Sunday, June 27, 2010

Comparisons: True Blood's Pam and Ariel

This post is actually fulfilling a request from Bonez_Giovanni I got not too long ago. He had suggested I make a post on the similarities between these two and at first, I'll admit I didn't see it (but that's mainly because I was still on season 1 of True Blood). However, you'll notice that there are quite a few interesting similarities between these two glamorous ladies.


The first similarity is that these two would be considered cameo queens. Why Ariel qualifies can be found [here]. In terms of Pam, if she's ever appeared in an episode for than a few minutes then I'd be absolutely shocked. If you watch the show then you know that Pam's appearances are not frequent, and, while amusing, are rarely meaningful which would be the mark of a cameo queen. Also, they both belong to works of superior quality next to a related, more popular work. In Ariel's case, she's the cameo queen for X-Men Legacy which is not the X-Flagship; that would be Uncanny X-Men. However, you'll notice that Legacy is superior in quality to Uncanny, and if you're wondering why I say that, just read my Uncanny reviews which are more like rants facading as reviews. Pam is a part of True Blood which is one of the two major vampire titans of this time. The other being Twilight which is, again, the more popular series, but it also is lesser in quality and also seems to be trying to kick feminism in the teeth.

In terms of look, both these women tend to dress glamorously in bright colors. Now, you'll notice for Pam this is not always the case because you can find her in cliche goth attire. However, you'll notice this is only her work clothes for Fangtasia, and otherwise she's generally wearing something fashionable and pink. Ariel is very much the same way, she's usually got her blazer and has been known to wonder whether or not she should belt something. And as demonstrated in this panel, she does work to keep her friends ahead of the fashion times even though she made Sunspot look like a transvestite.

Also, it's important to note that despite their bright clothing, both these women are not as chipper as their clothes might suggest. Ariel's generally mouthy and Pam's just as deadly as her fellow vampires as she reminds us in this [video].


Both of these women used to "work" illegal occupations, while with the Fallen Angels Ariel was a thief and before Pam was turned she was a prostitute (check in the video link above for evidence). Also, they have worked illegally in someone else's name, for Ariel it was as a thief and recruiter for Vanisher and for Pam it was when she was the middle man for Eric by selling the drug V. Also, with their current employment, Pam at Eric's side at Fangtasia and Ariel with the X-Men, they both are found to be lazy but loyal. Both have given lip when they're told to do something, and while never seeming all that invested in the task, they do it because they are asked. In both cases you'll find they get screwed over for it, with Ariel is when she was the teleporter for Alpha team in Second Coming and went boom. In terms of Pam, possible spoiler, but she's about to take the fall for selling V and will be tortured for it [Proof].


Both of these women are non-human, Ariel an extra-terrestrial and Pam a vampire. And as far as I'm concerned, neither of them are heterosexual because as of this past episode Pam is definitely confirmed as non-heterosexual and if Ariel is not a tranny of joy like I've declared, then she's at least a lipstick lesbian. They also both have "betrayed" their own kind, Pam for selling V and Ariel for objecting to the tests her people were committing on mutants. Also, both of them have abilities that allow them to manipulate people. With Pam, while we've never actually seen her do it, it's a given that she can do this as it's part of the default powerset for vampires in this series. With Ariel, she's the first mutant of her people and it's her mutant power to convince people to do what she wants.

And that's why my two favorite sour puss cameo queens, Ariel and True Blood's Pam, are similar. Also, two other people I've found similar to Ariel for different reasons:

This picture of Cyndi Lauper is so Ariel it's ridiculous. I mean she's even got the hair. And who better to compare our cameo queen, who originated and is stuck in the 80's, than to an 80's icon who's fame is mostly stuck in the 80's?

I can't believe I didn't see this one sooner.
Possibly deserving it's own post, MadTV's tacky, overglammed bitch, the Vancome Lady could so have been the inspiration for Ariel's revamp.

Oh and before I go, an update for Ariel is her inclusion in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Update #3 that comes out in August [image here]. And that's it, I leave you all with the juvenile joys of True Blood paper dolls and bingo cards.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The List #32

X-Men Legacy #237
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Greg Land
Yeah, that cover looks my fantasies illustrated by Adi Granov. Anyway, this issue opens with X-Force distracting Master Mold while Cable and Cypher get into the processing core so Cypher can talk to it. From there it tries to assimilate him, and a struggle ensues.

Back on the bridge in the present, the battle heats up with Hope and Rogue showing up to save the day; which obviously overjoyed Cyclops. On Utopia, Magneto's young again! Fighting off the Nimrods like it's nothing until....oh wait, he's old again! And from there he's young again as he starts to use pieces of Utopia, made of iron, to attack the Nimrods. After this we get the ugliest collage courtesy of Land:

First off, this does nothing to progress the story. Second, what is with the no legs thing? Land, what is this supposed to do for us? This reminds me of that ugly cover he did for Uncanny X-Men #517 where he was yet again lazy and untalented.

