Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Xhibit: The calm before the Storm...

So I assume you guys now know about the ongoing weekly assignments that we members take part in at the Comic Book Nerds Are Hot Facebook group.

Last week, tragedy struck at the CBNAH group. We lost a dear member, Jason Trent, to a car accident. What was even more shocking to us was that he'd just turned 27 on Feb 11 :( . He was a big X-Men fan & Storm was his favorite X-character.

I immediately thought the most fitting way to dedicate my AA art to him would be to draw Storm. Also it so happens that the month of February was celebrated as Black Appreciation Month in the US, which convinced me even further that this time, I was meant to draw Ororo Munroe.

After being inspired by fellow member Will Smith who was just churning out his art (like a machine!), I decided one artwork wasn't enough- so I did two! Hope you dig...You can download wallpapers for both as well as the original poster version for the 2nd art.

In #1 is of all my favorite avatars of Storm! 80s Mohawk Storm, Avengers Storm & her trademark white costume (that featured in X-Men The Animated Series as well)! The costume that I used for her in #2 is her current comics garb (you'll see her in these duds during the Avengers vs X-Men story arc). Check out the different images I took my inspiration from below!

Oh! And I'm now on DeviantArt as well! So if any of you guys are on it as well, feel free to get in touch with me out there as well!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Xcite! Marvel: Avengers Alliance Facebook game coming soon!

There's a new Marvel Facebook game on the scene that not many seem to know about. That's cos it's currently in closed beta, so Marvel isn't exactly putting it out there as yet, besides this.

Disney Playdom’s Marvel: Avengers Alliance should be live by this month or latest by March. The game will be an RPG (perhaps on the lines of the X-Men Legends & Marvel Ultimate Alliance PC & console games?), & will boast of over 100 Marvel characters in total, including 28 heroes.
UPDATE (29/2/2012): Avengers Alliance is now LIVE since yesterday! Plus more images...

Quite a few heroes & villains have been revealed so far & you can check out their pics that are scattered throughout this post.
^The X-heroes revealed so far. Cyclops, Storm, Colossus & Nightcrawler are reportedly on their way!

The X-villains revealed so far:

Check out the trailer below:

Marvel has enlisted the help of comic book writer Alex Irvine to pen the story for the game. Mediabistro's GalleyCat blog interviewed Irvine about the game, below are the main game details you'll get from it:
-An event known as The Pulse has unusual effects around the world. The game focuses on NYC which becomes a target for a number of the world's super villians who are trying to recover a chemical released by the Pulse called ISO-8. SHIELD attempts to intervene but is overwhelmed in the aftermath of the Pulse. To help fight against the new menace, they recruit loads of new agents. You play a SHIELD agent who has to manage a team of superheroes.

-As you progress through the game playing various missions, you get to power up your heroes & also upgrade your own agent character with new equipment, weapons & research. You can also involve your other friends playing the game in certain missions as you may need to enlist the help of the heroes on their teams.
^Mr. Fantastic & Invisible Woman are also poised to be in action for the game!

-Few missions will be in real-time but most will be in game time, meaning you won't have to stay occupied with the game for a major amount of time everyday (seeing that it's just an FB game). Individual matches in the game can be completed in no more than 10 minutes.

-Irvine has worked on the story since November 2010. The story will play out over a period of months for the average gamer. He also hinted that the game will tie into other future projects that he cannot yet reveal.

Listen to the full audio interview to know what else Irvine had to say regarding the story development, what the game will do for the face of social gaming & other minor details...

InsideSocialGames spoke to Michael Rubinelli, Disney Playdom’s VP of studio operations & they had the chance of a demo walkthrough with him & Offbeat Creations COO & co-founder, Robert Reichner. Offbeat Creations was acquired by Playdom in 2010. You can read all the details about the gameplay by clicking on "InsideSocialGames".

To get updates about the game & download some cool screens, visit the Facebook page & "Like" it. With Disney Playdom having quite a few of it's games on Google+, it's quite possible that the game will be even available on that platform along with/after the Facebook release. And watch this space for any more updates or official images from the game!

UPDATE (29/2/2012): Yup the game is now LIVE! So PLAY NOW!!! And check out some more images below:

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Xcursus: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Movie Review

[Before I begin this review I'd like to mention that even though they may or may not be related to the X-Men, I'll still be posting my reviews for the superhero/comic book movies of 2012. So expect my views on The Amazing Spiderman, The Avengers AND The Dark Knight Rises!]

