Monday, May 31, 2010

Comparisons: Emma Frost and Lady Gaga

Ever since my first viewing of Lady Gaga's music video for "Bad Romance" I've been finding similarities between Emma Frost and Miss Gaga. In the end, I found myself with a list long enough that it deserved a post (plus I never intended this blog to be solely reviews, they're just easier to do). Now be warned, personality-wise these two women could not be more different: Emma Frost is manipulative and snarky, and Lady Gaga is more of a passionate and calm figure (publicly, at least). However, they do share a number of similarities that should be noted:

Both women attended private school where both experienced difficulty. Lady Gaga has been quoted as saying, "I didn't fit in in high school, and I felt like a freak," [Source]. As can be found in the first arc, "Higher Learning," of the Emma Frost series, Emma too found herself not fitting in during her high school years, and was especially tormented by one bully. As can be seen, they both have brown as their natural hair color, and from there they went to sport white-blonde hair.

Another tidbit is that they both used to work as dancers, though the difference there is that Emma was an actual stripper and I'm pretty sure Gaga wasn't [Video here]. Details on Emma Frost's past as a dancer can be found in New X-Men #139 and the backup story of X-Men: Deadly Genesis #5.

Speaking- Something that's been mentioned as recently as Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1 is that Emma speaks with a fake English accent even though she's originally from Boston, MA. Lady Gaga also at one point was interviewing with a sort of British accent which is reminiscent of Madonna back in the late 90's (she mentions it @41:28 in this video). Also, they both enjoy French it seems, Gaga has demonstrated enough to speak a few phrases while interviewing and also include French in "Bad Romance,": "Je veux ton amour et Je veux ta revanche." In terms of Emma, she used to vacation in France with her family (and she sometimes visits there for lingerie as seen in Uncanny X-Men #502), and she's been shown to speak French a few times where I doubt it's her just mimicking the language centers of another French speaker. Also, during the New Mutants' first run, Emma would insert French words and phrases into her speech every so often.

Smoking and Drinking- Back in the days of the first New Mutants run, Emma was often shown to be smoking. Usually it was with one of those cigarette holders that always leads me to think of Cruella DeVille. She was depicted with a cigarette in the same manner as recent as New X-Men #128 [Here]. This appearance however seemed to suggest her as an occasional smoker, and I've always taken the little wands to mean the same. Gaga has also been shown to be an occasional smoker, having said, "I don't smoke. Well, maybe a single cigarette - with whisky - while I'm working, because it just frees my mind a little bit," [Here]. Concerning drinking, Emma's been shown so often to be having a drink that I don't need to cite any specific issues or runs. Quite frankly, I'd imagine she's had a bout with alcoholism at some point or another. And in terms of Lady Gaga the same is true, her enjoyment of stopping by a pub for a few drinks has been reported often, and she often interviews stating that she enjoys a casual drink to help her creativity.
By far their most striking similarity is their appearances. Both have white blonde hair, and Emma tends to wear exclusively white clothing. Lady Gaga also tends to wear a lot of white costumes, and there are many that can be found to be Frost-esque, a simple Google search can reveal that. Probably Frost's most Gaga-esque costume is her New X-Men costume which was A. Pantsless B. Included ridiculous footwear (platforms are NOT as simple as they seem, trust me) C. Had a symbol behind it (the skin bared on Emma's chest make an X) And D. Simply came off as different and weird. Both also tend to use a lot of makeup to go with their costumes which somewhat leads me to the second strongest similarity...


Centers of Controversy: Both these women have found themselves at the center of everyone's gossip and dislike. For Emma, it was when she "stole" Scott Summers from his wife Jean Grey when they had their psychic affair. Seriously, message boards are still having a shitty day over it, which makes me ask, was there anyone that obsessed with Jean and Scott's relationship? Or was it simply comfortable? For Lady Gaga, what was one of the most-discussed topics of last year was whether or not she is a hermaphrodite, and it was revealed she is not (and I am not linking material for either part of that here). And while not a huge talking point, at times we've had to wonder about Emma's gender considering both Bianchi and Cassaday have layered Emma's makeup so thick and made her jaw so strong that she often ends up looking like a transvestite (a la Lord Fanny of The Invisibles, actually).

In support of their gays- Another one of those things that's widely known is that Lady Gaga LOVES her gays. She loves each and every one, she interviews often on her love of gay people, and she's even given a speech at a Gay Rights March [Here]. Something you may not know though is that Emma too loves her gays. During Emma Frost's first arc "Higher Learning" we learn that her brother, Christian whom she's closest to, is gay, and she accepts him, even staying at his place with his boyfriend at one point. Also, in the panel above I think it's pretty clear what she thinks of reversing homosexuality. There's another point where she speaks on her support of gay people, but I can't remember where it is. And it just fits, look at how bitchy she acts and how she dresses, it'd be weird if she didn't have gay friends having her back. Actually it currently is weird, but she's also been leashed by that manchild, but I think it'd help "redeem" her in the readers' eyes if they saw her as the fag hag she truly is. It's always been bizarre to me that her fans aren't all together as a group while Dazzler has got the biggest gay following of the X-Men.

