Wednesday, August 26, 2009

X-Force #18 Review

Writers: Craig Kyle and Chris Yost
Artists: Mike Choi and Sonia Oback
I have to say that I'm surprised that this book got back on track so well. It's been a sort of lackluster drop for awhile now, I ended up dropping it when Messiah War started, but now it's come back in full force with this issue. Not to say I'm enthused for the upcoming crossover Necrosha because honestly I think it might be flat, but who knows, I might cover all of it.

To start, coming back from the cliffhanger of last issue with Surge possibly exploding, it turns out that Hellion saved her by guiding her blast away harmlessly. While this makes me glad that none of the X-Victims of the Leper Queen (Hellion, Surge, and Boom Boom), it also makes me sort of irked that there was all this tension for nothing. Unless you're a Fever Pitch or Beautiful Dreamer fan. I think. Did they die? I assumed they did when they popped, so why didn't Surge, she still popped? Whatever, on to more important things: Warpath.

If I could have any X-Man as a boyfriend, I'd TOTALLY go for James. He's just too fucking hot for his own good. In fact, his tag will be 'my boyfriend Warpath'. Anyway, the panel above was originally a soldier begging for his life with Warpath saying "No." But now it's me and a costume party with me as a soldier. And him saying yes to a date with me. XD Anyway, fucking yummy man.

This issue also contained the thrilling return of one of Emma's torture victims, Kimura! She's as insane as ever and I'm TOTALLY ready for her to start bitching about Emma. Mainly because I f#$^ing miss the days of Miss Frost acting like Miss Emma Grace Frost. More on her in a sec.

This issue also remembered that Rahne is a member of X-Force. I mean, she's still having total furry porn stories with Hrimhari or whatever his name his, but she's just doing her part.

What's most fun about X-Force is the revisiting of reanimated Caliban along with the return of Eli Bard and Wither. I for one am in LOVE with this page.

Normally I feel very iffy about posting a full page, but this page is TOO GOOD to keep to myself.

Also, fuck Logan for doing this:

My first nightmare ever when I was 5 was about red eyes in the dark. Thanks Logan. Doucheman. No wonder why I want to banish him to Limbo for ten years followed by an off-panel death.

Something I find VERY fun about Mike Choi is that he totally has a lower version of the disease that affects Bianchi, which is gay porn pencils. The guys' poses at times are totally kind of gay and the style itself is very bubbly and sort of a weird fit for X-Force. Personally I think Crain should be sole artist of X-Force, wax-y faces and all, but every so often I see a moment where Choi totally makes me ok with him being there.

Seriously, what cute butt cheeks he makes.
Plus he totally helps fuel the fire for Scott and Logan's secret love.
They just can never seem to get their hands off each other.

Now, the issue ends with a scene that is pure magic. If someone posts it somewhere I will definitely link it on this entry, but 'til then I'm not going to spoil it except saying that it's one of the best X-Force moments I've ever seen. Anyway, for those of you like me, who dropped for the book for a bit, get back into it, and for those who've never read it now's a good time to start.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The List #7

X-Men Legacy #227
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Dustin Weaver

X-Men Legacy this month was sort of meh. It's Carey, I expect f#@%ing magic with him, so it's especially disappointing when he puts out a half-baked story like this one. There is something Carey has done perfect though. You probably saw it coming but:

Ariel is the gayest thing to happen to the X-Men, even Daz and Northstar together can't match her. Seriously, Carey, I plan this to be the last issue of Legacy I include on my blog unless you get another Emma-centric issue in, BUT if you continue to include Ariel I promise I will fucking sing your praise like no other.
More on Ariel, I had a dream last night that I Wikipedia-ed her and the entry said she was transgendered. Weird, yes, but it's a goddamned delicious idea. Seriously, Ariel as a male-to-female transgendered person would just be HEAVEN. If I ever get a Marvel comic team book, Ariel is so going to be revealed to be trans and she will be a fan favorite.

Going back to the issue. Danger was plain and unimportant. The story concerning Hope Abbott was so cheesy it could've been one of those blurbs at the end of Sailor Moon where one of the Sailor scouts is like, "If you and a friend don't get along, try to calmly work things out, it's not worth losing a friend over! See you soon!"

