Friday, July 30, 2010

The List #35 Part 2

X-Men Legacy #238
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Clay Mann
Come in, sit down, and fix yourself a drink, we've got a lot to snark about. Not so much on Legacy, but trust me, once we get to Uncanny there will be some bitchery. Before we begin let's discuss this cover.

There was this article I went over for my class in Women and Gender Studies two semesters ago about how boys and girls are depicted in greetings cards congradulating parents on their newborn. Boys were usually shown to be playing with toys and generally active with expressive faces while girls were usually shown to be sleeping or passive (in their mothers arms) with little to no emotion on their faces, and this all connected to unconscious perceived value. Well, let's look at this cover. Magneto's alert, and looking to do something about the threat at hand, and he's got his hands 'protectively' *cough*possessively*cough* on Rogue. On the otherhand, Rogue's not mentally there at all and there's no sign that she's looking to act. Even though it's her series right now.

My irritation with the cover aside, so far is Legacy is the only book so far to bounce back on its feet after the crossover. While the other books so far have stumbled as they work themselves back into place, Legacy glides right back to where it was. Also, Clay Mann is back and he's better than ever with his pencils significantly adding to the quality of this issue.

We open this issue with Rogue finding out she needs to bring back Indra to India as his parents have asked for him due to his brother falling into a coma. She chooses to bring Anole, Loa, and Magneto with her, though she does offer a place to someone else -->

Finally Hellion has a believable reaction to the loss of his hands. I knew Carey would be the one to do it too, and I'm glad at least he sees even someone that arrogant is going to be hurting after something like this. Anyway, Hellion decides not to come, but he will be dealt with by Carey soon enough so we're just slapping a bookmark in his story.

Once the team gets to Mumbai it's revealed that Indra's parents intend for him to cease life with the X-Men and marry his brother's fiance since they don't know if he'll come out of it. Also if you were wondering, if you were wondering where Indra's prick gene comes from, I can tell you now that it's totally from his dad. And here I thought it was from him mimicking Nezhno's personality (seriously, they're a bit too similar these days).

Meanwhile the other X-
Men are off on a shopping adventure with Magneto on a sidequest to figure out what's up with the weird fluctuations in the E.M. fields. Rogue's outfit choice for this outing only adds more evidence to the comparison of her to Sookie Stackhouse of True Blood (as they were both portrayed with Anna Paquin in the live adaptations and they're very similar roles in these adaptations). See for yourself:

We still love you, Rogue. On the other hand, I still dislike you, Sookeh.
At this point I need to explain what most of this issue was about since I've been dancing around it because it's all connected so you have to put it out in one chunk. Basically, the disturbances in the E.M. field is what brought Magneto to Mumbai and it's causing storms that put people in comas (like Indra's brother). The source of this is some ship floating on above with a crew that's all siblings I guess, and one of them's not going along with it. She decides to make a break for it, and lands down when one of the storm strikes with the X-Men there as well defending against it. Oh and also, the girl's siblings have sentinels and decide to sic them on her. And that's pretty much what happened. Also, Carey has a great handle of Magneto:

I've always seen him as snippy and irritated by others even when he wasn't 'evil'.
Anyway, X-Men Legacy definitely switched gears seamlessly while the other books are more like someone's first time with a stick shift. Do pick this one up if you're looking for a decent X-Book.

Uncanny X-Men #526
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Whilce Portacio
Freshen up your drink, this one's going to be an all-out snarkfest of joy. While Uncanny stumbled like New Mutants this issue, it still had plenty of things about it to make fun of, mostly due to Whilce Portacio and his rape faces.

This issue opens with a focus on the first of the new mutants the X-Men are looking to recruit. She's having a particularly difficult transition, and Angel's totally not helping (bottom right panel). Oh Warren, save it for your grouchy teen band, Angel of Death or Horseman of the Apocalypse or whatever you call it.

Meanwhile other people are planning on adventures such as Hope who's looking to find out about her roots in Alaska and what happened to her parents. Emma's also on a mission, but that's to go wine and dine with Pervy Stark. Also, remember my request to keep Fraction away from the Internet for fear of copy and pasting another 'hip' or 'now' thing in his stories?

It wasn't heard.
Of course he'd reference unfunny bro shit, we always reference what we know.
Anyway, during Hope's journey she takes Dr. Nemesis, Rogue, and Cypher with her. They find out that Hope's mother is confirmed as dead. They also review how many people died because Hope was born:

But not with facial proportions this world typically sees.
Seriously, I know of one person on this planet with a jaw like that and it's
noticeable. I even used to refer to him as 'Jaws' since it was his one defining feature.

So Hope finds out a lot of people died the day she was born and she's bum city about it. Rogue moves her hand to comfort her except it's not a hand that belongs to a human. No, it's a hand that belongs to one of those weird vomit guys from that fucking Tool video that every alternative kid lost their shit for back in the day (@2:08). Ugh, I can't stand that video, especially since it seems to be a birthing ground for pointlessly pretentious college 'artists' who haphazardly throw paint at a sheet of paper and call it deep, existential, nihilistic, and whatever other words 'deep' people use. You know the type.

Back to the issue, while resting for the night in a motel Cypher goes over the details of Hope's mother like her name and Dr. Nemesis chastises him for coming off as insensitive. Which is a big deal since Nemesis seems to drink Mountain Douche. It also makes no sense because isn't Cypher our new fix-it-all, know-it-all? I mean if he can figure out the language of viruses, can't he figure out the basic language of social etiquette?