Appreciation of the arts- While already displaying knowledge in music and fashion, Lady Gaga has also displayed an appreciation of artists such as Andy Warhol and performance artist Marina Abramovic (who she knows). She also attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for a time. Emma Frost has been frequently shown to make reference to artists such as Damien Hirst in Astonishing X-Men #33, and Hieronymus Bosch in X-Men #170 (as well as Leroy Neiman here in Astonishing X-Men #2 or 3). Emma also enjoys a good opera (during New X-Men's "Riot at Xavier's" arc).

Students/Fans- Students are to Emma as fans are to Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga speaks of her fans every two seconds, about how much she loves them, and enjoys the conversations they have. She is sort of obsessed with them, and I imagine she's sort of dependent on them. Emma has a need to have students, specifically certain favorites that she specially mentors (Hellion, the Stepford Cuckoos). She's said before that teaching is her life, and has shown that she loves her students very much as one of the biggest weapons used against her time and time again is the deaths of several of her students.

Now we've come to conclusion of this post, and to finish it I've posted Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" music video which is so Emma Frost I don't even need to get into it:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The List #29

Thunderbolts #144
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Kev Walker
This issue is the first with Luke Cage taking over Norman Osborn's old job of running the Thunderbolts, as assigned by Captain America. Which I'm all for considering I like Luke Cage, especially because I LOVE his wife, Jessica Jones, who I'm hoping will make a guest appearance.

Cage starts by going to the courtyard of the The Raft I think it is. Some maximum security penitentiary for super villains anyway. He first informs Ghost, who won't communicate without his helmet on, of his being approved for the Thunderbolts. Then Cage goes to pick up the most important member of the team:

My girl Moonstone!
She's so right! Or at least it's not a Thunderbolts that I'll read without her. Seriously, I stopped the issue she left for the Dark Avengers. Oh......and Cage also picks up Songbird. Who I can't stand and she just made things worse by giving herself what looks like a haircut done by a lightning bolt. Whatever, all I'm saying is she could have spared us this grotesque sight by just letting Osborn take her out. See? He was right about a couple things.

Songbird proceeds to object about Moonstone's coming aboard. Cage responds by looking up data reading off qualities like tends to create drama, manipulative, eager for attention, etc. Songbird agrees with this assessment. Then he tells her it's actually HER old profile. Ohhh Cage, I like you more already.

Unfortunately, Juggernaut's on the team thanks to Xavier begging Luke to make use of him. Oh and Crossbones, who I guess shot Captain America, is also on. Can this be like Suicide Squad where members die all the time? Because it'd be nice to replace them with Venom and Bullseye. And the last person on the team is:

Who's a non-speaking, empathic teleporter. I have to say I'm kind of interested.
And that's the team:
The team meets Cage who goes on to tell them he has faith in them, and that he's been down the road on the wrong side of the law before. Which, had it not been Cage, it would've been cheesy, but it's LUKE CAGE! He then gets interrupted by Baron Zemo who shows up because he believes himself to be the one true Thunderbolts leader and plans to recruit them.

Conclusion: Parker's got solid writing, I loved him on Exiles, but the artist Walker doesn't seem to use his space effectively since there was a lot of open flat gray background with characters seeming to be on the edge of the panels. But in the end I say buy this issue.

Gotham City Sirens #12
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Peter Nyugen
You may have noticed GCS' absence from my blog for the past few months. That would be because I really had nothing to say about the mediocrity of the last few issues. But this issue starts up on a different kind of story.

The focus now is on Catwoman and what's going on with her sister, Maggie, who used to be nun (and I believe tortured by Black Mask in horrific way, which is a story I want to read). The change of focus is good because Catwoman's series actually went a lot further than Harley's and Ivy's
never even had a series.

Basically, Selina is searching for her sister while her sister's going nuts on a nun who helps her because she owns a cat. She also believes her sister to be possessed by a cat demon. Maggie raids the now-killed nun's closet and finds herself some Angel-in-a-jar. Who's a sexy naked guy. Where do they sell those? Anyway, he gives her his abilities to fight the "demon".

And in the end of the issue, she ends up fighting Selina and Harley, and is all "In Jesus' name I pray". Meanwhile, Ivy's working things out at work with a fired worker who tried to kill her. And she's psycho as ever which I always enjoy.

Conclusion: You've read one "Religious nut" story, you've read them all. Unfortunately, religious nut villains seem to come in one style, and thus far I'm not impressed. Well, besides the naked Angel-in-a-jar. It's not a horrible issue, I just wish Maggie's hatred of Selina was more justified. Which means I wish the GCS were villains again because they're a lot more fun that way.

Dazzler #1
Writer: Jim McCann
Artists #1: Kalman Andrasofszky and Ramon Perez
Artist #2: Francesca Ciregia
The issue opens with Dazzler looking for her sister Lois London (it's a week to go looking for your sister), and ends up getting knocked out. She wakes up in a place she can't break out of unless she puts on her old disco costume, and goes out.

It turns out Lois is paying Arcade to pit Dazzler against robots of all her old enemies. The Grapplers, who apparently had Songbird on the team, Rogue, Enchantress, Dr. Doom.....Emma Frost. Also, Galactus who she's never even fought, but has worked for. It doesn't matter, she takes them all down like a pro, posing like she's on America's Next Top Model in the process.

