The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This is actually a video I’ve been planning to make for quite some time now. I always wanted to release it alongside the release of the “Black Widow” movie, but if you followed the news last year, you understand why that was such a challenge.
As frustrating as the wait has been, it’s finally happening. This movie is coming out and that means it’s a great time to get back into Black Widow comics. As it just so happens, last year brought us one of the best gems featuring Black Widow in years, courtesy of Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande. I rarely make such a statement for a comic that’s not even two years old, but this one definitely warranted an exception. Watch this video to find out why. Enjoy!
I’m a firm believer that when you love something, you can combine it with damn near anything and make it inherently better. If you love chocolate, then it’ll make peanut butter better. If you like watching baseball, then watching baseball while naked will make it better. There are plenty of other examples I could give, but I’d rather not get too personal about what I do on a Sunday afternoon.
With comics, I’ve learned over the years that you can find many combinations to enhance the experience. I’ve woken up at 4:30 a.m. to read comics with a nice cup of coffee while sitting in my recliner. I’ve slept in, gone outside, and read comics on my iPad in a swim suit while I got a little sun. I’ve even read comics with a glass of whiskey before bed. I can safely attest that both experiences were enhanced considerably.
Now that we’re in the middle of summer and pandemic lockdowns are ending, we have an opportunity to enjoy things in new ways. If you love comics as much as I do, you’ve got a lot to work with, especially on Wednesday mornings. The only limit is your imagination, decency laws, and how your willingness to spend extra money on things that may seem wasteful later on.
Dare to be creative.
Dare to be a little crazy, even.
Comics give you that flexibility. With the 4th of July just a few days away, I have a few ideas as to how I’ll supplement my comic reading experience. I won’t share all the details. Just expect them to involve beer, hot dogs, and speedos. I don’t know how much that’ll inspire you. All I can offer is my pull list and pick of the week. I hope that helps. Enjoy!
I’m a simple man. Whenever a trailer of any kind, even a teaser, gets released by Marvel Studios, I take notice. I’m not the only one, either. A trailer release by Marvel Studios is almost always cause for celebration and excitement. It shows on how often these trailers rack up record-breaking hits in a short span of time.
Even a trailer for lesser-known characters is bound to draw interest. Marvel Studios has proven before that they can turn obscure characters like the “Guardians of the Galaxy” into a multi-billion dollar franchise. Now, they hope to do the same with the “Eternals.”
Given their unprecedentedtrack record of success, I wouldn’t bet against Kevin Feige and company. These visionaries have all more than earned our trust, as well as the benefit of the doubt. However, turning “Eternals” into a successful franchise will likely be even harder than “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
I say that as someone with a very shallow knowledge of Eternals. I like to think of myself as a pretty well-informed Marvel fan, but even I don’t know much about these characters. I’m aware of their basic history, but much of my interest is tied to how their story ties into that of mutants, albeit indirectly.
I suspect most causal fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are in a similar boat. They don’t know who these characters are. They’re nowhere near as iconic as Captain America, Iron Man, or Thor. However, they are showing up in the MCU, so we all take notice. We just have no idea what to expect, given the obscure nature of this franchise.
Well, a few days ago, we finally got our first glimpse when a teaser trailer for “Eternals” came out. Being a lifelong Marvel fan, it certainly made my day. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is.
Regardless of how you feel about the characters, it’s still a visual spectacle to behold. Marvel Studios always seems to fill their films with plenty of dazzling spectacles. It looks like “Eternals” is searching for a way to raise the bar once more and history says they will.
Beyond the spectacle, the trailer offers some hints as to what kind of story we’ll be getting with “Eternals.” In short, they’re a race of immortal humanoid beings who arrive in the distant past aboard a massive ship. This detail is ripped straight from the pages of the comics, as originally penned by Jack Kirby.
Beyond that, we learn that they’ve been living amongst humans for millennia. However, they’ve kept their distance, refusing to interfere or significantly impact human affairs. Then, something changes. Now, they’re ready to make their presence known to a world that is still recovering from the events of Thanos’ infamous snap.
That’s all very intriguing. I’m certainly curious to learn more. The cast is full of well-known stars like Selma Hayek and Angelina Jolie. The history of the MCU has already proven quite rich through other movies, like “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Ant Man.” This promises to broaden that history even more.
That’s certainly good from a storytelling perspective. However, seeing this trailer still leaves me with one burning question, which in turn raises other similar questions.
Why did these powerful beings wait so long to reveal themselves to the world?
That’s a relevant question and one that mutants will also face once the X-Men come to the MCU, as I’ve covered before in one of my YouTube videos. However, it’s even more relevant for the Eternals.
