. And decides it’s a heavy set man (which really narrows it down, right?) The squeamish duo Fitz-Simmons perform surgery while Coulson goes to find out whose finger is on the trigger. 

Ward, still disguised as Akila, get his orders to seduce a man. (oh haha, gay jokes, fuck you). Skye says, “Can you be friendly? Please don’t die.” He can’t be friendly… he knocks the guy out. Ward is attracted to some alien writing on a chalk board and the camera clicks a photo. Mission Complete. Good Luck.

Ward has to shoot his way out of a building, Akila’s exploding eye is removed and dropped into liquid nitrogen. Coulson approaches the man he thinks is the handler. Turns out he was a former MI-6 agent who fell off the grid. When Coulson flashes his badge the man’s eyeball explodes and he drops. Coulson is rather unmoved if you ask me. The handler was just as trapped as Akila.

X-Ray eyes asks “what did they do to him?” 

May pretends (I’m pretty sure) not to know what she is talking about.

After credits HaHa: Skye sneaks a peek at Ward with the X-Ray specs. (which if you saw Akila looking at May with x-Ray vision… it looked like she was in a morphsuit ..whatevs.

Next week’s previews have Skye being handcuffed and called a traitor. But those of us playing at home already knew that. I actually hope that she gets found out and that it adds more duality to the show rather than “Good guys are good, they don’t do bad things. Yay the government keeping secrets from America because they know best!”