Back with X-Force, Cypher predictably wins. This causes the destruction of Master Mold and all the Nimrods in the present to deactivate. From there we get another WTF Land panel:

Was extending Paige to the 2nd panel really necessary? Does her ass really contribute anything besides apparently disgusting Colossus?
Going back to X-Force, it turns out X-23 tried to go through the time membrane the Nimrods were going through, but nothing organic can go through there. Solution: Cable lets the T/O virus take him over and goes back to the present. Does this mean he's finally going to die? Can he? Please?

In the end we have Bastion with his two unremarkable lackeys at his side; telling them that now he's just got to do it himself. And from there we have to wait two weeks until the next issue. What the fuck are with these extra-week pauses? Is anyone really at the edge of their seats with this crossover? If they were, it's unlikely they are now. Frankly, I'm just excited for this thing to be over with.

Thunderbolts #145
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Kev Walker
One way to summarize the events that followed after last issue's surprise ending with Baron Helmut Zemo coming take control of the Thunderbolts would be: Psych. It turns out it was just an exercise done to demonstrate that the team is under the thumb of their authority. Along the way we learn a few things:

1. Juggernaut's powers are weakened. Again. Because the transition from villain to hero, however reluctant, requires a massive power decrease.

2. When this exercise happened, all the supervisors faked being knocked out; Songbird being among them. Apparently she's done serving her time as ordinary Thunderbolt.

3. Extra nani
tes in Moonstone's head now make her unable to go intangible because, as Songbird said, having lasers, flying, and strength is enough. The real reason being that if she kept them she'd make Ghost redundant. It's ok though, this issue we discovered she's got a hidden power:

The ability to change footwear at will.
Which is a goddamned useful power, especially as a superhero, because she always needs to be thinking about function so she needs flats. The thing is that they can be ugly, so how useful is it that she can manifest heels as soon as she needs to class it up? (Even though Classy Moonstone is an oxymoron.)
At this point I should probably mention that I've been neglecting to mention the supporting cast of Fixer, Mach-IVWX, and whoever else. That's because I really have no interest in them and will only be mentioning them when it's plot-relevant. And the next bit because following the test run scene is one where we meet the new warden: US Agent. Who's lost an arm? Didn't know that. Anyway, I'm sure he'll do something interesting soon enough.

The rest of the issue consists of the team's "easy" first mission: Go fetch 3 Asguardian trolls using non-lethal measures. And from there the rest of the issue is an enjoyable battle scene with Moonstone starting her bag of bullshit right away:

Girl does not waste time!
And that would be it besides the issue ending with some girl named Troll attacking. Conclusion: Parker delivers another issue of good Thunderbolts fun.

And now for the polls results.
Storm won first place by one vote, thanks to an 11th hour push from her fans, and beat out Emma Frost, who ended up with 2nd place. 3rd place was Rogue; which surprised me a bit since I thought it'd actually be between her and Storm. Professor X, Magneto, and Jean Grey, who've been either former headmasters or groomed to take that position, each received 2 votes and tied for 4th place. And in last place, much to my amusement, Other and Wolverine with 0 votes.

Oh and just an aside for the hell of it, I didn't vote for Emma Frost. I actually voted for Jean of all characters because I think she'd be really interesting as someone who's been the almighty evil and the almighty good in the X-Universe in a role of power we can actually see in action.

That's all, be sure to vote for the latest poll which is, "Which body part lost in Second Coming will you miss the most?"

Friday, June 18, 2010

The List #31 Part 2

Forgetless #5
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Scott Forbes, Marley Zarcone, and Jorge Coelho
I hate that I only found this series right before the last issue came out because its entire run would have been a great addition to this blog. Still, at least I do get to talk about it because this mini-series is so kickass.

Instead of reviewing this last issue and spoiling everything before any of you have a chance to pick it up, I'll just speak on the series in general. Now, if you're going to understand this review you'll probably need to go to this first preview to get the basic idea of the series and what I'm talking about.
Ok, so the idea of models hired to kill a guy at a club on its last night is not the most interesting idea out there. Here's the thing that first stopped me: The art. You'll notice the artist covering the models' side of the story, Scott Forbes, basically has the style of a poor man's Josh Middleton. Which is A-OK with me, I love Middleton enough to accept watered down version as my artist. Plus the other two artists are equally adept at drawing you in against your will and making you love their work. And the color scheme of the club (and a lot of the moments from the side story) remind me of this episode of MTV's Downtown.

