This week’s episode kicked off by telling us that Bucky’s codewords had their power taken away by the Wakandans. This is an interesting reveal, but if you really think about it, it makes complete sense and it’s a wonder no one has brought this up before. It was also nice to hear the Wakanda theme playing in the background. That truly is one of the MCU’s best tunes and it’s always a pleasure to hear it.
One of the main takeaways from this episode however is the further development of Karli Morganthau. Through Falcon we learn a lot more about her ideology and what her goal is. There is also further confirmation of a theory previously posed on this site that Morganthau will be becoming sympathetic or most likely a fully fledged hero by the end, having Falcon and the Winter Soldier by her side. That being said though, the show’s writing is very much sitting on the fence on where they feel she is morally, for the most part at least. Zemo makes some very good points about how people willing to become super soldiers are by nature supremacists. He is then in fact proven right when Falcon talks to Morganthau and she basically says she doesn’t care about killing people that step in her way, sounding a lot like a supremacist. On the other hand they show her to be a relief worker and a lot of the sadly quite badly acted scenes between her and her followers are meant to show her as a relatable disenfranchised youth.
It’s quite interesting seeing Sam, Bucky and Zemo debating about Morganthau and her ethics. However, it does still feel like the show is leaning more toward her being right, as Falcon suggests. It’s pointed out by Bucky that she’s no better than Zemo because she’s murdered innocents. Sam rebuts this by saying that she’s different because of her cause. This line here is where the moral dilemma starts to fall apart a bit. Zemo murdered the King of Wakanda and several others because super powered humans killed his family through their gung-ho approach to defeating Ultron. How is this any different from Karli Morganthau killing people because governments wanted things back to normal? In fact, on paper, Zemo probably had more of a worthy cause. As this show is constantly proving him right. People are being murdered by super powered people who think they’re doing the right thing. The only difference is that Sam Wilson is friends with super powered people and he’s biased.
This leads in to that shocking end with John Walker. After quite a chaotic fight between basically all of the main characters of the show bar Zemo and Sharon Carter, Karli Morganthau murders Battlestar. This was really pushing the boundaries of that 12 rating as it was pretty brutal, as was of course the subsequent avenging of Battlestar. It was undeniably a great scene. When John Walker chases down the Flag Smasher and pushes him to the ground, you can really feel the rage building up and exploding out of him. In fact, Walker is probably the best part of this episode. Through the frustration of constantly being beaten or overlooked he becomes hot headed and lashes out, a lot like he did last week. Though we never see it, it’s clear that he has indeed taken that last dose of the super soldier serum as he lands from a reasonably high height onto a car roof without flinching. Unless we’re supposed to believe that his rage has made him impervious to injury.
It’s clear that in future episodes, the murder of this Flag Smasher will be reason for John Walker to give up the shield. Or rather, have it taken away from him. However, this murder was not the act of evil butchery that many will see it as. Walker’s close friend and partner was murdered in front of his eyes, he was rightfully distraught and angry. Also bear in mind that the man who was killed was an accomplice to the murder of innocent people. This is not to say he deserved to die, but he certainly wasn’t completely blameless. All of that being said, the last shot of the episode with John Walker standing there with a bloodied Captain America Shield is sure to become an iconic image of the MCU for the future.
There was a lot of great action and writing in this episode. The scene with the Dora Milaje was excellently choreographed. It was also where we last saw Zemo as he has now escaped. This could be for him to chase down Morganthau as the Power Broker. We learn in this episode that the Power Broker is indeed the person threatening Morganthau and is presumably the Flag Smashers’ benefactor. The scene where Zemo passionately smashes all the vials of super soldier serum throws a slight spanner in the theory of him being the Power Broker. In a later scene the Power Broker is demanding the serum off of Morganthau. This doesn’t rule out Zemo being the Broker of course, it could all be part of his plan and that whole thing could be a double bluff.
Theory Time: As the news of the murder of the Flag Smasher spreads across the web, Walker tightens his grip on the operation to capture Morganthau. Falcon and Bucky side with Morganthau to take him down. After a long and brutal fight, Morganthau dies and becomes a martyr for her cause, Walker is sent to prison and Bucky is handed the Shield to take on the mantle of Captain World (or something cooler than that) in Morganthau’s memory. The shield will probably get a new paint job too, to make it look like a globe maybe.
How do you think the show will end? Do you like Morganthau? Who do you think should have the shield by the end? Tweet your thoughts @TheREALFreddieD and they might be mentioned next week.
Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion Review: Nick Returns With A Fury
The following piece was written during the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the television series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Overview Of Secret Invasion
Secret Invasion is set in the present-day Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Nick Fury learns of an invasion of Earth by a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls. Fury, joined by Everett Ross, Maria Hill, and the Skrull Talos, who has made a life for himself on Earth, races against time to stop an invasion and save humanity.