Hope ends up visiting her mother's grave only to encounter her grandmother. Obviously Grams doesn't know who Hope is since Hope should still be a baby considering Marvel's sliding timescale, but this doesn't stop Grams from inviting the total stranger over. From there she tells Hope about her mother who was a firefighter...because of course her mother's occupation had to do with fire. Did she also adopt birds, specifically birds of prey that rose again? Hope tells her of her loss with Cable gone and Grams' sympathy is creepy:

What a rape face. And who the hell smiles when they're expressing their sympathies?
Also, she should sue whoever did her walls, it looks like a 6 year old attacked it with a set of black crayons.
Back with the Science team and Colossus and Kitty, it seems Kitty can't unphase because her body doesn't remember how. Truly tragic. I really do miss her irritating me and threatening to kill my favorite character. Another thing, did anyone else notice that Colossus has a total shelf for an ass? Omigosh, at least Portacio neglected the easy-access hole for this issue or I would've been like, "Kitty, he's using you as a fucking beard." Anyway, back to things that lasted longer than two pages:

The emerging mutant girls has had it. Her hair's falling out, her skins changing color, Portacio's having his way uglying up her's just not her day. Apparently we're meant to know that she's really smart as it's emphasized with every other line she says with things like her SAT scores (1590? Hope that's not counting all three portions or that's hardly impressive. Although seems to me the writing portion is newish). Hope appears and she's like, "Chill, sis," but this girl's had it and jumps. Hope follows her and when she gets a hold of Laurie, the new girl, she causes her to fully mutate, making her the android-ish one who can fly. Afterward Hope guides her back to the rooftop and Laurie decides all of a sudden she's over being angsty about her being a mutant even though it turns her whole life upside down. But hey, it's just like losing a limb according to everyone except Carey, it's totally whatev. And she willingly joins up with the X-Men. End issue.

Conclusion: Obviously this issue is flawed. However, these flaws are fucking hilarious, and I have to say I have found a new favorite artist to pick on and his name is Whilce Portacio. Seriously, I'm so excited for the material he's going to give me next issue. Buy it if you have a sense of snarky humor about this whole 'Five Lights' thing.

Side Story
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Artist: Olivier Coipel
This side story is meant to connect the dots between Magneto being on Utopia not knowing about his maybe-grandsons to showing up at the end of Childrens Crusade #1. It turns out Dr. Nemesis informs Mags about the YA and the possible connection between him and Tommy and Billy. He decides to go ask Cyclops about it who's busy with Colossus and Psylocke rebuilding Utopia. Cyclops is doubtful, and Wolverine steps in to say the Avengers will not allow him near them at all. Cyclops is not unsympathetic to Magneto's desire to meet them, but he tries to be rational with him about it. That's pretty much it for the side story, but I will say Heinberg's Magneto and Cyclops are excellently characterized. Cyclops in particular since Heinberg's version is not a fucking unreasonable douchebag, and acts more like a leader by being rational and sympathetic, even to Magneto. One more thing of note besides that: Who wears short-shorts?
Coipel is just forking over material for my new favorite tag "616 colossus might also be gay."
I can't believe Coipel actually thinks that grown, muscular men wear crap like that, especially since I've seen him do it before with Hawkeye. That's more of a look for skinny, twink-y gay guys. I mean, sure, back when they did it in the 80's it almost made sense, but now it's embarrassing. Especially since you know one of Peter's balls of steel is bound to pop out at one point or another. But yeah, that's it for me, hope you all had as much fun with these issues as I did.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The List #35 Part 1 + News

Gotham City Sirens #14
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Andres Guinaldo
Turning away from the bland Maggie Kyle story, we return to my favorite Bat-villain, Poison Ivy. This issue it's revealed that one of her reasons for working at S.T.A.R. labs was because she'd heard about a "re-foliant" that could restore the rain forest in a way that's beyond her powers. It's revealed that this technology has problems, and comes from a guy who's "dead" but kept in the labs. From there Ivy learns he's actually a plant from a planet where plants ruled. How she learns this is through communing with a leaf on his body, and what follows this is:

Yet another possession.
That's 2 within 3 issues of your run, Bedard.
Ivy ends up being possessed into helping restore the alien guy, and they end up going on a rampage. She also turns purple and gets total man-hands. That's the issue.

Despite this being an issue centered around Ivy, it carried none of her voice or style, and just turned into a "meh" story. Also, if you remember the original solicits had GCS 12 being about Ivy and her new 'boyfriend' before Bedard took over as writer and changed it to the Kyle sister's story. Well, it seems this is the recycled idea of what was supposed to happen with Dini, and I have to say I think Dini would've done it a lot better. Also, did Ivy really need to be possessed to think that plants taking over the world is a good idea? All the alien guy needed to say was, "I'll help you out," and she would've gone for his plan. Yet again, one of the flaws of this series is that the writers seem to forget that these women were villains, and should still be.

Conclusion: This series was already having it's issues before Bedard came along, and now it seems this series is getting turned into bland city under his hand. Leave it on the shelves until Hurricane Bedard's passed.

X-Factor #207
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Sebastian Fiumara
It's been awhile since I've discussed X-Factor here due to it having been pretty mundane during that time. However, X-Factor is bouncing back...or at least giving me what I want to read.

