Epic Covers: Carlos Pacheco’s Last Piece

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This week’s “Epic Covers” comes to us on an extremely sad note.

On his Twitter page, Carlos Pacheco announced last week that this cover to Damage Control #2 would be his last piece. Not because he’s going into retirement, but because he’s been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It’s a horrific disease which I saw up close for a story I did back in my newspaper days.

But Pacheco can hang his hat one a stellar career in the comic book industry that has spanned over 30 years. And here’s to going out on a high note, not to mention one that comes with a smile…

Damage Control 2, cover, 2022, Carlos Pacheco last piece

Godspeed, good sir. Our hearts are with you.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

An Ant-Man #2 Micro-Review – Meeting Eric O’Grady

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Ant-Man 2, cover, 2022, Tom ReillyTITLE: Ant-Man #2 (of 4)
AUTHOR: Al Ewing
ARTISTS
: Tom Reilly, Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)
RELEASED:
August 31, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I came into this issue knowing nothing about the history of its main character, Eric O’Grady. But I came out wanting more from him. (Kudos to Marvel editorial for pointing out some additional O’Grady stories after the issue concludes.) That’s a tribute not only to the character and his story, but Al Ewing’s handling of this particular issue. I’d argue this issue is actually a little more friendly toward new readers than the first one.

Tom Reilly and Jordie Bellaire do another stellar job, with an issue that looks very different than the last one. Another excellent cover, too.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Epic Covers: Ant-Man #1 by Tom Reilly

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’ve been digging on solid color background covers lately. I showed some love to a She-Hulk one last week, it’s Ant-Man #1 by Tom Reilly.

What I dig about this is that because of the bright primary colors, the one aspect of the cover that’s not brightly colored, Ant-Man’s helmet, draws the eye. That’s obviously appropriate, especially for a first issue. The awesome design of Ant-Man’s classic helmet only adds to the awesomeness.

Ant-Man 1, cover, 2022, Tom Reilly

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

An Ant-Man #1 Micro-Review – Tiny Time Travel

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Ant-Man 1, cover, 2022, Tom ReillyTITLE: Ant-Man #1 (of 4)
AUTHOR: Al Ewing
ARTISTS:
Tom Reilly, Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)
RELEASED:
July 27, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Even as someone who’s not overly familiar with Ant-Man, this issue is a lot of fun. It’s flavored like a ’60s superhero comic, complete with page-yellowing by colorist Jordie Bellaire. Our heroes are squeaky clean. Our villains twirl their mustaches with delight. They even have a cringeworthy name: The Ant-Agonists. (That can’t be the first time someone has used that…can it?)

If this issue is any indication, this four-issue tribute for Ant-Man’s 60th anniversary won’t be for everybody. But Ant-Man fans and comic book lovers should enjoy the ride.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: Ant-Man by @pepitocarnvalj

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Ant-Man is something of a regular here at “Toy Chest Theater.” We’ve seen him play with Baby Groot, confront Covid-19, and help the Statue of Liberty mask up.

This time, @pepitocarnvalj brings us Ant-Man at the breakfast table. Why he’s hiding I don’t know. But I can’t necessarily blame him for being cautious. How often do you want company before breakfast?

Ant-Man by @pepitocarnvalj

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: Ant-Man and Coronavirus

By Rob Siebert
Regular-Sized-Man

This shot from Mashkatul Anuar Ariffin, a.k.a. @mashkatoy, is obviously pretty poignant right about now. There’s a group of people out there right now that would gladly do the exact same thing given the opportunity. Even if it meant contracting the illness.

Is that really what Coronavirus looks like up close? Yeesh. No wonder it infected so many of us. It took the form of one of the sugary cereals we love so much. It looks like like Lucky Charms banged Fruit Loops…

Arriffin can also be found on Facebook.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

 

Toy Chest Theater: Groot and Ant-Man by pop_tastic_man

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Once in awhile, we get a shot that’s pure magic. Indeed, if I had to sum up this piece in one word, it would be magic.

What pop_tastic_man creates here is a truly wondrous, awe-inspiring moment between Baby Groot and Ant-Man. The bright expression on the face is perfect. Plus, there’s something about the way this picture highlights the detail in the figure’s hand. Somehow, that’s what drew me in and sealed the deal on this one.

Either way, this image wouldn’t be at all out of place in the trailer for a big Marvel Cinematic Universe release. Truly epic.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

Toy Chest Theater: RIP Stan Lee

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

With the passing of Stan Lee, fans from across the globe are paying tribute to the iconic creator in their own unique ways.