Lois even manages to get the real Klaw, an old enemy of Dazzler's, to take on Daz. It's a struggle, but thanks to Arcade ditching, Dazzler comes out on top in the end. Which leaves her to take on Lois. Who looks like Lady Gaga gone tacky goth. Even the lightning bolt eye makeup, Lois? Really?

Anyway, they fight it out with Lois blaming all her hardships on Daz. To continue the referencing ANTM, I would just like to quote Tyra Banks during her freakout at Tiffany during Cycle 4 by saying, "TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FO' YO'SELF!" Instead of saying this, Dazzler knocks her out and brings her to the med lab in Utopia; resolving to help Lois.

Which pisses of Cyclops. But Daz counters this by saying she's not the only one with a mass-murdering sibling! (Cyclops' brother Vulcan, who's thankfully dead) And actually, considering Betsy's in the room, isn't Jamie Braddock also a mass-murdering nutso? Every family's got one I guess. She also brings up that there are tons of villains on Utopia including Emma and Magneto. Cyclops counters by saying....that Emma's never killed an X-Man. Even though I'm a fan of her, uh, the only reason why Emma never killed an X-Man was because someone stopped her. So that's a pretty weak comeback. Cyclops finishes by saying Emma won't help rehabilitate Lois after the resurrected Hellions deal, but it doesn't matter as Psylocke steps in to do that.

After they both leave, Dazzler is left to call her mom, who she resents, and tell her about what's happened to Lois. The conversation flashes between what Daz is really saying and raging she wants to say. She holds back, and it turns out her mom's tried to get her act together. It ends on a sweet note as Dazzler feels more resolved about her feelings towards her mother which is good.

Conclusion: While this is more for diehard Dazzler fans, McCann does Dazzler well as only a massive fan can. This issue is as over-the-top and campy as gay X-Men icon, Daz, deserves. I would definitely say consider picking this one up.

X-Men Origins: Emma Frost #1 Review and analysis of the character Emma Frost

X-Men Origins: Emma Frost #1
Writer: Valerie D'Orazio
Artist: Karl Moline
Warning: I bitch a LOT in this post, but I also present some decent reasons behind why I don't buy the plot presented.
To open, I need you to understand that Emma Frost is my favorite character in the entire fictional universe. The Emma Frost that I love was written by Morrison/Whedon, and she's a bitch all the time, not just when she's evil. Emma Frost to me represents that it's ok to not run around with this idealistic mindset of everyone getting along and that the only thing worse than chaos is boredom. As far as I'm concerned the Emma/Scott relationship is unrealistic and total fan fiction because everyone believes that a "bitch" needs to be fixed by the power of love. And for all my complaining about how she's poorly characterized, that's really because after 28 years of "getting" how to characterize her, it seems in the past two years that most writers have completely forgotten how to correctly write her. Most of all, I think the Emma Frost series was as fan fiction as you get, and to me it's barely cannon. So keep this in mind while you read this review. And also that I'm obnoxiously well-read on the character, so I'm not just speaking from what I've idealized her to be.

First off, the artist, Karl Moline, was poorly chosen. He does not fit the air of "class" that all of Emma's surroundings at least try with their all to have. Also, this is a darker story about the X-Man Xavier couldn't get to until the damage was done, so in my opinion someone in the same vein as Adi Granov should have done this story.

The issue opens with Emma during her first days as a stripper, and how her awkward attempts at dancing get heckled. Totally fine, it's how it went down in New X-Men #139. In response she psi-zaps them and yells at them. This stinks like shit because in New X-Men #139 she says she just put up an illusion to make them believe that she was a good dancer. Also, as if she would risk exposing herself as a mutant like that while she's broke and starving. More on why this doesn't work in a bit.

Next we see a younger her with her dolls pretending to be a teacher. Winston Frost, her father, comes in and yells at her and breaks her dolls. Emma goes to Hazel, her mother, about this, and her mother says Winston treats her so roughly because she's his favorite. Also true, but poorly shown. Emma later on gets told she can read an essay on teaching in front of her 9th grade class because it was so well written, and Winston continues to crap on her in all-out mantrums.

Emma ends up getting her speech switched and while at the podium becomes to upset that her mutant powers manifest and psi-zap everyone on campus unconscious. Except Emma Frost is a telepath first and all her little gifts came afterwards. She's not Psylocke, who was a psycho blaster back in the day. So her first manifestation of powers would have to do with hearing thoughts. Also, it's poor writing for her to resolve every problem with a psi-zap, which in this issue is exactly what happens, because it makes for zero tension. It's like Colossus solving every problem with a steel punch. It's unrealistic because life's problems aren't that simple, so her power should have been used more creatively.

Next scene, Xavier and Moira show up at the Frost's and Xavier asks Emma to join the school, offering to convince her father to let her go. She rejects him and they leave. In response to Emma interrupting a conversation Winston thought just he and Xavier were having, he hits her. Another miss: Winston Frost's characterization. Winston is abusive, yes, but the most important thing about Winston and why Emma ends up becoming just like him is that
Winston is a snake. And so is Emma Frost. He's manipulative just like she ends up being. He doesn't use his fists because his mouth is so much more effective. And if he really does want Emma on his side, then he'd be trying to manipulate and bully Emma into seeing his ways, not hitting her.