This issue opens with Hela in disguise asking for Madrox's help in finding a pendant, and she has a picture of the guy who did it. Madrox finds him and it turns out this guy was using the pendant to glamour himself into looking human as he is a....leprechaun? Something along those lines. The best part of this search being the return of:

"Banshee's" Siren Song!
It's definitely one of the cooler aspects of her powers.
And of course I'm just thrilled to see Siryn back in action (fuck the name change, according to this blog she's Siryn). Another thing that happens this issue is Monet resolves her plot line that's been going on in a very clever way. I'd explain it, but I'd also have to explain what went on during the past few issues and I don't know what happened because I haven't read in awhile. Moving on to the reason why I'm back with X-Factor: Rictor and Shatterstar!!

Finally they get some real page time as a couple; I've been waiting for this since they kissed. While at a shooting range, Ric is trying to teach Shatterstar how to shoot a gun with Star finding it a waste of time (especially since when he does he has perfect accuracy). Rictor asks if he's a waste of time too, and finally, the issue of Star's kissing everyone is addressed. Basically, Star is finally discovering the magical wonder of different sorts of emotional relationships as well as sexual, and he wants Rictor to be there with him through it. Despite Star wanting to sleep everyone, he wants Rictor with him to experience this (so there might be threesomes in the future??) Anyway, this panel helps elaborate plus there's Ric/Star kisses:

You better believe I squeed at this.
The next time we see them they're getting to bed, resolving to work through this together, and possibly about to get it on when guess who walks in the door: Rahne. What a cockblock, and as if I needed another reason as to why she's #1 on my who-I-want-dead list.

In the end, this explanation of Star's behavior is the best executed I could've hoped for besides erasing the idea it ever happened. Plus, the fact that they finally got some meaningful time as a couple thrills me to no end. I'm still about as much of a fan of Star's issue as Rictor, but whatever, I can deal if they're still trying to be a serious couple. Anyway, it seems Ricstar are going to be the focus of part of this arc, so definitely go out, buy this issue, and get back on board with X-Factor. Plus I heard one of them leaves at the end of this arc, and I'm so crossing my fingers for it to be Longshot or Darwin. And now for the news:

(Some of this is a little old due to the hectic week I had last post time)

  • This beautiful poster done by Marco Djurdjevic and revealed during Comic-Con. Seems to me it'll be split up and used as variants for the X-Books. For a better look, go [Here]
  • As last weekend was Comic-Con, it's generally agreed that one of the best parts of it was when the full cast of the upcoming Avengers movie getting up on stage. [Source]
  • Also among the Comic-Con news was this: "Next, a woman said, "Matt Fraction, thanks for giving Cyclops his balls back." Seriously, lady? WTF. [Source]
  • For those of you who've enjoyed my Comparison posts, reader X-23 has made a post comparing Dr. Nemesis and Emma Frost and I recommend you go check it out. [Here]
  • Also, if you really like comparisons, I found an entire site devoted to just that. [Here]
  • Nick Spencer, who wrote the amazing Forgetless, is coming out with a new ongoing series soon called "Morning Glories". Expect to see rave reviews about it on here, I can't wait for it! [Source]

Friday, July 23, 2010

The List #34

New Mutants #15
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Sorry about the delay, things have been insane lately so the news and last week's X-Factor will get added o
not this week's post because I think there's like one new thing coming out for my pull list. Anyway, let the reviewing begin.

In my mind this issue is titled "The Drunk Issue" considering that's what most of it centers around. What happens is Cannonball approaches Cyclops and whines that he "broke the team" and no longer deserves to be leader. Cyclops, not to be outdone in the angst dept., tells Sam that he doesn't have time for this angsty shit when he could be devoting time to his own, and orders Sam to take the team out for some R+R.

So they do and Sam decides to make it extra special because they R+R:
Of course you bring beer, Sam.
Gross. I think me and Illyana are going to go sneak out to the local Hannaford for some vodka.
So the team drinks and they slowly start going over what happened during SC. Then they start swapping funny stories with Dani recounting what happened during the battle with Hodgo. Don't think it was that funny of an issue? Me neither. Seriously, not to say that you don't obnoxiously point to the elephant in the room when drunk, but if you're going to tell funny stories at least tell stories that are actually funny. Like Wells, you couldn't make something up?

Another point I don't believe is that this is the second time where Karma and Hellion have been portrayed as indifferent to their losing their body parts. I mean I don't want them angsting up the panels until the series ends, but seriously, at least have a couple issues with them dealing with their feelings over it. I'm not sold on them being ok with it, but I suppose minor characters are expected to dela with whatever blows their given and get over it. Something this issue I was totally sold on was this:

Ohhhh drunken makeout sessions. Brings back memories of last semester. Anyway, that much was convincing although I wish Wells had gone further to the one-night stand that would've resulted had they not been interrupted. Not because I'm a Dani/Sam shipper, but because I'm always in for awkward drunk one-night stands as long as they're not my own. Anyway, you'll notice we don't see much of Warlock this issue because....

He can't hold his beer.
Nah, apparently he's purging because he's got eater's remorse. We're planning on a very special True Life for him very soon actually. Actually he's bummed out over taking human life and releasing the energy he gained from eating the people. Most of the issue he's not seen because he's out moping over it.

The rest of the issue has to do with the ongoing Magik/Pixie tensions. They only get worse as the demon-y army guys from issue #9 appear this issue and are out for Illyana's blood since they spent 20 years in Limbo and half of them are part-demon now because of having to try and survive there. In their search for Illyana they end up finding Pixie and beating her ass for her soul dagger. And this makes for yet another reason to add to Pixie's list of why Illyana Rasputin is a bitch.

