Jon Favreau Won’t Helm Iron Man 3 (Will Happy Hogan the Chauffeur be OK?)


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Director Jon Favreau has confirmed that he will no longer direct the third installment of Iron Man. The director has been regarded as one of the main drivers (no pun intended on his role as Tony Stark’s chauffeur in the series) that brought huge success to the first two Iron Man movies.

Favreau told Marvel Studios about his departure from Iron Man 3 early this week. Part of the reason, he says, is that he is unable to see a clear direction for the next Iron Man flick, which has been made more complicated with the coming of The Avengers movie.

But one thing’s for sure, we have not heard the last of Jon Favreau. As a matter of fact, he will executive produce The Avengers movie scheduled for release in 2012. He will also direct Magic Kingdom, Disney’s new adventure flick based on the popular Disney theme park. If at all, the director is definitely moving up the ladder, from Marvel Entertainment to Marvel’s parent company Disney. Hey, not bad for a guy who started his movie career playing bit roles in indie films.

Comic book fans are also excited about Favreau’s latest film Cowboys & Aliens, the big screen adaptation of the graphic novel of the same title created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and written by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley. The movie will hit theaters mid-2011.

Batman: Arkham City Teaser Released

Batman: Arkham City video game trailer gets Dark Knight fans all stirred up. On top of the big reveal of Hugo Strange as one of the main villains, the trailer boasts of phenomenal animation. No offense Christian Bale, but I like this Batman more (played by longtime Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy). The much awaited second part of the 2009 hit action stealth video game Batman: Arkham Asylum will once again require the player to covertly navigate through the darkness of Arkham City to complete primary and secondary objectives like evading the bad guys or avoiding detection. The game has single player and multi-player capabilities.

Batman: Arkham City will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation3 and Microsoft Windows. Published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics, the video game has been developed by Rocksteady Studios and is expected to be released in late 2011.

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark – A Brand New Broadway Musical Begins


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Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a Broadway musical directed by Julie Taymor and based on Marvel Comics’ web-slinging crime fighter hit the stage last November 14, but the opening set is scheduled on December 21. With production costs reaching a whopping $52 million, the show has been touted as the most expensive and technically ambitious Broadway show to date.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, A Broadway Musical

For many comic book fans who still couldn’t believe that Spidey now has a musical adaptation, well here it is. Our favorite neighborhood superhero from comics has conquered yet another form of entertainment media, which already include live-action television, animation, Japanese tokusatsu, and even a number of educational series.

As early as now, advanced reviews for the Spider-Man Broadway musical play suggest that it’s going to be a huge success. Most of those who watched the preview performances say that the visual and technical effects are something to look forward to. On the other side of the fence though, there are critics who claim that the show is lacking on all non-visual aspects. Some reviewers even declare that the musical is all about putting the most extravagant show up on stage and has little to do with the Spider-Man mythos.

In defense of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, many of the negative comments were made based on the early performances of the show. For commentaries that really matter, I guess we have to wait until after the opening set is done. But ask any devoted Spider-Man fan and he’ll tell you that the verdict is fixed – this Broadway show is going to be the best comic book superhero musical play ever. And did I mention that music and lyrics were done by Bono and The Edge?

In the end, comic book fans and Broadway musical spectators can only wish that this show does not weaken their respective genres. Also, I can only hope that the guys that hand out the Tony Awards are also avid comic book fans and that they look at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as a dynamic fusion of a post-modern medium and a classical standard.

The Death of Spider-Man Looms in New Bendis-Millar Team Up


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Spider-Man is going to die—in comic book pages, that is. Celebrated comic book writers Brian Bendis and Mark Millar will be collaborating to plot the web slinger’s demise. The Death of Spider-Man will be a new crossover storyline in the Ultimate Marvel imprint where many of the characters in the Marvel Comics Universe have been updated and reimagined, often to reflect modern-day settings.

This is another ambitious new project for Marvel Comics after it was acquired by Disney in late 2009. The new plot is expected to forever alter the tale of Spider-Man. The storyline will rotate within the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man and a new mini-series called Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates. The prelude will happen in Ultimate Spider-Man #153 and the main plot will officially start off in Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #1.

Apart from Bendis and Millar, the creative team will be composed of Sara Pichelli and David LaFuente for Ultimate Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Filipino artist Leinil Yu will handle Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates.

The Death of Spider-Man is definitely going to be a big comics event. So fanboys and girls should start saving up for Ultimate Spider-Man #153 which will hit stores in February 2011.

New Incredible Hulk TV Series Gets Nod, Guillermo del Toro to Direct


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A new take on The Incredible Hulk TV series is in the works and it will be helmed by famed director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth). Del Toro is collaborating with David Eick, the executive producer for Battlestar Galactica. Comic book legends Joe Quesada and Jeph Loeb, who also currently heads Marvel TV, will also executive produce the new series.