Another screwup and one made often: Emma was pure and good before she was homeless despite her two fucked-up parents. That's so idealized it could be a book written by Stephenie Meyer. Seriously, Emma Frost ended up becoming a bitch in the end, so why not make it so that while she hated her father, she was also influenced by him so that she was manipulative and snarky. It's convincing; just because you have two assholes in a family doesn't mean they like each other. Also, concerning her status in school she should have still been the weird girl, but also one who was full of herself and had the other freaks following her around. Do you really think THIS teenager (who is next described as rebellious)
is a pure, innocent snow flake?

And the thing is her "altruistic" need to teach is far from altruistic. Emma Frost's motivation to teach is probably a combination of actually feeling like she has something to give to people, but also this: She's a misunderstood and insecure woman who people fear or hate, but don't really listen to past that. So in looking for support and like-minded people she looks to create them by influencing young minds. Also, as a woman who's been beaten down so often, she looks to take care of others to make herself feel better because she feels ambivalently about herself so she doesn't want to comfort herself. Some of these reasons are sad and pathetic, but I find it fits perfectly into her characterization and helps bridge the gap between her "good" self and her "bad" self.

The story continues that she decided to leave after Winston hit her, missing the smart climax that Morrison made where Emma decided whether to accept the fortune and acceptance of the Frost family or go it on her own. Then we return to her early days as a stripper where Sebastian Shaw gets pissed at Emma for her stunt and smashes her face into her makeup desk. She psi-blasts him and THEN he accepts her and so begins their dark partnership. That part was fine, it was a f#@^ed-up relationship they had.

What's absent throughout this story and is most frustrating is Emma's voice. Emma speaks in a particular way, and as someone who's also shifted how they speak, I can tell you it doesn't manifest overnight. Meaning her plain-speak throughout this issue is also unconvincing. Emma Frost speaks like a drag queen: She uses the words "Darling" and "dear," everything's a back-handed compliment with her, and she speaks in this air-y superior way with anything she has to say. And it's not hard to do, give me the main idea of something she'd need to say and I can totally translate it to Emma speak, anyone can.

The rest of the issue is her being a teacher and realizing she's just like her father and her acceptance of that fact. Oh and Empath having a really awkward moment. Conclusion: To buy this issue is to waste your money. And my apologies if you find this post too negative, not to worry I've got a much more positive post of this week's The List coming soon AND I'm working on a post about the similarities between Emma Frost and Lady Gaga.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

X-Force #27 Review

X-Force #27
Writers: Chris Yost and Craig Kyle
Artist: Mike Choi
The first 12 pages of this issue are all about the fight scene between the X-Men and the Nimrods. There's no word bubbles, it's all up on Mike Choi and his ability to convey the intensity of a battle; which he does exceedingly well.

The important moments of the battle scene are this: Psylocke rips a Nimrod in half with her telekinesis (You go, girl!), Hellion gets his hands and part of a forearm shot off (seen in the preview pages [Here]), and Hisako gets her ass beat. One thing that bothered me is Rogue gets one of her absorbed wings ripped out again, and I get the effect of her losing something is good for contributing to the seriousness of the fight, but why the hell doesn't she just fly with Betsy's telekinesis rather than make herself vulnerable by making more of herself that could get hurt?
What bothered me loads more was apparently Iceman got third degree burns. Except it's been established so many times that Bobby's able to come back from just about anything nowadays, so I have trouble he can even be scratched these days.

Anyway, in the end we get a bleak page of the X-Men picking up their wounded, and then we turn to Bastion's force which now is Bastion, Graydon Creed, Trask, and whatever Nimrods they can pull from the future. So that's the villain head count right now.

Back at X-Central, the injured are being reviewed, and everyone's in a frightened mood. Which I can say that thanks to the resurrect-a-thons of the past 5 years that it doesn't mean shit to me. Because I know Nightcrawler will probably be back in two years. And there's a chance Karma's leg will be fixed sometime in the future. When dead doesn't mean dead, it's hard to tell a convincingly serious war story.

Anyway, the facts about the white sphere are in and apparently it links to the future. And the supply of Nimrods available to come through is over 170,000. Everyone's confidence starts to shake worse, and then Emma turns to Cyclops--->

Except Cyclops is Jim Jones here. He brought a bunch of vulnerable people to one place which is surrounded by ocean. Or more like Fraction attempted to convince us that an experienced leader like Cyclops would actually pull a suicidal stunt like this. Utopia's real name is Masada. Except at least Masada wasn't in the middle of the ocean.

Cyclops does come up with a plan though. He wants to send X-Force into the future with Cable's one last jump. And he wants Cypher to "speak the language" of the Nimrods to re-wire them. Remember when I said Cypher was going to become an Ink? Yeah, right about now. BTW, his tag is now "Cypher is Deus Ex Machina".

Oh by the way, Storm finally finds out about X-Force:

Um, no no no. Let's review what formerly marked the difference between Cyclops and Storm's leaderships.

Storm was all right with killing first, k?
I don't care that this was 20 years ago and she was under the influence of Inferno. This is just one of the examples I can pull out that shows Storm as the harder leader. Which was true up until we decided Scott needed to be "badass" like Wolverine because otherwise he's a lame character (which started post-Apocalypse possession).