The first comic book movie of 2012 is finally out- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (SOV)! Now I know many of you guys were really hating on the first movie & Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze, but I don't & I also think SOV really captures the essence of the Ghost Rider (GR) character.

The movie starts off with a "recap" that's basically the gist of the first movie albeit in an extremely vibrant, colorful, dynamic animation! I absolutely LOVED it. The best part is that this amazing animated imagery will continue to appear during the movie, especially when there are concepts about the GR world that need to be explained to the viewer.

With the origin of Ghost Rider explained, the movie begins with French biker priest, Moreau (Idris Elba) riding down to the Church to find out if "the boy" is safe. This boy, Danny, happens to be of great interest to Rourke aka The Devil, the reason for which is unraveled during the course of the movie. So Danny & his Romanian mother, Nadya, (the unknown but very gorgeous, Violante Placido) are on the run from the Devil & his henchmen i.e. Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) & his goons. And of course coming to the rescue of mother & child is Ghost Rider & Moreau.

Now let's get onto the various points in the movie. Story-wise imo there was a lot more on offer this time around than with the first GR movie.
The direction by the dynamic director duo of Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor is really good! While in GR 1 things are dragged on, this movie moves at a brisk pace, not wasting time on unnecessary things, keeping you interested all along. I was a tad disappointed though that I wasn't able to put my finger on the exact scenes for which Neveldine went on roller-skates, held onto Elba's bike & shot! Loved the whole tone of the film & the tongue in cheek, sarcastic humor. There was one scene that was cut so well that it was humorous...There are also some very other worldly scenes- either in just black & white, or having like a hazy black, white & grey tone which was very refreshing to watch...

The action is SUPER-fantastic! All of GR's powers are on full spotlight in this film. While the previous movie mainly only showed him using his Penance Stare, this time around you'll get to see LOADS of incredible chain action, hand-to-hand combat & victims crumbling to fiery ash & smoke! If you've played the Marvel Ultimate Alliance game you'll recognize moves like: Ravaging Flame, Fiendish Chains (see below), Chains of Retribution (spinning around with his red hot chain), Fear & of course, the Penance Stare! Another great thing here is that the true extent of his power is revealed- turning ANY vehicle he rides into a hell vehicle.
With roughly 85% of the movie being CG-enhanced, Visual Effects play a big role here- & they were simply AWESOME! The fiery skull looks waaaay more real this time. The burnt look on the skull & bike is a great idea imo, to show that he's been GR for a while now...And the fire just looks way more wickedly cool on that black skull than the plain ol' white one...All the effects are well done & look really well created. You can tell a lot of time was taken on designing things for this movie than was done on the first one.

Talking about "designing"- the costume. LOVE Blaze's burnt look on his suit when he turns GR. Even though Nic's hair in this movie looks SO crappy (reminds me of Tom Hanks' HORRIBLE Da Vinci Code hair), he looks great in that leather suit. If we are talking about the look as whole though, that is including his hell bike, then his new ride may not please motorbike entusiasts as much as the Harley Davidson did in GR 1. This time round GR lights the road on fire with his Yamaha V-Max. I went for the flick with a pal who also happens to be a huge bike fan (unlike me :P) so he was pretty bummed that they swapped the Harley for this one. But what pissed him off even more was that all the bike sounds being used in the movie were that of the Harley! Odd...
Now about the acting. Though Nic was good for the most part, there were times when he was off & it sorta made it look like you're seeing a scene from Superhero Movie 2! It's almost laughable. Especially when he's in human form & is trying to portray the madness that Blaze goes through when trying to resist the urge to turn into GR. It's just wierd. So don't say I didn't warn ya!

The rest weren't bad, but then again they didn't have much to do, save for, perhaps, Johnny Whitworth. I liked his Blackout more than GR 1's Blackheart. Maybe it was the powers of his or simply his makeup, but he seemed more appealing as a villian. I also CiarĂ¡n Hinds' Devil liked more as he seemed more menacing (when he's not getting totally screwed by GR of course :P) compared to GR 1's Devil, who imo just seemed a bit too calm, cool & sophisticated to be the Devil incarnate! Violante frankly didn't have much to do other than run around, bat those gorgeous eyes of her's & show off with her fake but sexy Romanian accent. :P (Now if only Scarlet Johansson could take a cue from her & do a damn Russian accent for the Avengers!)