I found this image from Nicholas Belmont to be particularly touching. Since the news broke yesterday, I’ve seen a lot of “grieving” images from toy photographers. Many of which depict an emotional Spider-Man being comforted by other Marvel heroes. That’s perfectly natural, I think. There’s nothing wrong with that. People process grief in a lot of different ways.

But for yours truly, in times like these scenes of love resonate so much more than scenes of grief or sadness. That’s what we get here. The love and respect we all feel for Stan Lee, personified by the characters he helped create.

Rest in peace, Mr. Lee. Thank you for inspiring so many.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

An Ant-Man Review – Cartoony, But Still Quality

Ant-Man (2015)TITLE: Ant-Man

STARRING: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, and Michael Douglas
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
STUDIO: Marvel

RATING: PG-13

RUN TIME: 117 Minutes
RELEASED: July 17, 2015

By Levi Sweeney
Staff Writer, Grand X

The character of Ant-Man is blessed with slightly more fame and prestige than the Guardians of the Galaxy, but retains an inherent aura of silliness about him. Simply put, how does a superhero whose primary power is shrinking himself down to ant-size actually get anything done? Fortunately, Ant-Man embraces that aura with every ounce of energy it has, and combines it with the trappings of a heist movie. The result is probably the most original superhero film ever made.

Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang, a recently released cat-burglar who’s trying to go straight. He tries to find honest work. Meanwhile, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is rattled to discover that his former protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is developing his own version of the Ant-Man technology for military applications. Pym and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) wind up recruiting Scott to don the Ant-Man suit and to “break into a place and steal some s—” one last time.

Ant-Man, image 1From the very beginning of the film, a tone is established that hasn’t been set since Iron Man. Instead of dramatic orchestral music, there’s fast-paced Mexican salsa music. It’s there from the very start. Scott and Luis are bantering back and forth, setting up jokes and keeping the air light. Hank Pym is an older scientist and retired superhero with a chip on his shoulder, sort of like Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond. The sheer life that Rudd and Douglas bring to their respective roles practically reverberates off the screen.

Iron Man was notable for combining action with comedy. If Iron Man did it a little, Ant-Man does it a lot. There are so many moments that are genuinely hilarious, often involving sight gags and dramatic irony. Likewise, the comedic atmosphere brought on by Rudd, Douglas, Pena, and the other bit-players infuses the entire movie with this fun, silly, unabashedly humorous vibe. Douglas in particular is a great straight man to Rudd, as is a special guest Avenger who briefly shows up in the middle of the movie as part of a silly interlude.

Ant-Man, image 2There are two specific actors who are particularly notable for different reasons. First, Evangeline Lilly, who plays Hope Van Dyne, brings a great deal of emotion to her role, nicely rounding out the cast with Rudd and Douglas. She has plenty to do and contributes to the story, in much the same way that Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Pots did in the Iron Man movies. Her romantic subplot with Scott is partly played for laughs, which is a pretty good way to handle it.

And then there’s Darren Cross, a.k.a. Yellowjacket. Cross is probably the most cartoonishly evil villain ever to walk on screen in an MCU film. He tortures cute-looking sheep. He openly complains about his company not being able to partake in blatantly illegal activities. He casually vaporizes people who may slightly hinder his plans. Oh, and he does business with Hydra cronies.

Ant-Man, image 3, Darren CrossI could write a whole review about how this movie is decidedly anti-corporation and anti-weapon, but I think I’ll let the audience find out for themselves. Cross here is just a Lex Luthor knock-off, with Corey Stoll apparently aping Kevin Spacey’s take on that character in Superman Returns. There’s an attempt to make Cross look like a victim of Pym’s neglect. It’s implied that his work with the Yellowjacket formula is messing with his brain, but there’s no foreshadowing at all. Cross is an evil jackhat at the beginning and an evil jackhat at the end.

But all told, Ant-Man manages to impress me in a way that few other superhero movies have. I got some good laughs, I was entertained and had fun, and it made me eager to see what a sequel would be like. Paul Rudd is great as Ant-Man, as is Evangeline Lilly as Hope. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym and Michael Pena as Luis know how to pull their weight too. As a quick heads-up, there are two after credits sequences. One is at the end of the fancy credits sequence, and the other is at the end of the regular credit sequence. Moviegoers, be aware!

RATING: 8/10

Images 1 and 2 from rottentomatoes.com. Image 3 from geeksofdoom.com.

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