Friday, June 26, 2009

Uncanny X-Men #512 Review

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Yanick Paquette
To get the ball rolling, I adore this cover. Yanick Paquette is my kind of artist and I happen to enjoy his work a lot. Now, I have heard quite a few people dislike him and I understand this considering Young X-Men's limited palette of yellow, orange, black and brown or so it appeared. and then the Uncanny Annual cover looked like crap. But generally, I find Paquette does an amazing job and I advise you to ignore the naysayers since they seem to also like the childish and repetitive works of Dodson.

The format for this review is going to be different. Even though I've been summarizing things more and more lately, this time I advise you either read the issue or look up a summary because 45 pages to summarize is too much for me. This time I'm going to comment on a couple things and I noticed and then give an overall opinion. Basically, a shorter entry.

Something that I will never get over is how many times I have to read M-Day explained. This time around it was just the first two panels of the first page, but it was two panels too many after Astonishing and Uncanny double-teaming to explain it every issue it seems. Why not include the entire idea of the X-Men? "The X-Men were originally founded under the ideas of Charles Xavier who dreamed of peaceful coexistence..."

Another annoyance is Fraction's Craptions. From now on I'm going to include the worst few of the bunch as a special part of my post. Here's this issue's:

Now, the X-Club thus far in Uncanny has mostly served to bore and annoy most of the readers I've been around. Luckily, the addition of Elizabeth, Psylocke, is absolutely what the team needs. Plus, I LOVED Paquette's Psylocke in Ultimate X-Men and I'm hoping he gets the artist position on the upcoming Psylocke mini-series. (That may suck since apparently one of the reasons why she's a good character is that she's sexy. How the hell? I'm sure people'd flip their shit if a female writer used sexy as one of the reasons why a guy hero's a good character.) Just so everyone knows, while Emma is my #1 X-Man, Psylocke happens to be my second favorite.

Wonderful news! Betsy's psychic again! Not fully, but still. Also, how many fucking ...'s are needed here? Must've taken forever for her to get those lines out.

And then Beast explains the reason why he asked about her powers is that he stands out and he doesn't want to be bothered by:

A little bit too dramatic egh?
Yanick dear did not seem to understand the depressed face might be overdoing it.
Or maybe it was Fraction's fault. Whatevs.
The team travels back in time and we get a group shot of joy. Particularly joyous because Psylocke looks stunning in that outfit:

Bets is so gorgeous!
At one point the seers see the science team coming and I found this panel a bit haunting:

Another underlying thing going on within this issue seems to be the possible re-pairing of Betsy and Warren who teamed up together often. I found this a bit weird though:

Warren, the woman can fly!
She doesn't even need to flap, she just thinks about it.
And one last panel of joy before the overall recap:

Oh Betsy, I love you.
By the way, I hope Fraction realizes that that's a psychic knife and not her TK katana.
Plus, she probably shouldn't be shoving a sword that's supposed to be like a real one in people's heads. Unless she wants to join X-Force.
Now for the overall.
This issue was a rare one that was not hindered by the atrocious works of Dodson or Land. Even better is that Fraction's story was wonderful, I got so caught up in it that for once I wasn't also reading it critically. I suggest everyone pick this story up since finally the science team does something useful and it's just a genuinely entertaining story. That's all, see you next issue (next week!).

Astonishing X-men #30 Review

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Simone Bianchi
To start off, the first thing I noticed about this issue was the change in the positions of Emma and Storm on the cover which was a REALLY smart move. Before Storm looked sort of confusing and Emma was crunched into the background, and it was just Humberto Ramos positioning. What is Humberto Ramos positioning you may ask?

It's cramping people together and not using your space wisely. Some characters are barely seen (X-23 is right by Colossus' arm, blink and you'll miss her) and then some characters take up too much room (Colossus). Many readers seem to think he's a "wonderful" artist, but fucking A, he positions characters like I did when I was 12! This man is paid to deliver, so why not criticize an inability to make wise use of the space. That's Drawing 101 shit! I know, I just took it last semester.
Anyway, props to whoever was in charge of the cover change. Now to the story!