What deserves noting is that Moonstone is more like herself under Carey than she is in Reed's f#@%ing Ms. Marvel. Just zapped a bitch in the face without a thought!

Summary, this 2-issue Utopia tie-in was sort of lame. Except for Ariel, she's divine. I know I sound hard on Carey, but the thing is I've seen him do better. A LOT BETTER. And this is shit next to his other work. So Mike Carey, please get back to being Mike Carey for us, your fans.

X-Factor #47
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Valentine De Landro

To start, Peter David, thank you for not making Fitzroy a resurrection, but him before he traveled back in time and all that. Resurrections are ridiculous lately and we SO don't need another. Something that needs addressing about this issue though is the villains dominate too much spotlight time. I'm honestly so bored I just skim the villain's part. It's confusing. By the time I do get what's going on, I realize I don't care. And don't forget for a second: the cast is fucking huge. Do we really need to have more and more people getting involved? Which also can be aimed at the addition of Fitzroy. To an already overpacked cast. Despite his talent, David just is not managing this plus sized cast well anymore.

As for the Ricstar update, it was brief and unfulfilling like a quick handjob in the back of someone's car. Seriously, Rictor had more serious conversations with one-nighter Rahne. Let's talk it up, boys!

Dr. Doom this issue was love. My love for him is like my love for Joan Crawford. I don't love them when they're in their prime and in full power. I love them when they're losing their power because their aging and it also causes their mind to go fruit loops. Seriously, Doom's farewell parade in his mind was David gold.
Of other note, the cast seems to have gotten so big that all the other characters that don't get love in the issue are becoming cameo queens. Darwin this issue? Pure cameo queen. Longshot might've taught him the basics considering he was married to our Mistress of Momentary Manifestations (and I thought calling her Diva was fun). Even worse was Siryn because this was her all issue.

Also, it seems David is picking up another dangling thread by mentioning that Shatterstar and Longshot have similar DNA or something to the point of....we never found out. Check out next issue though, we're probably going to hear that Shatterstar is the gay son of Dazzler and Longshot. Which I would lose my f#@%ing mind over in celebration. Dazzler? Mom of a gay? I'm for that!

OH and Monet recovers from the mind control and fights the villain naked. Mmm, yummy. I'd be all over that if I were straight. The issue ended with a mandatory 'revelation' that this series is pulling too often with less and less shock factor. Seriously David dear, end off an issue with a simple 'Oh shit' sometimes, it doesn't always have to get sub-soap opera-y.

Mighty Avengers
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Khoi Pham

To begin, I picked this out to keep tabs on Young Avengers activity. And now I regret it. But I am glad that Cassie and Vision might no longer on the team because honestly that would be like the trimming off the fat of the team. I swear I feel so annoyed with Cassie it's like she's practically become a devout Christian that goes around with their nose in the air.

The issue was dry. The art was unappealing. The characters in the fight scene were men doing the same old philosophy of nations dance that is nothing new. at least we had this woman:

In closing, don't expect to see MA on this blog again, so not worth my time to even read, let alone review. BUT I do have to say, this panel of Scarlet Witch is one the most beautiful I've ever seen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The List #6

Uncanny X-Men #514
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Terry Dodson

Before I even begin, I have to say that I was originally planning on two separate reviews considering Ms. Marvel this month made me all Proud Mama and I assumed Uncanny would deserve it's own review as usual. So not. This issue was such a steaming pile of shit that I caught myself skimming the mundane dialogue that had no personality just to figure out what was going on. The actual events of this issue, the dry bones of who's doing what and what they're moving towards, are absolutely fine. The dialogue and art is so mundane I am at a point of shock. Before this, Fraction was shitty, but he sort of had the redeeming factor of me loving to criticize his serious attempts at being memorable that just become campy. I would say that boring readers is infinitely worse than pissing them off. I personally consider it to be the biggest insult.

