Tagged: X-Force

Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #10 & X-men ’92 #3

Spider-Woman_Vol_5_10Spider-Woman #10

Dennis Hopeless/ Natasha Bustos/Vero Gandini

Marvel $3.99

Going into this issue knowing regular series artist Javier Rodriguez would not be drawing it, I was expecting myself to enjoying this issue of Spider-Woman a little less than usual. Nothing against guest artist Natacha Bustos, but the shadow Rodriguez casts on this book is MASSIVE, and it’s a hard to follow.

However, most of my issues with #10 aren’t with Bustos. She kills it with this issue, channeling Rodriguez while giving the book a softer, more manga-influenced look. Natacha never gives us any crazy, hyperactive layouts we’ve gotten in the past, but she does a fine enough job with the issue. It’s a shame that Vero Gandinis color pallet is so pale, otherwise I would have zero complaints with the art. Sadly, aside from his beautiful night skies,  his use of light colors irk me, making the final product look cheaper. I was willing to chalk it up to a printing error, but after looking at the digital copy, it’s definitely the shade. The day scenes are well lite enough, but it takes away from the night time scene.

CNWcZSSW8AAR1_CMy other issue with this comic was it being forced into being a Secret Wars: Last Days tie-in. 1/4 of the book is spent setting up Jessica’s appearance in Secret War #1, and it feels so forced, with an overly aggressive Black Widow that’s incredibly unlikable. It’s rare to see writer Dennis Hopeless slip up like this, but given how poor the Spider-Verse stuff was handled, it doesn’t come as a surprise. The book is at it’s best when it’s dealing with the A plot, which involves such greatness as HULK CATTLE and the Porcupine going full O.M.A.C. (Happy birthday Jack Kirby!), and could have used five more pages of that then lining up the events of a 4 month old comic.

Spider-Woman #10 is the uneven conclusion to a pretty great run of Spider-Woman comics. The book will be back in November with the Javier Rodriguez, and Natcha Bustos will be off drawing the All New Devil Dinosaur series. I’m excited for both titles, and I hope this next volume of Spider-Woman will be free of crossovers. Hopeless and Jessica are best when they’re left to their own devices, despite the chance of boosted sales thanks to being a major event tie in

X-Men_'92_Vol_1_3_TextlessX-men ’92 #3

Chad Bowers/Chris Sims/ Scott Koblish 

Marvel $4.99

Nothing says 90s X-men like X-Force. The New Mutants went from being the 2nd X-men book to being a sales juggernauts, launching the careers of both Rob Liefield and Greg Capullo, and introducing Marvel icons like Cable and Deadpool. It comes as no surprise that Sims and Bowers decided to use these characters for this title, and the results of pretty great.

X-Men ’92 #3 collects the 5th and 6th installments of the digital version of X-Men ’92, which are both the best and worst chapters of this series so far. The first half of this book sees X-Force off to save the captive X-men, all while Casanova Nova finds herself struggling against the combined might of Cyclops and Jean Grey. The 2nd of the half explains Casanova’s end game, ties the book back to Secret Wars, and is kind of all over the place. You can tell writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims are having a blast with this book when their focusing on the characters, which is where is when the book really shines. It’s an extremely fun fiction of sorts, and I wish these two could continue to have their fun instead of having to wrap this thing up so the 616 X-men can pal around with the Inhumans or whatever.

004085411ce2dfd3afbf59c707e7fe85Sadly the artist Scott Koblish‘s art isn’t as solid this time around. While he manages to draw some ridiculous guns and pouches this issue, some of the pages feel rush, and the art feels less parody and more cheap 90s licensed merchandise at times.

The good more than out weight the bad in X-men ’92 #3. Its an incredibly fun and exciting read that hits a few snags, but is worth the cover price. It’s been a while since we’ve had a light-hearted X-men book on the stands, and hopefully these creators will have a chance to work their magic again after Secret Wars.

 

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A return to form

What’s this? An article where I can get by without talking about Square Enix releases?!? Why yes, yes it is! Of course that means returning to the old hotness, talking about comic book related merch, so please deal with this return accordingly.