The X-Men are confronting Forge, he's very obviously out of his mind and they talk about the whole "new mutants" thing. We know Forge is crazy, and he apparently displays it openly.

In a metal thong. Good f$%^ing heavens.
The X-Men continue discussing how Forge did not "make" new mutants like he thinks he did and the unthinkable happens.

Forge insults Emma, and she says nothing! I'm sorry, she is not above kicking a man when he's down and she should've went on about how no one cares for Forge. Later on in the issue it was made clear it was an insecurity of his, so it would've been an effective shot.

So Forge, being the boring person that he is, tries to make a case for his sanity all the while threatening to sic his Cenobites on the X-Men should they tick him off. It's really mundane and predictable.
Something to note though is the poor quality of the art. The sharpness of previous issues is really absent and everything has a flawed watercolor feel to it. That and Emma looks like a cross between the Little Mermaid and a bad anime character.

In the middle of redundant plots moves, something even more unfortunate occurs.

Ellis tries to be trendy. It fails miserably.
Still here, Hisako? That's a shame.
The phone call is from Abby Brand and she's got a big honkin' laser pointed at Forge's location since she knows there's a ghost box in there. For the first time, I genuinely have love for Miss Brand because in this case the X-Men are playing it like stupid motherfuckers. After seeing his freak creations who have power dampeners, who's very existence demonstrates mental instability within him, they charge and note that they're losing their powers. Even if they succeeded in beating Forge, the fact is they took a huge risk and very unprepared.

Wolverine cuts off Forge's leg, apparently the source of the power inhibitor. And heaven and hell open up before us:

First, jesus Ellis, did you not pay attention to Whedon's writing? Hisako is meant to be generally levelheaded and refreshingly human. Not a fucking dits! Even if you wrote her right, Hisako, WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?!

Second, I have to say it always excites me to no end when I see a telepath reach for their head. Go Miss Frost! Liquify Forge's synapses!

In desperation, Forge opens the Ghost Box and sends his new mutants to keep the X-Men there.
But the X-Men do something I love every time I see it:

They flash their powers in a group shot and oh the nostalgia because this is the scene that plays in my head every time I see something like this.

Meanwhile, Storm tries to appeal to Forge to get out of there. And then this gem shows up:

Group shot and homoerotic undertones!
But seriously boys, keep the spanking in the bedroom.
Problem going on here is the team is strapped for time since Beast said for Brand to lock on the phone's position and shoot the laser there soon. Storm gives up on Forge and blasts a path for them with her weather powers. In a scene I feel is so reminiscent of the animated series, I just wish she would've shouted out one of her weather haikus. "Thunder, destroy the freaks my ex-lover has created!" For real, I would've cried tears of joy to see that.

The team leaves, the laser is shot, and Forge is "dead" until he's needed again. From there, he will have some insane explanation for his surviving a massive laser. Anyway, the ghost box teleports the laser beam, frying those who would hope to invade earth and the mission is done. Things wrap up in conversation, finishing the Ororo/Scott conflict built up earlier and other things. The end for now.

Overall, the art has suffered a lot this issue. Plus, yet again Astonishing is hindered by a slow artist, not that I don't think he's phenomenally talented, but he's slow. And yet again, we had the problems of delays that make people think that Astonishing is now a subpar book that most have dropped. Ellis writes more plot-based than character-based in my opinion and it shows in his inability to write Emma or Hisako. Unfortunately, he chose a plot going over M-Day AGAIN, which was overdone when it started, but now it's ridiculously mundane. Still, as subpar as the arc is, Astonishing is still better and will always continue to be better than Fraction's Uncanny or anyone in recent year's Uncanny. I'd honestly choose Astonishing over a lot of the other X-Books, delays and all because it's closest to giving the A-Game that Morrison was all about when he was doing New X-Men.

