Author Archives: justinmohareb

Biff Bam Pop’s It’s All Connected: Dropping The S.H.I.E.L.D. Reveals Questions

Warning: The following article contains justifications, backronyms, and head-canon. Reader discretion is advised.

CoulsonThe moment when the scales fell from my eyes was about midway in the first Iron Man (2008) film. Tony Stark has escaped his captors, the Ten Rings, and has returned home. Pepper Potts is approached by a well groomed civil servant type who’d like a few words with Tony Stark.

But here’s the thing. He introduced himself as Phil Coulson, agent of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division. That was an ingenious acronym in a storytelling sense. By 2008 the word “homeland” had been abused so much that it would make anyone’s brain shut down. Okay, I picked it up, but for the majority of viewers it wouldn’t have meant anything.  

Coulson leads a strike force against Obadiah Stane (that doesn’t turn out so well), and eventually he asks Pepper to just call them S.H.I.E.L.D. Then we get the post-credits sequence. Spoiler: Nick Fury shows up.

Follow me after the jump where we’ll take a closer look at S.H.I.E.L.D. through its ever-changing state in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

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Justin Mohareb On… Nightmares of Futures Past

Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

One of my favourite Superhero RPG accessories was the Nightmares of Futures Past series for TSR’s classic Advanced Marvel Superheros system.  Marvel Superheroes was a licensed RPG produced by the creators of Dungeons & Dragons that used a unique colour chart resolution system.

Marvel Superheroes was a big part of my nascent interest in RPGs.  It combined my interest in RPGs with my love of the Marvel Universe and provided a streamlined system to play in.  

Nightmares of Futures Past was a strange piece of RPG history.  It expanded on what was the then undeveloped Days of Future Past setting (I believe Rachel Summers was still to come or just recently arrived) and introduced me to the sandbox style of game adventures.  A sandbox RPG is a game where there’s not much metaplot to work with.  The GM & the players work with the world and decide what sort of adventures they’d face.  An evening’s excitement could be launched by a player going “my character wants to do this” and the GM building as tory with the players about the repercussions of that character’s actions. Read the rest of this entry

Biff Bam Pop’s It’s All Connected: Cinematic Universes All The Way Down

NickFury-IMTen years ago, we didn’t have cinematic universes. We had franchises, and every studio dreamt of them, even though what they dreamt of would usually peter out after a trilogy.

But then 2008 happened. Iron Man came out and walloped audiences at the end with an appearance by Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury and the introduction of the Avengers initiative. Rapid announcements of a series of Marvel movies came, and the concept of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began to take shape.

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The History Of A Universe – Marvel Comics: The Untold Story Reviewed

Otto Von Bismark is renowned to have said that people who respect the law and like sausage should never watch either being made.

After reading Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, I think we can add comics to that list.

I’m fairly familiar with comics history.  I’m a fan of the subject, and was around for a number of sequences outlined in this history.  But Howe’s book gathers the entire history of Marvel for one engaging ride.

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Saturday At The Movies: Avengers Assemble – 16 Hours of Avenging

I think Joss Whedon owns a shawarma franchise.  But I get ahead of myself.

There were a bunch of ways to watch The Avengers opening day.  Okay, a bunch of legal ways.  You could go see it during the normal evening hours on the Friday it opens. You can go to the Friday midnight screening.  Or you could attend a marathon screening of all the films in the Avengers series, followed by a midnight premier.

The experience was definitely a unique one.  I met with a group of friends at a local Denny’s for breakfast (it was convenient to the theatre as much as anything else).

Following that, it was fifteen hours of film madness.

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Saturday at the Movies: The Cabin in the Woods (Spoilers)

Cabin in the Woods posterWe’ve been waiting for The Cabin in the Woods for a few years, right? Filmed three years ago, its release was delayed by the bankruptcy of MGM.

For a certain varieties of geeks, it’s a bit of a dream come true.  Horror fans will find it to be a paean to their favourite genre, with plenty of scares and and gore to be found.  Whedonites (guilty!) will be happy to see Jay Dub’s trademark dialogue and ability to poke holes in genre boxes. In addition, that strange breed of humanity that haunts TV Tropes will probably be all over this like flies on day old watermelon.

Alliance held a screening after Toronto ComicCon in March where a sold out crowd got to watch the film with director Drew Goddard (who is very tall, let me tell you), followed by a Q&A moderated by cinema guru Richard Crouse. That’s how I got to see it. It was uber-fun.

The film is at its core about what’s on the tin. It tells the story of five college students on their way to an old abandoned cabin in the woods. When they get there, horrible things happen. That’s all pretty much common sense, and easily gleanable from the title of the film and a basic knowledge of pop culture. But what follows will be considered spoilers. You can either ignore it and come back after you’ve seen it next weekend (and, yes, if nothing else I say registers, hear this: See it next weekend) or continue on in the interests of scientific inquiry.
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