First Clip from ‘Iron Man 3′

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Yahoo! Movies has debuted the first official clip from “Iron Man 3.”

Based on what we’ve seen in the trailers, Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin less than graciously accepts Tony Stark’s invitation with disastrous results. As for the clip, Robert Downey, Jr.’s intensity is great and makes me wonder just what pushed him so far over the edge, if this really occurs before his home is attacked in the film.

“Iron Man 3″ will be in theaters May 3, 2013.

Hot Toys 1:6 Scale Iron Man Mark XLII Figure

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Hot Toys is back at it with the second figure in the company’s new MMS Diecast Series. Joining Iron Patriot later this year is the title character of “Iron Man 3″ in Tony Stark’s brand new Mark XLII armor. The diecast materials used in the figure offer a much more authentic, “as seen on the big screen” look than ever before. Hit the link below to pre-order and see additional images below!

Hot Toys Die Cast Marvel Series Iron Man Mark XLII Limited Edition Sixth Scale Figure – MMS Diecast Series (Hot Toys)

Death by Editorial: The Great Action Comics #19, and Why DC Doesn’t Like Superman

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It seems like modern Superman fans have it pretty hard today. If anyone out there feels similarly, I’m sure you can relate to something I’ve had to contend with: having to defend Superman to a world that seems to appreciate anti-heroes and goofy assassins more than true heroes (I’m sorry guys, Deadpool is NOT a better character than Superman), and having to remind people that the Man of Steel today is actually equipped with well-defined pathos. Basically, having to defend Superman at all, sucks. A lot.

Hopefully, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel will go a long way in convincing people everywhere that Superman’s best days are far from over. Even in comic book stores, it seems like truly good Superman comics are kind of hard to come by on the new release rack, and the sales would seemingly reflect that. While I thoroughly enjoyed Grant Morrison’s recently concluded run on Action Comics, I understand that it’s not for everyone, and it didn’t go quite as far as I would have liked in convincing even other comics fans that Superman was a character to follow.

So, when an issue comes along that has very high potential to be a go-to for the Man of Steel in monthly comics, that’s a feat that definitely deserves both recognition and reward. That issue came out this week, in the form of Andy Diggle and Tony Daniel’s Action Comics #19. I’ve been a fan of Diggle’s for a long time, and while I was sad to see Mr. Morrison leave, I was optimistic about what the future would hold for the title with Diggle at the helm. Although I’ve been critical in the past of Mr. Daniel’s writing on the Batman titles, I’ve never been critical of his artwork. I think he’s one of the best artists in comics today.

So, when hearing about the news surrounding Diggle’s departure from the title, I naturally became worried. Diggle cited “professional reasons” for leaving the title, and though I may be assuming too much, I think it’s safe to say that this falls on the shoulders of editorial interference on the part of DC. More on that in a second.

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I went into Action #19 with a bittersweet feeling in my heart. By the time I finished the issue, that feeling grew tenfold faster than a speeding bullet. Unlike the main Superman title and a few one-off appearances in other corners of the DCU, Action #19 felt like the best of Grant Morrison’s early issues of the title, showcasing the fact that this is a younger, brasher Man of Steel who has very little reservations about getting physical if he has to. Mr. Diggle made the modern, New 52 characterization of Superman very clear in the monologue of the first few pages, where he tells us that he’s here to “protect, not to provoke,” and for me this just culminated in chills when Superman says that he never throws the first punch, but he always throws the last.

This is all accompanied by blockbuster visuals provided by Mr. Daniel, who makes even the most bombastically action-packed scenes of Michael Bay’s Transformers films seem tame by comparison. Not only was this the Man of Steel, this was also a man of power. That sense of awe had been missing from Superman in the comics over the last several months, and even the action of Ivan Reis and Jim Lee’s Justice League pencils didn’t help to give as much scale to Superman’s power as Daniel has managed to do in the first few pages of Action #19.

Then, of course, reality sets in. Not only is this just the briefest glimpse of what the run could be, but this is a full third of what was promised to us months ago to be an ongoing endeavor. After all of the publicity from DC and the Superman 75th anniversary interviews Diggle participated in, the whole thing will be over in just a couple of short months.