These are powerful, immortal beings with abilities that are nothing short of god-like. If this trailer is any indication, they’ve been around for the entire breadth of human history. That means they’ve witnessed every war, every plague, every disaster, and every collapse, of which there have been plenty.
Even in the context of the MCU, they’ve witnessed some pretty terrible events.
They watched the Chitari invade New York City.
They saw Dormammu attempt to absorb the Earth into the Dark Dimension.
They watched Ultron nearly end the world.
They watched the Avenger try and fail to stop Thanos.
They may even be aware of a Skrull infiltration that began during the events of “Captain Marvel.”
They’re aware of all of this, but still chose not to get involved. Is it wrong to ask for a legitimate reason? Is it wrong to pre-judge them for having so much inherent power and not using it to stop terrible event?
Never mind the events that shaped world history. If they could’ve made a difference in the battle against Thanos and Ultron, then why didn’t that? What’s their reason for staying hidden? In the comics, their primary reason centers around protecting Earth from the nefarious Deviants. However, even the comics don’t offer much insight into why they just stand aside and let other catastrophic events occur.
It raises a larger question that the MCU will have to grapple with, which often gets overlooked in the comics. In a world where powerful beings like this exist, does their inaction constitute an egregious act? If they could’ve stopped Thanos, then does their decision to stay hidden warrant criticism?
It’s a difficult question and one that comes up much more frequently in DC Comics. On more than one occasion, Superman has been criticized for not helping humanity on a larger scale. It’s very much a common trope and one that gets increasingly difficult to address as a shared universe grows.
Like I said earlier, Marvel Studios has a stellar track record with telling great stories that at least partially address these questions. I sincerely hope that track record continues with “Eternals.” I also hope it’s more serious in asking the bigger questions about what it means to have power and be a respectable hero.
The Avengers who assembled to defeat Thanos were all powerful in their own right. Together, they are a force that can battle god-like threats and win. At the same time, they all have major limitations. The Eternals have limitations as well, but they’re unique in just how present they’ve been for the extent of human history.
In that sense, they have a greater responsibility than even someone like Spider-Man or Thor. If they’ve been present for so many terrible events, but chose to do nothing, then what do we make of them? How do they become heroes in that context? I don’t claim to know the answer. I just look forward to seeing this movie and finding out for myself.
Growing up, I learned an important lesson about habits. We all develop them. We all have some that can be a vice at times. It’s just a matter of nurturing healthy, enriching habits while avoiding the ones that can be more destructive. In that sense, I think I made a good choice in nurturing my love of comics.
Instead of smoking crack, playing golf, or some other habit that required way too much money or frustration, I pursued a habit that involved spend a couple bucks a week on some books that gave me regular joy. As a habit, it was both healthier and offered greater value in the grand scheme of things.
Even today, as an adult, I find waking up early on New Comic Book Day and enjoying a stack of new comics offers a tremendous value. Granted, there are some weeks where I’ll spend upwards of $50 on new comics, but that’s still less than the cost of maintaining other, more damaging habits. Again, just look at how expensive crack and golf lessons are.
It certainly helps that I don’t need to wait for the mail or go to a comic shop once a week. Thanks to Comixology, the value I get from my comic habit has never been greater. I no longer need go out of my way too much to enjoy this habit that I’ve come to love. The joy of comics is just so easy and accessible. Plus, you can enjoy them with coffee and/or alcohol. What more could you want?
To that end, I’d like to help others like me enjoy that habit. Here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
Sometimes, the days of the week just line up perfectly. Like the years in which Halloween is on a Saturday or the 4th of July is on a Friday, everything just falls into place perfectly. For me, who identifies as both a comic book fan and a Star Wars fan, a year when new comic book day falls on or the day after May 4th is just too perfect.
For those of you who don’t know, May 4th is also known as Star Wars Day. It’s an annual celebration of the stories we love about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. If you were on social media at any point yesterday, you likely saw people saying something like “May the 4th be with you.” That’s just Star Wars fans celebratory and being coy. It’s a beautiful thing.
The fact this is happening right before new comic book day this year just makes it even more special. Like many other Star Wars fans, I have more than my share of Star Wars comics in my collection. I also rarely need a reason to go back and watch my favorite episodes of shows like “The Mandalorian” or “The Clone Wars.” If I can do that and read a new stack of comics, then that’s a day well spent.
