The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video essay is a deep dive into two memorable of versions of Ultron, one of Marvel’s most menacing and daunting villains. He’s had many versions over the years, but the two most contemporary versions come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. And I analyze both version, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. I also make the case for what I feel is the best version of Ultron. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: Tony Stark
A Tale Of Two Ultrons: MCU vs. EMH
Filed under Jack's World, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, movies, YouTube
New Comic Book Day December 29, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week
By now, I think everyone should be fully recovered from their Christmas festivities. Depending on how festive things got, your place might not be entirely clean. Kids and adults alike can make a hell of a mess when they’re excited on Christmas morning. I know this because I’ve made quite a few messes over the years.
Whatever the state of your holiday hangover, today is a momentous day of another kind. It marks the final New Comic Book Day of 2021. For comic book fans, that’s often noteworthy for a number of reasons. The end of the year often coincided with preludes, epilogues, and teasers for what’s to come in the next year. It’s also a chance to look back on everything that happened in the past year and just appreciate it.
Now historically, the last New Comic Book Day of the year has been fairly light in terms of noteworthy releases. You almost never see major milestone issues or the end of major events on this week. More often than no, a lot of filler issues get released this week and that’s perfectly fine. Not every week can be a blockbuster release.
Personally, I’ve often used this week to look back and see which comics or collections are worth adding to my collection before the new year begins. In the same way this week tends to be light on major issues, the first couple months of the new year tend to have major releases that are poised to set the tone. I’m already saving my money accordingly.
For this week, though, I’m content to enjoy the post-holiday afterglow with a simple stack of comics. They don’t have to blow my mind. They just have to help me relax and appreciate the conclusion of another holiday season. For those still recovering from the festivities, I hope this final New Comic Book Day does the same.
Here is my final pull list and pick of 2021. Enjoy and here’s to an awesome 2022.
My Pull List
The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox #14
My Pick Of The Week
New Comic Book Day December 22, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week
When you love comics as much as I do, every New Comic Book Day feels special. Thanks to digital comics through Comixology, waking up on Wednesday morning often feels like Christmas. I get out of bed, grab my iPad, and see a nice collection of new comics to enjoy with my morning coffee. It’s nothing short of heavenly.
However, there are some days that are objectively more special than others. The New Comic Day before Christmas definitely qualifies. This year, the calendar has been extra generous. Today, I get to enjoy a nice batch of new comics. Three days later, it’s actual Christmas. That’s almost too much joy for me to process.
On top of that, comic publishers tend to release extra stuff before Christmas. I think that’s largely a result of many writers, editors, and artists traveling for the holidays. It usually means the week after tends to be pretty light. That only makes enjoying this particular New Comic Book Day more vital.
There’s just something inherently special about reading comics under the light of a Christmas tree. It’s enough to make me feel jollier than Santa himself. In recent years, it has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. I encourage all my fellow comic fans to give it a try. Christmas is already special. Adding comics to the mix only makes it better.
To that end, here is my rather lengthy pull list for this week, as well as my pick. Whatever you’ve got going on today, take some time to really appreciate this day. It’ll make the act of reading comics, as well as the holidays, even more special. Enjoy!
My Pull List
The Last Avengers Story: Marvel Tales #1
Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit #1
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #6
X-Men: The Trial Of Magneto #5
My Pick Of The Week
Avengers Forever #1
New Comic Book Day December 1, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week
The week after Thanksgiving is often bittersweet, especially if your stomach is still recovering. Between going through all your leftovers and starting on Christmas shopping, at least for those who try to be proactive around the holidays, it can be exhausting. If you had to travel at any point, then that just compounds everything. That’s often why the week after Thanksgiving is often a week of recovery.
How we go about recovering varies from person to person, but as a comic book fan, New Comic Book Day has always been a big part of that process for me. Even though this year wasn’t quite as stressful as others, especially when compared to last year, Thanksgiving was still a stressful time, but for all the right reasons. By now, I’ve finished all my leftovers. I’ve digested all my meals. I’ve done all my Black Friday shopping. I am ready to get back into the swing of things.
A nice batch of new comics on a Wednesday morning just makes that process easier. It’s not just a direct result of awesome comics to start my day, although that is a big part of it. It helps get me back into my routine, of which New Comic Book Day is often built around. Regardless of any holidays, Wednesdays are often special in their own right. It’s a weekly treat that ensures I always have something to look forward to. I hope other comic fans feel the same way and experience the same joy.
Even if you’re done with Thanksgiving and ready for Christmas, the first New Comic Book Day after Thanksgiving can act as the final desert of sorts. It can also help get you into the full holiday spirit with Christmas coming in just a few weeks. In terms of a holiday treat, what more do you need? As always, I’m providing my pull list and pick for the week. Reading them on an full stomach is optional, but encouraged. Enjoy!