Speaking of New X-Men, seems Bianchi is thankfully leaving and PHIL JIMENEZ is taking over as artist. He had a stint on New X-Men way back when and it was HEAVEN. And he probably won't be a delay-y kind of guy since I believe this was during the bi-weekly period. Seriously, I'm ridiculously excited for him to come aboard and restore Astonishing to its former glory.

Not to ruin the positive mood, but am I the only one bothered by Ororo's mutating head ornament thing? It's a living thing that is growing and now resembles a tick! Possibly the subject of Ellis' upcoming arcs? Here's hoping!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1 Review

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Marc Silvestri
Before I begin, I need to say where the fuck was Psylocke in this? She's on the cover, but not inside and that ticks me off because she was supposed to be present while being British and disapproving.

This one-shot begins with Trask and his boring inner monologue. Be prepared, writing done from boring viewpoints happens a lot in this issue. One thing I like about Silvestri's portrayal of Trask is:

He totally gave him a hick/70s porn star 'stache. I can totally go along with not liking him even more now.
Now this entire thing is very gay-tilted. It's about Prop X, which prevents mutants from reproducing even though originally mutants came from non-mutant parents. Plus we've got conservative hicks vs. "freaks". Sounding pretty gay metaphor-y? Yeah, except I find the gay comparison relied on way too much in this issue.

Anyway, the rednecks are heading to city hall when the mutants show and let me just say:

Fraction is totally pushing for the gay theme by putting Anole, Graymalkin, and Northstar as the front of the mutant team. Plus once-rumored-to-be-gay Beast. And the gay icon for readers who've not seen the light of Frost, Dazzler.
Side note: Jean Paul looks like a sex machine.
Then a riot between normals and freaks erupts and something of note is Hellion's choice of dress:

Quentin Quire, anyone?
Plus to make it more obv, we've got Glob Herman, QQ's BFF in the background. And by the way, you readers that bitch about Hellion's "emo" hair really need your eyes checked. Search emo hair. Long black hair in center part is unlikely to show up often. Seriously. STFU, I've had what's considered emo hair and I know what it is very well. That's not it. Stop getting up in arms over a male character being portrayed with some personal flair, not every guy character has to have your boring lack of personal style.

Post-riot, boring radio blurps about who's at fault. The X-Men stay at home. Then a meeting with the Mayor occurs in truly mundane fashion. I'll tell you what isn't mundane:

Emma's outfit. GIRRRLLL, show them assets off!

Attention shifts to Storm and T'Challa, FF4, and Avengers receiving the news. GOOD NEWS EVERYONE: Logan's only appearance is his hand snikting as he hears the news. Used as he should be used, much like fats should be eaten, sparingly.

Next the X-Peeps are split into teams and sent to guard certain positions. Cyke encounters Toad and verbally pwns him. Then he pwns him physically in a fabulous panel done by Silvestri.

Good one, Mr. Silvestri.
We turn to Osbourne and his Dark Avengers who are discussing the events occurring. And one of them dares insults Osbourne's hair! *Gasptastic!* (Heh, corn rows, I totally loled at that) And then, Daken says something that makes me wonder if his bisexual happening in Wolvie Origins was maybe not a one-time only.

Daken, you are truly the undiscovered Marvel Diva.
Back at the riots, things are getting tense as the X-universes lesbians, both good and evil, begin arguing.

It's really getting hot in here. But there will be no sexing, Karma's got her atrocious headband to guarantee that.
But it's all interrupted as Nekra gets slammed by the BJ-face inducing appearance of Ms. Moonstone and what she says is truly gasp-worthy:

I know girls, this really is quite upsetting. After all my criticism of personality-flat Emma, I didn't realize Moonstone had stolen it. My apologies to Fraction, I didn't know.

Back on the other side of the riot, Colossus apparently beat up Rockslide. Holy child abuse, Batman, how many senior X-men are going to kick the shit out of him before social services is called?