So, if you’re either a Star Wars fan or a comic book fan, today is a special day. If you happen to be a fan of both, it’s extra special. Find a way to celebrate and enjoy it. It’s not often the calendar works out this way. Cherish it as best you can. May the Force be with you all and here’s my pull list for this extra special new comic book day. Enjoy!
This is usually the time of year when I pay my taxes. Then again, this is not a usual year, nor was last year. I still made the effort. I did my duty, as a citizen of the United States, to pay my fair share. Naturally, I’m a little sore and a bit jaded, as tends to be the case for anyone who deals with the IRS. That makes this New Comic Book Day all the more enjoyable.
We all have duties and responsibilities that aren’t exactly fun. We still do them because it’s the responsible thing to do, as functioning adults. However, while there’s always a time for duty and responsibility, there’s also a time for fun and relaxation. That’s what new comics do for me. After paying my taxes, I appreciate that feeling even more.
There aren’t a lot of epic stories you can tell about paying your taxes or making it through another year without falling behind on your bills. That’s perfectly fine. Now, I’m eager to follow those stories.
I want to read a comic that involves superheroes beating up invading aliens. I want to read a story about giant monsters fighting giant monsters. I just spent a good chunk of my weekend itemizing deductions and going over my W2 forms. I need this.
If you’ve managed to pay your taxes like I have, more power to you. Enjoy this week more than most. If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to do so. Tangling with the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Godzilla is arduous, but it’ll never be as scary as dealing with the IRS. I’ve given them my share. Now, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
There are people who think I spend too much money on comics. Those same people will then get defensive when I remind them of how much money they spend on tobacco, shoes, clothes, jewelry, overpriced coffee, and hair care products. I usually try to explain very slowly that comics are relatively cheap, easy to enjoy, and can be consumed with alcohol. I don’t always change someone’s mind, but I think I get my point across.
Do I spend more on comics every week than most people? Yes, I don’t deny that.
Do I feel like that money is well-spent? Yes, I feel I get a great deal of value out of the comics I buy.
As a hobby, I think the cost of a stack of comics every week is very reasonable. After a while, you get a feel for the release schedule and can budget your money accordingly. I made it through college while keeping up with my favorite comics and my budget was a lot tighter back then.
Let’s face it. There are far worse things someone can spend their money on these days. Between crack, meth, and fantasy sports apps, comics aren’t nearly as damaging. They’re simple, cheap fun. Thanks to digital comic apps like Comixology, you can basically enjoy them anywhere with a smartphone and a good Wi-Fi connection. It’s a beautiful thing and it gives me something to look forward to every week.
Now is as good a time as any to get into comics. The internet has made it easier than ever and I encourage anyone with a passing curiosity to try it out. If you’re looking to get started this week, here is my pull list and pick. Enjoy!
Once again, I’m breaking up my usual video release schedule to give everyone a reaction video to the “WandaVision” finale. Once again, Marvel Studios has risen the bar for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s safe to say now that their first TV show is a success. It managed to deliver the same satisfying spectacle that we’ve come to expect from the movies.
If you haven’t seen the show yet, I highly recommend you check it out. This video does contain major spoilers, so if you don’t want to undermine the experiment, watch the show first before you watch this video. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. I know this is a bit of a break from my usual video release schedule, but after the events of Episode 8 of “WandaVision,” I just couldn’t wait. I had to do a reaction video and honestly, I’m starting to enjoy making these videos. As with my first, this one contains spoilers and a revised fan theory that is very likely wrong. At the rate this show is going, I’ll be sure to develop plenty more. Enjoy!
I apologize for posting this several days after the fact. I know I’m late to the party with respect to reactions to Episode 5 of “WandaVision.” I don’t have a very good reason for that, other than being pre-occupied with my Super Bowl LV preparations.
In hindsight, that might have been for the best because the events of this episode were incredible. It was, without a doubt, the most impactful episode of this show to date. Both the fan reactions and the IMDB scores are proof of that.
I can safely confirm that my reactions mirrored the shock, glee, and astonishment that got this show trending the day it debuted. As excited as I was to watch the Super Bowl, I found myself more caught up in the implications of this episode.
Now, before I go any further, I want to disclose that there will be talks of spoilers for this episode. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you do. If you’re at all a fan of Marvel and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is one episode you do not want to miss. It has implications that could likely impact future movies in the best possible way.
If you’re still here, then here’s a brief rundown of the events.