The next part that catches your attention about this series is that it's genuinely hip. Unlike Immomen's run on Runaways that felt awkwardly out-of-touch and Diablo Cody and her constant attempts at hipster speak that just beg for your approval so they can be slapped onto a Hot Topic T-shirt, this series just simply reflects on what is now, like inclusion of the characters' Twitter feeds and the up-to-date fashion like Sara wearing Lady Gaga gloves, without overwhelming us in how socially savvy it is.

Probably the most attractive aspect of this series is it goes there. This series is not afraid to have a guy who dresses up in a koala outfit and goes out responding to the
most disgusting Craigslist Personal ads. The humor is my favorite brand: snarky, and it's top notch enough to make me consistently laugh out loud. But I must warn you that this comic could offend the shit out of you. Then again, if you read this blog and all the nasty snark I spew then you're likely all set for this mini-series.

That's not a pie that he's tasting. Definitely not a pie.
A lot of the plot goes on about New York and the horrible things people do to get status there, and from there it goes on about how New York corrupts you. Why is it always New York? Is that the only place in U.S. that impregnates people with the chestbursters of greed, dishonesty, and lust? Whatever, I'm sure that New York's corruption is unique and all, but it's annoying to hear songs, stories, and people saying, "It's only there that people sell their soul for fame!" It makes me determined to go sell my soul in Nebraska and follow it up with a book about the evils of those Nebraskans and their whatever-they're-noted-for's just to spite the over-dramatic corruption of New York. That irritation aside, this book is almost perfect and the best part of it is the side story.
Or back story. Whatever, it's a separate story about trio of teenagers from an uneventful part of Jersey who are fighting to get their ways to the last night of Forgetless. A lot of their motivation is that they already feel that they should be a part of the NYC scene and that where they live fails them as its trashy and unexciting. I. Can. So. Relate. And unless you were lucky enough to be born in a happening area, you probably can too. The character of Darla is genius because most people have had her as a friend before: that impossibly clever and fearless friend of yours that doesn't have a brain cell to her name if it has to do with something legal. And then there's David, the bucket of nerves gay best friend which everyone has except me because I totally am him. Anyway, to close this side story is the best part of Forgetless and is just an amazingly good time.

Conclusion for Forgetless: Buy it. Love it. But pray you don't live it.

New Avengers #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendies
Artist: Stuart Immomen
This issue is about Luke Cage being given his own Avengers along with the newly rennovated Avengers Mansion to do with as he pleases. As he's going to go move in, he's greeted by Victoria Hand pointing a Cable-sized gun at him and his family. Her motivation? Because even though Steve Rogers gave her a second chance to clean up her act, she's paranoid about the other Avengers beating her ass so she feels the need to have a gun on her. Smart, Vicky. In response, Luke Cage claps his hands and it throws her and her gun on steroids back into a wall.

Later on Hand is confronted by Wolverine and Cage who ask her about why she was working with Osborn and if she understood he was nuts. She responds with all the crap she said in the last Dark Avengers and they all tentatively accept her. All except Miss Jessica Jones who has a problem with people pointing a gun at her toddler...

Don't get me wrong, it's great that she cares whether or not her baby's alive. But I swear to fuck, I do not want her only character moments be about her role as a mother. You'd think as a Poison Ivy fan that I'd be desensitized to hearing, "My baby!" every five minutes, but no, it still irritates the piss out of me. I understand her role as a mother will be a part of her character for ever and ever from now on, but Bendis really needs to bring back some of her Alias-era personality.

Now onto the team roster which is given by a double-page spread of the character around the dinner table. Unfortunately, the diva formerly known as Captain America's only limits on team members was that he couldn't have Thor or Iron Man. Which I'm sure he's kicking himself for now because here's the team roster: Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Mockingbird, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, The Thing, Wolverine, and Ms. Marvel. Ok. Half of the New Avengers are also on the adjectiveless Avengers team (Wolverine, Hawkeye, Spider-Man), and starring in 30 other books. Do they really need to be on
another team? Like seriously Bendis, would it kill you to pull She-Hulk from pseudo-Limbo?

The worse is part is The Thing, the member of the Fucking Annoying Four that I hate the most. He's catchphrases and cliched statements that just make him as character dated without the people surrounding him seeming to know that he's over. Oh my God. He's Bret Michaels. Anyway, I just wish the Fantastic Four would sacrifice themselves again like they did during Onslaught, but have it stick this time. Other than that Ms. Marvel's fine, I love Jessica Jones, and Mockingbird I barely know but she does have a cool costume.

Moving back to the issue's going-ons, the villain situation is Dark Reign caused a thinning of the barrier between our realm and others. This is causing things from the other side to get in by possession! Seriously, every month there's at least one of my books having something to do with possession. I used to watch Charmed, I've had my fill of possession plots. Anyway, Dr. Strange and Damian Hellstrom,who is shirtless in leather pants the entire time and makes this issue's villain story more bearable, are possessed and go to fight Dr. Voodoo. Allegedly killing him, the Eye of Agamotto, the thing they're after, is tranferred to Luke Cage, so they show up and attack the Avengers. End issue.