And besides Illyana being alerted to the danger nearby by having her soulsword come out of her and also cockblock Sam and Dani, that's the issue. Conclusion: Despite it's glaring flaws, this issue was pretty decent and I'm just thrilled to see New Mutants finally out of crossover hell.

New Avengers #2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immomen
This issue is basically a game of "Who's got the Eye of Agamotto?" with everyone trying to keep it away from the possessed Luke Cage. Except the demon possessing Luke Cage is willing to play dirty to get the Eye:

Ohhhh gurl. Evil means business when it resorts to pulling on your hair.
This issue Jessica Jones dropped her typical mother pick up the typical wife role. There were a couple moments where she was cool, but for the most part she was portrayed as the idiot wife who doesn't understand what possession means.

In the end, everyone's un-possessed while Iron Fist ,who's got the Eye, is possessed, and the Sorcerer guys including Dr. Voodoo reunite to say the world is fucked. Conclusion: This issue was ok, nothing was really bad about it but there was also nothing particularly great about it either.

Thunderbolts #146
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Kev Walker
So last week we ended with the introduction of this new girl named Troll with me already rolling my eyes in annoyance to yet another "child-raised-in-the-wild!" story because I hate those stories. Seriously, when Claremont tried going that route with X-23 with the fangs and the growling I was like, "Diva you did not!" Luckily this issue they just knock her out and throw her story on the backburner which is whatev. Also, Songbird had like two panels this issue, so that was a plus.

The main mission this issue is the team going to find out what happened to the SHIELD team sent to investigate and verify if there were a new vein of terrigen crystals in some cave. Results: The SHIELD team's dead and there's definitely terrigen crystals in the cave. So much so that it reminds me of Aladdin with the room that was filled with gold in the Cave of Wonders. Also, there's a ton of misshapen creatures lurking about trying to kill the team.

In other news, this whole fake "reformed Moonstone" act has gone from decent to stinks like shit.

Seriously, Parker, how dumb do you think she is?
WTF, I'm pretty sure Ellis built her up differently and he's the reason I and I'm sure a lot of people started paying attention to this series. Basically, he had her be sex-positive, manipulative, and had her be a rough girl masquerading as classy even though we knew better. From there Bendis' Dark Reign had her be sleep with everyone and had her called a slut for it, kind of trashy, and still manipulative but all the other team members were too so her game plan just got lost in all that (especially with fucking Daken since we're all supposed to believe he matters or something). Parker so far as made her all-out trashy, no sleeping around but she's hinted to it, but his worst sin is he thinks that she's stupid. This is probably because people automatically assume women who are unashamed of their sexuality are "sluts" and must be stupid to not be ashamed. ...She has an MD in Psych, how stupid can she be when it comes to manipulation? Especially when she's been doing it for quite awhile. Anyway, I don't buy Moonstone would try to shove her "reformed" crap in everyone's faces like that because she's a manipulator; she knows that doesn't work like that.

Back to the story, the rest of the issue consists of another extended fight scene which is, once again, a good thing because I'm all in for a good team battle. Especially since it seems half the X-Books fail to understand what a decent team fight scene looks like. The issue ends with Man-Thing, Crossbones, and Mach-IV or V or VIIX as the only Thunderbolts left standing against the creatures. Conclusion: This issue would be between good and ok which seems to be a "thing" for Parker as I remember feeling the same about most of his Exiles run.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Opening Thoughts: Avengers Academy

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mike McKone
Today I was flipping through a Wizard magazine I got back in 2006, and I started to reminisce about the amazing comics that came out that year. One of the features of that issue was a review of all the X-Books which happened to have New X-Men in it, and it hit me how much I really miss those characters. In general I just miss having a teen comic book in my pull list because they're usually well-done and with Childrens Crusade being bi-monthly I need something more frequent.

Well, my wishes were answered when I remembered a comment reader Mtti had left about trying out Avengers Academy, and I also remembered that so far it seems to have impressed people even getting a recommendation from The Buy Pile. I admit I was initially hesitant about this title because I'm already in love with the Young Avengers, so I feel like I'm cheating on them if I turn to another teen Avengers book. However, I decided to try it out, and my conclusion is I'm 100% on board with this book especially since it seems it has answered my cry for the return of New X-Men in a way....we'll get to that in just a sec.

The Avengers Academy begins with the idea that these students have been chosen as the young superhumans with the most potential to become tomorrow's Avengers. However, at the end of the first issue it is revealed that this is actually a lie made up by the senior staff to give these students a break as the truth is they're really considered to be the young superhumans who are either the most dangerous or at greatest risk of becoming villains. This is also due to the fact that all of these character had interaction with Osborn during Dark Reign and in some cases he screwed them up in a terrible way.

The senior staff generally have checkered pasts themselves (though I'm not familiar with all of them). Remember when I bitched that the current Avengers team have no variation and need to explain all the character in Limbo? Here be the dumping grounds for the excess. Leading them is the ever-redeeming founding Avenger, Hank Pym, who is your out-of-touch dad figure. When Finesse approaches him about her concerns about not fitting in, he decides to have her watch a video on Quicksilver alone and then follows up afterwards asking what she thought about it. How middle-aged, no-idea-how-to-talk-to-kids is that? No complaints here, I totally laughed when he did that, and I'm looking forward to the day he warns the kids of the "life-damaging effects" of marijuana. Anyway, let's meet the rest of the staff:

It seems Speedball has now done his
penance for what went on in Stamford, CT during Civil War (ohhh the punning). Anyway, he's done ripping off costume ideas from Soul Calibur's Voldo and back to wearing his old costume while still sporting the fragile psyche of his recent appearances. He's hardly bouncing off the walls like he used to, but at least he's not cutting himself to feel anymore.