Long time FPNYC readers know I’ve poked plenty of fun of DC in the past, be it related to their non-Batman comics or action figures. However, I have to give props when they’re due when it comes to three new DC statues released by Kotobukiya, as they’re kind of great!

The Bishoujio line is no stranger to these parts, and I’m really digging the the newest addition to the line, the Huntress (of Birds of Prey and World’s Finest fame). The costume is obviously based on the one Jim Lee drew her in during the Jeph Loeb-penned “Hush” arc, which to be honest, I’m not that big of a fan of . And to be a nit-picky nerd, I would have preferred to see her armed with a crossbow rather than a staff. But those are simply a matter of preference, the statue itself is great, and if your a fan of the character and the line I advise you to pick it up. You can do a lot worse for $50-60.

Kotobukiya has also started releasing statues based on the new 52 Justice League and I’m really digging them. While not as impressive as some of the more high-end releases, the Superman and Green Lantern ArtFX+Statues are still really cool. Basically a high end figurine, each statue is a sensible take on Jim Lee’s redesigns for the League, and the end product looks really sharp with the metallic paint jobs for the character’s costume. Considering these are 7″ statues with magnetic stands, the $40 retail price makes these statues quite the bargain too. Wonder Woman is the next monthly release, so get on that kids.

Oh look, I made it 300 words without mentioning a Marvel product. Time for that to change!

I was kind of harsh on the last wave of Marvel Legends releases, but Hasbro has definitely rebounded with the first wave of the 2013 series. It’s another 5 basic figure set (with 3 variants) but it’s a lot more diverse this time around, and a lot more original content…sort of. X-Force Wolverine was originally a part of a SDCC X-Force box set, and I’m fairly certain he’s just a retooled Daken (not sure if ironic or creepy). But the rest of the line is pretty solid, even though the She-Hulk variants are kind of lazy (Red Shulkie is the standard, Thundra is the variant). In addition to the 3 I’ve mention so far, there’s Ultimate Captain America, the newest Avenger Hyperion( with deceased Avengers the Sentry as his variant),  and former Avenger/now Young Avenger the Protector with Iron First as his variant. The Build a Figure this time around is Deadpool arch-nemesis Hit Monkey, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. I’m a fan of gun-toting monkeys, and you should be to. Each figure will set you back $20, which sadly is the standard for highly articulated 6″ figures.

As I wrap this article up, I just want to once again mention Hawkeye #7, the issue where HAWKGUYS Kate and Clint deal with Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York respectively. You should be buying the comic I gave my 2012 pick of the year for as is, BUT with this special issue, Fraction is donating all his royalties from it to the Red Cross. Considering this is more or less a $3 donation to the Red Cross with instant gratification, it worth’s picking up. So do so!

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TRY SOMETHING NEW CHAPTER 7: Against The Evil Galactic Empire.

(note: This weeks column will be structured like a Choose Your Own Adventure. If you do not understand what a Choose Your Own Adventure story is you should call your parents and ask them why they didn’t give you a better childhood.)

So here we are again. Me at my computer, drinking chocolate milk like an adult. It’s 3 AM. I had a really long day and I don’t want to get into the details. On the bright side I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant next to Peter Scolari. I also thought I recognized the guy sitting on the other side of the room but I realized after dinner that I thought it was Walter Cronkite and I am pretty sure he’s dead. So that was either not him or the craziest celebrity sighting ever. Peter Scolari isn’t dead, right? If he is, you all should check out this Chinese spot on 74th and Amsterdam. It’s like Dawn Of The Dead but with soup dumplings. Anyway, enough about me. What’s going on with you? If you are reading the newsletter in Forbidden Planet please proceed to PARAGRAPH 1. If you are reading the blog on FPNYC.com skip ahead to PARAGRAPH 2. If you are reading the newsletter somewhere outside the store please jump to PARAGRAPH 3.