Conclusion, this issue was pretty decent. Despite half the roster sucking, the other half is a good lost, so I'm at least in for the first arc.

The List #31 Part 1

Joker’s Asylum II: Harley Quinn #1
Writer: James Patrick
Artist: Joe Quinones
Here's the basic idea of the story: Harley breaks out of Arkham because it's Valentine's Day and she needs her puddin'. When she arrives at Joker's hideout, it turns out he's been taken by Falcone. From there it's her running from place to place to find Joker, and in the end it turns out Batman caught up to him and put him in Arkham. He says if Harley goes with him back to Arkham she can have dinner with him, so she happily accepts.

This appearance is yet another batch of Harley "cute-ism
s" without any of the clever quality that came with her animated appearances. What's worse is yet again we're lead to believe that the only reason is Harley's a nut is Joker and past that she's fine. Not only does this go against previously established flashbacks (or at least seems to me), but it holds no appeal. The thing about Harley Quinn is she's this bouncy blonde girl who looks and acts innocent and cheerful, but the violent acts she commits tell us that she's not. It's simply an act, and I like it better when it's just an act because I don't care about some victim of The Joker who runs around being cute all the time when he's not involved. Anyway, at the very least this issue we get to see Harley get her violence on in the name of finding Mistah J.

Now that's a Harley Quinn I want to read.

New Mutants #14
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artists: Ibraim Roberson, Lan Medina, and Nathan Fox
First thing I'd like to call attention to is that there's a couple of artists on board for this issue, one of them being assigned to the scenes taking place in Legion's head. I have to say Thank Frost because Roberson's blandness is irritating me. I don't know what it is with him, but there's just something very mundane about how it all looks.

This issue opens with Cyclops telling the non-X-Men Utopia mutants to j
oin in the fight and that today they are all X-Men. Geez, handing out that status out to anyone these days aintcha, Cyke? Next we have Sunspot, Boom Boom, Avalanche, and Husk fighting Nimrods with Husk running around like a helpless idiot. Yeah, being able to shred her skin to basically be a Colossus of whatever substance is such an unfortunate power.... Anyway, during this time Sunspot has a moment of self awareness:

If you've read the first run of New Mutants, then you know that someone is ALWAYS saying that fucking line. Seriously, it's right next to, "Ah'm only invulnerable when Ah'm blastin'!"
A late development we see here with the Nimrods is that they're adapting to the mutant combatants' powers, which is demonstrated by Colossus' arm getting serious fucked up. Luckily, the X-Men have a solution to this, but first....

This arrogant asshole.
In the future X-Force is all RAWR BATTLE TIME! and Cypher is off doing the whole deus ex machina thing by speaking binary to a machine with a guy in it so that the machine boots him out. Soon enough it'll be established that Cypher can cure the Legacy virus by "speaking its language". Seriously, this character sucks at "dark" and "badass", let's see him go back to something he's actually good at doing. I'll give you a hint: it involves a casket. Anyway, X-Force discovers it has to take down two Master Molds in the end of their side story.

Moving back to the present, Xavier recruits Legion, and he's sent into the fight. His multiple personalities, all armed with different powers, are useful against the Nimrods as whenever one gets adapted to he just switches out to another one. Also notice what the Nimrods say when they detect Legion and Xavier coming:

Notice a plural on that?
No! Because it is A-OK for powerful mutants like Xavier and Emma Frost to be powerful without being OMEGA. Especially since, as it's been explained to me, Omega level means A. You're pretty near-immortal B. Your powers can do about anything C. You're so powerful that it makes it impossible to believe that any fights are a real struggle, nixing the man vs. man conflict and screwing up the story. Over-powered character aren't fun, they're annoying because it turns into The Sentry or Exodus where they're always taken out first to make the rest of the fight believeable. Even though no one should be able to take them out in the first place. Omega level should basically be a Jean-only category because she is essentially the mutant God.

Back on Utopia, that Cockroach Morlock, Scalphunter, Sack, and Random group together to go join the big battle when Toad interrupts them and tells them to back out of it. Sack gets pissy with Toad, and they're interrupted by a Nimrod zapping off Toad's index finger and Sack's head. Which would shock me more except...I totally thought he was dead already. Like I thought he died in X-Men The 198 or during the Leper Queen arc in X-Force but that was Fever Pitch, but whatever, there's too many characters with visible skeletons to keep track of. And to make things more intense, the approaching Nimrod crushes Sack's disembodied head.

