Books Comics

Exclusive Interview: “Mockingbird: Strike Out” Author Maria Lewis


Like many female characters in fiction, the Marvel Comics character Mockingbird has often been defined more by what male character she was standing next to than by her own abilities or adventures. It’s something writer Maria Lewis was not only well aware of when she started writing the novel Mockingbird: Strike Out (paperback, Kindle), but — as she explains in the following email interview — also something she was determined not to do.

Books Comics

Exclusive Interview: “Wastelanders: Star-Lord” Writer Sarah Cawkwell


Written by noted comic book scribe Benjamin Percy, Wastelanders: Star-Lord was originally presented as a 10 episode audio drama with The West Wing‘s Timothy Busfield voicing Peter Quill / Star-Lord, Groundhog Day‘s Chris Elliot as Rocket Racoon, and Ugly Betty‘s Vanessa Williams as Emma Frost.

But some people prefer to read stories themselves. It is for them that we present the following email interview with writer Sarah Cawkwell, who adapted Percy’s original script into the new novel Wastelanders: Star-Lord (paperback, Kindle).

In this Q&A, Cawkwell discusses how she got this plum gig, and what it took to convert the script into a novel.


Exclusive Interview: “Marvel: Crisis Protocol: Into The Dark Dimension” Author Stuart Moore


Like the movies, games, and TV shows, the novels about Spider-Man, Iron Man, and their super friends that are published by Aconyte Books are usually based on, and often connected to, Marvel Comic’s, well, comics. But sometimes the connection isn’t so direct. Take Stuart Moore’s new novel Marvel: Crisis Protocol: Into The Dark Dimension (paperback, Kindle), which is the second he’s written about the comic-inspired miniatures game Marvel: Crisis Protocol. In the following email interview, Moore discusses how this story connects to the games, the comics, and to Carrie Harris’ Marvel: Crisis Protocol novel, Shadow Avengers.

Books Comics

Exclusive Interview: “Sound Of Light” Author Amanda Bridgeman


Writer / director Cameron Crowe recently set the Internet ablaze when he mentioned that he’d love to make a Marvel movie based about the musical mutant, Dazzler. But while comic book fans were excited by the idea, not everyone is as familiar with this member of the X-Men as, say, Wolverine or Professor X. No matter. Now you can learn more about her in Amanda Bridgeman’s new novel Sound Of Light: A Marvel: School Of X Novel (paperback, Kindle) — which, in turn, you can learn more about in the following email interview.

Books Comics

Exclusive Interview: “Marvel: Crisis Protocol: Shadow Avengers” Author Carrie Harris


In her new novel Marvel: Crisis Protocol: Shadow Avengers (paperback, Kindle), writer Carrie Harris gets to send Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and other Marvel Comics characters on an epic adventure. But it’s not one that’s related to the comics, or based on the movies and TV shows, or connected to the video games; instead, it’s inspired by the miniatures game Marvel: Crisis Protocol made by Atomic Mass Games. In the following email interview, Harris discusses what inspired and influenced this novel, as well as how it connects to the game she loves to play.

Comics DVDs/Blu-rays Movies Reviews

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” DVD Review


Like people who prefer to listen to music on CD, or still subscribe to cable TV, people who buy movies on DVD often feel like they’re an afterthought or second class citizens. Which may not be the intent, but it’s hard not to sigh loudly when one of your favorite band’s new album is only available digitally, one of your favorite shows has a new installment only available on a streaming service, or your favorite movie of the last year is released on home video, but the DVD version has fewer extras than the Blu-ray and 4K editions.

Which is where standard definition fans of Spider-Man: No Way Home find themselves: sighing hard. While the Blu-ray and 4K editions come almost fully-loaded, the DVD has just two of the sixteen available extras.

But while it may not be fair, for people considering buying Spider-Man: No Way Home on DVD — especially if they only want it for the movie — this isn’t a bad way to watch Spidey’s new adventure, all things considered.

Spider-Man No Way Home
For those who didn’t see it in theaters,

Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up right where Spider-Man: Far From Home ended: With Mysterio outing Peter Parker as Spider-Man, and laying the blame for the crimes he committed in the previous movie right at Spidey’s feet. In an attempt to rectify the situation, our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler does what anyone would do: He asks his local wizard to mess with the fabric of reality. But wait, hang on, don’t mess with M.J.’s memories. Or Ned’s. Dang it, now you’ve done it; the barriers between our world and parallel ones in the multiverse have been weakened. And here come the bad guys.

As you can probably guess if you’ve seen any Marvel movie since Captain America: Civil War (save for Eternals), Spider-Man: No Way Home is an exciting, clever, smartly written action movie that just as easily could’ve been called Avengers…something. The Avengers In The Multiverse Of Madness — that has a nice ring to it. And it would explain why the aforementioned wizard is Dr. Strange, and why his and Peter’s co-stars include Strange’s pal Wong, Happy Hogan, and some super people I won’t mention.

That said, Spider-Man: No Way Home does do right by some of the super people I’d rather not mention: the aforementioned bad guys. (Suffice it to say, the rest of this paragraph and the one that follows come with a SPOILER warning for people who managed to not have this movie’s secrets spoiled.) While Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of the Green Goblin is as solid as it was in Spider-Man, Alfred Molina does an even better job of bringing Doctor Octopus to life than he did in Spider-Man 2, and the same can be said of Jamie Foxx’s take on Electro, which didn’t work in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but does here.