There's also Tigra who I am now calling Tygra (as in Tyra Banks) due to her looking even more model-esque in this series especially with the hair. Also, I'd like to mention the my spell check corrects me when I put in Tigra, but not when I put in Tygra. Obviously it's a sign from Jean. By the way, if any of the brats are sent home she'd better be the one to send them. In an exaggerated. over-emphasized. way. Seriously, it'd be a crime if she didn't; I'd simply believe there is no Jean Grey. Also on staff is Quicksilver who, like his dad, is good again, and is now snarky on such a level that I have trouble buying his heterosexuality. Like this is some drag queen-level snark. Oh and the last staff member is Justice who I don't know. Moving on, let's chat about the students:

Now remember how I said my New X-Men wishes were answered? It's because these characters bear an interesting similarity to the New X-Men. Someone else actually saw this too [Here], but I believe my version is better because A. I got the whole New X-Men team besides Dust (who can just be added on to Veil's) and B. it's my idea. Realize these comparisons are just for fun, I'm not criticizing Gage or calling him unoriginal because I'm certain these characters will be expanded on to be very different. I'm just noting an enjoyable initial similarity. Moving on, introducing the students of the Avengers Academy:

Veil a.k.a. Madeline Berry
Which New X-Man is she? Mercury (and partially Dust)

Why? An awkward redheaded teenage girl who as a crush on an unattainable guy and whose power includes transforming from solid to another state of matter. And for Dust, they both have powers that turn them into flowing particles and also have been tampered with so that they'll kill them eventually (thought Dust's problem was sort of resolved).

The first issue is through Maddy's perspective in all her awkwardness, and immediately I find her adorkable. While characters like Cessily have been simply social awkward, Maddy on the other hand is a total nerd and a lovable one at that. She's got a total innocent, notebook-doodling crush on her teacher, Justice, and compares him to Rob Pattinson. While typically any reference to Twilight would tick me off, Gage does it in a way that endears Maddy to the reader. Also, she's physically awkward as well as socially, and it makes her so much more relatable. In this case it's because she's flat-chested which I LOVE because I have a lot of female friends (who all talk about their breasts at one point or another) and they generally fall into two types: either well-endowed to the point where they've considered surgery or in the A-Cup range and pissed about it. Also, a flat-chested superhero is more believable because there is no way the many well-endowed women of the Marvel universe could have breasts that big and not have severe back problems especially considering their line of work. Anyway, Maddy is an awkward, lovable mess and my current favorite.

Hazmat a.k.a. Jennifer Takeda
Which New X-Man is she? Surge

Why? An asian teenager with a bad attitude and superpower that requires her to wear something or she'll cause harm to the people around her.
So far Hazmat's panel time has been limited so it's hard to figure out how I feel about her. So far it's in the "meh" area though considering her attitude.

Reptil a.k.a. Humberto Lopez
Which New X-Man is he? Elixir

Why? So far appears to be generally good guy whose wrestling with dark things that he's both experienced.
Glad to see someone from the previous series Avengers: The Initiative being used. Not because I read it, but because character Limbo sucks. So far he hasn't been worked with much in the series since he's already had some spotlight and apparently just recently had it in Enter the Heroic Age #1. However, he did have a moment last issue where it was revealed he hasn't kissed a girl yet, and it lead to an entertaining moment with Finesse. I'm sure his romantic inexperience and following awkwardness is going to play a part in his story again somewhere down the road, and I'm so in for that.

Which New X-Man is he? Hellion

Why? An arrogant showoff with a desperate need to be the center of attention.
The similarity here is so strong it's ridiculous. Actually, you know how in Christianity, Eve was created by God taking one of Adam's ribs and making her out of it? In this case Striker was created by Jean Grey taking Hellion's hands and making him out of it.
So far his being an egomaniac has served to irritate me, but he's also proven to be smart enough to recognize the students need to play along even though they've found out the truth about their purpose. He reasons that in the Heroic Age, rejects like them are less tolerable, and it becomes a more glaring problem for them to either prove themselves as heroes or be considered a villain. Which totally makes sense to me.

Mettle a.k.a. Ken Mack
Which New X-Man is he? Rockslide

Why? A teenager with a power that gives him a weird appearance and makes him physically numb.
While Rockslide changed his rock form every five seconds without seeming to give a shit, Mettle is aware of and insecure about his appearance which is a much more believable take. He also seems to be more intelligent than Rockslide considering when Speedball's appearance was met by uncertainty from his classmates he noticed that Speedball was the perfect person to be teaching them. His reasoning was that considering Robbie's been through redeeming himself after a dark period it makes for a relatable topic considering the team has all been manipulated by Osborn.

Finesse a.k.a. Jeanne Foucault
Which New X-Man is she? X-23

Why? Team badass who's the most likely to turn evil, and also has severe difficulty interacting with others due to her trouble with emotions. Intelligent and able to recite information word-for-word from memory.
The second issue is told more from Finesse's perspective and you'll probably find yourself having ambivalent feelings about her like I do. Her skill is that she's a "polymath" which I've just translated to team know-it-all. And of course, know-it-alls can be extremely annoying especially their insensitivity and that crap. The thing is I feel like the readers are supposed to dislike her initially, and then realize they love her later on when she's redeemed. She's not altogether terrible; so far she's called Striker out for his manly posturing and has had some honest moments about her being frustrated over not understanding people to the point where she wonders if she has Asberger's syndrome. Which is perfect for a comic book because odds are a decent amount of us are intelligent but have difficulty fitting in or just understanding how people interact. It definitely speaks to me in a very big way. Anyway, last issue she also had a good moment where she tried to interact with Pym by using what she's learned of student-teacher interactions by watching Maddy and Justice and accidentally ended up hitting on Pym. It was an awkwardly good time. Oh and now she's blackmailing Quicksilver into mentoring her on what he learned while in The Brotherhood. By the way, if you don't see the similarity between her and Laura, here's some additional evidence with Finesse's old costume being revealed to pretty much be Laura's old New X-Men costume.