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“Creative differences” is not a new phrase for comics fans, especially for Superman fans in the very recent past. Since the dawn of the New 52 in September of 2011, we’ve pretty consistently heard of creative casualties surrounding creators who’ve worked on the Superman character since the relaunch. George Pérez was the first casualty, the man who began the new volume of Superman when the New 52 first launched.

Pérez gave us probably our greatest glimpse at the frustrating process of working on Superman in an interview with ComicsAlliance, where he said, “Unfortunately when you are writing major characters, you sometimes have to make a lot of compromises and I was made certain promises, and unfortunately not through any fault of Dan DiDio, he was no longer the last word, lot of people making decisions, going against each other, contradicting, again in mid story.”

He continued, “ I had to keep rewriting things because another person changed their mind, and that was a lot tougher…They wanted me to recreate what I did through Wonder Woman, but …I couldn’t do it anymore. I did have to tell [Keith Giffen] I can’t wait to get off Superman. It was not the experience I wanted it to be.”

Unfortunately, the editorial decisions wouldn’t be any kinder to Keith Giffen or collaborator Dan Jurgens, as that team wouldn’t last more than a single story arc. Because of these past difficulties relating to the same character, and other similar instances happening with other characters (like Joshua Hale Fialkov’s departure from Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns over those pesky “creative differences”), I think it’s safe to assume that editorial has struck again, creatively choking Diggle and forcing him to feel he had to go. DC’s not commenting about it and both Diggle and Daniel have chosen to remain relatively silent, so until we hear the whole story, I think DC needs to take a hard look at how they treat certain creators, and yes, even how they treat Superman.

We don’t seem to be hearing many complaints about this kind of interference in the Batman office, and I think I know why. In an episode of Kevin Smith’s “Fatman on Batman” podcast, Batman writer Scott Snyder rather appropriately stated that DC “needs him” on the Bat titles to ensure their success. Because of this, I’d think it likely that Snyder is allowed a greater degree of creative freedom in Gotham’s corner of the DCU because A) his early stories (i.e. The Black Mirror) sold well, B) Batman is safer due to his near-universal popularity, and C) greater freedom has likely been a large factor in the Batman title’s high level of commercial success.

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If anyone from DC editorial (or higher) floats across this article, maybe you guys should ask yourselves a few things. Are the Superman titles better because of your hard-lined mandates for the character? Or, would a writer like Mr. Diggle, obviously capable given what we’ve seen in his other work as well as his first issue of Action, thrive creatively and commercially if you loosened the leash a little bit more? Are your mandates so imperative that you’re willing to sacrifice potentially higher sales and critical attention that could be yours by, God forbid, letting a team tell a story that might actually resonate with people?

Or, if you editors really are fans, then are you actively doing Superman himself (not the brand, but the man) any favors by potentially limiting his audience in his 75th anniversary year? Trust me, if comics fans (your audience, by the way) hear that Superman comics right now are “same ol’, same ol’” then I can promise you: they’ll put down that issue of Superman or Action and go straight for the latest in a long line of Deadpool gimmicks (right now that’s Deadpool Killustrated). For me, that’s a travesty.

I am a colossal Superman fan, and a comics retailer. This week, I took a great deal of pride in being able to show people an issue of Action Comics that told a new story and could introduce people to a whole new side of Superman that’s been missing from the entire DC Universe line. Because of this one issue, I feel like I not only know the New 52’s Superman a whole lot better, but that I actually like him more and may even prefer him to previous incarnations. Because Diggle has basically been forced off of the book, the tragedy here isn’t as much for him as much as it is for Superman himself.

Yes, the commercially safe Superman Unchained is coming, and will likely be successful (and quite good) with Mr. Snyder’s and Mr. Lee’s names attached to it, but Andy Diggle and Tony Daniel may have been the team to bring Superman back to a level of quality that the Man of Steel hasn’t enjoyed in either of his main titles for quite a while. Even though I feel for Mr. Diggle, I feel more for Superman, and am truly saddened that the company he calls home isn’t treating their flagship character with a greater degree of reverence, and a lot more respect.

Screw convincing other fans to like him, I thought that DC Comics itself liked Superman more than that. Through their actions, though, apparently I was very wrong.

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…I just wish DC would let him do it.

You can pick up Action Comics #19 now from your local comic shop, or on ComiXology.