Moving on, Cyclops hands out assignments like telling Rogue to get all the noncombatants into the Atlantean column underwater. And Betsy gets the most badass job of all:

Speed-telepathy while riding motorcycle? Ohhhh Betsy, it's no wonder why we love you.

Anyway, just as more Nimrods are coming out, the modified X-Force leaves to the future. Cyclops turns to Emma and whines about how he's killed X-Force because they have no way to get back. Really? Why say it like that, Yost and Kyle? Does anyone for a second think that Wolverine, X-23, and other well-liked or recently brought back to the X-Circle characters are really going to die? No. So just say they're screwed, and leave it at a place where we can be convinced. Conclusion: For all my complaints this issue, in the end it was a pretty decent issue considering my complains are more over consistent problems in the X-Universe rather than just this issue. This issue is actually probably one of the better issues of Second Coming.

Friday, May 21, 2010

X-Men Legacy #236 Review

X-Men Legacy #236
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Greg Land
This issue is about a sphere. A sphere that from aerial view just looks like a hot pink bouncy ball over San Fransisco. More on that in a bit because it's the subject of the entire issue so we can spare a few to talk about something else.

So Cable and Hope eat up a significant amount of page time belly-aching on whether or not they are going to leave by jumping forward in time, or stay. Shockingly, they choose to stay which means nothing changed and all that page time was used up for nothing!

Anyway, so the sphere is placed over the San Fransisco area, and the X-Men try to break through it and that sort of thing. It turns out that none of the X-Men can break out of it, and that even Namor can get through it by trying to dig under it. So they're screwed there.

I actually named this file "Hurricane Betsy" because she looks so mighty and fabulous here.
Back with Bastion, he has a moment of enlightenment about his own existence and goals. He begins to realize his only purpose is to be a villain to the mutant race. Too bad he didn't also realize that his only purpose is to serve as the main villain in a predictable crossover, but y'know, baby steps. At least we have a villain who's thinking about what he's going to do after he retires.

Back with the science team, they made it out of the exploding oil rig, unfortunately, and also go over why they can't break through the bubble. Then something unexpected shows up, prompting Dr. Rao to make that face in the panel on the left. I'm sorry, but when I see that face all I can think of is Margaret Cho going, "OH GURRRRRLLLL!!"

The source of this reaction is the Avengers, who are appearing everywhere this week for publicity. What attention whores. Heh, anyway, I do share the same surprise with Dr. Rao because it seems the team remembered that SPIDER-WOMAN IS A MEMBER. Hopefully I'm not the only one that picked up on the fact that most of the Avengers #1 promotional covers neglected to include the only woman on the team. As if she's not already token female of the group, now she's omitted from most of the covers? Anyway, they show up, and it turns out even Thor's mighty hammer can not break the bubble. Or at least not so far.

Returning to the X-Men, a team is assembled to go take care of San Fran, but they change plans halfway due to the discovery of a smaller white sphere on the bridge. While this is going on, Archangel is carrying Betsy. Even though she can fly, and is a STRONG telekinetic. It's odd.

Speaking of Betsy, this issue her role got expanded which I'm glad to see since it seems she's had three lines since this crossover began. This issue she seems to be doing her old role of providing information to the leader like she did in the Aussie days. Which I love of course, thanks Carey. (OH and Cyclops' cheesy fucking jet pack that everyone made a stir about last year is back.)

When the team finally gets to the white bubble it turns out it's a portal for NIMRODS! Intense considering teams of X-Men have had trouble dealing with just one. And it seems this time is no different because check out the preview [Here], this next issue is going to be intense. I'm already haunted by the panel of Hellion. Anyway, so there's that next week AND the Dazzler one-shot plus Thunderbolts #144. AND most importantly, X-Men Origins: Emma Frost.

In other news, hope you all enjoy the change in layout as well as the new banner starring my idol, Emma Frost. I find it fits much better with this blog than the previous, goth-y layout.

Lastly, for those of you who agree with my rants about how poorly women tend to be treated in comics, there's an amazing article [Here] on Jezebel that discusses how people try to defend it (and these are reason I've definitely heard) and what's wrong with their arguments.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The List #28 Part 2

New Mutants #13
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Ibraim Roberson with Lan Medina
This issue Domino gets informed of the teleportericide that's going on, but Vanisher happens to overhear this information and before she can stop him he pops off to that brothel he likes so much. Except Bastion knows about it and he gets shot up, but manages to escape to elsewhere. Probs going to live.

With the New Mutants, Warlock is upset over having had to kill someone, and Sunspot, Dani, and Magma are going over what's happened to their beatup team. Meanwhile, Beast is staying at Utopia for the conflict, but he's pissed. And the Science team was sent to figure out the situation with a control tower which apparently is set to blow up. You can read about it in their upcoming one-shot even though I'm not because I know none of them are going to die, and that's the only happy ending I can think of for that irritating team.

Later on Dani gets up in Cable's face, Hope defends him and they get into a big ol' fight. Cyclops tries to break them up, but Cable stops him telling him he's keeping Hope in a bubble. Then Pierce blows up all the Blackbirds, so
no way to fly out via jet anymore. Then he speechifies. Even though we've had enough of Pierce since Young X-Men. Cyclops kills him which gets my whole-hearted support. Lastly, Hope's all, "I lied when I said I wanted to come back." Oh Noes! Who cares?!