Avengers Academy is only two issues into its run right now with the second issue having just released last Wednesday so if this post has given you an interest in trying out this series then know that it's still a great time to get on board.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Dos and Don't of Resurrecting Jean Grey

As you may have noticed with last week's finale to Second Coming we've been teased yet again with Hope displaying the Phoenix symbol which may mean Mrs. Grey-Summers is not far behind. Or is it just Miss Grey now? I know 'til death do us part, but does that mean if her and Cyclops were still together she'd have to get remarried every time she came back? Anyway, last week's "revelation" got me thinking about how I'd like to see Jean return, and here's my list of thoughts on how I think resurrecting the X-Jesus should be done:

Do use the best and brightest talent.
This is the much-anticipated resurrection of the first X-Woman, and it should be a massive celebration. The level of talent should reflect how big of a deal this return is. For this past crossover, standard to mediocre talent was used (exceptions: Mike Choi and Mike Carey). That was fine; the villains were all recycled and nearly identical, the main people featured have usually been dull as hell, and not a whole lot changed. And while Jean Grey coming back would only be one thing, it could definitely affect a lot of things, but more on that later. Anyway, it'd be a slap in the face to use Dodson who's meant to be on a Teen book or Land who's meant to be running a sleezy superhero porn site. And Fraction the terrible needs to keep his paws away from the X-Goddess. The type of talent that should be used are people like Mike Deodato (he did the Jean on the left) and Mike Carey who could definitely handle bringing Jean back with grace and dignity.

Don't keep her powers at Omega level.
Most of you have read by now that I resent the hell out of the Omega level classification. Basically, it's meant to say this character's power levels are over 9000 or something. Fraction has decided to do this with Emma and Xavier even though it's all right if they're simply skilled and powerful telepaths. The Omega classification has been explained to me as almost godlike levels of power, and it just sounds ridiculous because it overpowers the character and makes them 'perfect'. Which can easily make them dull. Plus, Omega means either they win every battle or a really lame excuse is made up as to why they didn't (Remember The Sentry?). I think Jean should just have the same power levels as she did in the first arc of Morrison's New X-Men before the Phoenix issue got involved. Or even just keeping her powers that same without mentioning the O-word because it just leads to horrible explanations of why a character didn't win this or that.

Do make her changed because of her experiences in the White Hot Room.
Remember that awful No-Girl vs. Quentin Quire story in Nation X #2 where Quentin says he's over being a higher being and just spends that story seeming more juvenile than he ever did in "Riot at Xavier's"? I do. Most of my review of that issue was spent bitching about how much he did not make sense that issue [It's here]. Anyway, I refuse to believe that someone could enter the biz of running reality as we know it and not come back with a different perspective on life. Jean's already a mature character, but what I'm suggesting is that she come back more sage than we previously knew her to be. Even if she doesn't remember exactly what happened she should be somewhat disoriented with things similar to BtVS when Buffy came back the second time (but less dramatic in this case).

Don't start off with a Dark Phoenix story.
Last time we saw Jean for any real amount of time was with X-Men: Phoenix- Endsong. Which was a fun story, but in the end, all she did was be Dark Phoenix all over again up until the last couple pages. Before that was Morrison's Here Comes Tomorrow where she was also crazy Phoenix again, and before that his arcs generally touched towards her being Dark Phoenix again. To summarize, we just saw Dark Phoenix and I for one am fine with waiting a good long while before we see her again. But that's also because I think that a lot of writers are excited to use the cool, powerful characters, but not all of them are careful enough to write these characters well.

Do install her into a position of power.
<--Said by Xavier during Morrison's "Planet X" arc, and I seriously believe that title should transfer to Jean as soon as she's back and ready for it. I've found Jean's shining moments have been when she's been in charge like in "Germ-Free Generation" or "Eve of Destruction". I also find her so much more level-headed than Cyclops will ever be considering he's constantly off on some angst parade. Also, considering how leadership has gone from X-Men as teams to a school to the entire mutant population it'd be interesting to see her as the voice of the people. She's done it before with amazing results and I think now she'd shine so much more as the official voice of mutantkind rather than subbing in for Xavier.

Don't make her a cameo queen.
Cameo queens can be fun, but at the end of the day they're really just false advertising. They're used to have the fanbases of a character purchase titles they appear in just to find out these character have only had all of one line over the course of an entire issue. Now you may doubt that they'd sideline Jean to cameo queen after her return, but look at Kitty right now. They brought her back to sideline her right off the bat even though it would have been all right to simply push her return back to when it could be dealt with in more depth. Odds are Kitty will be a cameo queen for some time too considering she can't talk as she's stuck as a ghost right now. Anyway, it'd be a real shitty thing of the X-Creative team to bring Jean back only to have her just be on the sidelines saying, "Okayyy......I'm here.....what do I do?"