Then more Dark Avengers crap, Bullseye shows how boringly psychotic he can be while Ares makes a truly grand appearance that I actually found fun:

Until he threatened the gays.
Dressed like a total leather-bound bear.
I love how gay this issue is!
Then Emma finally has a scene and the first panel of her looks like she's experienced the facelift from hell. Luckily, Silvestri picks his shit back up and draws her flawlessly again. All the while Emma and Osbourne have a totally confusing as shit conversation, not for it's "mystery", but it's dialogue seems awkward.

The issue wraps with Cyclops being arrested with the Cuckoos, but running off. With the girls doing nothing. Something Fraction does not seem to understand is A. Before their diamond hearts, the Cuckoos were still quite creepy and not at all valley girl-ish. B. They were pretty detached from the institute and it's code of morals. C. Lastly, they didn't let anyone push them around:

Got it?
Overall, the issue's art made me want to jizz continuously, Silvestri is amazing. Except sometimes his girls get too much treatment in the lips, tits, and ass dept. Also, when they "gasp" they look like blowup dolls. Fraction, on the other, did not do well. Telling the story through generally boring points of view, too much buildup with little delivery and barely any real action yet. I know this story is exposition for an event, but it also needs it's own climax yet it turned out to be all exposition. He also seemed to rely on the gay metaphor too much for me to think it clever.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Uncanny #511 Review

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Greg Land, Terry Dodson
This issue opens with a scene of MANGST!!! OH the pain of being a man! Wolverine and Cyclops are mad at each other. Fraction seems to think Scott would actually be shocked by Wolverine taking a clip of her hair. Not likely! Then Northstar speaks up to break the tension and we get this Craption(People seem to love Fraction's captions and are calling them Fraptions. Craption's more appropriate though.)

I would like to rewrite this to say, "Doesn't care about whiny man dramas." Unfortunately this is the most Northstar speaks the entire issue since he only gets one more word this issue. Apparently, he's just a cameo queen like Dazzler and Karma, poor dear.

I find it fucking hilarious that Maddie yells out "HURRY!" and then the next panel is the Sisterhood runway strutting. Clearly they take the idea of their asses getting kicked seriously.

Maddie casts a tracking spell to find Jean's corpse and leaves the Mastermind sisters plus Chimaera to get crushed. Then Emma and gang arrives.

Goddamn, Land, these aren't the Cuckoos! But something Fraction/Land got right was having Emma kick down the door. I seriously get so excited when I see her heel smashing a door.

Thrilling, right?

The fight begins as Possessed Psylocke yells out, "Sisterhood--STRIKE!!" which I imagine to sound like Fran from Austin Powers. Also, apparently Emma has been taking lessons Ororo on how to be a queen since she appears to be mimicking her here:

Thanks Land!
Continuing on, Maddie and the twits are following the magic scarab from Aladdin when they meet Domino and engage in pointless Domino spotlight time. Seriously, Fraction, Domino is in X-FORCE. We have a ton of people in limbo right now STOP USING AND OVERUSING PEOPLE ALREADY IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Seriously, Wolverine has more than enough page time, he should never be in Uncanny besides a cameo, Cyclops and Emma I'd understand if they were written right and not wasting so much page time for so little progress.

We go back to Emma and gang vs. Masterminds, Chimaera, and Psylocke to see only Psylocke and Dazzler alone with NO EXPLANATION what happened to everyone else. So this is the part of the fabled 'awesome dazzler scene'. Dazzler is portrayed to be pathetic and helpless and Psylocke goes on about how "Betsy doesn't live here anymore!" Within her speech, she comments on how her mind was remade in Spiral and the Red Queen's obscene image. Was that a break of the fourth wall to dig at Land and his pornifying?

Then Psylocke slaps Dazzler with the totality of her psionic powers and Dazzler is done playing around. So she does this:

This scene looks awesome, but...
Afterwards, Psylocke comes to her senses and is like "stop me!" and Dazzler's like "Oh schizzle!" Seriously, Daz? You didn't think to set you lasers to 'Stun' rather than 'Marvel Zombies'?