1. I see. Well, it’s good to see you in Forbidden Planet again. It feels like it’s been a while. Did you see Forbidden Planet’s own technical wizard/artistic muse Tyler yet? He’s here somewhere. He is always in the store. If you find him you should give him a hug. He will act like he doesn’t want you to, but he does. Maybe he’s downstairs. Duck under the rope and look for him in “The Dungeon”. (editor’s note: customers are not allowed to duck under the rope or touch Tyler.) Go on. It’s fine. Never listen to editors, cops, or your parents. The Dungeon is cool. It is full of Abominations and staff members eating halal food. Anyway, thanks for reading this before you do your shopping. You seem like a real savvy customer who wants to TRY SOMETHING NEW. Would you be offended if I made a suggestion? If you want to hear Matthew’s recommendation for you hurl onward to PARAGRAPH 4. If you want to act like a weirdo jerk and not hear his recommendation then slither ahead to PARAGRAPH 9.

2. Oh that’s cool. And hey, thanks for coming to FPNYC.com. There’s so much stuff on the internet. Some folks would have you believe there is too much stuff, but those folks are sociopaths. Either way, it really means a lot to me that you came all the way out here to the middle on internet nowhere to read this of all things. You can’t tell right now, but your dedication to our little blog just made technical wizard/evil henchmen Tyler tear up just now. He is acting like he has something in his eye but he doesn’t. He is an emotional dude. Don’t judge. Anyway, I think it’s really cool that you came here. I know you could be watching that video of the guy teaching the baby wolf how to howl or trying to figure out what Hawkeye from the Avengers would look like if he were a sexy lady. But you have a dedication to seeking out some of the worst comics journalism of all time and I think that is swell. That reminds me, do you know what book you might like? If you don’t know what book you might like and want to find out hop along to PARAGRAPH 6. If you are some freak who somehow already knows all of the books he/she will ever like crawl forward to PARAGRAPH 9.

3. Hey. Sorry to cut you off but I got something to say. I don’t want to be a jerk here but I am a little annoyed. Why would you come into Forbidden Planet, pick up a newsletter, and then wait to read it until you left? How are my book recommendations going to help you now? You can come back in a few days and hope that all the books I’ve recommended aren’t sold out, but I make no guarantees. A lot of people read this newsletter in the store and I am very persuasive. Anyway, I am not mad or anything, just disappointed. Our technical wizard/ jackbooted thug Tyler is really mad though. Next time you come into the store you better hope he isn’t in. Lucky for you, Tyler is almost never in the store. Anyway, I want to prove to you that I’m not mad. I want to recommend a book. Cool? If you want to be cool with Matthew launch yourself over to PARAGRAPH 8. If you don’t want to be cool with Matthew or anyone else creep on to PARAGRAPH 9.

4. I think you might like DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20. It’s one of the great comic anthologies of all time, showcasing amazing legends and exciting up and comers in all genres. Two cool new stories begin in this issue; Michael Avon Oeming‘s dark superhero story THE VICTORIES, and Geoffrey Thorne and Todd Harris‘ intriguing JOURNEYMEN! Josh Williamson‘s great take on the old pulp hero CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT is a great read for anyone who appreciates fun action, which you seem like you do. And this issue also has another installment of one of my favorite new series of 2012- THE WHITE SUITS. Crime and conspiracy stuff done in a fresh and stylized way, THE WHITE SUITS short story makes DARK HORSE PRESENTS worth the cover price alone. Anyway, pick this one up. It’s right over there on the shelf. I’m sure you’ll like it. If you pick up DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20 walk over to the register where one of the register jockeys will ring you up and say “do you want a bag and board for this?” even though it won’t fit in a bag because it is prestige format. THE END. If you choose not to buy DARK HORSE PRESENTS #20 lurk on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

5. The ground you are standing on momentarily groans like an old man before it gives way. You fall for what feels like a lifetime but is only a moment. Mercifully, you stop with a violent splash. You have landed in what seems to be water… maybe. As you look up you can just barely make out the fading sunlight. It’s beautiful, shades of red and orange blend together like a Gauguin. You barely hear tires kick up dirt as your only “friends” drive away. Are they laughing? The water is violently cold, a cold you could have never imagined. It fights its way deep into your muscles, into your bones even. They burn against the cold but it is a losing battle. The pain begins to give way to an almost peacefulness as treading water becomes harder and harder. Hypothermia begins to set in and you find that you now think of yourself in the past tense, “I was so young.” The universe doesn’t care though. THE END.