Anyway, let's have our quickie with Fraction that comes guaranteed with all the regrets and annoyed sighs of a drunken night with a clingy virgin. To begin, once again the variant cover to this issue is infinitely more interesting than the cover which almost feels like a repeat of last issues. I plan to make a cover gallery of all of Bianchi's wonderful covers at the end of this irksome and plain crossover. The 70 years variant though is a fucking joke. Love the frame. Hate the plain of everything else.

The issue opens with Cyclops addressing Mindee Cuckoo, Psylocke, Dani Moonstar, and Domino. Why Fraction insists on including Domino in his work is beyond me. She's got her own f#@%ing book, let her stay there so that the neglected limbo people can get the respect they SHOULD be getting from your "wide cast".

If this is Psylocke's new costume, I'm going to sob uncontrollably right now. Also, I would like to note the comment about Mindee. As many of you may know, Mindee was supposed to be an I name; an easter egg made by Morrison so that the Cuckoos names spelled out Spice. But Austen fucked it up. Fraction also adds in another "The whole world is watching" courtesy of Emma. If I'm counting it right, that's two fuck you's to Austen (read my review on #508) and within Utopia, that would be entering the double digits of how many times Fraction has tried to kiss Morrison's Legacy's ass. At first it was nice, now it's pathetic because all I hear is someone trying to jump onto the coat tails of a true writer's legacy. This "bro" writer needs to fucking get on board with the joke that he is rather than trying for cool.

Oh and going back to Mindee:

Cuckoos: Originally creepy little Stepfords. Their code names fit REALLY well.
Now they are too normal. Mundane really. And Dodson is trying to recreate Husk with this one.

Now for a brief complaint about the Dark X-Men (a team I was disgusted to hear is getting their own series PLUS the pointless resurrection of X-Man) which may be a bit much, but this is what happens when there's no camp factor. I find that Cloak and Dagger's overdramatic scene was pointless. Mimic and Weapon Omega sound like they're 15. I understand their damaged, but only under a more talented hand should this happen. In terms of Emma, I have to say this much: Emma Grace Frost is my favorite character in the fictional universe. What Fraction's done to her upset me enough to make this blog to release my frustration in catty humor. But this Momma Mutation act is just the role Jean Grey was made for.

But there's hope for Fraction. Do you know why?

Cameo crotch!
Diva has certainly outdone herself in this artistic presentation of her cameo self.
Northstar tries to follow in her ways, but only half succeeds.
Also, Dani Moonstar's part? Lasted page, could've been done in half.

It's speculation time, kids. Which X-Man vs. which Dark X-Man?
Dazzler's opponent is clearly her knockoff.
I figure Pixie goes with Cloak.
And everyone else I'm sort of lost on. Thoughts?

Her only line this issue.
Good f#@%ing heavens this is pure art.
She even managed the ANTM wind-in-the-air thing.
This is because: SHE is art.
Diva love!
To close, the ending basically presented us with the fact that Fraction intend to keep the hideous X-Science club which is a downer since I figure their story's up. BUT they mention the end of the X-Men is San Fran which I think is fabulous since this move has been one migraine for me since the beginning. I'm so hoping the X-Men return home to a pissed off Emma that reveals that the Emma with them is none other than *Dun dun dunnnn* Skrulla Frost! And then she PSYCHICALLY attacks the team for not recognizing how un-Emmalike the impostor was. You know. Because the Emma I KNEW would use her psychic powers for offensive deals first. Diamond was a defensive thing.

Ms. Marvel #43
Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Sergio Arino

To begin, I have to say MEGA love to not having the anime artist this time. The art this time though was iffy I'd have to say mainly due to the coloring:

At times it was cool, but others it just ruined the feel of the story.
This issue opens with Moonstone being depressed over the idea of losing the Ms. Marvel title. Overemotional? Absolutely, I prefer my Karla colder. Like below zero. But then, it seems to cheer herself up....she sends an innocent man plummeting to his death from high up? It seems sort of awkward, but it's also entertaining.

