Review – Paper Girls #1

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papergirls

Brian K. Vaughan has given us Y:The Last Man, Ex Machina, Saga and more recently We Stand On Guard and he’s slated to release a mess of new titles in the next few months. Right now though, everyone needs to stop and take notice of his newest effort, Paper Girls. It’s a sci-fi mystery set in the suburbs of Cleveland in the late 1980’s, told through the eyes of four tween paper delivery girls, and you need to read it. Because it might just be the best damn thing on the racks.

Paper Girls opens with a dream sequence that anyone who has read Vaughan would find familiar. There’s what appears to be the Angel of Death, a dead Challenger astronaut, and a warning about eating from the Tree of Knowledge. This turns out to be a normal dream for Erin, a local papergirl, who is rolling out in the wee hours of Nov. 1,1988. It seems like it will be an average morning for her until she runs into a group of 3 other papergirls and the story kicks off.

They punk some older boys, have a run in with what might be aliens, set out to retrieve a stolen walkie-talkie, stumble across a piece of strange technology, and confront a grotesque (maybe) time traveler. It’s like reading the summary of a classic 80’s movie you somehow missed and are now asking yourself “How?!”. It’s somehow familiar, almost common, but that’s perhaps its greatest strength. Just when you feel like you know what’s going on and where the next pages is going, you get a tiny twist that makes you keep reading.

The story is slow, but methodically so, and it builds at a level that definitely pays off by the end. Vaughan nails the dialogue, characters, pacing, tone, and attitude perfectly. John Hughes couldn’t do it better. It is rare to see a 80’s period piece that doesn’t come off cliché or overdone, but you can definitely tell Vaughan grew up here during this time. Nothing is done without purpose or attention. So break out whatever rubric you use to judge writing and prepare to check all the boxes.

Art is provided by Cliff Chiang, who brings his A game to every panel. Heavy lines bring the right amount of style and tone to the page. The story flows with art and the marriage is everything you could ask for. Colorist Matt Wilson doesn’t miss a beat either. The colors and hues of the early morning are amazing to look at. The muted pastel palette is by the book, but so expertly executed that it’s hard to think of another example that rivals it. The two of them work together to create a style that is truly stunning.

Paper Girls has positioned itself as one of the strongest debuts of the year, and, in the hands of these masters, it’s got a lot of potential to rise even higher than its stellar start. It’s beautiful to look at and a great read. It will be interesting to see what else Vaughan brings this year, but Paper Girls is definitely going to be a high bar to meet.

Final Grade: A+

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4 Avengers You’re Not Likely To See On-Screen Anytime Soon

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1. Justice

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Who They are: A dude with telekinesis and some serious daddy issues, who is sometimes an astronaut.

Why You Won’t See Them: Justice is the kind of guy that needs screen time to have us buy into him. He needs a role that lets us explore his depth through relationships and background. The Avengers’ group films are already borderline crowded, so adding a character heavy guy isn’t a smart move right now.

How It Could Happen: The New Warriors finally get introduced into the MCU or, if they mesh his incarnations together, he could be part of the glue that brings together Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. We’ll see him show up during the inevitable MCU relaunch/refresh.

2. Moon Knight

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Who They Are: Moon Knight. Perhaps you’ve heard of him?

Why You Won’t See Them: In a world with dark elves, Stephen Strange, Howard the Duck, and a Hulk that might seem like strange and dark are in, but Moon Knight would have to be much, much stranger and darker. While it could be done, the fact is that he’s far more fitting with their Netflix programming, and a serial format is more fitting to him.

How It Could Happen: He’s Moon Knight. Of all the names on this list, he’s the most likely not to just appear in a film, but to headline one. Marvel’s got a handful of blanks in their slate over the next few years that he could easily fill. However, Netflix has already announced the Defenders, so he’s probably being cast already.

3. Machine Man

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Who They Are: The Vision, if he’d been built by humans in the 70’s.

Why You Won’t See Them: The Avengers have Vision. He’s still new and with makeup and CGI, they can keep him around for as long as Paul Bettany can talk and wants money. Plus, Agents of Shield is a thing. If the show runs long enough, there’s an Ultimate story line where Machine Man actually gets his name from Phil Coulson.

How It Could Happen: Someone with some MCU pull happens to be a Machine Man fan or if they sell off the rights to a smaller studio. Jocasta would have been the ideal lead in, but since we’re seemingly done with Ultron that seems unlikely.

4. Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu

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Who They Are: A Chinese MI-6 agent so awesome at jump spin kicking dudes in the face that Wolverine ask him for advice.

Why You Won’t See Them: Even though he is able to dodge bullets and has held his own against some the heavy hitters, he’s still just a guy. Marvel is ok with technology, science, alien and whatever-another-name-for-mutant-is based heroes, but they still aren’t ready to try selling super good at punching and kicking as an Avenger.

How It Could Happen: He hijacked Special Marvel Edition back in the 70’s and rode it all the way to issue #125. So he has fans, history, supporting cast, everything you’d need for a film. Plus, the Asian markets, which Marvel is looking to expand in, would eat it up. Cast a Hong Kong actor in the lead, give it to a Asian director, and Marvel is basically printing money.

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4 Ways Your Favorite Comic Getting Cancelled is a Breakup

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Being a comic book collector is a bit like being a hopeless romantic. Few things highlight this more than when a title you’re in love with is cancelled. Not just one that you bag and board, but one that makes you collect every variant, floppy, and trade. When that is cancelled, it’s not just a loss, it’s a full-fledged breakup. That statement might seem over-dramatic, but anyone that has been there will tell you the feelings and process are the same.