And finally, as Utopia itself is getting attacked, Magneto gets up out of bed and decides to switch between his two modes that he's had since his return: Going from old and frail all of a sudden mode to youthful and powerful mode. And with that, expect to see him vigorously fight off the Nimrods in an "epic" battle next issue and in the middle of it, suddenly revert to completely useless. Such is the existence of Magneto post-Uncanny
X-Men #500.

Conclusion: This issue was pretty decent despite Roberson's bland art. But I'm ready for this crossover to be done, it has been drawn out way too long. That's it for this issue; I leave you with Sack's disembodied head as a souvenir for all the good times we've had this chapter.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Top 10 X-Men Characters That Need Some Attention

With crossover palooza going on since Utopia and Wolverine and Deadpool getting 3 ongoings and however many mini-series and one-shots on the side, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the A-Listers and wish creators would stop having such a jizz fest over them. What's worse is the less popular characters have gotten shafted into wallpapers roles. These characters tend to have a lot of devoted fans, and just suffer from writers not taking an interest in them. In my opinion, the ten characters most in need of some attention are:

10. Magma
Arguably the most powerful of the New Mutants yet this girl seems to lack any sign of a personality. She actually suffers from two problems it seems: the "With great power comes no space for personality" problem that happens where overpowered heroes become their powers and also the Polaris Complex where writers can't seem to agree on a personality for her unless she's evil. Which she is often enough, running with the Hellions and whatnot, but is it possible she's simply just that quiet and background a character?
Now, she is a member of the New Mutants series and Wells seemed to be working on her through her taking care of Empath. Which was a good move, I'd like to see how it progresses, but unfortunately the New Mutants have taken a hit in personal progression to be involved in lame crossovers. Another unfortunate problem is Cypher and Magik have a habit of getting the most time in the spotlight lately. In the end, here's hoping we see more of Magma in a personal light in the next few months.

9. Anole
It's no secret that New X-Men fans lose their shit over this character. Back in the day of the original Scans_Daily, fans would make "mega"-posts with whatever appearances of him they could find, mainly due to his status as a homosexual since, despite this entire franchise being about minorities, there aren't very non-heterosexual characters.
Anyway, the people were dying to peel this character from the wallpaper status he had. Creators eventually listened by promoting him and Pixie to New X-Men..right before it ended. Anole's next significant move was joining the Young X-Men to replace Wolf Cub, and as we all know, that ship sank fast. Anole's current status is running around Limbo in the Hellbound min-series.
So far all we know of Anole is he's a complainer, homosexual, and friends with Rockslide. Unfortunately a big problem with the New X-Men is that they need to get used or people are going to forget why they cared about them in the first place. And then they'll be like Generation X: Killed off to make arcs more "serious" or just screwed beyond belief. (I'm looking at you, Chamber)

8. Iceman
One would think that with the Original Five being the first set of X-Men that they'd be able to maintain their popularity and visibility through the years. But instead it seems they're the hardest to keep in the spotlight, well, besides Cyclops. Iceman's last moment of real note was when he was a part of Rogue's X-Men squad.
Since then Bobby's been running around in the vignette mini-series and appearing here and there in series to use his powers. The honest truth is he's just barely a step above a cameo queen these days.
A big problem is that Bobby's roles as the youngest and the funny guy have been eaten up by characters that are much more popular. Now we have funny guys....who kill people! Because you can't be funny without having the redeeming quality of being a serial killer! Who aren't even that damned funny. Seriously, I've read the posts on Scans_Daily where Deadpool is deemed to be "funny," and maybe 1 out of the 30 "funny" lines he delivers in an issue are worth an amused smirk. Anyway, the thing is Bobby's a character that can actually be taken seriously when he's not making jokes and is a great contrast to the group's overwhelmingly negative current status.

7. Polaris
Out of all the fans of characters mentioned on this list, I have to say that fans of Polaris have suffered the most. Seriously, currently their girl is in the worst limbo that exists: space limbo. Even people in dead limbo have a shorter wait time (uh, Kitty Pryde anyone? She had time to "die" and come back during the time that Polaris has been stuck doing diddly).
Polaris' last noteworthy move was when she went off to space for Deadly Genesis II to take care of Vulcan. In my opinion, space stories suck in general and this one lasted 12 grueling issues. But then she got stuck with Marvel Girl and Havok to be a part of the Starjammers to do countless ineffectual appearances in War of the Emperor Vulcan Genesis III. What's worse is during this time she hooked back up with Havok which means any chance for her to have character progress just got shot and killed.
You see, Polaris has three modes: Evil mode (she is the mother of damsel-forced-to-be-evil), Havok's Static Arm Candy mode, and We're-Not-Real-Sure mode. Because writers can not seem to agree on a personality for her. My take on Lorna's personality is that she's sort of like that Aunt that you have that's really flighty and "spiritual" so she does yoga and meditates and that sort of thing. Like she's not all there and this works because her mind's been fucked with quite a bit, and I think this works with Austen and Milligan's takes on her. Anyway, let's just see her claw her way out of space limbo first.