Conclusion: Another wasted, bland chapter doing next-to-nothing. Pick this up if you're collecting all the rest. Now onto the more exciting review.

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1 (of 5)
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Kaare Andrews
Let me start off by saying this mini-series is a breath of fresh air to a stagnating series, but it's also total playing to the fans. I'll explain why in a bit.

The setting is Africa and this opens to a guy running from some guys in gear with guns. And apparently this guy's worth shooting Aye-Aye's in the head for. So they catch up to him and he's like, "Don't make me do this..." Sorry, but just because you changed the setting doesn't mean this gets any less old.

Elsewhere, a baby is born and ends up blowing up part of the hospital. Moving to the X-Men's base San Fransisco, which I'm assuming is a post-Second Coming spoiler, Storm is receiving information on the situation from her husband, Black Panther. But not just any Storm. No. This is the Storm I've wished upon many stars for: MOHAWK STORM! This is playing to the fans part one, and I accept happily. So that's rad, and also in this scene she's seen doing something X-Men seem to rarely do: Eat. Except it's all sexualized because you'll quickly find out that Andrews just needs to keep it in our face every second. And if you look at the waists Andrews draws, th
en you have to figure that this is the first time she's eaten this week.

Storm informs the X-Men of the mutant births, Cyclops decides they go in. Him and Storm also have a private word about her being his consultant for when they're in Africa. Also, I enjoy how he refers to the team.
Except I believe Hisako is Chinese. And Hank McCoy, while originally white, is now Blue, so him, Mystique, and that family out in Kentucky make up that race. Also, thank you Ellis for remembering that Emma's faux-British considering everyone else seems to think she just speaks with a snob accent. Storm then asks Cyclops if that accent of Emma's bothers him and yet again, it's a sensual, she's-all-up-in-his-face situation.

Then the team suits up with Emma being the only one not wearing the standard uniform. Wolverine complains about it, and Emma responds that he can wear whatev
er he wants to when he sleeps with the team leader. First off, I hate that she uses a man to justify her individual costume. In New X-Men she was running around in a diaper and pasties because SHE felt like it, not because she was sleeping with then-Headmaster Professor X.

Next playing to the fans was this stupid costume where we can constantly see her underwear or her boobs are always too visible in-panel. Basically degrading her to a trashy slut.

Her new look is an attempt to going back to the New X-Men look with the long hair and platforms that I missed. Except the problem is New X-Men's Emma was weird and this look takes a wrong turn and ends up at trashy. New X-Men's Emma was Lady Gaga-ish in dress and behavior. Despite looking like a normal rich bitch, she tended to be pretty weird because she was always doing her own thing.

Anyway, everyone gets on the X-Jet and most of the of this issue happens on there. Cyclops does something nice for Storm by passing by the Serengeti so she can see her old home again. And Wolverine ends up turning xenophobic and bitches about everything African for awhile. Which has caused a stir with everyone it seems. Doesn't bother me because I never thought much of him in the first place.

What does bother me is that throughout these scenes Emma is moving around the plane and EVERY panel of her is emphasizing her ass or her tits. EVERY PANEL. It's ridiculous, I pretty much had Hisako's look on my face the entire time. Seriously, there's seductive like she's been in the past, and then there's straight-up trailer park trashy, which this is. And I know this is pandering to the many that hate her. But seriously, it's an asshole thing to do to her fans since it's not really "her", it's just taking a shot at her.

Also, while we're on the subject, my action figure of her has better proportions than how she's drawn. Seriously, her and Storm's waists are appalling, and while Andrews' art is fun and fresh, it's insulting when you get to the women's proportions.

Anyway, after those two scenes happened, the team arrives and it turns out they were expected considering the guns being pointed at them. Conclusion: This issue exemplifies the good and bad's of pandering to the fans. I'd say buy it just because it's the freshest X-Thing that's happened in awhile, and also it's basically a Storm story, so if you miss her dearly then here's something for you.

Before I finish, I want to address the poll results. This time's question was "Which X-Man do you want to see in X-Force the most?" The total number of votes came to 21.The winning vote went to Psylocke, who got 15 votes (71%), which I'm glad to see considering she's a favorite of mine as well. Next two were tied between Cable and Magneto who both got 2 votes (9% for each). Gambit and Other were also tied with 1 vote each (4% for each). And lastly, Deadpool got 0 votes (0%), but that's probably because someone brought up that it's likely that it's Fantomex on the teaser and not Deadpool. My bad, heh, but anyway, considering Dark Reign ended this past week, the next question now is, "Who was your favorite Dark Avenger?"

Friday, May 14, 2010

The List #28 Part 1

Batgirl #10
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Lee Garbett & Pere Perez
A series that I've been getting into pretty recently is Batgirl. Especially because I'm tired of wishing Marvel would use their females better. I find female-as-sides-not-stars extremely depressing because what brought me to comic books are the amazing female characters. So obviously, I'm out on the search for more currently.