Something that I didn't love that the artist did:

A firm ass is truly the sign of truth and justice. Hell, she should get one ass cheek tattooed with truth and the other justice.
In visiting Normy Norm, we find out someone's ruining his super secret Green Goblin treasure chest. More importantly:

That he's banging a pregnant lady?
Something that probably shouldn't have crossed into this series since I'm quite confused.
Also, in an acceptable guest from Spiderman and Wolverine, they debate about Ms. Marvel's mental state. When approached she freaks and leaves. One question though:

When did Carol become Illyria from Angel?
Then there's the Catherine Donovan side story. No idea what's going on there and Reed is not working to make me care about it.
Shift focus again to the Dark Avengers fighting some villain of evil shizz. I have to say I love the Dark Avengers immensely, especially with Moonstone as the focus.

The issue ends with Moonstone aiding Normy Norm as he finds out he's under attack from Carol AND that pregnant chick can take care of herself? Whatever, all in all Reed has improved immensely with this issue and I would recommend it especially considering Ms. Marvel definitely tends to be my most anticipated comic when it comes out.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The List #5

Dark X-Men: The Beginning #2

Writer #1: Paul Cornell
Artist #1: Leonard Kirk
Before I begin, I just have to compliment the cover artists Jae Lee and June Chung for their work on this series. Their covers are gorgeous and what they're doing on such a half-assed project as this is beyond me.

The first story is about Norman bullying Cloak and Wall*Mart brand Dazzler into joining the Dark X-Men. It is really as unremarkable as that and honestly Norman bullies [insert name] into joining the Dark X-Men seems to be the general idea for this book. What's worse is Norman right now is already getting too much exposure, aka the Wolverine treatment, and his character is losing it's strong appeal. Written correctly, he is a creative and fun villain marching to the beat of his own drummer and forcing everyone else to join him. Written like he is here, he's just...Doom. Loki. Magneto under Fraction. He's anybody.

Writer #2: Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman
Artist #2: Michael Lacombe
Norman bullies Weapon Omega to join the Dark X-Men. I'm sad to see two writers attached to a one third story. That felt totally unoriginal. Worst of all was the artist who gave as an anger-inducing portrayal of the human face:

He looks like Dave Williams from Desperate Housewives. Dave Williams was a character that was pathetic, had a baby face on an older man, and tried to play pity party since he was dealt a bad hand. Except he keeps on fucking things up for himself. Anyway, I hated the character upon meeting him and am glad he's dead so you can imagine how pissy I am to see an artist who's stock male face is Dave f#$%ing Williams.

Also, what is it with Norman and bald men? Seriously, Thunderbolts had Bullseye, Marc Gargan as Venom, bald both ways btw, Radioactive Man, Penance, and Swordsman, who shaved his head in one of Ellis' arcs, were ALL BALD. Then when Osborn recruits more people he gets the mohawked Daken, Mystique to impersonate the BALD Xavier, and Weapon Omega. I know there were other men recruited who had hair, but you have to admit, all male Thunderbolts under Osborn being bald and Norman recruiting more just seems very odd to me considering I don't see bald heads on non-senior males often. Like are there any bald ones left? Is he just going to resort to Cassandra Nova next?

Writer #3: Rob Williams
Writer #3: Paco Diaz
Norman bullies Daken into joining the Dark X-Men. Then they also add in the "badass" factor of having Norm and Dak talk about their being crazy and bullshit. Falls flat. Luckily, the writer had total bitch critics like me in mind and partially soothed the asshole within by making these lame "badass" men do what the only thing I think they're good for: taking their clothes off and flexing some muscles!

There's also a panel of him in a thong, but I suspected Photobucket would just delete that.
I know it's sexist of me to say, but good f#%$ing heavens I am so done with forced "badass" characters. I mean Norman is, just not when he's written as poorly as he is here. Final word: Leave this book on the shelvees where it belongs.

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Mark Brooks

To start, I have to say I love the Gawker media-style blog intro pages. Next, wtf was with the first page? Black with word bubbles of no-new information panels of various news networks relaying what went on with the Young Avengers deal. Absolute waste of space. This issue was not Cornell's best...and I've never really liked Brooks much.

Next I have to say that half of these new Young Avengers I want dead by the end of the arc. Egghead, the Executioner, and "badass" Big Zero. BZ and Eggles are just dumb douchebags. The Executioner is on my shit list in a severe, I-will-ruin-his-name-for-forever-should-he-survive-this-arc way. Here's why:

I consider cat-killing, even in fictional form, a mortal sin. I was absolutely pissed to see this and honestly I hope his death is as disrespectful as an Ultimatum death.