6. The Cast of X-Factor Minus Madrox
I know I've bitched about this often enough, but let's look at it: At one point not long ago, Madrox ate up like 50% of each issue. The rest of the issue was left for the rest of the cast including the arc's villain to fight for. And yeah, I get it, David's done something really swell with Madrox, but come on, David, he's good but not that great. Plus, I know the book's noir, but after the Messiah Complex he's been on a constant angst parade without many funny moments. X-Factor used to be fun, there was an energy and humor about it that was so refreshing. Now Madrox whines for all his narration and the rest of the cast fights to get a glimpse of the spotlight.
And the fact is that they are in need of some work. Luckily, David's finally got back on track with this by having Monet get her own side story and Ricstar getting their own issue dealing with Rahne soon, but it really needs to be above and beyond work to regain that energy that seems to have faded. Also, David would need to remind us why we care about Layla Miller now that a significant amount of her appeal has been removed. Honestly, I do hope that the other team members get some attention in the coming issues because they are a cast that I'm interested in...besides Darwin and Longshot.

5. Colossus
Colossus is a character who has suffered so much recently. He was resurrected for the sole purpose of being Kitty's boyfriend again (and to be part of an apocalypse prophecy but whatever it wasn't that important). From there he's been featured mourning Kitty for way too long because this is comic books, we only get one issue a month so if you make two six-issue arcs having Peter mourning in it then you've got yourself one note that's been held way too long. Then Fraction had Dodson tattoo Peter's chest with a love tattoo tackier than electric blue eyeshadow, and since then Colossus' appearances have been decent but far from what you'd expect for one of the former All-New All-Different X-Men.
The fact is it seems no one knows what to do with Colossus anymore because he's basically the quiet, artistic muscle. His character isn't very dramatic because he's sort of a wallflower so a writer with a talent for building more subtle stories is needed. Honestly, I think we could have lived without him ever being resurrected again, but the fact is he is here. He actually would be useful right now concerning his thoughts on the reformation of X-Force considering what he went through in Astonishing.

4. Northstar
Remember back in Uncanny X-Men #508 where Fraction mocked Austen's use of Jean-Paul by having him be hesitant about rejoining the X-Men since he hated being the X-Men's gay mascot? I sure as shit do. And guess what? He's committed the same sin in much worse way by making Northstar a total cameo queen. Yes, right now he's in the Hellbound mini-series, but what is he REALLY doing there? He's even a cameo queen there.
His last real meaningful appearance was his story by Tim Fish in Nation X #2 which did do him the benefit of having him shown with his boyfriend right before doing it and even holding hands. The thing is, I thank Fish for at least doing something with Northstar, but the thing is that story seems to basically be: Gays are cute, we're sort of vapid but tons of fun. And after Kurt from Glee, Jack from Will and Grace, and Marc from Ugly Betty, I'm tired of that route. Enough's enough, as one of the first gay superheroes let's actually see him get the respect and character work he deserves. Let's evolve him past his arrogance and snark.

3. Dazzler
I understand she just had a one-shot, but really, what else do you think she'll really do in the next year? If you'll recall my original cameo queen posts, they were made for a reason. That reason was to show that even though Fraction was receiving such praise for bringing in popular, neglected X-Men, he really wasn't doing anything with them except saying to those fans, "Look they appeared in panel 12! Buy my book!"
Dazzler has suffered the worse because she's done so little yet she's got this decently-sized group of devoted fans, most of them gay or beloved hags, who so deserve to have their girl back to her original personality. Not the bland take writers besides Jim McCann have used.
And I just feel like a disservice to the gay favorite of the X-Men is a disservice to the gay readers who made her their favorite. In the end, Dazzler would need a serious resurrection to have people past her fans be on board with her story, but I believe done right she could easily become one of the beloved B-Listers of the X-Men who people lose their shit over every time she appears (like Psylocke, whose fans LOVE her more than their own mothers).

2. Gambit
Didn't you think that after the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie that Gambit's appearances would explode like Deadpool's? I did, I mean for fuck's sake he was played by super fuckable Taylor Kitsch (the things I would do to him would be unspeaka-oh fuck, I'm writing that out loud aren't I?). It made no sense to me because Gambit and all his sexy charm and natural "Cool guy" factor is really popular.
Yet we haven't seen him much at all. He's been around Legacy, but lately it's been too much angst because writers believe angst means that character's serious now. Yeah because the only people I take seriously are the angsty ones. Seriously, this whole possessed-by-Death thing is so repetitive because we've already got evil Illyana and every other week there's someone else possessed. Let's get back to the dangerous and fun Gambit because, shockingly enough, playful people can have their serious moments and character arcs without fully surrendering to their angst.