My Pull List
Death of Doctor Strange: Spider-Man #1
Detective Comics 2021 Annual #1
Hellboy: The Bones of Giants #2
Red Sonja 2021 Holiday Special
X-Men: The Trial Of Magneto #4
My Pick Of The Week
Why Superhero Secret Identities Are More Relevant Than Ever
You don’t have to be a lifelong fan of superheroes to know the role that secret identities play in their over-arching narrative. It’s one of those story elements that often goes hand-in-hand with a hero’s journey. Part of becoming a hero involves forging an identity and, more often than not, this identity can’t function alongside the one they start with.
It’s a story that has roots in the early days of modern superhero comics. It wasn’t just a common plot point. It was practically a given. It was as necessary as capes, colorful costumes, and punishing masked criminals.
From a practical standpoint, having a secret identity has some legitimate merit. There are things Bruce Wayne can do as Batman that he cannot do and vice versa. The same goes for Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and many other iconic heroes. In “Batman Begins,” Bruce Wayne set the stage for his secret identity by crafting Batman as a symbol, one that conveyed an idea that went beyond the person in the costume.
In recalling that scene, I think that idea was more prophetic than Christopher Nolan initially intended. When I look at how secret identities have come to define many characters, I believe they’re more important today than they have been in any other era.
I don’t just say that as a long-time fan of superhero comics who has used his knowledge of the genre to explore serious issues. I believe that we, as a society, are entering uncharted territory when it comes to how we manage our identities. The influence of the internet, social media, and an increasingly connected world is more powerful than any fictional hero. It’s already finding its way into superhero media.
This topic became especially relevant for Superman fans because back in late 2019, the release of “Superman #18” officially revealed Superman’s identity as Clark Kent. Now, it wasn’t not the first time Superman’s identity has been exposed, but this time it wasn’t a gimmick. Now, Superman had to learn how to be Superman without a secret identity.
Over the past decade, the value and vulnerabilities of secret identities have been under fire. One of the most jarring moments of the original “Iron Man” movie was the very end when Tony Stark didn’t attempt to hide the fact he was Iron Man. For those not familiar with the comics, it might not have seemed like a big issue. Trust me, it was a major shift.
While Tony Stark debuted as Iron Man in 1963, his identity didn’t become public until the early 2000s. That’s nearly four decades of him operating with a secret identity. In the context of his journey, this was not a trivial decision.
What happened to Spider-Man at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was even more jarring. While his secret identity has been revealed many times in the comics, it’s almost always retconned. Like Batman and Superman, he has to have a secret identity. He has to have a civilian life that’s separate from his superhero life.
There’s even a notable episode of “Superman: The Animated Series” in which Superman flat out admits that he’d go crazy if he couldn’t be Clark Kent. Think about that for a second. Superman, one of the most powerful and iconic superheroes of all time, admits that can’t handle a life without a secret identity. This is someone who can handle Lex Luthor, Darksied, and Brainiac. If he can’t handle it, then what hope do we have?
That question might not have been too relevant 20 years ago. Before the age of smartphones, broadband internet, and social media, a superhero might have been able to get away with having their identity exposed. You could say the same for anyone who happened to have a dirty secret or a double life. Whether it was an affair or a secret hobby, you didn’t have to work that hard to keep it secret.
Back then, not everyone had a fully-functional camera in their pocket or a means of sharing their media on a mass scale. Even if someone did manage to take a compromising picture or video, it wouldn’t be a huge revelation unless it was published by a major news source and even then there was no guarantee it would have staying power, especially if other major stories broke at the same time.
Now, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can capture compromising footage of anyone and share it with the world in seconds. In the world of superheroes, it makes keeping an identity harder than ever. Spider-Man found that out the hard way at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Ordinary people and major celebrities are finding that out as well in the real world.
The internet and social media has created an unusual, yet potent system that skews the dynamics of having an identity, secret or otherwise. On one hand, it’s easier than ever to create an anonymous persona on the internet. With that persona, people are unbound by the propriety of real-world interaction.
It’s part of why the comments section of any website or social media feed is full of deplorable rhetoric that highlights the worst in people. Ordinary people can use the anonymity of the internet to say thing they would never say to another human being face-to-face. At the same time, celebrities and people of influence have the opposite problem.
In this hyper-connected world, every word and every action is permanently archived and subject to greater scrutiny. Every mistake or misstep is amplified and blown out of proportion. Every bit of subtext and nuance is completely lost in the various biases and agendas of the public. In essence, public figures have little to no control of their identity. They are very much at the mercy of how others perceive them.
That kind of scrutiny can have benefits and drawbacks. You could argue that the added scrutiny of social media has held celebrities and people of influence to a higher standard. They can no longer operate in the shadows with impunity. Dirty secrets will come out. Bad behavior will be documented. The O.J. Simpsons and Bill Cosbys of yesteryear could not get away with their deplorable behavior in today’s environment.
That may be a good thing on some levels, but it comes at a cost and not just for those who have had their lives ruined by the internet. In a world where anonymous identities are easily created and valued identities are easily ruined, how can anyone hope to maintain a balanced perspective? Whether you’re an accomplished celebrity or just some random blogger, don’t you still need a persona that feels true?
For people who are stuck in difficult situations, such as those belonging to racial, religious, or LGBTQ minorities, having that secret identity might be the only one that feels true or genuine. If that gets exposed, then those individuals could be in legitimate danger. There are parts of the world who will punish these individuals in ways far more serious than online trolling.
