Avengers Age Of Ultron Film Review


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Avengers Age of Ultron Movie Review

Review by Paul Bowler

avengers age of ultron banner

Earth’s mightiest heroes are back in Marvel’s incredible Avengers Age of Ultron. This action-packed superhero sequel from writer / director Joss Whedon, the man who helmed the first film, Avengers Assemble (2012), kicks off 2015’s blockbuster season in tremendous style with this epic Marvel superhero movie that will both thrill and entertain comic book aficionados and film fans of the genre alike.

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Following the Avengers latest mission to raid a secret Hydra facility and recover Loki’s sceptre, they return to New York where Tony Stark’s experiments with the staffs power to develop an advanced peacekeeping programme goes wrong and the artificial intelligence becomes a lethal sentient robot – Ultron! The Avengers: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), must unite in these dark times to face their greatest challenge as Ultron instigates his heinous plan to wipe out humanity. As Ultron’s power grows, the Avengers must stop him at any cost, and new alliances will be forged as the mighty Avengers battle to save the world from Ultron!

Avengers Age of Ultron is an exciting and witty superhero saga bursting with exhilarating action sequences, back stories, cameos, and adventure on a global scale. Whedon’s dynamic script gives everyone a chance to shine: Robert Downey Jr is on fine form as Tony Stark whose hubris unwittingly creates Ultron, Chris Evans is great as super-solder Captain America from the 1940’s, Chris Hemsworth is commanding and impressive as the mighty Thor, there’s also more focus on Jeremy Renner as we learn more about Hawkeye’s life outside the Avengers, and the close bond developing between Mark Ruffalo’s anguished scientist Bruce Banner and Scarlet Johansson’s former spy Natasha Romanoff becomes increasingly evident as Banner grows more troubled about the destructive power of his rampaging alter ego.

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Along with the threat posed by Ultron the Avengers also find themselves facing two new foes, the super-powered twins Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) aka Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is great as Quicksilver, and the super speedsters powers are well used on screen. However, it is Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and her uncanny telekinesis and mind control powers that makes the biggest impact when she uses her abilities to mess with the Avengers minds – causing them to experience haunting visions that play to their innermost doubts and darkest fears.

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Ultron makes a worthy adversary for the Avengers and this sentient robot with a god complex soon proves to be more than a match for the Earth’s mightiest heroes. James Spader imbues the voice of Ultron with an unsettlingly cold malevolence that is quite unnerving. Its a great performance, Spader clearly revels in every evil line he delivers as the films main antagonist, and Ultron’s ambition to facilitate the destruction of humanity also includes recruiting Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch and constructing a robot army.

Writer / Director Joss Whedon has a perfect handle on all these characters. The character development in Avenges Age of Ultron is second to none; Whedon uses the 141 minute running time to great effect, deftly balancing the plethora of sub plots, action sequences, and characters in a way that underlines just how well Whedon understands what makes a comic book adaptation work on the big screen. Moments of levity also nicely counterbalance some of the films darker themes. There’s lots of fun banter between the Avengers to enjoy, Tony Stark gets some great one-liners, and Thor’s attempts to understand 21st century America also provides some laughs.

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Needless to say the action scenes are absolutely stunning: the attack on the Hydra base is explosively exciting, Iron Man slugs it out with the Hulk in a spectacular building trashing smack down, and the final confrontation with Ultron is a breathtaking race against time as the Avengers battle to save humanity.

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The extensive cast also includes Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, together with Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, and Don Cheadle (James Rhodes / War Machine) in supporting roles. Perhaps most significantly Age of Ultron marks the highly anticipated debut of the mysterious Vision to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played by Paul Bettany, who has voiced J.A.R.V.I.S in four films, and suffice it to say that the character more than lives up to all the hype generated by the films posters and trailers!

Avengers Age of Ultron is a brilliant film, Joss Whedon has done a fantastic job, the chemistry between the ensemble cast is superb, it’s packed with blockbusting action from beginning to end, and it also successfully sets things up for the next phase of Marvel films coming our way over the next few years.

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Batman #40 Review


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Batman #40

Review by Paul Bowler

This is it! Batman #40, the finale of Endgame, is here! Gotham City is in chaos, Jokerized mobs of the infected are everywhere, and the Clown Prince of Crimes ghoulish carnival now parades through the streets. With his ability to heal the Joker is more dangerous than ever. Batman must risk everything as he fights the Joker in the midst of Gotham’s madness, but there is still one last laugh to be had. Is this really the final end..?