1. Storm
Storm is truly the most neglected character out of this entire list because she's been A-List up until about now. Seriously, when Marvel makes a video game or book like Marvel Adventures and they need to send in two characters to stand in for the X-Men, who do they send? Wolverine and Storm. She's such an important part of X-Man history and yet look at her now: in a marriage most readers hate, acting way too "shocked" by violence considering it's heart-removing Storm, and the only place where she really matters these days is Astonishing which only just started moving again.
What needs to happen is Storm needs to be divorced, depowered, given a mohawk, and become leader of a team again. Storm is such a great character because she's admirable, she's a woman who won't let anything get in her way and does not quit. She's not supposed to be a pampered princess, she's supposed to be a woman fighting for peace with her bare hands. She needs responsibility without the glamourous status. In the end, Storm needs to have a comeback because she's a strong female voice in the X-Men that fans respect, and we need that considering the X-Men in power as of late are overwhelmingly men.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #2 (of 5) Review

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #2 (of 5)
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Kaare Andrews
This month's issue opens with a full page shot of Cyclops saying this:

Who exactly is speaking here, Cyclops or Ellis? Because as we can see here in the [preview] what follows is an uncessary two-page look at the enemy, then we have a two-page spread of the team going into the fight, and lastly, a full page of the actual fight. Add this to the first full-page shot of Cyclops and in that makes for 6 pages that were more or less wasted. Seriously, Ellis? You can't just get creative with the fight scene?

It seems this issue, possibly this mini-series, is about Emma Frost and restoring her to her former glory of snarky, morally grey, and just doing her own thing. It seems Ellis finally has a solid grasp on what kind of character she is, and this series is him taking it out for a test drive. Example: During the fight scene where Storm was badass filling the page with lightning and going, "Idiot boys," Emma did nothing. Here's her response when Cyclops asks her about it:
That's the Emma Frost I idolize.
Even though she didn't participate in the fight scene don't take that as Ellis underestimating her and considering her only value to be her character. Following this more soldiers show up to stop the team, and Emma reacts by telepathically commanding them to pull down their pants and hop off with her waving and smiling mischievously as they leave. Again, I love her response to Cyclops questioning her about it. Plus this scene reminds me of the time she pushed a crowd of people's "Bliss buttons," and Jean got pissed over it. It's wonderful to see the return of Emma's true nature.

Oh, side note, something to note in the panel on the right here is the height difference between Emma and Scott. It's completely off: Emma's height is 5'10" and she's wearing 4" platforms while Scott's height is 6'3". She should pretty much be staring him in the face rather than in the chest.

The team shows up at the place functioning as a hospital since the other one's blown up, and it turns out there's a problem with communication as the doctors do not speak the local languages and it's all just ending up like a game of telephone. Beast decides to take over the situation considering it's pretty extreme. These "mutant" babies are far from your average, still-attractive-with-a-concealable-power mutant. No, they're more like this:

I feel sorry for the nurse who has to try to figure out where the diaper goes.
Emma's ordered to download all the necessary languages into all of the medical workers so at least all the knowledge known can be pooled together. She does this in a weird way considering she pulls the medical people in as if to kiss them when she's doing the downloading. She also shocks Cyclops when she shows up in one of the scenes holding one of the babies. Never before have we seen Emma so absolutely maternal, she's practically the Virgin Mary:

That is if your version of the Virgin Mary comes with a perpetual sneer of disgust.

Meanwhile, Cyclops and Storm have a mild tiff over Cyclops' treating the situation like just another mission while he's explaining that things just need to get done. With Beast, he's testing out some theories as he does not believe the babies to be mutants considering they're "mutations" are present at birth as opposed to waiting until they hit puberty. Beast's first theory ends up being that the Ghost Boxes are involved considering the babies have radiation that's on a similar level. And my response was, "Fuck no, we just clawed ourselves out of that crap!"

This is all resolved with the appearance of a man with half a face and his team holding up the medical people. He states that the babies are not mutants, but warpies and he orders them to be killed. And after looking them up, it seems that the Warpies were things from the Excalibur days which just spells trouble to me considering it's Excalibur.

Conclusion: Despite its flaws, this Xenogenesis mini-series is one of the most fun X-Books to happen in awhile.

The List #30 + News

Uncanny X-Men #525
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Terry Dodson
This issue the writer is Fraction, the artist is Dodson (who only works on a teen series), the Fantastic Four, the super hero team I hate the most, guest appears, and Fraction's mouthpieces for his "badass" factor (Dr. Nemesis and Fantomex) are featured. Wonderful.

So we pick up this issue with Hope raging at Cyclops over sending X-Force to their deaths. Her eyes turn red, and ugh, can someone kill her already? I don't care if she's the messiah, she's a worse a
ngst parade than Dawn Summers from Buffy.