We join Psylocke in her mindscape with her possessed zombie self, very much like the Rogue/Ms. Zombie Marvel fight. Psylocke is in her skanky Jim Lee ninja outfit which surprisingly covers her ass a lot more than usual, but Land decided to make her outfit backless. Seriously, skankifying an already skanky outift? True Land.

Returning to the battle of Maddie plus male X-Men, we have a page of one-word blurps from everybody. Apparently Fraction gets that he can't write these characters correctly, so he gives up. Also, I've been finding out the flying is a power just thrown around to anyone, including Sage, thanks to CBR forums. Well, apparently we have a new flier joining the bunch:

Let me put in the real word he wants to say but won't due to his manly repression of emotion:

Psylocke has her epic battle with the other personality and predictably wins. This is her victory image:

Look through the scene and you will find a lot of tentacles in the background of her mindscape. Betsy apparently has a thing for tentacle rape? Also, is it Land's inability to draw Asian women or does Betsy see herself in her English body but wearing ninja costume? It'd make sense since she lived in her old body, y'know, for a good 20-ish years at least.

The Maddie battle ends with Maddie getting in the wrong body and self destructing. My question is who's corpse did she ruin?
Whatever, Psylocke returns herself to her Asian body since Dazzler destroyed the restored English body. THANKS DAZZ, you've ruined the hopes and dreams of British Betsy lovers everywhere. The Sisterhood departs since Maddie isn't around anymore to fix nasty fatal wounds.

Emma could not be more pissed that she's being cheated out of a free opportunity to beat the shit out of someone. Oh, torture happy Emma!

Spot the Aussie-years X-Men! We've got Storm, Dazzler, Psylocke, Wolverine, and Colossus!!
Rogue is coming to San Fran soon, Longshot is around but in X-Factor, and Havok's business in space is wrapping up soon. Reunite the Aussie team, please!

Also, I did notice that the man team went to combat the real threat while the women were left to the distraction. And Domino does not count as helping make it better. I really disapprove of the sort of BS. In other WTF news:

How'd she get her telepathy back? I'm thrilled it's back, but um, she got her Kwannon's corpse didn't have any since I believe when she died Betsy got a boost by getting her power too. And her telepathy was then swapped for Jean's TK and Jean's dead. Seriously, explanation anyone?
And also, so now Betsy has Jean's old powerset? I smell trouble.

The issue ends with in Emma and Scott's bedroom AGAIN! Beast is in there this time saying, "Blah, it's obvious a pointless fight is about to begin about overdramatized shock over her Cabal and his X-Force which Emma pretty much already knows about. I'm leaving!" I so wish he wasn't part of the the crossover, him and his Science club need to die an unremarkable death. But this cover suggests he'll be around:

Also, was it on purpose that Emma's clothes be shredded (the only ones may I add) to make underwear and thigh highs? It's either skankifying or symbol of her Hellfire Club days, I'm hoping for the latter.

Overall, this arc was crappy for these reasons: Land, duh, but also the first two issues were too slow and spent on pointless crap. The fight issue wasn't a fight issue, it was a scene of the X-Men trapped and then getting un-trapped and Emma, Wolverine, the Cuckoos, and Pixie fighting. That's it! No real fight. And this conclusion feels completely rushed, especially for an arc so fiercely promoted, and it leaves me saying, "That's it?"

Sorry for image-heavy post, I unfortunately did not have many interesting things to say on this issue since it was mediocre. Not to worry, another Uncanny is out soon and the crossover is starting soon with the Utopia one-shot that has Silvestri as art!! Unfortunately, this marks the beginning of a Dodson arc and I'm sorry to all of you who like him but good heavens he's bland. Him and Land do have this in common though: they both have problems giving us repeated images. In Dodson's case though it's because all his characters look the same.