1. It seems to come out of nowhere, even though the signs were there

Maybe it’s fandom, maybe it’s stupidity, maybe it’s love. You just don’t see the writing on the wall. Sales numbers dip, reviews level out, late solicitations happen. None of that matters, though. Not when a story is so well woven, panels masterfully rendered, and characters are defined. You overlook everything until it’s too late. Then, when you look back, it’s not a surprise. You were just too involved to notice. You’re just left wondering how it happened to you.

2. You try to rationalize it in ways that don’t make sense

“It will be ok”, you tell yourself. There will be new titles. You’ll be just as happy with another storyline. A break will be good for you, free you up to explore more titles, instead of devoting so much to only one. Or maybe it will relaunch with a new team and it will better than before. Different, but better. They could always bring it back out for one shots. You run all the scenarios over and over, and before you know it’s been two months and you haven’t even moved your subscription. At some point, you’ll finally accept that it’s over and NCBD isn’t going to feel the same for a while.

3. You blame yourself for falling in love in the first place

You blame yourself for making a single title the center of your pull. It’s easy to love a character, an artist, or a writer. That’s part of collecting. We all do it. It’s just the nature of the beast and it’s foolish. Why? Because the biggest rule of collecting comics is “titles end.” It might be 3 issues, it might be 700, but all titles end. We ignore this most basic rule, out of awe and love, but that doesn’t matter. All titles end. It’s ignoring this rule that gets us hurt. Deep down we all hope ours will be the one that runs forever, but that’s just not how it works.

4. You know you’ll see each other again, but it won’t be the same

One day, you will walk past a spinner full of new comics and see your title in some form again. It’ll be new and there’ll be variants and exclusives. You might even flip through it, but it won’t be the same. It won’t be your run, your title. It’ll just be some comic that you used to collect. You’ll go home, maybe pull out a few back issues, and reread an arc. In the end, if you’re lucky, you’ll just be happy to have collected it once, even if just for a fleeting moment in your comic life.

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“Merc With a Mouth”

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His popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, and that being so, many of the people singing his praises are for a lack of better word, band-wagon fans. Not that there is anything wrong with that. If popularity hadn’t shot up, the movie featuring Ryan Reynolds as the regenerative assassin wouldn’t have happened. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to love Deadpool, but one should definitely have the basics down first. What comes next is just a brief introduction to who is Deadpool, but a good start.
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Deadpool was picked up in his early years by a number of comic book writers who made it very difficult for their to be a legitimate telling of his origin story. The most widely accepted canon for Deadpool comes from Joe Kelly who rewrote Deadpool away from his villainous roots and into more of a morally ambiguous stance. Amazingly enough, one of the main reasons we’ve got such an off the wall and unique character in Deadpool was that of its original audience and publishing. Apparently few were reading the early Deadpool comics and Kelly was being told that it would be canceled on a regular basis. This allowed Kelly the opportunity to get very creative in developing Deadpool as equal parts comic book and comedy.
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Wade Wilson was just a regular old assassin before becoming Deadpool. After getting cancer, Wade joined the Weapons X Program(Yes, the same program that Wolverine was a part of) where he was infused with the same healing factor as Wolverine. The only difference is that Deadpool has quite a bit of control over his healing, allowing him to heal at will or focus it on certain parts of his body. Not only does this allow him to be physically healed, but his mind is always healing which keeps him from being affected by psychic powers. These are neat, but what really gets him to stand out from the other characters is his no-care attitude and his comedic nature which more often than not breaks the fourth wall and will even mock the Marvel Universe.

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Can Tom Hardy come back as Bane?

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A few weeks ago, Tom Hardy said he would love to come back and resume the role of one of Batman’s most physical enemy, Bane. The question is, could this ever be a reality? Most fans of Batman either really enjoyed his portrayal of Bane or was really disappointed and left making jokes about his voice (but who didnt joke around with his voice?, even South Park hopped on this). One thing that strangely bothered me was the fact that Bane had no Venom, the juice that gives him his super strength. With Tom Hardy wanting to come back and play Bane once again, DC has an opportunity to correct a wrong. Now, if you are a comic book fan, you are aware heroes and villains are easily brought back from the dead (if Bane even died in The Dark Knight Rises). The problem is, how can Bane be reintroduced?

The answer comes in the form of the upcoming film, Suicide Squad. Now we enter my ridiculous idea, what if Enchantress brought back Bane? Let’s say she finds Bane’s badly injured/dead body and begins to heal him through her magic. Now, i doubt this would be a thing, but hey, imagine the plot twist. This would only be the start of Bane however.

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What if Enchantress was in fact, working for none other than Hugo Strange to bring back one of Batman’s most physically foes? Lets just say there’s a bigger plot in the DC cinematic universe that involves Hugo Strange wanting to take over the world, starting with Gotham and Metropolis. His first act though would be to bring back Bane. At this point I may be just giving DC a ridiculous plot to go with, but hey, you can’t tell me this would be worse than The Green Lantern movie. I already apologize for bringing up that movie, let’s hope Deadpool goes great.

Moving on, why would Hugo Strange want to bring back Bane? Think about it, if your a nerd in school, who would be someone you want on your side? That`s right, that muscular dude who could defend you. Why would Bane listen to Strange though? This is where we bring in the Mad Hatter, which would be hysterical if they brought in Johnny Depp for this. The Mad Hatter would use his mind control technology to put Bane under Hugo Strange`s control.

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Now it’s time to introduce the venom to buff up the already monstrous Bane. Hugo Strange is no fool, he knows Bane got defeated once and he doesn’t want that to happen again. So naturally, Hugo Strange develops Venom and thanks to the mind control, Bane readily accepts it. Now I know this isn’t how Bane gets the venom in the comics, but hey, since when does DC or Marvel always stay 100% to the comic books.

Some of us may not want Tom Hardy back, some of us do. Either way, if that were to happen, I just provided DC a great way to do it.

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