On the outside of the bubble is the science team and the Avengers, who are joined by the Fantastic Four
with The Thing spouting his annoying bullshit. Please someone kill him, shoot him off in a bullet, resurrect The Sentry to have him tear him in half. Something. Anyway, they can't break the bubble either. And Dr. Nemesis sets the "serious" tone this issue by telling us the X-Men will die if they can't get in and that there's only a couple hours left. Except he kept repeating it, it's worse than a cycle of America's Next Top Model. Seriously, Fraction and Tyra Banks repeat themselves so often it's like they're 10-second Tom from 50 First Dates.

Meanwhile, there's a battle scene, Storm's powers are limited to lightning, Surge is running around going "OMIGOD" X 30 to irk those of us who were holding out on hating her, Psylocke and Iceman kick some ass, and Fantomex snarks on the Watchmen movie...even though he's decidedly less than that movie considering he only serves to pump up Fraction's fanboy wank cast.

Concerning X-Force, they go to the future to find out and find out that everyone's dead and freak out about it. Uh, so? Aren't you guys dead in every future? Then they come up with the plan to kill everything in this future which was basically esta
blished last chapter. See the 10-second Tom thing?

In the end, Cyclops sends Rogue to take care of Angsty Hope, and Professor X to go get Legion which is damned exciting because Legion could be very badass as an X-Man. And that's it. Conclusion: Buying this issue might cause a number of problems including: headache, migraine, severe frustration, tension in every fiber of your being, and severe confusion on how this shit sells.

Batgirl #11
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Lee Garber and Pere Perez
On a much more positive note, this month's Batgirl was pretty decent. It opens with Oracle in a dream illusion thanks to the metal mummy she's been put into. In this illusion she can walk again, her life is generally ideal, but most of all she wakes up to shirtless Nightwing--->

Uh wrong, Babs, waking up to a shirtless Nightwing is only too right. Seriously, if it upsets you that much, we can trade places, I am willing to do that for you.

In the illusion, Babs has a fake family dinner with the male Robins and her dad when she finally realizes what's wrong by opening her curtains to see what's really going on. Her reaction is priceless:

It's ok, I break out into splits whenever I realize something too.
Her body's taken to Calculator's HQ where he decides not to kill her right away because he wants to download all of what she knows considering her minds a valuable resource. He plugs into her to find that she's got mental blocks, and that she's pissed to see him. A fight ensues and ORacle manages to break them from her mind into Calculator's.

Back with Batgirl, she's got her hands full with possessed Catwoman and Huntress. She's also got Wendy Harris, Calculator's daughter, subbing for Oracle, which I imagine is "fun" considering I find the character completely unlikable despite my trying to give her a chance. Stephanie takes to the sewers to get away from the battle only to find Man-Bat waiting for her. Her only option: Ride him.

The imaginary conversation she has with him during her attempt to get him to fly to safety is probably the best part of this issue. In the end she lands at an airport with Wendy showing up to aid her. The issue ends with Wendy flying Stephanie over Calculator's lair, and Stephanie jumping down into the concluding fight scene next issue.

And now for some news:
  • For those of you wondering, I will not be reviewing the X-Men Second Coming: Hellbound mini-series. It's too dull for me to handle.
  • I also will not be covering the Heralds mini-series, but that's due to lack of enough things to say. However, I do have to mention that Immomen's probably at her most bearable here, and also that she's got a good grasp on how to write Emma. I mean, it's still So-In-Love Emma, but she's at least still got her nasty streak here. And finally, I adore this panel:
  • In the X-Men First Class movie news, Rosamund Pike may get the role of Emma Frost. Which is weak considering she does not seem to have a bitchface whatsoever, and what's worse is this version of Emma may be just a teacher. Which would be so lame, remember her Ultimate X-Men counterpart and how much "fun" she was? Emma would function better as a student. [Source]
  • There's a new poll up, so go on and vote (it's not limited to who's actually alive right now to take the position considering the Jean option). And in terms of the last poll the question was "Who was your favorite Dark Avenger?" which received 17 votes. Moonstone killed this poll, receiving 12 of the votes (70%) with Ares and The Sentry tying for second place with 2 votes each (11%). Bullseye ended up with 1 vote (5%) and Iron Patriot, Venom, Daken, and Noh-Varr all ended up with 0 votes (0%).
  • Finally, did anyone else see Domino on the cover of this month's Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War #1? What is up with her Kate Gosselin hair? Is Wade Wilson's War about the difficulties of raising eight kids? Or does this hair now empower Dom to simultaneously snap her gum and rolls her eyes? Either way I think this look should stick, Domino with Kate Gosselin hair would be a treasure chest of comedy just waiting to be opened. [Source]