Saturday, December 26, 2009

The List #19 part 1

Gotham City Sirens #7
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: David Lopez
I generally don't like holiday-related specials these days. True, Harley and Ivy's 'Holiday Knights' is one of my favorite Harley and Ivy appearances. But usually the conflict is half-hearted, it's tacky, and somewhere in there all the conflicts are resolved (like Sage magically curing Gambit's blindness in that X-Men holiday issue?). This issue on the other hand restored my faith in this series. It's the second best issue out of the series, with #1 being the best. Anyway, this issue used the holidays as background with diving in the character's motivations being the main objective.

We start off with Selina, she kicks a couple bad guys' ass for the new Batman and meh, it doesn't matter because I only care about the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman. Moving on we find Ivy spending her holidays in Central America, at peace with nature and all that. Her spotlight sort of answers a question that's been on my mind ever since I read Batman: Poison Ivy and that is: Why didn't she just go back to a land where she'd be worshipped and at home? And I think the following answer is one that I find believable and something that would make sense:
It makes sense to want to be in a place where there's an actual challenge as opposed to living in a place you already have dominance. Anyway, she goes over this and saves some tourists from being killed by drug dealers.

Back in the U.S., Harley goes to visit her family, something I forgot she probably had especially since I don't recall ever hearing about it being explored. Dini uses her family to explain a lot of her behavior, which is cool and all, but he almost overdid it, as if her entire being is defined by how her family is. Anyway, this starts with Harley coming home and her mom, to put it lightly, grudgingly letting her stay. Turns out Harley's the overachiever of her family, as her dad is a con, her mentally unbalanced mom just seems to be the one who lets all the bullshit slide, and her brother's a bum with kids.

Anyway, we find out what Harley actually gave some of her money to her brother for his kids and himself. The unfortunate part is he's a man and as Mrs. McClusky from Desperate Housewives would say, "Men are genetically incapable of realizing their dreams are stupid." Not that this applies to all, but if you're past 35, your band isn't going to fucking make it. Did anyone else see that episode of Intervention
with the guy and his dumb "band" dreams and how they were worse than his meth problem?? Ugh, when I was 17 and I had two friends in a band that actually practiced and they were surrounded by adoring fellow musicians and all I ever heard was their ideas that they'd get discovered in Bangor or some shit. Bangor?! Seriously!? I love having friends in bands, but I hate listening to their illogical plans to hit it big.

Back to Harley, her mother puts up with all her family's B.S. and is just content that Harley's brother isn't a criminal like Harley and her dad so she lets him sit around as much as he wants. It's very obvious the stress of having criminals in the family has gotten to her, and she ends up exploding at one point. Harley also goes to visit her father and during then she explains her motivation for going into Psych:

I find it goes too far in explaining her, but whatever. He fakes having turned over a new leaf, she buys it and explains she's also kept some of her fortune for him and her mom. Then it turns out he's still just as much a con as ever which is the last straw for her putting up with her family. She leaves the house to go back to the hideout and we get a tour of the remodeled version.

Overall, a massive improvement to the previous issues. Like almost all of them. Which is good since I've tried to root for this series since I heard about it, but it's hard to root for good characters being used incorrectly and ignored in their own series. Also, I have to say the spotlight, when not focusing on a male character, too often goes to Harley. Anyway, buy this issue and that's it.

Uncanny X-Men #519
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Terry Dodson
As can be seen in the preview, we start this issue off with another attempt by Fraction to try and be Grant Morrison by mirroring him. In this case, we get the re-intro. of Fantomex, a character I despise for his very forced 'badass' appeal. Seriously, we already have Deadpool, is this character really necessary? In more Fraction isn't Morrison news, Beast ends up saying "Sorry, million miles away" which is you've read Riot at Xavier's, you'll notice that in there too. This copy and paste shit really chaps my ass.