Brief Summary (Contains Spoilers)
The series starts off with Talos pursuing Everett Ross for the murder of a CIA agent, who had information about a potential Skrull rebellion. Maria Hill arrives on scene and discovers that Everett is a shapeshifting Skrull and contacts Nick Fury to request assistance. Nick returns to learn that not only has Talos been exiled from the Skrull Council, but Gravik is taking the lead with the rebellion. Fury approaches an old acquaintance by the name of Sonya Falsworth to propose an alliance, but to no avail. In the meantime, Talos reunites with his daughter, G’iah who shares with him the location of a Skrull attack in Russia. The mission to stop the attack not only end in failure, but in the death of one of Fury’s team mates. Fury and Talos is forced to escape to fight another day.
Gravik gains the support of the Skrull Council to lead them in a new war. Fury is blamed for the attack in Russia and the death of one of the team members, and is discharged of his duties. Sonya learns from another rebel that Gravik has a new weapon, a machine that can help enhance their strength with the use of powered DNA. The rebel’s next target is the Royal Navy. Their attempt to launch a missile at another aircraft is however thwarted by collective efforts from Fury, Talos, Sonya and G’iah. G’iah attempts to run away but is confronted by Gravik who shoots her and leaves her for dead.
G’iah, however, survives and lives to fight another day. We quickly learn that there is a rebel Skull Imposter posing as one of the Avengers. The rebels turn their focus on the President of the United States, and posing as Russian soldiers almost succeeds in their attempt, however, they leave behind many casualties. The rebel Skrulls tries to convince the United States President to attack one of the Skrull compounds. Gravik is willing to call off the attack in exchange for something from Nick that could potentially tip the scales in the favor of the rebels.
The last episode ends with a short but grand face-off between Fury and Gravik with a special twist…but I will leave this for you as the viewer to experience on the screen.
The summary has been written in such a way as to not spoil too much for the viewer.
I really enjoyed the suspense and surprises that the series brought with every episode. Even though the series was only 6 episodes long, it kept the suspense alive and it kept the golden thread going that is taking place within the broader MCU. As you may recall, Captain Marvel’s movie end where she flew off to find a new home for the Skrulls and this series continue many years later where some of the Skrulls feel the promise of a new home has been broken. Even the blip is referenced and it keeps the memory alive of a world still affected by Thanos’ snap.
The rating for this series is definitely a 4 out of 5. The story had a feel of a crime drama and spy thriller. The fight scenes were amazing and I personally felt the last episode could have been longer to give us an even longer fight. There are many questions that this television series have going through my head that I won’t list over here to limit spoiling the experience for you as the viewer. I can only hope that some of the questions will be answered in future Marvel Studios productions.
Olivia Colman’s portrayal of Sonya Falsworth was really amazing to watch and I really hope we get to see more of her in future productions. Emelia Clark and Kingsley Ben-Adir brought in a breath of fresh air as G’iah and Gravik respectively. As always, having Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is epic to say the least, and I encourage keeping both eyes on his performance throughout the MCU.
I highly recommend watching Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), WandaVision (2021), Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) before watching Secret Invasion. These movies provide the detailed backstory to most of the returning characters. These movies and television series are based on the list of recommendations made in Marvel Studios’ Legends as well.
There is no post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the end. The whole series is now available on Disney Plus so make sure to watch. This series is rumored to tie-in with both The Marvels and Armor Wars, upcoming movies in the MCU.
Prowler: Character Profile
The following piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the comic book material being covered here wouldn’t exist.
The mantle of the Prowler has been carried by many characters in the Marvel Universe. I will be writing briefly about some of the famous characters.
Aaron exposed his brother Jefferson to a life of crime, and while Jefferson went out to redeem himself and become both a law-abiding citizen and a police officer, Aaron continued his life as a career criminal, known by the name Prowler, the cat burglar. Oscorp was one of the targets during one of his burglary jobs. While their he left with a chemically engineered spider, Specimen 42, which was the same spider that bit Miles.
Even with no super powers, Prowler is a force to be reckoned with because of both hand-to-hand combat ability and superior technology that is supplied to him via the Tinkerer. He regularly faces off against Mac Gargan who uses the alias Scorpion. As with most Spider-Man villains Uncle Aaron eventually crossed paths with Spider-Man, who in this case is his nephew, Miles Morales.
Hobie is a talented and innovative kid, and when no-one considers listening to him or giving him a chance at proving himself he ends pursuing a life of crime. He targets the Daily Bugle with the intent of impressing his girlfriend, Mindy. However, this attempt brought him face-to-face with Spider-Man and resulted in a life-changing defeat. Spider-Man gave Hobie a chance to share his story and let him go, only to return at some point to ask Hobie to stand in as Spider-Man for a short while.
Spider-Man was implicated in the death of Captain George Stacey and this encouraged Hobie to use his Prowler persona to hunt down Spider-Man, but in the end he was overpowered and came to the conclusion that Spider-Man can’t be a murderer. He eventually married his love, Mindy and tried to have a normal life. This is short-lived when his little brother got murdered, presumably by the White Tiger. The Prowler and White Tiger faced off in a massive fight but as most murder mysteries go, someone else was responsible for the death of his little brother.