Endgame has been Scott Snyders and Greg Capullos major story event for Batmans 75th anniversary and it’s proved to be their most ambitious, darkest, and epic Bat-Saga so far. The Joker’s return has challenged the Dark Knight like never before. The Joker’s new toxin has not only turned Gotham’s citizens into a cackling army of lunatics, a chemical in the toxin has also given him uncanny regenerative powers, and its even possible that Batman’s greatest enemy could well be immortal! Now, while Batman’s allies and old enemies fight side by side against the infected, Batman must confront the Joker and save Gotham City, whatever the cost…

Batman #40 Cover

Batman #40 plunges us right into the thick of the action as Batman and his allies battle their way through the Jokerized hordes of the infected to reach the Joker. The plan seems to be straightforward enough. Batman must defeat the Joker, obtain a sample of his spinal fluid, and synthesize a cure for the virus. Although Batman took down the Justice League after they were infected with the virus, that’s nothing compared to what the Dark Knight faces here. While the Joker wickedly dances with warped effigies from Bruce’s past, a helping hand at a crucial moment enables Batman to glide over the crowds of the infected to face the Joker.

The way Scott Snyder manages to keep our nerves jangling as Batman confronts the Joker is ingenious to say the least. Snyder completely blindsides us with the deafening intensity of Joker’s counter-strike, it’s horrifically staged, gnawing into the gut as it uncovers our eyes, and it really pulls you into the finale of Endgame in a way that leaves you completely unprepared for what comes next just as it seems all is lost.

Batman #40 Preview 3

Greg Capullo’s art for Batman #40 is his best ever on the series. This issue looks amazing! From the opening flashback to that defining moment of Joker’s origin at ACE Chemicals, through to the Joker’s warped parade with some of Batman’s most iconic trophies, and the raging carnage unfolding around Batman’s allies and enemies as they fight alongside each other against such impossible odds, is all just a taste of what awaits as Endgame moves towards its grand finale. Danny Mikis excellent inks sublimely enhance the finer details of Capullo’s art, and FCO Plascencias vivid colors magnificently highlight the intensity and tone of every scene.

As we descend into the dark depths of Gotham for the final battle, it is here that Snyder and Capullo engineer the ultimate showdown between Batman and the Joker! The fateful symmetry created here as elements from Zero Year and Death of The Family entwine inexorably with the overarching narrative of Endgame, adds a magnificent twist to the speculations over the Joker’s apparent immortality, when a truth that cannot lie sets the stage for Gotham’s salvation in a fight where the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime each get to play their final cards – but who will have the last laugh? This is the moment that Endgame was always going to boil down to; it’s bloody, savage, and so viciously dark that it will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page…

Batman #40 Preview 4

So, to those finale pages then… It’s not exactly the question of the Joker’s immortality that dominates the conclusion to Endgame, or even the resolution to the fight itself, insomuch as the way the focus shifts towards what Alfred perceives as Batman’s own immortality. As Alfred slowly comes to terms with his injuries – losing his hand after the Joker broke into the Bat-Cave and attacked him – he must now contemplate the future as the legacy of the Dark Knight presents a cryptic coda in Endgames final moments as dawn rises over Gotham City.

With Endgame, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have seamlessly blended all the major elements and characters from their tenure so far. The Court of Owls, Death of the Family, and Zero Year have all been fantastic story arcs in their own right. Endgame manages to eclipse them all as Snyder aligns everything in the anarchic totality of Batman #40 where the face-off between the Batman and the Joker finally reaches its shattering conclusion.

Batman #40 Cover Variant

As the major events in Batman #40 bring Endgame to a close, there are some big changes ahead for Batman following DC Comics game-changing, all encompassing universe and timeline epic Conversion event. Snyder’s fifth year in Gotham will introduce a whole new era and see the debut of an All New Batman! We’ve already seen teasing images of the Bat-Bot / Robo-Suit, its certainly got social media buzzing and divided some opinions, and there’s also the highly intriguing prospect of a brand new villain as well. Its a bold move to do something so radically different, however, I have complete faith in Snyder, Capullo, and the entire Bat-Team to deliver something that will totally blow any doubts and preconceptions out the water.

Batman #40 provides a fittingly epic, brutal, and dark finale to Endgame. I think Endgame has been one of Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s finest story arcs so far. Now the scene is set for the next era of the Dark Knights legacy to begin and I can’t wait to see what Snyder and Capullo have in store for us next!