Wanda and Vision’s kids start as infants, but rapidly age to toddlers and then to pre-teens
Vision starts to suspect that something is amiss in their cheerful life
Outside Westview, SWORD is trying to make sense of the anomaly and starts sending drones inside
Wanda doesn’t like the intrusion and goes so far as to step out and warn SWORD not to interfere with the world she’s created
Vision is able to free some people from Wanda’s manipulations and confronts her about it
Before they can come to blows, a surprise guest arrives at the door and it’s Wanda’s dead brother, Pietro
However, it’s not the Pietro that died in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” It’s the Pietro from the X-Men Fox movies, played by Evan Peters.
After four episodes of teasing, mystery, and build-up, this episode gave us the first major payoff. Now, it’s a bit clearer as to what’s going on and what’s driving this story.
We know now that it’s not some outside agent who has hijacked Wanda’s mind and powers. She’s the one doing this on her own. She’s the one who created this strange anomaly around Westview, creating her own pocket reality that mirrors that of American sitcoms throughout the decades.
That’s a critical and potentially revealing detail, one that even Vision finds distressing. In addition to finding out that she’s the source of all this, we also learn that she’s the one who took Vision’s body from SWORD and she wasn’t polite about it.
She’s clearly not in a very understanding state of mind. Visions death at the hands of Thanos did not go over well and him not coming back in “Avengers Endgame” only made it worse. At this point, she has lost too many people that she loves and she’s willing to break reality to get it back.
That moment when she steps out of the bubble and confronts SWORD makes this clear. She has what she wants in this pocket reality. She has Vision, a family, and a life in which she hasn’t lost everyone who matters to her. That’s powerful in that it shows how much she was hurt by the events leading up to this show.
However, the biggest moment, by far, came at the end with the arrival of Quicksilver. However, the fact that the Quicksilver we saw was not the Quicksilver played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was the most jarring. It also has the greatest implications.
This is the part where I’m going to start exploring some fan theories, some of which others have already developed. I think after this episode, we have enough details to make some less-than-wild speculations about where this is leading.
We know from the previous episode that Vision was indeed killed. It’s very possible that he’s only alive because Wanda is animating him. We also find out that as powerful as Wanda is, she has limits. She couldn’t make baby Tommy and Billy stop crying. She also couldn’t bring their dog, Sparky, back to life.
This would imply that, even if she wanted to bring the Aaron Taylor-Johnson Quicksilver back, she couldn’t. It seems that if someone dies in her universe, then they stay dead. She cannot bring them back. However, this may not apply to version of her brother from other universes.
We already know from “Dr. Strange” that the multiverse is a thing. Wanda may also be aware of this on some level, even if she didn’t consciously reach into another universe to find another version of her brother. The fact she found the same version we saw in “X-Men: Days of Futures Past” could be another telling hint.
However, I don’t think that means that the MCU is about to do a direct crossover with the Fox era X-Men movies. I think trying to incorporate that messy continuity into the MCU will be too cumbersome, even for someone like Kevin Feige.
I suspect that we’re getting this particular version of Quicksilver because he, and other mutants like him, have been in a pocket universe of their own. It’s why we haven’t seen any mutants show up in the MCU, at least with respect to the story. I understand the movie rights were the logistical reason for that.
The fact that Wanda created a pocket reality of her own means that someone or something taught her. I don’t know who it could be. Perhaps, it involves someone like Agatha Harkness, a witch from the comics who helped Wanda master her powers. Maybe it involves someone far more powerful, like Mephisto.
Whatever the source, I think pocket realities are going to be what plays into the events of “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” They’ll be akin to the disruptions or wrinkles in the larger fabric of reality, which was already disrupted by the events of “Avengers Endgame.” That domain could be where mutants reside.
Now, I could be dead wrong about that. In fact, I’m not entirely confident in that theory being true. However, there’s one other theory that I think is a bit more plausible. It’s not so much a theory as it is an observation of trends.
Wanda is becoming a villain and she will likely play the part of the MCU’s main villain in Phase 4.
I think, thematically, this makes sense. After Thanos, the MCU needs a new villain to warrant a massive assembly of the Avengers. We’ve already seen this big, menacing villains who look, act, and sound evil. We got Ronan, Thanos, Dormammu, and Ultron. I think the MCU needs a change of pace after that.
Wanda would act as an entirely different kind of villain. This isn’t someone who is just an outright villain from the get-go. She’s a friend. She’s an Avenger. She’s someone who has lost nearly everyone she has ever cared about. If ever there was a hero you could understand breaking bad, it’s her. That’ll make fighting against her that much harder.
The moment in this episode when she confronted SWORD made it clear. She can bend reality to her whim and she’s willing to use it to get what she wants. That’ll make her both dangerous and volatile. She may end up being the main villain of “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.”
If that’s the case, then Phase 4 of the MCU is going to be very chaotic indeed.