Anyway, the force behind Batgirl is the duo made up of Stephanie Brown (Batgirl, formerly Spoiler and Robin) and Barbara Gordon (Oracle, formerly the first Batgirl). Oracle's appeal to me is that she's a lot like an older Gert Yorkes (who was my favorite Runaway), so she's got a lot of the same sort of calm sarcasm and irritability that sometimes comes with being intelligent. Stephanie's appeal is probably both her strongest and weakest quality: She's Buffy Summers. I'm sorry for those of you who have read her for years and vehemently disagree. But after one issue, I could not shake the idea that this klutzy, blonde underdog is almost exactly like Buffy. It's not necessarily a bad thing, Buffy was a massively popular character, but it's just at times it seems Stephanie's awkward factor seems too forced. Anyway, onto the issue.

This arc's villain is Calculator, who's after Oracle for taking his daughter away from him. So he's planning on a little reveng
e. In a lair. Chillin' as villain's do. With his son. His son who's a corpse. Yeah, so he comes with standard villain insanity. And apparently his plan to get back at Oracle involves a pulse of some sort.

Meanwhile Oracle and Batgirl are discussing Calculator over their Bat-headsets or whatever while Batgirl is saving some hoes from some guys on bikes. Or at least they're dressed up like hoes. As Batgirl's leaving she tells them to, "Stay in school,".....'cause it's the best. (Too much Peaches on my playlist)

Next scene is Detective Gage coming to Oracle's assistant professor office, looking for her because apparently she's his only friend in town. Which is kind of sweet and makes him more appealing. Anyway, Stephanie shows up and awkwardly tries to feel out whether or not Gage is aware she's Batgirl. He's not and he finds her "oddly personal". I found her very Buffy-ish.

Meanwhile, Wendy, Calculator's daughter, is lured into Oracle's base of operations and locked in there for her own protection. Also, can we all take a moment to appreciate the amazingness of Oracle's icon? Seriously, it's so creepy, yet also appealing.

So Calculator releases his pulse and apparently what it does is turns anyone who's near technology and sees Oracle in anything, real life or a picture, into a zombie that goes after her. Oh no! Not zombies again! What comic books needs right now is the Scarlet Witch to return and utter the words, "No more Zombies...or Vampires....and fuck off, if you're thinking ab
out turning to Werewolves."

While this occurs, Oracle is teaching a class where her students just so happen to be.... texting behind her back! Not shocking, but what's shocking is what they're texting back and forth about her. It's not to say she can't be hot so much as I've never taken Barbara Gordon to be one of the "sexy" DC superheroes, before or after The Killing Joke. Possibly I'm wrong?
Whatever, her costume didn't come with a boob window, so I figure they weren't trying to sex symbolize her.

So anyway, her class and many people surrounding turn into a tide of Zomb which Barbara has to fight off. Which is always fun to see her kick some ass since it seems she's often just sitting at a computer desk. Batgirl comes to help out, but they end up getting caught in hte river of zomb. Oracle is caught by the zombies, that include her father Commissioner Gordon, and they all vomit some sort of casing on her. And in the last few pages, it turns out more than just random people. Apparently Catwoman, Huntress, and Man-Bat were affected by the pulse. And that leaves me excited for next month's fight scene! Conclusion, this issue was sort of awkward considering the rest of the run so far, but not entirely unbuyable.

Dark Avengers #16
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Unfortunately friends, we've now come to the last issue of the series. And it's sad to see the series go, but in all honesty it seems the series lost steam after issue #6. Everything else has sort of felt like a little directionless, especially recently, with this one being no different. But there is a reason to rejoice: The Sentry's dead!! About damned time, even though he took Rogue down a notch when he fell [Here]. Was that really necessary? As if we weren't already still trying to dig Rogue out of yet another hole after MC.

Anyway, Post-Siege Osborn and his bunch is taken prisoner by the Avengers. Moonstone and Bullseye attempt to break out, even taking care of Ms. Marvel and Bucky's attempts to stop them. But then Iron Man and Luke Cage smack both of them down. And that's it for those two, until the next Thunderbolts (which you can expect to see discussed here). Well, actually I have no idea what's happening to Bullseye or Venom, but here's hoping they replace some of Luke Cage's losers (not a fan of Juggernaut).

Daken manages to evade capture and is hiding out from some army guys who are telling all the Hammer guys what's about to go down. And one of their lines was just too Pokemon for me to handle, so I edited it to what he probably really wanted to say. Seriously, even just "Surrender now, or" would probably make anyone who lived in the late 90's think of that line. Anyway, Daken escapes by chucking some grenades and driving away from an explosion into a title I will never read. Good riddance, I'm so tired of "I don't care, I'm just so badass," characters.

Concerning Ares' death, Thor presents Phobos with Ares' axe and helmet, offering to take him up to Mount Olympus to meet his people. He turns down the offer, and meh, it's all kind of sad because I loved Ares. He's one of the few male characters that I actually like and would read a title for.

Meanwhile, Victoria Hand is having a serious sit-down with Captain America. She explains that she was taken in by Osborn's charisma and goals and tried her best to steer him away from a meltdown but failed. Captain America takes this in, and then tells her she's getting a promotion rather than jailing it. How about that, I thought she was for sure dead by the end of Siege.