The Walking Dead #140 Review


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The Walking Dead #140

Review by Paul Bowler

Gregory’s attempt to poison Maggie failed when Jesus arrived in time to rescue her. Carl and Lydia have also become close. When the Whisperers arrived at the Hilltop their leader Alpha – Lydia’s mother – offered to trade the men her people had captured in exchange for her daughters return. Afterwards Carl angrily snuck off into the Whisperers territory alone to and save Lydia but Alpha discovered him. Meanwhile at the harbour Rick met with Ezekiel just as Michonne returned from sea with her crew, but as they land their catch of fish for the communities to trade, Rick is sad to learn that Michonne still has no wish to return to Alexandria.

Now in The Walking Dead #140 tensions begin to rise as Robert Kirkman continues to build on the significant changes established earlier in this story arc. Since Negan’s defeat and the jump forward in series’ timeframe, lots have happened, characters lives have changed significantly, and the entire landscape of the world Rick and his fellow survivors inhabit has also altered drastically as a result. The momentum is building gradually, its clear just how much Rick has managed to establish for these communities, but there’s still a long way to go, and there’s a disquieting sense now of just how fragile, and delicately balanced everything still is.

The Walking Dead #140 (Cover)

There’s certainly a lot crammed into this issue. Maggie still has to figure out what she’s going to do with Gregory after he tried to kill her as well as decide whether to risk losing more people going after Carl. With the end of their long journey in sight Carl finally gets his first glimpse of the Whisperers camp, and Rick’s persistence in trying to persuade Michonne to stay looks like it might actually pay off. The decisions that Maggie makes in this issue are sure to have some far reaching implications for the rest of this story arc, and it’s great to see her character playing such a pivotal role. Its also good to see Michonne is warming to the idea of staying ashore for a little while longer, she’s been gone far too long, and I hope she can deal with her issues and remain for a while yet as I have a feeling that Rick is going to need her around now more than ever.

Charlie Adlard delivers another great issue of The Walking Dead. The reveal of the Whisperers camp is the big highlight of this issue. I really like it when Adlard gets the chance to introduce an entirely new location like this. Adlard’s sweeping view of the Whisperers camp is really impressive, the intricate level of detail here is stunning, and you’ll find yourself scouring this two-page spread to pick out everything that’s going on. Its taken some time for this plot thread to develop, but its also built up the mystery and suspense of the Whisperers, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of the their camp and learning more about them in future issues.

The Walking Dead #140 is another great issue, there are plenty of intriguing developments, and Robert Kirkman seems to be steering the various plot elements and characters towards what is sure to be another major turning point in this Image Comics series. Charlie Adlard’s art is as reliably impressive as ever, the action and pace hardly lets up for a moment, and the characters realistic expressions convey their emotions perfectly. This issue also ends on a brilliant cliff-hanger, and it’s the one that we’ve all been waiting for!

New Fantastic Four Trailer & Poster


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New Fantastic Four Trailer & Poster

Fantasic Four (DOOM)

Well, its certainly been a weekend full of new trailers. Here’s the latest. 20th Century Fox has released a new trailer for the Fantastic Four, and it features a look at the FF’s arch enemy Doctor Doom! Check it out!

And there’s a new poster as well!

Fantastic Four (New Poster)

Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Official Teaser Trailer Released Early!


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Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Official Teaser Trailer Released Early!

Batman V Superman (BAT!)

Following the leak of the trailer online, Warner Bros. have released the official Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice teaser trailer early! Check it out!!!

New Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser Trailer 2!


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New Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer!

Star Wars VII Force Awakens Han Chewie

Check out the awesome new Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer 2

that debuted at the Force Awakens Panel at the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim

So excited for this movie! Can’t wait!!

First Glimpse of Teaser For Batman V Superman!


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 First Teaser For Batman V Superman!

BVS BatSuit

A teaser for the teaser trailer for Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice has been released! Director Zack Snyder has posted the short clip on his Twitter account. It featured a close up look at Batman and Superman’s costumes. Snyder also posted a link for special teaser IMAX screening events. The full teaser trailer will debut on Monday 20th April.

