Now that the Super Bowl is in the rearview mirror and all the talk about casting in the Man of Steel sequel is starting to die down, it’s time to look ahead at the upcoming month of movie-related geekery hitting shelves, theaters and digital libraries near you.
What to Read
Looking over the calendar of February releases in the comics world, it’s pretty clear who’s getting a Valentine’s Day card from Marvel this month. New, original series and collected editions of comics featuring Captain America, the Winter Soldier and Cap’s teammate Falcon are hitting shelves en masse over the next few weeks, offering no shortage of ways to get acquainted with the stars of Captain America: The Winter Soldier ahead of the film’s April premiere. Among the highlights is Winter Soldier: The Bitter March (pictured right), a new, five-issue miniseries by Rick Remender and Roland Boschi that follows the Winter Soldier on one of his early missions as a Soviet agent.
Several newly published collections of older stories relevant to Marvel’s upcoming film are also worth checking out, including Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier Prelude, which includes a new story set in the cinematic universe that pits Captain America against the team of villains known as Zodiac; and Avengers: Falcon (pictured left), which collects some of the key stories from Falcon’s history. Also of note is Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger – The Screenplay, which presents the screenplay from the first film in an official, nicely packaged edition.
Over on the DC side there’s at least one book you might want to hunt down this month – especially if you have a soft spot for Adam West’s wonderfully campy adventures as Batman. If all the recent talk of Batman’s impending clash with Superman has you longing for the days of Batusi and Shark-Repellent Bat-Spray, pick up the first volume of Batman ’66. The hardcover collection includes the first five issues of Jeff Parker’s hilarious, nostalgia-inducing run on the series, which offers up the continuing adventures of the Dynamic Duo in their swinging ’60s incarnation.
With the arrival of RoboCop in theaters this month, Boom Studios has put together four different anthologies of stories set in the world of the upcoming film, which reimagines the 1987 film about a fatally injured policeman who becomes a lethal, crime-stopping cyborg. The four issues are titled RoboCop: Beta, Memento Mori, To Live and Die in Detroit and Hominem Ex Machina, and tell stories from different periods of the new, rebooted RoboCop’s history.
Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle reinvigorated the zombie-movie genre with his 2002 film 28 Days Later, and the story of the terrifying “Rage” virus continued in a 2007 sequel and a series of comic books that bridged the gap between the two films and chronicled the survivors’ further adventures. Those stories are collected this month for the first time in Boom Studios’ 28 Days Later Omnibus, which features all 24 issues of the series. The series generated a lot of positive buzz when it first hit shelves, so fans of the films will certainly want to check it out.
IDW Publishing has always done a nice job with its licensed properties (particularly its G.I. Joe and Transformers comics), and one of its big crossover events kicks off this month. And before you ask, no – this is not a joke. The X-Files: Conspiracy takes some of the long-running series most popular supporting characters, “The Lone Gunmen,” on a wide-reaching investigation that crosses over into the universes of… (wait for it) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Transformers. The X-Files: Conspiracy – TMNT and The X-Files: Conspiracy – Transformers both arrive this week, and given IDW’s success with these types of stories in the past, it’s so crazy it just might work.
The wildly successful relaunch of the Tomb Raider game franchise in 2013 not only kick-started a new series of games featuring intrepid, tough-as-nails adventurer Lara Croft, but it also set plans in motion to reboot the Tomb Raider movie franchise, too. This month sees the release of Tomb Raider #1, the first issue of a new, ongoing comic starring Lara Croft, written by fan-favorite author Gail Simone. If you’re a fan of the franchise or just looking to get the inside track on Lara Croft’s adventures, you definitely want to add this one to your reading list.
What to Watch
This month kicks off with the February 7 premiere of The Lego Movie, which looks to capture all of the fun of the straight-to-video animated features and short films that have been earning lots of praise in recent years and bring it to the next level with a big-screen adventure. The movie is jam-packed with cameos (in voice only) from a ridiculously long list of well-known actors, including Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Banks, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, to name just a few. The Lego Movie follows an ordinary Lego figure (voiced by Chris Pratt) who gets caught up in a quest to stop an evil villain from gluing the Lego universe together. Along the way, he gets some help from various DC Comics characters like Batman and Superman, at least one Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Shaquille O’Neal, as well as a few familiar faces (and voices) from the Star Wars universe, too. If you have any doubts about this film’s ability to make you laugh, just watch the trailer.
The aforementioned RoboCop reboot premieres February 12, and while there’s no shortage of skepticism about the PG-13 film’s ability to re-create the success of the 1987 original, the new film certainly seems to have the visual side of the project down. This certainly isn’t the bulky, tank-on-two-legs RoboCop familiar to old-school fans, but can it capture the magic of Paul Verhoeven’s brutal, bloody commentary on society and the media that made the first RoboCop such a hit?
On the DVD and Blu-ray side of things, Thor: The Dark World hits shelves February 25, and like all Marvel movies, it’s bound to have an impressive amount of special features and extras that fanboys and fangirls will love. We’ve already seen some of that extra content pop up online to promote the movie’s home-entertainment release, but I have a feeling that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Also arriving this month is Justice League: War, the latest DC animated feature and the first to take place within the relaunched “New 52” universe of DC Comics. The film follows the individual heroes who eventually come together to form the Justice League when Earth is invaded by the planet Apokolips and its ruler, Darkseid. As always, the latest DC animated feature boasts an impressive cast, with Serenity and Firefly actor Alan Tudyk voicing Superman and Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) as the voice of Shazam, among others. DC has a great track record with their animated features, which almost always receive heaps of praise from fans and critics alike. Early reviews indicate that Justice League: War continues that trend.
What to Collect
The final item in this month’s list of recommendations won’t be on shelves this month, but it will be available to preorder – and you’ll probably want to set aside some money for this one. Last week, 3A Toys revealed its new line of Invincible Iron Man figures designed by celebrated artist Ashley Wood, and his spin on the armored Avenger is eye-catching, to say the least. Three of the figures depict some of Tony Stark’s most popular armored suits, with one figure based on the original red-and-gold armor, another based on the “Silver Centurion” armor, and the third based on the gray “Stark Industries Prototype” armor. A fourth, ultra-rare figure will be an uncolored, white “prototype” figure. There’s no price listed yet for the figures, but you can expect them to be on the higher end of collectible-figure range. You can keep an eye on the 3A Toys blog for more information about when the preorder will open for these figures.
And that’s it for this month, folks. Here’s hoping one or two of these recommendations helps fill out your to-do list for February, and if I left anything out that you think is worth checking out this month, let me know in the comment section!
Question of the Week: What’s the coolest item on your bookshelf?
Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He’s been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and his personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.
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