Zoe Saldana in Talks for Female Lead in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

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The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Zoe Saldana (“Star Trek Into Darkness”) is in talks with Marvel to play Gamora, the female lead in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” As Gamora, Saldana would be trading in her “Avatar” blue skin for green as the GOTG’s skilled assassin. Saldana is a talented actress with a fan following that continues to build with her experience in genre films, so this would be another huge get for Marvel. I’ve long had her pegged as my favorite to play Wonder Woman one day, but since that character does not appear to be headed toward a silver screen anytime soon, it would be to Marvel’s credit to sign her up first.

Directed by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy” will be released on August 1, 2014.

MMM Podcast #114: The Mortal Wolverine

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Despite the lack of footage scene from the film, The Gentlemen have previously expressed a lot of confidence in “The Wolverine.” Now that the trailer has (FINALLY!) been released alongside an international companion, does their confidence in the James Mangold film still remain? Suspect visual effects and continuity questions aside, we discuss whether or not this is the film to pull the title character out of the pit he sank into with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” four years ago. We also examine what Robert Redford brings to the table for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and what Bruce Timm’s stepping down and James Tucker’s ascension mean for Warner Bros. Animation.

Download the show HERE.

Marvel Previews Phase 2

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Today marks the release of the long-delayed “Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One- Avengers Assembled” 10-disc box set. Included in the set is a preview of Marvel’s Phase Two, a clip of which Marvel released today (see below). The clip focuses on “Iron Man 3,” but all Phase Two films are addressed in the full-length feature, including the first footage from “Thor: The Dark World.” Check out the video and, if you are so inclined, order the box set below.

Brilliant Concept Art for Marvel’s Phase 2 Films!

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Geek Zenith has unveiled four stunning pieces of concept art from Marvel’s Phase 2. The first image, shown above, is from “Captain America: The Winter Solider.” The remaining three, shown below, are from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

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Let there be no doubt that Marvel is going full blown cosmic with “Guardians of the Galaxy” with the above images looking like a cross between “Star Wars” and Joss Whedon’s “Firefly.” Granted, this is only concept art and plenty can change once filming starts, but the scope of “GOTG” could be much bigger than initially thought.

UPDATE: Redford to Play ‘Head of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ in ‘Cap’ Sequel

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UPDATE: Robert Redford told Spinoff that he’ll be playing, “the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Immediately, one has to wonder what this means for Nick Fury in Phase 2. It could mean nothing at all if Redford is playing the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. in flashbacks covering the Winter Soldier’s time between World War II and the present day Marvel Cinematic Universe. It could mean trouble for Fury, however, if Redford’s boss role is inserted in response to Fury’s refusal to obey orders and nuke New York in “The Avengers.”

I’d guess and hope for the latter, as I’m eager to see Redford and Samuel L. Jackson go toe-to-toe. Who knows? Maybe Redford’s character will be both of those things.

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Deadline reports Marvel Studios could be closing in on a major casting coups by talking to actor Robert Redford about joining the cast for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Redford is being looked at for a senior leadership role within S.H.I.E.L.D. Perhaps this character will be put in place to keep Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who went a bit rogue during the nuclear strike in “The Avengers,” in check. Kevin Feige has previously described the Cap sequel as a “political thriller,” to which Redford is no stranger. His presence would go a long way in adding credibility to Marvel’s apparent attempt to stretch the film beyond the usual superhero fare.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will be released on April 4, 2014.

First Full Trailer for ‘The Wolverine’ Arrives!

After days of teases, the first full trailer for “The Wolverine” is finally live!

Here’s the International Version …

… and you can see some alternate bits and pieces in an exclusive Apple cut.

It looks pretty fantastic. Energetic fight choreography, a good variety of locations, Jackman bringing his infinite levels of physical and emotional commitment, and the promise of an interesting dilemma for everyone’s favorite mutton-chopped mutant.

Let’s just hope they don’t de-power him too much. It’s always fun to see our heroes challenged, but not at the expense of taking too much away from who and what they are. If these trailers are any indication, it looks like director James Mangold is striking a pretty good balance. And it’s also pretty cool how they’ve found a way to take a classic story from the comics and update it in a way that fits after the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand.” With Bryan Singer’s upcoming “Days of Future Past” promising to show us, well, the future and the past, this may be our only true glimpse into present-day X-Men movie continuity for a while.

We’ll find out on July 26!

From Batman to Superman to the Avengers and Beyond! Our Heroes. Our Mythology.