Tag Archives: Marvel

Sluggish Reaction: Marvel’s Runaways

So I recently finished the third and final season of Runaways and, as always, don’t sleep on Marvel TV. With a fraction of the budget they deliver a superhero adventure that is just as compelling and spectacular as any other entry in the MCU

I’m going to keep this review spoiler free as I can

So, what’s it all about?

Runaways is about a group of teens who reunite only to find a terrible truth about their parents that forces them to go on the run to survive.

As they learn more about their past they unlock superhuman abilities that have a link to their parents. One thing I liked about this group is their powers are very different and have different origins i.e. they weren’t all exposed to the same mystery substance.

Another aspect which is quite clever us that we also follow the story from the point of view if the parents and we see that, while they are definitely into some shady stuff, it’s not all black and white either.

Worth watching?

Yes, definitely. It has a great cast and builds up the discovery of secrets and new abilities and pays off with satisfying reveals and showdowns.

Connections?

Like most pre-Disney+ shows most of the connections to the MCU come down to the occasional name drop. But, particularly in season 3 some significant connections to other series came out.

The crossover with Cloak and Dagger was fairly well publicised so I don’t feel like that’s a spoiler. All I’ll say is it was great, it fit really well with their powers. My only regret is that they didn’t stick around longer

As the series gets into more mystical territory there’s a small but significant connection with Agents of SHIELD and a strong Dr Strange vibe

Where can I see it?

Seasons 1-2 are available on Disney+ and I expect season 3 will be soon

Species of the week: Xartan

Xartan

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Xarta

Notable members: Xavin

Fandom: Marvel [MCU]

Appearances: Runaways

 

Xartans are a race of beings who are capable of altering their form very rapidly to take on the properties of other races they have seen. Their true form differs significantly from humans, including the lack of a mouth. At some point in their history they came to believe in a prophecy that a being from another world would bring them hope. One member, Xavin came into conflict with a group of Gibborim and was stranded on their ship when it crashed to Earth. She fulfilled the prophecy and returned to her world with a half-gibborim child

I’m enjoying Runaways and finally digging into the alien races. Xavin was a fun character, her expressions were always amusing and she really proved herself in the end after being mostly a nuisance at the beginning.

Species of the week: Gibborim

Designation: Sentient

Notable members: ‘Jonah’

Fandom: Marvel [MCU]

Appearances: Runaways

The Gibborim are an advanced race, who are ‘beings of light’ capable of creating powerful, and beautiful, emissions of energy. They travelled across the stars in organic spacecraft that contained their essence. One ship was stranded on Earth. One of the Gibborim escaped and survived by inhabiting human bodies. The bodies decayed and needed sacrifices to transfer energy to keep the host alive. While in a host body they appeared to be capable of creating hybrid offspring who were human and retained the abilities of the Gibborim.

I really enjoyed Runaways season 2 and finally getting to uncover some of the mystery around Jonah and his species. Expect a Sluggish Reaction soon

Species of the week: Flora Colossus

baby-groot

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: X

Notable members: Groot

Fandom: Marvel

Appearances: Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers

 

Flora Colossi are massive tree-like beings from the planet X. Their society is ruled by Arbor Master, who transfer knowledge to the young by photosynthesis. Their bodies are covered in hard bark and they are able to regenerate  and grow roots at a rapid rate which can be used as weapons against enemies. Despite their great intelligence their vocal abilities are restricted, meaning they can only say the phrase “I am Groot.” One member of their species joined the Guardians of the Galaxy. 

I watched Infinity War/ Endgame recently and it put me in a Marvel mood. Plus we have the dancing baby groot toy in our house so I felt like researching his species!

 

Sluggish Reaction: Agents of SHIELD season 6

Agents-of-SHIELD-Season-6-feature

Watching SHIELD has been a bit of a rollercoaster. After getting a bit fatigued by season 3 the show revamped and revitalised with season 4 – introducing Ghost Rider and breaking the structure down into segments each with their own arc that followed through to build a main plot.

Then we got season 5, which abandoned all that and had one storyline set in a depressing future. It had some great plot twists but overall it stopped being fun to watch. Season 6 turned that around, delivering one cohesive storyline but with different threads in different locations. But the series was definitely more fun, being both literally and figuratively brighter and having a vibe that felt more on par with season 1.

Sarge ‘n the Gang

agents sarge.jpg

At first I rolled me eyes at the idea of ‘Sarge’ being portrayed by Clark Gregg but the idea really grew on me as the show went on. To begin with I liked the whole mystery to it, from the way them emerged through walls (which felt like something out of Fringe) to the weapons they used. Having them as targets to pursue and reluctantly agreeing to work with them was fun to watch as well as giving that emotional impact as the characters each adjusted to seeing Coulson’s face in different ways.

I thought they resolved the issue and gave a credible explanation for Sarge within the context of the season. I’m not sure what to make of Coulson 3.0 in the next season but I’ll give it a chance after what they did with Sarge

Shrike Team

agents of shield shrike

I really liked the shrike plotline. It was well set up, we saw straight away how high the stakes were. And then tying in with Fitz-Simmons unknowingly giving her a ride to Earth so she could conquer it was a great way to wrap up the space arc (finally!)

