Archive for the ‘Agents of SHIELD’ Category

**Once, a loooong time ago, the Marvel brand was not the cinematic behemoth that it is now. Yes, youngsters, there was a time before X-Men, Iron Man and Blade. Novelist Brian Baer took a 90-minute look into that dark time recently and came back with this dispatch of what he witnessed.**

The 90’s was a weird period for Marvel. Between the chromium covers and bankruptcies, the company had found success in animated series, namely with X-Men and Spider-Man. They attempted to spin that momentum into live-action properties in 1996 with a made-for-TV movie/pilot for a Generation X TV series. That show wasn’t picked up, but in 1998, they gave it another try with an adaptation of their long-running super-spy, Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD.

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The 2014/15 television season has become well known as the season of the comic book television series. While we used to be content with the occasional Smallville or Birds of Prey (ok, no one was content with Birds of Prey), it’s now possible to watch comic book programming 5 nights a week (or more thanks to DVR). While most of these shows have been ratings successes, I’ve been looking at them on my own scale of general artistry and adaptation. To me, not all of them have been stellar, but it’s certainly been interesting to watch them grow, regardless.

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It’s been a damn good year for comic book media. Perhaps the biggest advances have been in the realm of television. Once the black sheep of the entertainment industry, TV is now the go-to for intricately plotted, nuanced and serialized drama. Add to that the continuing dominance of comic book movies and it’s no surprise that countless properties continue to be optioned and adapted.
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This television season is nearing its mid point (when did mid-season finales become a thing? Seems recent to me) and as such a lot of shows are going on winter hiatus. Thus, it feels like a good time to check in and see how everything’s progressing.

The Flash
I think this is the probably been the most consistent show in its first season. It quickly and easily established its tone in the pilot as well as the season-long storyline. There haven’t been any major revelations or changes to the status quo as of yet, and that’s fine. Arrow built up a pretty impressive world within its first couple of seasons. The Flash has taken that world and (literally) run with it. The introduction of Barry back in Arrow‘s second season kind of feels like the Nick Fury stinger scene in Iron Man, in retrospect. Now, we get to see how cool this newly expanded universe can be. The show skews a bit on the formulaic side for now, but its episodic nature only enhances the “comic-bookishness” of it for me. It’s amazing how much more natural a “villain of the week” story can feel when said villains are culled from DC’s long history of characters. Speaking of characters, the actors on this show do a hell of a job. Grant Gustin’s Barry is just idealistic enough to be loveable but doesn’t come off as naïve. Jesse L. Martin’s Det. West has become the soul of the show as his mentorly relationship with Barry has progressed. And then there’s Dr. Wells. Speculation has been rampant as to just what is motivating Tom Cavanagh’s character. I guess we’ll see.

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Guest Writer Extraordinaire Brian Baer provided this look at a Marvel character who has had a whopping zeroo appearances in expanded media. Where’s the Kung Fu love, Marvel?

Writing about Marvel, especially characters who haven’t been adapted yet, isn’t easy. Pre-Iron Man, movies and other media based on Marvel’s characters were as hit-or-miss as DC’s. Since then it’s become a different story. Not only are audiences being treated to high quality films, the Cinematic Universe’s scope is almost too comprehensive to allow Monday Morning Quarterbacking. But this is the internet, after all. So, I’ll give it a shot.
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