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.

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