The issue in general had extremely awkward sounding dialogue to me. I just could not see any people talking to each other like that, or replying to someone's thoughts in the way the characters were. Maybe it's just me. Here's an example of the awkwardness:

That and Teddy referred to Billy as William. WTF? Was that a sad attempt at mild humor or cutesyness? Because it fell flat. Finishing up the awkward point, did anyone else find Vision's dramatic scene of wanting to shut down Egghead overdramatic and that his reaction being that strong came out of nowhere?

Closing statements, bad issue, we're dealing with a new set of Young Avengers who are totally half-baked characters who I hope become casulaties of Dark Reign. Even though I only remember Swordsman as the only death thus far. Anyway, when I have more space next time I'm going to set up a list of characters who should die to up the "seriousness" of the Dark Reign deal. Meaning an excuse to send shitty characters to their grave.

Exiles #5
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Casey Jones

This marks the before last issue of this fun reboot to the Exiles series. It's unfortunate, but gives me a chance to talk about series as a whole since I don't have much to say on the issue besides acknowledging that I read it.

Honest truth, this series won't be one I'm heart broken to see go. It was one of those series I wanted to like more than I actually did since I know the formula was right, but I just wasn't being sucked into it. Parker used a wonderful team and even made me like some of the versions he presented in this series more likable to me than their 616 counterparts. Parker's Polaris is a wonderfully twist: From 616 Perpetual Damsel in Distress or mentally unstable character to a true warrior.

Honestly, I feel like Parker tried hard, but just did not bring his A-Game which was absolutely necessary to get this book back after the severe damage done by Claremont. At times the book was too kid-ish and sort of cheesy, especially with the Polaris and Scarlet Witch "sisters" thing. Anyway, more thoughts next issue and I'd say this issue would be worth picking up as long as you're not on a tight, amazing-books-only budget.

Ultimatum X-Men: Requiem

Writer: Aron E. Coleite
Artist: Ben Oliver

I have to apologize before I begin this because this may be a long read, but this is essentially my RIP to the Ultimate universe. I only enjoyed the X-Men part of it and I read just today that the Ultimate teams of no interest in the X-Men deal right now anyway. Not that it matters, all my favorite characters are dead or ruined for good.

I have to say, it was sad to see an original and entertaining universe get degraded to 616-lite. The last arc was used to feature a totally pointless side quest with Rogue and added on more disrespectful deaths, including my favorite, Ultimate Psylocke. Rather than use the whole team together to be epic together one more time, we get this bullshit?

I'm also equally pissed with Ultimatum. If I've loved them, they've died or have been ruined. Gambit, Dazzler, Psylocke, and Emma Frost are all dead. And finally, Northstar, who may only be confined to a wheelchair but honestly do you think he'll ever do anything past cameo ever again?

Most irksome death? Psylocke because she was added in as a last-minute death for the hell of it. And she had the most value. A character, who in the 616 universe is needing some adjusting and TLC, gets the reset button and when certain things are repeated like her transferring her conscious, we get an even better result. What we get is Betsy in an underage body. This is good because it's extremely wrong if they objectify her and ridiculous if they try to make her just a warrior character. The result was a return to Betsy long gone from us, the Betsy of the Aussie years. No SEX APPEAL IN YOUR FACE. No warrior crap. Betsy with creative thinking, questionable morals, and the eyes that catch everything.

To get to the issue a bit, I have to say where are Storm and Colossus? Also, finally Rogue is useful now she's perma-Juggernaut empowered, but at the last fucking minute. Why writers keep her to just her basic powers irks me because then Rogue gets sidelined all the time or her stories are sort of taken down a super hero notch so she can be useful. Another pissy thing is the battered Jean we see. Honestly, she's not even an imitation of Jean 616 anymore, she's a pathetic whimper next to that wonderful character. And it's sad because her original Ultimate personality was amazing.