Lastly is Osborn, who's now imprisoned in a hxc way. We find him having a conversation with someone off-panel about how he was right, that someday just one thing is going to go wrong with the superheroes and the entire world is going to be screwed by it. Which is a very realistic possibility, and this speech takes the reader in very easily and reminds us of what a persuasive guy Osborn is, so much so that you probably find yourself rooting for him. The issue ends with the off-panel person being the Green Goblin persona saying Norman's stuck with him. And that's the end of the Dark Avengers. Conclusion: If you've been buying all the others, be sure to get this one.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Uncanny X-Men #524 Review

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Terry Dodson
Apologies for the tardiness, I'm in the middle of wrapping up the semester and packing, but in the unlikely event that any of you wait on me to make your weekly comic purchases, it's all right because you didn't miss shit.

This issue's main idea is the reaction to Nightcrawler's death and his funeral as well as looking over what's been lost since the crossover began (RIP Ariel...and Karma's leg). Meaning a recap on the middle of the crossover. Do we really need it, Fraction? Do you really believe all of us have the memories of goldfish? This should have been saved for the last chapter of the story especially considering it's sure to be another recap with a few character moments. Why make a crossover 14 chapters if you clearly don't need them all?

Dodson's on art this issue. Which adds to the filler idea of this issue, and also prevents from taking any of the recapped events seriously. Not that I took them very seriously to begin with, no one's really done a good job of hiding that the crossover formula's being used.

And of course, everyone's dealing with Karma's loss delicately. I can just see the script Dodson was working off of just now: "Panel 3: Have Box bandaging Karma's stump in the least gentle manner possible with her having a hilariously crabby look on her face! Get it? 'Cause she's a minor character, so no one's taking her situation seriously!" Anyway...

The scene changes to everyone standing around Nightcrawler's corpse. Cyclops pokes it with a stick at one point, and Emma asks him if that's not being disrespectful to the dead. He yells at her telling her that he's doing it for the good of the mutant race, and he knows this is the right thing to do ....All right so maybe that didn't happen. But at this point with the uneven levels of power in Emma and Scott's relationship would you really be all that surprised if it did?

Instead, someone tells Hope to bring Kurt back. Someone tells them to back off of her, and Hope freaks out and has a pure Hot Topic-worthy rant about how she's nobody and runs away. Yeah.....I'm not making this one up. Here's the cringe-worthy proof:

I've never felt so embarrassed for a comic book character.
Not even Manhunter when she was late to a battle because she was changing in a car.
I'm just dreading the chapter where she decides to piss off Cable by starting to wear all black and changing her name to Despair. And just in case Fraction was attempting to appeal to the alternative youth of today, someone should alert him that self-loathing is out these days and judgmental narcissism is in (or so says Tumblr, this year's trendy site [yes, I have one. Whatever, it's easy for mindless blogging]).

Afterwards, Cable introduces Hope to Cyclops as his father. And Cyclops proceeds to be exceedingly awkward by talking to Hope as if she's 5. He then tells Cable and Hope to get to the medical bay to get their first checkups in forever. Scene shifts to Danger and her prisoners, who apparently are kept under control through the use of virtual reality goggles, and apparently Pierce, the villain who really needs to die soon, has escaped without her notice, and is the one screwing up things with the Dystopia.

In the war room, a plan is being made to retrieve Magik considering Pixie and Vanisher are the only teleporters left. Which may not be for too much longer considering the preview for Second Coming's next chapter. More will be gone over for that with Second Coming Revelations: Hellbound #1, which I may or may not review.

Back at the med place, Hope meets Magneto, Cable tells her to stay away from him, and it probably means that some dumb shit is going to go on between the unbelievably naive Hope and Magneto who hasn't done an interesting thing since he's arrived on Utopia.

The next scene is Nightcrawler's funeral, which Iceman is the priest guy for (since when is he a priest/in a position where he can perform funerals?). He rattles off some bland lyrics meant to be meaningful. I have no idea what they were because I automatically tune out someone using song lyrics to express themselves thanks to Facebook and the years of Myspace that came before that.

OH and Beast shows up to be pissy with Cyclops. This reappearance really did strike me though, and it left me with two feelings I feel deeply. 1. So glad this annoying fucker's been exiled off to the Secret Avengers, a book I have no intention of reading. 2. Why wasn't he kept around and killed off for this crossover? WHHYYYYYY?????

What followed was a two-page spread with Kurt's various past jobs of acrobat, swashbuckling sword guy, and priest covering the top, and various characters expressing their thoughts on him. Xavier's was a WTF considering Kurt is from the second generation class. I doubt that Xavier taught him the least, seriously.

Emma's was just funny to me because I expected her to follow it with, "It burned when I tried to enter all the others."

And then Colossus said the line I felt got the least attention which was about how everyone thought him dead once, so maybe this works out like that again. I can't believe the entire group didn't go, "Yeah, probably." Seriously, on that page alone we have Xavier who was shot in the head last year, Emma who's been shattered, Storm who's been zapped by Havok, Iceman who should've died so many times, Cyclops who was "killed" by Apocalypse, and Wolverine....who defies all the laws of life.

At the end of the issue, Wolverine is all manrage and tells Hope she better be worth it and storms off. And that's all. Hopefully next week something actually happens.