I’ve already talked a lot about Izel and the Shrike in my Species of the Week posts so I won’t say much more other than I thought the incorporeal species idea was cool and I liked the hint that they were linked to Ghost Rider, though I don’t think that’ll get followed up sadly.

DekeCorp

agents deke

The Deke episode was solid comedy and again reminded me of the fun-times feeling of season 1. There were some genuine laughs in this series and Deke was a big part of that. I liked seeing him get the most of life on un-ruined Earth but also get to be a genius and an asset to the team when it really counted.

Spacetime buddies

agents enoch

The one holdover from season 5 that I did like was keeping Enoch. His character development (and friendship with Fitz) was great and his out of place lines and interpretation of situations was classic Marvel comedy – the episode where he is decommissioned and doesn’t know what to do with his life was one of my all-time favourites!

The Chronicoms were intriguing and again I liked how they slowly developed into a threat. There’s obviously more to this story but I’m glad we will get to find out next season. I found it interesting that this series didn’t seem to draw from comics at all for their villains but chose to stand on their own.

Oh, snap!

agents snap.jpg

I found it interesting that they didn’t reference the snap at all. I understood why they couldn’t but thought they might have brought it in at the end once their schedule overlapped with Endgame, I suppose everyone just decided not to talk about half the world’s population turning to dust and just crack on with it!!

 

I’ve always enjoyed SHIELD – I can’t say I enjoy it as much as I used to, but I think that’s just true of most programmes once they go on for a few seasons. But I thought this one was true to the spirit of what the series was established and was one of the most fun to watch. I’m hopeful that they go out on a high with season 7 –  and that they finally leave FitzSimmons alone – let them just get married and live happily ever!!! But seriously – looking forward to season 7.

 

Species of the Week: Izel’s species

Izel

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Fear Dimension

Notable members: Izel

Fandom: Marvel [MCU]

Appearances: Agents of SHIELD

 

Izel and her species come from another dimension dubbed the ‘Fear Dimension’ by SHIELD. Existing without corporeal form they nonetheless manifested as humanoid beings. Through the Di’Allas Izel was able to escape the dimension and sought to bring her people through and give them corporeal form by inhabiting victims with Shrike to make them easy hosts. While in Earth’s dimension Izel was able to use harmonic resonance to phase and move between bodies at will, possessing her hosts and controlling their abilities. She was killed with a sword that blocked her abilities and her people were stopped from crossing over. 

I enjoyed the latest season (review coming soon) and I like the consistent buildup of the threat and  it payed off pretty well. Again I was surprised that Izel wasn’t based on a comic book villain but then again I quite like it when SHIELD create their own stuff.

Sluggish Reaction: Cloak and Dagger Season 1 and 2

Cloak and Dagger1

While Marvel are crushing the box office and planning to launch big-name shows on their upcoming Disney+ service it is well worth noting that there are some great shows that may be smaller but are also incredibly well made. They tell personal stories while still delivering great superhero moments.

One of those shows is Cloak and Dagger.

Cloak and Dagger2.jpg

The show stars Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen and Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Thompson. As children they both fell into water as a nearby Roxxon rig exploded. Years later when they reconnect their contact unlocks their powers giving Tandy the ability to created daggers of light and Tyrone the ability to teleport.

Cloak and Dagger3

But their powers go beyond that. When they connect to other people they can sense what is inside them. Tyrone can uncover people’s fears while Tandy finds their hopes. Their powers grow and take strange turns as they develop leading to some really trippy sequences as they go into the minds of others and their own.

Cloak and Dagger4

The show is set in New Orleans (a departure from the comics) and weaved the culture of the city, particularly Voodoo practices, into the essence of the story. This is particularly strong in the second season as the pair encounter the Loa and cross into another dimension. I found this a little heavy at times but it did make the show stand out from others and give it a unique flavour. It is a part of the MCU, with some small references to other materials – mostly the Defenders – but largely is on it’s own which is fine with me.

Cloak and Dagger5

The show is a little slow-moving compared to other Marvel projects but for me it was a refreshing change of pace and the impact comes from the development of the characters. The pacing is believable with Season 1 dealing with the pair understanding and learning to control their powers and Season 2 dealing with them understanding what to do with them while also trying to get on with their lives, neither of which are going particularly well with Ty trying to be a perfect student while fighting to bring down the cops who murdered his brother and Tandy dealing with a troubled home life and the urge to run away from it all.

It is a slow build up but when the action comes Cloak and Dagger delivers some spic fight scenes that are all the better for having waited for them. This clip with Ty using teleportation to take down a stronger thug is perhaps one of my best Marvel moments of all time!

Cloak and Dagger6.jpg

Season 2 ended on an open but positive note. I’m hopeful we will get another season but for now we know there will be a crossover episode with Runaways another teen Marvel series I really enjoyed watching and I can’t wait to see it!