I do have to give massive compliments to the artist Ben Oliver, this new style is a lot smoother and honestly a lot less ugly than his grittier take earlier in Ult X-Men. Also, I actually found myself LOVING Shadowcat's new costume and I loved that she had guts in a GENUINE badass moment in this issue where she stabbed Sabretooth with Logan's claws.

One last note: Anyone else notice Storm's the only survivor of the Aussie-revival team?
Bishop, Angel, Wolverine, Daz, Psylocke, and Pyro are allll dead.
To conclude, this book is worth buying I think, but it's sad to think that this is the end result of the Ultimate X-Men.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tracking the Cameo Queens: Psylocke; Real Name Betsy Braddock

This is probably the last of the official cameo queens considering everyone else following is probably debatable. For this post we have the sometimes British, sometimes Asian siren Psylocke aka Betsy Braddock.
Who, like Dazzler, is also a Cover Queen:

She also gets the distinction of being one of the heroes on the Marvel 70th anniversary frame.

Uncanny X-Men #504
# of panels: 1
# of lines: 0
# of times she uses her powers: 0
Craption: None.
She simply appears in a flashback. Wouldn’t count it if it weren’t Fraction. She also graces the cover twice, one as Brit Betsy and the other as Asian Betsy.

Uncanny X-Men #508
# of panels: 10, I count both bodies.
# of lines: 3
# of times she uses her powers: 0
Craption: None
Psylocke plus her British body make an appearance as Betsy’s consciousness is placed in her revitalized old body and she’s all like WTF?
Ok, not really, but WTF sums it up better.

Uncanny X-Men #509
# of panels: 9 counting both bodies.
# of lines: 1
# of times she uses her powers: 0
Craption: None.
Betsy just shows up to have her story explained and then get put under the mental command of the Red Queen. All in a day’s work for a cameo queen. She also gets the cover with both her bodies again just like in #504. Truly an attention whore.

Uncanny X-Men #510
# of panels: 11
# of lines: 5
# of times she uses her powers: 4
Craption: None.
Possessed Psylocke shows up to fight Wolverine, one of her old teammates. So repetitive it could be an episode of Charmed.

Uncanny X-Men #511
# of panels: 32
# of lines: 22
# of times she uses her powers: 4
Craption: Telekinetic psychic. Ninja. Back home. At last.
Betsy fights the X-Men for the Sisterhood. Dazzler fries her original body’s face off, so Psylocke offs herself to get back to the Asian one. She fights the possession is a very unoriginal, Ms. Marvel vs. Rogue way. Then she’s all better and in her Asian body. Joins the team.

Uncanny X-Men #512
# of panels: 24
# of lines: 7
# of times she uses her powers: 2
Craption: Psychic ninja. Recent addition. Out of sorts.
Psylocke’s function here is to be pretty and fight off the people attacking the X-Science Club.

Uncanny X-Men #513
# of panels: 2
# of lines: 0
# of times she uses her powers: 0
Craption: None
This issue we only get a panel of her in the background facing her and one behind her while standing next to Dazzler. Clearly, she’s taking lessons from Diva. And in true learning from the Diva she gets a FABULOUS Bianchi variant cover.

Uncanny X-Men #514
# of panels: 8
# of lines: 8
# of times she uses her powers: 0
Craption: Telepathic, telekinetic ninja. Long story.
This issue Betsy definitely got the most love out of the four official cameo queens. She's got lines, she is essentially leader of an operation to go underwater. It was difficult to tell if she was saying all the lines that had no obvious person linked to them, but from what I could tell it was her. She even got a craption, something none of the other queens managed to get.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia
# of panels: 1
# of lines: 0
# of times she uses her powers: 0
Craption: None
Psylocke’s face is barely seen in the one panel she does appear in which is when the X-Men are gathered around the TV.

X-Men Legacy #226
# of panels: 2
# of lines: 1
# of times she uses her powers: 0
Betsy appears for a line and then runs off with Kurt. She’s just too good for panel time.

Dark Avengers #8
# of panels: 5
# of lines: 3
# of times she uses her powers: 1, uses her telepathy for an underwater conversation.
Psylocke keeps her cameoing strong as she probably once again has the most valuable page time out of all the cameo queens.