Incredible Hulk 1980's

Growing up in the 80’s, I still remember how thrilled I was when I first saw the original Incredible Hulk live-action series on TV. Dull when compared to present-day CGI and other special effects technology, the original series nevertheless embodied the resourcefulness of that era. Instead of stop-motion or computer generated images, young Hulk fans in those days had Lou Ferrigno giving life to one of the most enduring characters in the history of Marvel Comics.

Well, the wait is over for lifelong fans of the Hulk. The new series is the first live-action television project from Marvel after it was bought out by Disney at the end of 2009. Many storyline aspects of the latest television adaptation of the Incredible Hulk will be based on the original live-action series and other previous animated incarnations of the raging green monster. Sources say that del Torro’s take on the Hulk will be basically a fresh retelling of the origins of Bruce Banner and his savage alter ego. But unlike other previous screen appearances of the Hulk, the new series will feature the character using a combination of prosthetics, CGI and puppet manipulation techniques.

The new Incredible Hulk TV series will be premiering on ABC and will be aired some time after The Avengers movie hits theaters in 2012.

Big Comic Book Sale at Planet X Comics


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Planet X Comics in Glorietta will have a big sale from November 19 to 21–that starts today. Fanboys and girls can enjoy 10% on all trade paperbacks, hardcovers, and manga comics. And that’s not all, get more discounts when you buy more — 15% for 2 items, 20% for 3, 25% for 4, and 30% off for 5 items or more.

You also get 40% discount when you buy variant comic covers and comic sets. New comics, action figure singles or sets, statues and other collectibles will be slashed by 20%.

Planet X Comics will also bring down prices for back issues by as much as 50%. Lastly, all Comic Odyssey back issues in comic bins will be at a fixed price of PHP50.00 each.

Take notice, however, that discount rates do not apply to recently released, reserved or reordered items. This big sale is definitely a treat for comic book fans and collectors, especially now that Christmas is just around the corner. Enjoy.

Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I


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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is superbly done. Directed by David Yates, this is the most anticipated first big screen installment of the last Harry Potter book and it definitely delivers both in terms of performance by its actors and cinematic elements.

My only objection–just like many other fans–is that the last Harry Potter book has been split into two films, with Part II coming in the middle of 2011. Also, viewers who have not read any of the Potter books may feel that the film is a petri dish or link up flick where characters are just being developed and therefore lack substance. Well, this film is not the perfect jumping on point for new Harry Potter fans.

A Quick Round Up

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, we see the once mighty company of Dumbledore supporters suffering heavy losses. Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters have taken control of the Ministry and mayhem spreads across the magical world. Harry, Ron and Hermione sets out on a very dangerous mission—to find all the horcruxes that Lord Voldemort made and prevent the dark lord from obtaining the ultimate power that he always wanted. Harry and his friends play a risky cat and mouse game against Voldemort’s forces as they seek and destroy each horcrux.

Meeting Expectations

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is dark and mature. If 3- or 5-year olds enjoyed the previous films, well then I think they won’t be able to grasp the story this time around. This is definitely not a movie for kids. Personally, I like the dark and gloomy scenes. But the best elements of the movie are the very impressive and fast-paced wizard duels–the effects are just awesome.

Characters to Watch

Let me make a confession–I like the movie right from the start, even if I have not seen the effects yet. And that’s because the first half minute of the film shows Bill Nighy (Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean) who plays Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic, giving speech. To me, Mr. Nighy is one of the greatest actors and comedians to come from England. You should see him dance in 2003’s Love Actually, co starring Hugh Grant, and you’ll see my point.

Lord Voldemort is another character that I really looked forward to see in the movie. True, he’s just another one of those archetypal villains who want to destroy things and rule the world. But the mere fact that the character is being portrayed by Ralph Fiennes makes the movie screen turn into something wickedly magical.

Moving forward, our boy wizard is no longer a boy. Sure, Harry Potter still wears those pair of spectacles, but now there’s a fully grown man inside that forehead with the lightning scar. After seven books, the character has become more sophisticated and wiser. As for Daniel Radcliffe, he dished out a more polished acting prowess in this movie, with more substance than form compared to the previous films.

Also, the brilliant performance by Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, is not to be missed (at the very least, she doesn’t mumble like the other girl in that vampire-werewolf movie series). Without Hermione, Harry and Ron would never have gotten past book one. And just like in the previous films, Hermione’s smarts is crucial in protecting Harry and Ron from Death Eaters. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, her hidden affection for Ron becomes more apparent. Then again, we all know what will happen to Hermione and Ron in the final pages of the book and we’ll talk about that in July 2011.