Hobie even applied to join the Defenders, but the application was not successful. Hobie teams up with Spider-Man to help find evidence to clear his wife, Mindy when she gets framed while working for the infamous Justin Hammer. In a similar fashion Hobie teams up with Spider-Man again, but this time to help clear Spider-Man’s name when he gets accused of theft. Hobie eventually joins up with the Outlaws, teaming up occasionally with Sandman, Rocket Racer and Silver Sable.
Hobie and Rocket Racer decides to enter the Great Game, a super-powered fight contest organised by wealthy people. This didn’t end well for Hobie as he ends up paralyzed after the competition due to a spinal injury. A hospital worker who learned of Hobie’s secret stole the Prowler costume.
Upon learning about Hobie’s secret role as the Prowler, Rick went as far as breaking into Hobie’s home to get his hands on the Prowler costume. The next homes he targeted was those of other patients. He eventually crosses the path of the Vulture. Vulture, still cross with Prowler about a previous failed job doesn’t go easy on Rick, but Spider-Man intervenes and both villains are forced to flee. Vulture returns to attack Rick at home and Spider-Man arrives to save the day, webbing up the Vulture, taking Rick to hospital and returning the Prowler costume to Hobie.
I highly recommend watching Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse to see another possible hero wearing the mantle of the Prowler. The abovementioned biographies are covered in brief to allow you as the reader to explore more of the Prowler’s stories and adventures when going through comics, watching the movies or even subscribing to Marvel Unlimited. This is definitely one of those characters who I would like to see explored more, either in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or even in a Sony Pictures Movie. Mahershala Ali voices Uncle Aaron in Sony’s Spider-Verse movies. Donald Glover plays the role of Uncle Aaron Davis in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I’m really holding thumbs that we get to see him wearing the mantle of the Prowler in a future Marvel Studios production. Just imagine him teaming up with the Sinister Six and giving our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man a tough time. But for now, get to a cinema near you and experience Across the Spider-Verse on the big screen.
Kraven The Hunter: Character Profile | Hunting Season Is On
Hunting season begins in October 2023 with Kraven the Hunter bracing the big screen. Sergei Kravinoff is on a mission to prove that he is the greatest hunter in the world and who knows who be the main targets will be in the movie. We experience his rise to the top before the notorious rivalry with Spider-Man.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays the titular role. Make sure to catch the red band trailer online.
A Brief Look At The Biography of Kraven the Hunter
Sergei Kravinoff was born and raised in Volgograd and St. Petersburg. His alcoholic father would beat him and Sergei would in turn take out his frustrations on Dmitri, his half-brother. The Bolshevik Revolution forces the Kravinoff family to emigrate. Sergei loses both his parents and is forced to learn to survive on his own. He travels as a stowaway aboard ships and trains from country to country. He discovers his passion for hunting in Africa. He also changes his name from Sergei to Kraven.
He becomes a wealthy game hunter because of his remarkable hunting skills. He steals a witch doctor’s potion during his time in Africa which enhances his physical prowess and abilities to hunt. The potion helps to decelerate the ageing process, thus Kraven looks like a thirty year old man, even though he is much older. He is stronger, faster, agile and can jump very far. You can find rifles, darts, axes, spears, whips, gas bombs and even blowguns in his weapon storage. However, he comes with many tricks up his sleeve such as poison-tipped teeth in his belt and electronics in his lion’s head vest.
He forms a partnership with Dmitri to help with trading animal skins and ivory that he acquires during his hunting sprees. However, big game isn’t the only targets on Kraven’s list. He meets his match, the web-slinging hero, Spider-Man but Spidey evades him most of the time. Kraven joins up with Dmitri and even the Sinister Six at a later stage to take on Spiderman. He is no stranger to the Avengers. He joins Dum Dum Dugan’s original Avengers’ Initiative alongside Nick Fury, Namora, Sabretooth, Ulysses Bloodstone, Dominic Fortune, and Silver Sable.
Kraven shared the herbs with Dmitri to give them both an edge in combat, especially when squaring off against Spider-Man. He saw the friendly neighborhood hero as a monstrosity and fueled by both fear and rage never quit taking on the wallcrawler, but Spider-Man secured a win over both Kraven and Dmitri, now known as the infamous Chameleon. This resulted in them being deported back to Europe, but Kraven and Dimitri found their way back to America. Doc Ock recruits Kraven and other members into the Sinister Six, but even this team is no match for Spider-Man and this results in their capture and imprisonment.
Kraven is eager to do jobs for other famous villains such as the Green Goblin and Mister Sinister. His job with Mister Sinister requires him to obtain DNA from other mutants. This physical altercation results in another face-off with Spider-Man. A face-off against the Vulture resulted in both Kraven and Vulture being captured by Spider-Man. Kraven even landed in hot water with law enforcement and the Fantastic Four when he got caught supplying hallucinogens to other important role-players in New York.
The above are mere highlights of Kraven’s stories and meant to serve as an appetizer.
I’m honestly excited for this production and can’t wait to see how it links to the wider Sony Spider-Man’s Universe. Looking forward to all the possible action and fight scenes. And will we get to see Spider-Man? Let’s wait for hunting season to begin at a cinema near you.
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