Do have Jean and Scott in conflict.
Remember how we had like 3 years where the storylines rotated around what a "bad guy" Xavier had been, and how shitty he was? Remember how he was practically banished from the X-Men; the X-Men which he created? I'm thinking Cyclops has Xavier beat by now for shitty leader award, and who better to A. Defend Xavier's honor B. Tell Cyclops off than the star pupil/ex-wife? And now with X-Force being exposed to the rest of the X-Men and the senior members finding themselves somewhat divided on the subject with Storm going on about what Jean would do wouldn't it be interesting to actually see that? And combine this with Jean taking over as headmistress, it could lead to an X-House divided with X-Men having to choose to side with Cyclops or Jean. Those siding with Cyclops choosing a more militaristic, morally ambiguous philosophy while those siding with Jean would be standing for traditional X-Men values. And the cherry on top would be that Jean would likely have a bunch of senior members on her side who haven't been in the thick of it in awhile while Scott would have a gang of ex-villains.

Don't have Jean fighting with Emma.
First off, you'll recall at the conclusion of "Here Comes Tomorrow" that it was Jean who pushed Cyclops to accept Emma's offer to reopen the school as well as begin a relationship with her. Which is partially why I call theirs a false love. That and two people desperate for individual attention do not make a perfect relationship like some would think. These people tend to need someone who's fine without all the attention being on them and perfectly happy to give it to someone else. Anyway, by now Jean would have worked out her feelings over the Emma/Scott situation, and even if she hasn't, she's not a character who's prone to cattyness. Besides during the discovery of the affair and minor remarks here and there, Jean is above fighting with Emma and I just think she's above fighting with Emma. However, I don't believe Emma's above picking a fight. Hell no. Emma's so bitchy she'd pick a fight with God even if he threatened to smite her. Anyway, in the end it'd make Jean look bad to participate in fights with Emma.

Do have Jean and Logan get together.
Jean and Logan's sexual tension has been something that's been going on for quite awhile now, and I am surprised it hasn't been explored in a more in-depth way yet. Seems to me the reason given was that there was a mutual understanding that they both wouldn't work out because he's a killer and she's an angel. Except she's also a genocidal goddess sometimes and her kill count will always be higher than his.....but anyway, I think they deserve to have a go now that Scott's off with yet another woman who is selling herself short considering she's with him. It's just an issue of making the interactions tasteful, and it would need someone like Allan Heinberg who's great at being sensitive to what works in a scene with a lot of emotional undertones. Also, I have to say it: The sex would be phenomenal. You know it's true: the combined forces of fiery passion incarnate and animalistic lust. Plus he's got a hundred plus years of experience and she's been a goddess with access to all sorts of knowledge. Whew, the only thing that would be generating more heat than the two of them is the sun which Jean will probably decide to go eat during the afterglow. Anyway, moving on, Jean and Logan would total make an awesome couple with the two of them trying to work against their darker sides. Also, if my idea of the X-Men dividing were to happen with Jean representing the traditional views, can you imagine what a mighty monkey wrench her having a relationship (probs a secret one too) with the almighty X-Killer would be? The possibilities are endlessly delicious, and I would definitely bring my appetite for something like that.

Don't saddle her with Hope.
I understand that to some degree Hope and Jean have to have some sort of connection. Seems to me one of the writers mentioned that Hope signifies the beginning of Jean coming back, and we've seen hints of that give evidence to that. It's all understandable, but what I'm saying is after Hope's served her part just put her back in her plot-progressor box and have that be the extent of her interaction with Jean. Why? Rachel Summers. When you think of her what do you think of? The very first thing that comes to my mind is an angst-ridden word balloon exclaiming "Mom!" There's a reason why I'm only concerned about Polaris returning from space, and that's because Rachel annoys me to no end with her whining about Jean. I really don't want to see that again with Hope, and in any case, Jean as any sort of maternal figure ages her more than she needs to be.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

X-Men: Second Coming #2 Review + News

X-Men: Second Coming #2
Chapter 1:
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Ibraim Roberson

Finally the last installment of Second Coming is here. This has been an event that was unnecessarily drawn out like nothing I've ever seen before. And while yes, some points were good, laughs were had, and snark was made, in the end there were some totally unnecessary chapters. Like the entire middle installment. Anyway, finally this too-long event has concluded.

This issue is split into four chapters with each one getting their own Second Coming creative team. We open where we left off with Hope floating with the rest of the X-Men surrounding her. It appears done as homage to the end of Messiah Complex when everyone surrounded Xavier when he had been shot in the head:

It's neat to see who's here now and who's absent from last time, the most positive aspect being Rogue and Psylocke being in attendance this time.
From there Hope ends up passing out for a day and finds herself in the med bay. This opens with Beast putting Colossus' fucked up arm in place in a painful way. From there it's basically a look at everyone who suffered injuries with Karma getting her robot leg thing that we'll see more of in next week's New Mutants. We also see Hellion for the first time since losing his hands, and it's sort of a painful sight. Even though his character hasn't changed, he's still a prick. What's more painful is the lack of explanation as to why Elixir isn't around, and fixing this crap like it's nothing. The other part of this issue is Magneto being creepy next to Hope going, "Sometimes it's ok to be feared, as an on-again off-again villain I should know. Just wait, next month I'll be the 'most feared' again." Anyway, it was a pretty weak part.