In the past, these kinds of people didn’t have an outlet or a means of connecting with others who share their struggles. They either had to organize in secret or set up their own communities, which often meant making themselves real-life targets. The ability to create an identity, secret or otherwise, can be a powerful mechanism for helping people forge an identity that feels true to who they are.
To some extent, superheroes embody the importance of these identities. They can’t do what they do without them. They can’t remain connected to the people and the world they’re trying to protect if they’re always in costume, trying to maintain this persona they’ve created. Without it, they become disconnected and overwhelmed. As a result, they can’t be the heroes they need to be.
For people in the real world, having these identities is more important than ever. You don’t have to be a superhero to appreciate their value, but as our world becomes more connected, it’s become a lot easier to understand why Spider-Man and Batman work so hard to preserve their secret identities.
The fact they still struggle, despite having super-powers and billions of dollars, is a testament to just how difficult it can be. As the world becomes increasingly connected and increasingly tribal, it’s only going to get harder.
Captain America: Civil War And Its Overlooked (And Understated) Flaws
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a video I’ve been working on for a while now. It breaks down “Captain America: Civil War,” a movie that’s held in high regard in the pantheon of superhero movies. I saw it too. I enjoyed it. However, I feel there were some significant flaws that got glossed over and overlooked.
This video is my way of highlighting those flaws, as well as a deeper exploration into what made the Civil War event in the comics so impactful. Enjoy!
New Comic Book Day November 4, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week
We did it, America!
We made it through Election Day. I understand that can still change, but we still made it. That’s progress, in my book. I also doubt I’m alone in being relieved that we’ve finally made it through.
Now, I realize that there’s still plenty of post-election drama to unfold here in the United States. I may end up talking about that at some point. For now, I’d rather focus on something that brings objective joy to the world, namely comics.
The day after such a contentious election is the perfect day to indulge in some comic fueled awesome. I am not just ready. I need this and I suspect many others burned out on politics feel the same. The real world has been objectively awful on so many levels in 2020. An escape has never been more necessary.
That’s exactly what comics provide us. They are a simple, inexpensive joy that takes us out of this crazy world for a brief moment and into one full of wonder. I love every New Comic Day, but this particular day has never been more cathartic. To that end, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy!
My Pull List
Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #3
Dark Multiverse: Batman: Hush #1
Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #1
My Pick Of The Week
Jack’s Comic Gems: Superior Iron Man
The following is a video for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s part of my comic gems series that highlights an overlooked or underrated gem from the world of comics. Enjoy!
Filed under Jack's Comic Gems, Jack's World, YouTube
New Comic Book Day September 2, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week
What do you do when you’ve had a lousy week? How do you make it bearable or, at the very least, somewhat less awful? These are questions I’m sure many people have been asking throughout 2020. There have been many lousy weeks thus far for reasons I hope are obvious. This past week certainly threw in a few more gut punches with the death of Chadwick Boseman.
As objectively awful as that is, we still move forward. We still try to make the following days less shitty. For me, enjoying a stack of new comics is part of that process. I’ve had many bad weeks throughout my life. Between puberty, high school, and graduating college during a recession, there was never a shortage of misery.
However, every Wednesday morning brought a ray of hope. Thanks to Comixology, the prospect of New Comic Book Day has always offered a boost to my dampened spirits. After this past week, I need that. I think we all need that. We find that boost wherever we can. For me, it’s new comics on Wednesday morning.
I’ve got my iPad, a fresh cup of coffee, and a wounded spirit. I’m ready to feel slightly less awful about the world now. I hope my other fellow comic fans can do the same. As always, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
My Pull List
Marvel Zombies: Resurrection #1
My Pick Of The Week
New Comic Book Day August 12, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week
There are people who go out of their way to avoid the news, politics, and anything that might trigger a digital fist fight. I respect these people. At times, I’m one of them. However, avoiding the news and politics is one thing. Avoiding the effects is something else. You can avoid the constant whining and outrage surrounding an election or hashtag. You can’t avoid the reality of a global pandemic.
I’ve come to accept this in recent months. I don’t deny that, at one point, I tried to avoid any mention of it online or in person. That’s just not possible when entire parts of society are shut down and major events get cancelled. It’s sad, if not maddening. However, it need not be completely dire. Even if you can’t ignore these awful things, you can still find ways to cope.
For me, comics have been a preferred coping mechanism for years. Going back to previous crisis, including those of the personal kind, comics have given men some much-needed escapism from the harsh, unforgiving nature of the real world. During those times, New Comic Book Day takes on an even greater meaning.
I know it’s easy to take for granted, given how much upheaval the industry is in right now. For that reason, I cannot thank the writers, editors, and artists working tirelessly in the industry to give fans like me an escape. Their work may not be on the same level as doctors and nurses, but they still hold a special place in those fighting to endure this crisis.
To those wonderful individuals, I thank you on behalf of comic fans everywhere. Once again, here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy and stay safe, everyone!
My Pull List
DCeased: Hope At World’s End #7
Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #8
My Pick Of The Week