American Vampire Second Cycle #7 Review


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American Vampire Second Cycle #7

Review by Paul Bowler

The Cold War starts to heat up in American Vampire Second Cycle #7, its all nuclear silos, civil rights movements, and space programmes as the Grey Trader’s influence grows ever stronger. The smash hit Vertigo series American Vampire Second Cycle continues the new arc as #1 New York Times best-selling writer Scott Snyder and acclaimed artist Rafael Albuquerque send Pearl and Skinner on a blood soaked countdown to terror. While Pearl Jones and Felicia Book set out to reach Area 51 to acquire a powerful weapon, Skinner Sweet and Calvin Pool’s team gets ready to embark on a voyage to the deadliest frontier of all: space!

After the horrifying encounter with the Grey Trader, events take a startling new turn in in this issue, as Skinner Sweet and Pearl Jones find themselves embarking on two very different missions. This issue grabs you by the throat right from the start and goes straight in for the jugular with its terrifying prologue in West Florida. From there its action and drama all the way as Dark Moon Part 2 begins in earnest outside a grim looking gas station in Arizona.

There’s a great dynamic here between Pearl and Felicia Brook, the director of the Vassals of the Morning Star, they work well together, and they both share no illusions about how dangerous their plan to break into Area 51 to steal the weapon for the VMS will be. Optimism may be a bitch, especially when it comes to the USA’s top secret facility of weirdness, but compared to the thought of lunch at the Gobble and Gas it’s definitely a chance worth taking.

American Vampire Second Cycle #7 (Cover)

Scott Snyder keeps the plot racing along, each scene and shift of location melding into the other seamlessly, and even when the flashback to Detroit (1960) comes crashing through the roof the pace and suspense never congeals for a moment. When we catch up with Skinner and Calvin’s team at launch complex 19 in Florida, preparations are already underway for their mission into space to prevent information from a Russian satellite falling into the hands of the Grey Trader’s people – an incident that could well spark nuclear conflict. However, the mission is far from straightforward, the module will be cramped, and Skinner’s opinion of their ride to get them into space and the “something” called a computer is absolutely priceless!

With the Cold War, the space race, and the civil rights movement, providing a heady social and political backdrop for this story arc to unfold across, Scott Snyder sublimely weaves these themes into the issue, heightening the tension as the action unfolds, the sense of upheaval and resistance to change boils away in the background, and the constant threat of nuclear devastation is ever present during this juncture in history. Add the vast legacy of American Vampire into the mix, along with the ancient threat of the Grey Trader, and you have an issue that encapsulates everything that makes American Vampire Second Cycle so utterly compelling from cover to cover.

Talking of covers, wow oh wow! Rafael Albuquerque’s crazy Vampire monkey cover is awesome, and it gives you a tantalising glimpse of the fabulous artwork from Albuquerque that awaits you inside this issue. The hauntingly bleak scenes at the gas station in Arizona really set the mood, before we join Skinner and the rest of the team for our first look at the Titan II rocket. There are some particularly nightmarish moments for Pearl as well, there’s also Skinner’s ongoing struggle with the infection, and Rafael Albuquerque masterfully splices these hellish visions and grotesque monstrosities to form a violently dark and twisted shock twist. The colors by Dave McCaig are also excellent throughout, and bring a rich clarity to every scene.

The issue closes with a stunning confrontation, the revulsion of the sixth breed, and a sweetly horrific cliff-hanger that will have you on the edge of your seat. Strap yourself in for one hell of a ride because American Vampire Second Cycle #7 is a terrific issue, and Snyder, Albuquerque, and McCaig have really excelled themselves with this one!

Bullet Gal #10 Review


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Bullet Gal #10

Review by Paul Bowler

Following the release of the Bullet Gal trade paperback, issue #10 of the 12-issue Bullet Gal arc by Andrez Bergen continues, and will be available digitally and exclusively published in comic book form in Australia. This month Bullet Gal #10 introduces another great character to this IF? Commix series, a new recruit called Little Nobody, who has been given an urgent mission by Major Patriot to find Mitzi’s would-be-killer. However, as Little Nobody quickly discovers, life as a superhero is fraught with oddball dangers and uncannily perilous situations – especially when you are an ant sized newcomer faced with an insanely gigantic world…

After last issues innovatively silent take on Mitzi’s adventures, Bullet Gal #10 brings us the debut of Heropa’s newest hero, the diminutive Little Nobody. This latest issue of the IF? Commix book prequel series from Australian author Andrez Bergen, writer of the acclaimed noir-themed superhero detective novel Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa, IF? Commix series Tales to Admonish, Trista & Holt, the graphic novel Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat, and his new novel Depth Charging Planet Goth, brings us his most quirky and off-the-wall adventure yet in Bullet Gal #10 – available May 1st 2015 digitally and in print mediums by Australia publisher IF? Commix.