Chapter 2:
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Esad Ribic

This opens with yet another flashback that does nothing except say Hope was afraid of losing Cable. Absolutely shocking, I had no idea! Then we move onto his funeral scene with many of his former X-Force team showing up as well as Deadpool and even Omega Sentinel. Oddly enough Bling! is shown. But that's not really what's odd about her being there:
It's that she looks like a spooked deer.
Maybe she realized that she's a character of little importance and will probably meet a similar crossover death fate like this except she'll be one of the opening deaths? Or that her powers were shown incorrectly coincidentally during one of Land's issues? Nah. Probably just saw her reflection in a mirror and realized what she's wearing.

Anyway, during the funeral Cyclops mangsts appropriately by crying over Cable's grave
before he can even get his eulogy out. Instead Hope takes over and says he got an honorable death, and that no one need shed tears for him. While she starts to cry.

Then this deal takes a massive detour as Cyclops attempts to recover his dignity by being a prick to Rogue. In the end he says her being a "loose cannon" during the previous battles were the last straw and that she's removed from the combat roster.

Chapter 3:
Writers: Chris Yost and Craig Kyle
Artist: Greg Land
This part takes place with Storm and Wolverine having a conversation over X-Force, and she criticizes the killing deal. He tells her that she's not in any place to judge considering she's not around often. Wolverine says if could do it again, he'd kill more, and Storm responds that in that case this may be their last conversation together. It's a very powerful moment to say the least.

From there Logan goes to X-23 tellin
g her she's off the team, and that now Marvel feels she could sell her own book. Apparently this series is going to rotate around her figuring out what she does with her life without orders of someone else. From there Wolverine goes to set up the next X-Men series premiering soon by going to have a conversation with Cyclops. In another powerful moment done by Yost and Kyle we find out how all the older X-Men are reacting to the news of X-Force:

Ohhhh damn, Storm brought in WWJGD.
And really, what would Jean Grey do? Be like, "Bitch, my kill count is in the billions, SUCK ON THAT!" All the while Storm would be appalled and shocked until someone tosses Marrow's first heart at her. What? I'm just saying.

This all ends with Cyclops saying X-Force is done for all the reasons stated plus if the Avengers found out then there might be a conflict. In the end Wolverine goes off talking to an unseen group about how X-Force now has to be totally secret. Who's he talking to?

The new X-Force.
Really Land?
Everyone needed a gun? Especially a Liefeld-esque gun?
So remember that poll where I thought someone was Deadpool and someone was like it's probs Fantomex and I was like probs. Turns out we were both right. Yeah. I don't know if I can handle that combined hyper-douchebag, uber-cliched force of Fantomex, Deadpool, and Wolverine. But I'll at least give this "Uncanny X-Force" a shot. ( I can't believe that's really what we're calling it.)

Chapter 4:
Writer: Matt Fraction
rtist: Terry Dodson
We open this part this Iceman talking to Cyclops while he's trying to write a condolence letter to Amanda Sefton (I think) concerning Kurt's death. And from there something creepy about Kurt is revealed (to me at least):

Anyway, Beast gets bitched out by Namor about turning his back on his people because, for Namor, only just recently having his people's back is like having had their back all along. From there a bonfire is made in attempt to cheer everyone up. Emma's there and in diamond form because:

Not only that but the kids wised up and started locking their medicine cabinets so now she can't abuse their ADD meds. I think we need to have an very special episode of Intervention our very own Miss Frost.

While this is going on she spots Hope making a the sign of the Phoenix with the fire while flashing a mischievous smile towards her. Done by Dodson this is basically the same look you get when your 6-year old cousins is trying to act like they're up to something. I love how juvenile Dodson makes everything look, really I just love it. Emma freaks and runs to Scott and attempts to inform him of the situation, but he's like, "QUIET WOMAN!" as he gazes up at the five new mutants signatures registering on Cerebra. Yay, mutants are back, the Decimation is over, and hopefully I don't have to read an explanation about what happened during HoM ever again. From here we're going to start the "Five Lights' arc that's been [announced] with 4 of the 5 new characters either meant to look like "Badass on the edge" or "Sexy-face teen girl". And that's it, here's to the conclusion of Second Coming! Now for some news:

  • The poll results are in and apparently half of you miss Ariel. *Sniff* Me too, my dears, me too. Following that it seems people miss Kurt lots too. I have to say I was surprised Karma and Hellion didn't get more votes considering how scarring their limb-losing scenes were. What's worse is Toad's finger totally got one more vote than Karma's leg which totally gives me a giggle. Also, be sure to vote on the new poll with the new question of "What post-SC book (new or returning) are you looking forward to the most?"
  • Death of the Motherfucking Endless of Sandman fame is going to appear in Action Comics! As someone who is a decent-sized fan of Vertigo's very own peppy goth I have to just tell you all I almost died of delight when I heard this. Look for a detour to the Superman universe when this comes out. [Source]
  • The people have spoken again and they still want Psylocke's fanny-floss costume gone [Source]. Which I agree with. Except that unless you've been living in total comic book ignorance for the past month, you are probably aware that fans are having a shit fit over Wonder Woman's new costume. And now the one for the Green Lantern movie. So Betsy receiving a costume change right now sounds a bit unlikely. And....I don't like Wondy's new costume either, but I think that the level of bitching from comic fans recently has added weight to a stereotype of us being like grumpy old people who just bitch no matter what. So it's not good, but I was thinking about it and I think the perfect solution would have been a bit more audience participation. And that has spawned a post idea. So stay tuned Psylocke fans, I'll need your input very soon!
  • Oh and before I go, I'd just like to announce that I've made a tumblr specifically for comic books. It's not meant to replace this blog; it's more for briefer posts whenever I'm not whipping up a longer post. Feel free to follow it if you're interested [Here].