In other news, Scott is possessed by The Void now and everyone's all up in arms. Apparently Fraction's tried to justify this move and it still stinks like shit. How is Cyclops remotely useful to The Void if everyone knows Scott's possessed?! Seriously, with Emma's abilities the Void had the power to erase that fact from everyone. Fraction just does not play things out logically.
Anyway, Scott's possessed and The Void is apparently nothing but black ink that whispers your insecurities to you. Are we really supposed to take that as threatening. Worse yet, Cyclops beats it by using his repression, since he's a man of cimplicated depth and emotion! Seriously, Repression as a weapon? It's not genius, it's bullshit, people, do not be fooled. More interesting was in the event of The Void possibly taking over, we had a backup plan:

Psylocke's ass!
If this happens again, I'm just going to have to make a tag for it.
Anyway, the three boring sub-plots at work this issue: Magneto wants to save the sinking island, tells Namor to go get his peeps, looks like the imminent betrayal is shockingly imminent. That and apparently the Predators had nanobots on them. Oh and Beast is taking a break to go screw around in the probably-going-to-be-cancelled-by-issue-5 new series Sword. Finally, his whining has really done nothing but make me feel unsympathetic and wanting him to be out sooner. Honestly, in a world where Wolverine shrugs torture off every day and Fraction has no idea how to convey depth, I just don't see how anyone can sympathize with Beast and his traumitizedness.
Conclusion: Don't fucking buy this, it's not even funny it's horribleness these days.

What If? Astonishing X-Men
Writer: Jim McCann
Artist: Ibraim Roberson and David Yardin
To start, read this preview first, if you haven't already because it's fabulous and also saves me from having to post three million panels that I like from it. I'd like to say that I almost didn't recognize this version of Emma because it's her written right! And heaven knows we haven't seen that in awhile.

Also, what the fuck is with Jean on the cover? She looks so Bella Swan it's sickening. Stop looking hurt, Marvel's-substitute-for-God! This is definitely a good place to put the story since, A. it definitely was a stated possibility in the "Gifted" arc that the ex-teammate could have been Jean and B. this is when Scott and Emma's open relationship was really fresh. If you recall, in New X-Men we never found out who Scott chose since Jean died. Scott didn't even really go to Emma post-Jean re-death; Jean ended up pushing them together. So Emma's insecurity is totally justified.

The plot continues with the bit of Cassie Nova still in Emma and influencing her into taking the Phoenix out of the Cuckoos. Except seems to me that story happened much later than 'Gifted'. That and I would like to say that I don't think Emma was such a bitch in the older days just because Cassie Nova was up in her shit. Emma Frost is a bitch. Plain, simple, and absolutely unchanging. Anyway, Emma becomes Phoenix and ends up devouring the Breakworld before anything becomes an issue. She also attacks the Breakworld with something other than fire life incarnate:

Hide your fake Chanel sunglasses, boys and girls, or the Phoenix won't leave you with a shred of your self esteem!
Anyway, Emma returns to Earth and starts a killing spree there while the Astonishing team collects itself. Jean and Emma duke it out, they figure out Cassandra Nova has been influencing Emma and now with the Phoenix, it's barely even Emma now. In the end, it's the same conflict of wanting to save the teammate, but needing to rid the world of the Phoenix, and Kitty is the one who ends it:

Thankfully that plain jane bitch, Kitty, was killed in the blast of the Phoenix that followed.
So in the end, the Emma Phoenix killed the Stepford Cuckoos, the Breakworld, Beast, Lockheed, and most thankfully, Kitty. In the end, Wolverine, Scott, and Phoenix, aka the X-Men who are most overused, are left alive for the time being until a big crossover death is needed or a radical writer ends his run. At least we get this last panel that makes this all feel like a horror movie:

Oh, Cassie, youuuuu. Kill away, dear, I hate those pricks' Cyclops and Logan anyway.
The other story about Danger and Ultron hooking up is lame and depressing because the death count is this: All the Runaways, all of Xavier's students, and all the X-Men. And yet another sad Emma death!:

Seriously lamesauce story. And the Say What? is a cheap, unfunny attempt at humor. My conclusion is that you should considering buying this issue for it's first story, but if you were never that wild about Emma Frost in Astonishing, then maybe not so much.


FSaker said...

Another great reviews post!

Yeah, as much as I love Psylocke, I agree that Fraction's artists have been giving too much attention to her ass, while Fraction himself has been giving too little attention to her characterization. Sad.

As for the What If? review, could you please show the panel where the Phoenix kills Kitty Pryde? I know the girl is very important to the X-Men mythos, but Kitty bores me to death...

Mr. Hellfire said...

Mmm, I'm just wondering if it's possibly the source of her powers or something, haha. And yeah, I find even the reviewers who were stupid enough to praise Fraction half a year ago are finally catching on to his total lack of talent.

Indeed I can, though it's not remarkable since it's just the resulting blast of the Phoenix exiting that killed Kitty, but here it is.