Right from the get-go Bullet Gal #10 miniaturises us down to pavement level were Little Nobody is facing the thunderous challenge – and snapping mandibles – of a marauding ant. The flashback which follows quickly brings us up to speed, as we learn more about Little Nobody while he’s hanging out with his friends at the Teen Crusaders HQ, before a surprise call from Major Patriot gives our super-hero newbie the chance he’s been waiting for.

Bullet Gal #10 (Coverr)

With his mission briefing providing only scant clues: the photograph of a beautiful woman, a scribbled pseudonym, and the address for Ray-Man Studios, Little Nobody is ready to set off. Andrez Bergen playfully eschews the characters similarities with Ant Man. Although Little Nobody obviously has the ability to reduce to tiny size, he’s certainly no Hank Pym, he can’t control insects as the antenna on his helmet are purely for show, and even his snazzy looking utility belt holds little more than a few chocolate snack bars. So, when the journey begins Little Nobody soon discovers how everything suddenly feels very small once the world becomes instantly vast and immense around him. The characters inexperience and the haphazard nature of his first mission are what really defines this issue, a simple trip across the city becomes a dangerous urban safari viewed from Little Nobody’s miniaturised perspective, and it is these qualities that make his adventure so engaging and fun.

As the writer and artist of this IF? Commix series, Andrez Bergen has constantly pushed the boundaries of storytelling and art with Bullet Gal, and this issue really highlights Bergen’s ability to fuse story and art in new and refreshing ways. Andrez Bergen’s art blends seamlessly with the clever amalgamations of photomontages and digitally enhanced black and white images, while the distinct noir-infused style of previous issues is defused somewhat, this issue boldly establishes a kinetically refined identity and pace all its own that ingeniously expands the scope of the Bullet Gal series as Little Nobody embarks upon his mission.

The perils and pitfalls of Little Nobody’s journey provide a startling insight into this miniature world. A series of stylish montages and uncanny perspectives catalogue events: from the spinning record that divulges how Little Nobody chose his unusual moniker, we follow his unique trek across Heropa almost as if we were waving a magnifying glass over the page, as scenes shift from the bizarre, to the horrible, and the even pleasantly unexpected. Little Nobody’s battle with the ant is actually quiet unnerving, the latter stages of the mission prove less fraught, and the secret meeting deftly spliced with its allusions towards The Seventh Seal is utterly sublime.

Fortunately the ant would much rather munch on something sweet and chocolaty than the wannabe Cape that’s currently trying to kick its ass; and our tiny hero is soon able to escape from his six legged friend and move on. Little Nobody still has to endure the indignity of being scooped up by a kid with a bug catching net before finally reaching his destination, a death defying acrobatic feat in itself, achieved via the hat of an unsuspecting officer of the law and a billowing line of laundry. After eavesdropping on a clandestine meeting its time to contact Major Patriot, however, finding a telephone to relay what he’s discovered soon proves to be another tall order for Little Nobody to accomplish – it’s a small world after all…

Little Nobody’s adventure in Bullet Gal #10 provides an extraordinary and fresh slant on the events following the attempt on Mizi’s life, it introduces us to a brand new hero, and takes the series in an entirely unexpected direction. Bullet Gal #10 is about as clear a homage to the writers and artists of yesteryear that Andrez Bergen has ever done in any of his works, his admiration for this halcyon era of comics shines though on every page, and this issues somewhat lighter, more off-beat tone, makes it a delight to read.

Along with the release of Bullet Gal #10 in May there’s also latest issue of Bergen’s new IF? Commix 70’s crime series, Trista & Holt #3, to look out for, and the new Bullet Gal trade paperback edition: Its not you its me, which collects the entire 12 issue series, is also available now from IF? And Under Belly Comics. Bullet Gal #10 is another terrific issue in this IF? Commix series. Andrez Bergen raises the bar yet again with this pint-sized Die Hard mash-up with Tales To Astonish. With its hyper-stylish art and visuals, great characters, and strong plots, Bullet Gal is a series that continues to exceed all expectations. Little Nobody may be small but his fun personality is larger than life. His mission turns out to be one of this IF? Commix series’ most unexpected highlights and Little Nobody’s witty observations ensures a wry smile or two will also be had along the way.

Bullet Gal #10 is available May 1st 2015

digitally ($1) and in print form ($5) by Australia publisher IF?




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