As for the super heroes who aren’t bad guys, like Dafoe and Malina, Andrew Garfield is still a rock solid Spidey, while Tobey Maguire, who always felt off when he put on the onesie, works much better here, in part because — like Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, uh, Ford in Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull — Maguire doesn’t try to pretend to be as young as he was when he first donned the suit.

(End of spoilers)

As good as the returning players are, though,

the real stars of Spider-Man: No Way Home are the current Spidey and his pals. Tom Holland remains the best Spider-Man by far, and he’s clearly met his match in Zendaya (M.J.), Jacob Batalon (Ned), and Marisa Tomei (Aunt May).

In fact, one of the many highlights of Spider-Man: No Way Home come when M.J. and Ned have to work together, and in service of Spider-Man’s quest, but without the titular superboy at their side.

All of which puts Spider-Man: No Way Home on par with the previous Spidey movies, Homecoming and Far From Home, and the best Marvel movies: Iron Man, Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, and Captain Marvel.

As for how Spider-Man: No Way Home looks and sounds on the DVD, well, not as bad as you might expect. Especially if most of your experience watching standard definition stuff on a high definition TV is limited to when you accidentally DVR Rick & Morty from the wrong version of Cartoon Network. Sure, the image isn’t as sharp as it would be in HD, but it is clear and not at all fuzzy. And the sound is even better, especially if you have a home theater that supports surround sound.

More importantly, the Spider-Man: No Way Home DVD presents the movie with the original letterbox dimensions, not full-screen, pan & scan, windowboxed, or pillarboxed.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, the DVD version of Spider-Man: No Way Home is rather lacking when it comes to the extras. Unlike the 4K and Blu-ray editions, the DVD only has 2 of the 7 behind-the-scenes featurettes (it’s missing “Action Choreography Across The Multiverse,” “A Multiverse Of Miscreants,” “Enter Strange,” “Realities Collide, Spiders Unite,” and “Weaving Jon Watt’s Web”); neither of the two roundtable panels (“The Sinister Summit, Villains Panel with Dafoe, Molina, and Foxx” or “A Meeting Of The Spiders, Heroes Panel”); none of the “Stories From The Daily Bugle,” whatever those may be, or any of the “Stunt Scenes Previsualizations” featurettes for the “Apartment Fight” or the “Shield Fight.”

Though what they did include…

on the Spider-Man: No Way Home DVD — “A Spectacular Spider-Journey With Tom Holland” and “Graduation Day” — are good.

In the former, Holland, his No Way co-stars, and the filmmakers talk about his time as Spidey, with footage from both Holland’s auditions and the set of the new movie.

Then, in the latter, Holland, Zendaya, Batalon, and Tony Revolori (who played Flash Thompson), discuss working on all three Spider-Man movies, and what it, and No Way Home, mean to them personally and professionally.

Neither of which will shock you, of course — they’re making-of featurettes on an officially released Sony product, after all — but they do provide interesting insights into the stars of the movie.

Though why they didn’t include something about the actual making of the movie — or even the main conceit of the film, the multiverse aspects — is beyond me.

It’s also beyond me why, with all the extras they did include, the 4K and Blu-ray versions of Spider-Man: No Way Home are apparently incomplete as well. For starters, they don’t have any kind of running commentary. Not being able to hear Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon wax philosophic while Cumberbatch verbally shakes his head at these damn kids is just tragic; as is not being able to hear the same from Holland and two of his other co-stars I promised not to spoil.

And none of the versions — not the 4K, Blu-ray, or DVD — have the movie’s trailers, which is especially annoying given that it does have the ones for some unrelated movies. Though they do have some that are relevant as well; specifically, Morbius, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Holland’s Uncharted movie.

Spider-Man No Way Home


DVD is not the best way to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home if you can help it. And for people who do prefer this format, or have no choice, this DVD should’ve been much better. But if you’re just getting this DVD for the movie — the excellent movie — and maybe one more chance to hang out with Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon until the inevitable fourth film (Spider-Man: Home For The Holidays? Spider-Man: Home Alone? I got a million of them), the DVD of Spider-Man: No Way Home is a solid way to enjoy this exciting, engaging, and hopefully not spoiled superhero action flick.

SCORE: 7.0/10



Comics PC PlayStation 4 PlayStation 5 Reviews Switch Video Games Xbox One Xbox Series S Xbox Series X

“Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy” Video Game Review


It doesn’t matter what you put on a pizza; if the cheese, sauce, and crust aren’t good, the pizza won’t be good, no matter what you pile on top. The same is true for combative action games. If the combat is bad, the game is bad, no matter what other mechanics there might be. Which is the problem with Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC), a story-driven, sci-fi, third-person shooter whose problematic combat and other rather basic problems somewhat undermine an otherwise entertaining space adventure.

Comics DVDs/Blu-rays Movies

Captain Marvel Blu-ray, 4K, DVD Review


When Captain Marvel came out earlier this year, people applauded Marvel for finally giving a female superhero her own movie, while pointing out that it shouldn’t have taken nearly two-dozen films. So it’s a little odd that the home versions of Captain Marvel — a Blu-ray/Digital combo pack, and 4K/Blu-ray/Digital combo pack, and DVD — would themselves be unfair towards people who don’t have HD TVs, and even then for people who’d rather buy this movie digitally.

Comics Movies Reviews

Captain Marvel Review


While the Marvel movies introduce new characters with almost every installment, it’s been a while since they’ve done an origin story that’s as exciting, clever, and just plain well done as Captain Marvel. In fact, you’d have to go back eight years, to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, to find an introduction that’s this effortlessly exhilarating.