All in all, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a good popcorn action flick that's not meant to be taken seriously. My advice to you is just to go for the movie with an open mind & no huge expectations & you'll be satisfied. I'd give the movie a 7/10. It certainly outdid it's predecessor imo.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Xhibit: It's Valentine's Week! :D ♥

Firstly, a very belated Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! Hope it was an awesome day for you guys! Check out the Valentine's Day X-related artwork I created this week here...

Some of you may know that in order to satisfy the comic book (& especially movie) nerd in me I'm part of several comic book/X-Men groups on Facebook. I joined Comic Book Nerds Are Hot quite while ago & they've only recently started this weekly drawing "assignment" under the Artist's Assemble banner, wherein every week members submit art for a character/comics-related theme decided by fellow group member, Adam Bayes, who happens to be an amazing artist himself! It's just for fun, no winners are announced or anything like that...

In the first week members submitted X-character Mimic's drawing, the week after we drew Batman's nature-loving nemesis, Poison Ivy. With Valentine's Day being just the next day, Adam decided last Monday that the only suitable topic for this week would be to create an artwork that would translate love in the comics world. After reading that, I immediately thought Rogue & Gambit, but soon after getting a cool idea for a Phoenix & Cyclops drawing, I finally chose to draw them!

The story behind this art is that Cyclops still misses his long gone first (& imo ONLY) true love- Jean Grey...If ya like, you can download the wallpaper (1280x1024) I created for it below:

Not much sources of inspiration for this drawing (cos concept-wise it isn't too detailed), but I will give credit to the following:
*UncannyXmen for their brilliant costume galleries that I check now & then whenever I help to get my characters' costumes juuust right in my drawings.
*Mega-Tex for their awesome gallery of fire textures! Used a whole bunch of images from it for the fiery heart border...
*SuicideCrew's DeviantArt for the fiery background used inside the heart...
*And I LOVE that love quote that I got from Valentine-Quotes! It's so appropriate for Jean Grey & Cyclops since they've parted due to her death...

Do lemme know in the comments if you liked the wallpaper, or if there's any way I can improve my art, cos there's always room for improvement! I'll be posting wallpapers for the next X-related art I create for Artists Assemble as well, so watch out!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Xalt! X-Fashion by Kevin Wada & Max Wittert!

Quite a few of you may already be aware of the awesome X-Men fashion artwork being regularly churned out by the of Kevin Wada & Max Wittert. Check out the other X-art Kevin Wada's created below:

^Marvel Girl, Emma Frost & a cool X-Men group picture with Wada putting his own spin on each of the characters!

The X-fashion pet project of this dynamic duo seemed to at first, only encompass the X-ladies but now it appears they believe that the X-guys need to get their chique on as well! :D But no one's complaining- their art is gorgeous!

Both seem to be huge fans of the X-Men (thank God for that cos we get to see their gorgeous X-art!) & both have varied art styles. While Wada choses to get all your concentration centered on the subject alone, Wittert tends to have these really generous splashes of color even in the background of his main characters. Max's costume redesigns also seem to have this carefree, whimsical, hipster-grunge feel to them as opposed to Kevin's defined, often figure-hugging haute couture.

Below are all the images for you'll to enjoy, including the very latest fourth set. I've posted them artist-wise & in order of the sets they released them in.

Kevin Wada

Set 1: Emma Frost, Dark Phoenix, Mystique, Lady Deathstrike

Set 2: Shadowcat, Callisto, Karma, Lilandra

Set 3: X-23, Magma, Cyclops, Chamber

Set 4: Magneto, Scarlet Witch, Danielle Moonstar, Bishop

Max Wittert

Set 1: Rogue, Storm, Jubilee, Psylocke

Set 2: Polaris, Dazzler, Marrow, Spiral

Set 3: Gambit, Madelyne Pryor, Namor, Wolfsbane

Set 4: Nightcrawler, Aurora & Northstar, Ms. Marvel, Dead Girl

I really love the fact that they've extended the redesigns to even the lesser-known characters as well. Full X-representation out here! :D

For more art from these guys y'all can head onto Kevin Wada's blog & website as well as Max Wittert's blog & website!

Watch this space for more X-Fashion from these two as & when they release new ones!
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