If you’re a superhero fan and you get the chance to watch this – I’d definitely recommend it.

 

 

Sluggish Reaction: Spider-Man Far From Home

I went to see the latest Spider-Man installment recently and it didn’t disappoint. With the announcement of Phase 4 recently I observed that I’ve got Marvel fatigue in the sense that I don’t really get hyped for the movies going in but I always enjoy them coming out and this was no exception.

To be clear it will be full on SPOILERS from here on, but I think I’m safe to comment by now!!

I’m a bit ambivalent about how they handled the ‘blip.’ I thought making it a comedy moment after a the heaviness of Endgame was good and I like how they confirmed that all the main cast got ‘blipped’ too and introduced age gaps which again worked for comedic effect and the tone of the film.

I would have liked a moment where the loss is dealt with, particularly with Peter and May – there wasn’t really time in Endgame to tell that personal story – I was hoping we’d get another Ant-Man film or series to see him deal with the loss of Cassie’s childhood but that isn’t going to happen so I hoped this movie might fill the gap a bit.

Also an explanation as to why May’s ok with him being Spider-Man now would have been appreciated by me.

I liked Mysterio a whole lot and the twist in his character. I knew he was a villain in comics but him presenting himself as an alternate-reality version sold me on his hero persona.

The name drop of Earth-616 was cool but I’m glad it wasn’t real in the end…too confusing!!

I really liked the illusions idea and bringing back the guy from the first Iron Man was a great touch. It was a bit far-fetched but I can suspend my disbelief a little more in a comic book movie!

I was a bit confused by how he died. It felt a bit quick and jarring, especially tying in to the post-credits scene.

I liked the Elementals plotline, even if it did turn out to be fake. I thought it was great to see Peter put up against threats he couldn’t handle and see him use his powers to save people instead and use his brains to plan a strategy.

Overall I thought the film did a great job. There were some great comedy moments along with an emotional arc for Peter dealing with the loss of a mentor and having big shoes to fill, and ultimately proving to himself that he was the right man for the job.

Ok and let’s talk about those post-credits scenes which may be the biggest yet in terms of impact. First we have the return of JK Simmonds as Jonah Jameson outing Peter then the revelation that Nick Fury was a Skrull the entire time (and possibly longer?).

My guess is this will tie into the recently announced Thor: Love and Thunder. In the comics Fury was hidden on the moon with an LMD replacing him on Earth, events that followed led to Jane Foster taking the mantle of Thor.

And I’m done. Another fun ride from Marvel wrapping up Phase 3 nicely.

Sluggish Reaction: Comic Con 2019

So San Diego Comic Con has come again. I’ve been loosely following the action and thought I’d share my thoughts on some of the panels and reveals.

The first news I picked up was the Star Wars publishing panel which revealed The Rise of Kylo Ren detailing Ben Solo’s fall and clearly featuring the Knights of Ren. It’s written by Charles Soule who’s work on the Darth Vader run has consistently received high praise.

Allegiance was also announced as a preview to the upcoming film. I’m most intrigued by the Mon Calamari character next to Rose. The previously announced Resistance Reborn is set to feature the Resistance recruiting the Mon Calamari so this could connect to that. My hope is that this character is Ackbar’s nephew and takes up his mantle. Also Rey fighting a monster looks awesome!!

Unsurprisingly Marvel came out swinging with this Timeline. It’s interesting to see them drop to two movies a year from the three we’re used to and to see TV ranked alongside big screen releases.

Naturally most of the attention went to Natalie Portman taking the role of Thor. It’s hard to nail down what I’m most excited about – I don’t really get hyped for Marvel films any more – I just know I’ll enjoy them when I see them!! If I had to pick I’d say Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness because I love the ’60s comic sound of the title.

Also the mention of Fantastic Four, Blade and ‘mutants’ shows that Marvel will be alive and kicking for some time to come.

I hate the whole talk of ‘winning’ Comic Con but the standout for me was the trailer for Picard. I’m not a Trekkie but watching TNG every evening is very memorable for me so seeing a new show with classic elements got me really excited!!

Ok that’s all I’ve got – no doubt I’ve missed something important out. Let me know in the comments!

Species of the week: Astran

astran

Designation: Sentient

Homeworld: Astra

Notable members: Crixon

Fandom: Marvel [MCU]

Appearances: Agents of SHIELD

 

Astrans were a powerful and widespread species with significant influence. They were humanoid with green skin and metallic bone protrusions that varied from member to member. They were politically in league with the Kree and four other races in an alliance called the Confederacy. The confederacy leader Crixon promised Earth protection from Thanos in exchange for Gravitonium and Inhuman warriors they could control but they never intended to keep their end of the bargain. Astrans were a common sight across the galaxy with a number present on the planet Kitson.

I’ve been enjoying the latest season of SHIELD, which seems to be mixing the fun Earth-bound adventure vibe of earlier runs with the darker space adventure of season 5. I do like the mix of aliens they are bringing in on their TV budget with just enough to sell the alien worlds mixed in with a number of races that look just like humans!!