As for Ron Weasley, let me first tell you that he is my favorite character both in the books and the films. But alas, even Ron has to grow up and become corrupted by jealousy. The poor chap succumbs to the evil contained in the locket horcrux, which reminds me of what happened to Frodo in The Lord of The Rings. Actor Rupert Grint splendidly conveys Ron’s personal conflicts to the audience.

Overall, the innocence that we all saw in Harry, Ron and Hermione in the previous films is barely there now. They have become more human and the audience can better relate to them in this film than in all the other previous installments. Indeed, the characters we all come to love have gained full momentum.

The Walking Dead (TV Series) Premieres in Asia on November 5th


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We’ve all heard how The Walking Dead (TV series) invaded the US when it premiered last October 31. The 90-minute pilot episode overswarmed 5.3 million viewers on Halloween night, which is definitely a record for AMC Network, the cable channel that airs the series in the US. Frank Darabont is at the helm as series writer and director.

For many fans of the reanimated corpse genre, this highly-acclaimed AMC series is a sign that zombies are breaking out and finally catching up with bloodsuckers and werewolves in making their presence felt in mainstream media and also in sinking their teeth into our wallets.

The Walking Dead Compendium One

As early as now, the entire series is getting rave reviews primarily due to the realistic cinematic effects that puts viewers right in the middle of zombieland—minus the smell of course. But let’s not forget that The Walking Dead started out in comic book format from Image Comics, created by Robert Kirkman with art by Tony Moore and later on by Charlie Adlard. In 2010, it won the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series.

The epic mythos of the comics series stems from the in-depth storytelling and the well-(and often slowly)-developed characters that just about anyone who’s still living and breathing can relate to. Comic book readers saw how apocalyptic events can change one’s personality. The story revolves around former police officer Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln in the television series), his family and other fellow survivors who all have to fight and be on their toes everyday just to survive. For me, the story is all about the essential facts of life that most of us in the here and now have taken for granted or forgotten altogether.

The good news is that at 11:00 pm on November 5th (that’s tonight), our anticipation for this comic-to-television series reaches its climax as The Walking Dead (TV series) premieres in Asia on Fox. Indeed, now is a good time not only for comic book fans, but also for the dead… just don’t put glitters all over your body.

Fanboyninja: V (TV Series) is Above-Average Treat for Alien Fans


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Over the last weekend, I watched the full first season of V, the TV series. I’d like to say that the first few episodes of the show have what it takes to stop me from chewing popcorn in my mouth. And that’s saying something. Just imagine waking up one day and finding a huge spaceship parked on top of your city and surely your mouth will stop working too—more so if you are a ninja who thought that you belong to the most powerful beings in the galaxy.

In the series, 29 supersized spaceships have appeared and are now hovering above major cities on the planet. The advanced extraterrestrials manning the spaceships belong to a fierce reptilian species. They hide their ruthlessness by wearing synthetic human skin, which make them look like us. But before you shout serialized Independence Day, Anna (Morena Baccarin)–the leader of the aliens–had declared early on that they are “of peace…always.” Moreover, the Visitors or the V’s also promised to share their medical and technological knowledge, which is many light years more advanced than what we puny humans have.

Most people would think that humans would be in a very convenient situation. But if you’re a ninja, you’d have this nasty feeling in your gut that all the peace and the favors mentioned will come at a price. Well, you’d be right. The aliens want some kind of natural resource that we have here on Earth in exchange for all their benevolence.

Still, the quid pro quo may sound fair. We give them some stuff that we abundantly have and they give us the cure to almost all the imaginable diseases plaguing us humans. But there’s just one small problem. The aliens are not after any Earthly raw material. They are actually planning to invade the planet.

Fortunately, we have some people on our side bent on thwarting the evil aliens. The resistance is made up of humans (most likely previous alien abductees) and the Fifth Column, composed of V’s who were sent to Earth decades ago to infiltrate key positions in our society but instead became sympathetic to the human cause.

The main resistance recruits include Erica Evans (an FBI agent), Jack Landry (a Catholic priest), and Kyle Hobbes (former SAS turned mercenary). They have joined with Georgie Sutton (one of the earliest members of the human resistance against aliens) and longtime “columnists” Ryan Nichols (a V masquerading as a human) and Joshua (a secret Fifth Column member and high-ranking V in-charge of the New York spaceship’s medical crew).

I am not aware if V is now being broadcasted locally, but the series was first aired by ABC on November 3, 2009. This sci-fi series was based on a 1983 miniseries of the same title. On the bad side, the show definitely has some formulaic moments reminiscent of typical movies about invading aliens or cyborgs from the future—like humans are always the underdogs. But there are also highlights such as the fact that V is not as overly-elaborate as Flash Forward or LOST. Once you started V, you will definitely be dragged into the following episodes up to the finale, which was not as bad as Flash Forward’s.

One will wonder how V will be able to raise the stakes in the second season. I do hope that this series finds its own identity and a more unique story arc.