6. This is what I wanted to show you. It’s DAN THE UNHARMABLE. Have you read the single issues? No? Well that’s fine because this is the first volume of the collection. It’s by David Lapham. You may know him from such disturbing and ultraviolent books as CROSSED, CALIGULA, or FERALS. Or you might know him from a personal favorite of mine, STRAY BULLETS. STRAY BULLETS is one of the smartest and best slice of life/crime/I don’t know what books ever written. It’s LOVE & ROCKETS but with more murder. Lapham has an extraordinary ability to blur lines between the disturbing, the tragic, and the hilarious. DAN THE UNHARMABLE tells the story of an immortal private eye who gets caught up in a very personal case. It is violent, crass, low brow, funny, and exciting. Lapham can pull off this kind of schizophrenic storytelling in ways no one else would think of trying. If any of that interests you grab this and proceed to check out. If you order a copy of DAN THE UNHARMABLE vol 1 sit by your mailbox for a few days until the postman puts it in your hand. Thank your postman. It’s a thankless job. THE END. If you choose not to buy DAN THE UNHARMABLE Vol. 1. scurry on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

7. Her lips graze your neck and you can feel your pulse quicken. Her warm breath on your skin makes your toes tingle. She whispers something you can’t quite make out and your whole body starts to go numb. “Did she just say my real name?!” you think to yourself. Startled, you go to push her away but your legs give out before your hands can respond to your mental commands. You fall to the ground like a hostage dropped out the front door during a botched bank robbery. You hit the ground head first and your neck twists violently but painlessly to the right. The acrid taste of bile creeps up the back of your throat and fills your mouth. You can see part of your body you have never seen before; your back. Sticking straight out like a flag, the syringe she used is clearly visible. She leans down over you and sensually whispers one last sentence to you, “The universe wanted you dead.” No it doesn’t, you wanted to be able to tell her. It just doesn’t care. THE END.

8. So these Marvel Now books have been really great. Strong and smart editorial leadership has managed to put together a lot of really smart and interesting books without abandoning what came before them. THOR, ALL NEW X-MEN, NEW AVENGERS, CAPTAIN MARVEL, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, there are almost too many good Marvel books to name right now. Well two more enter the fold this week with #1 issues. Ron Garney and indie hotshot Sam Humphries launch an all new UNCANNY X-FORCE this week. Mohawk Storm is all you really need to know. Mr. Humphries likes to take his stories down unusual paths and that is just what an X-Force book should do, go where you least expect it. This may not be high on a lot of folks lists, but neither was Rick Remender‘s run on UNCANNY X-FORCE, and that ended up being one of the best Marvel books in 10 years.

In addition to UNCANNY X-FORCE #1, this week sees YOUNG AVENGERS #1. Most people don’t know this because most people didn’t read it but Allan Heinberg‘s YOUNG AVENGERS series was absolutely brilliant. It was a great idea grounded in very smart, very human characters. If Marvel played their cards right that book should have been the hit that Brian K. Vaughan‘s RUNAWAYS was, but they didn’t and it wasn’t. Well now Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, known separately for doing all sorts of really good stuff but known together as the team behind the brilliant and shamefully underloved PHONOGRAM are reuniting to make the Young Avengers count. There are a ton of great characters to fall in love with here and both of these guys excel at really good down to earth storytelling. And both Gillen and McKelvie are British indie rock dudes so hopefully they will throw in some references to The Arctic Monkeys or Caves or Chvrches or chip butty or stab vests or 56 Up or something else Americans don’t understand. I am excited to see a new young Marvel team act like a bunch of chavs. I hope someone calls Captain America a geezer. $5 says they throw in a reference to Ziggy Stardust before issue 6. That stuff is like their bible. If you want to go back to the store and buy copies of UNCANNY X-FORCE #1 & YOUNG AVENGERS #1 do so soon. Forbidden Planet are keeping some copies warm, but it’s cold out there. Hurry, hurry, super scurry! THE END. If you choose not to buy either of these books mosey on over to PARAGRAPH 9.

9. “Well it doesn’t seem like I have anything I can offer you. I tried to be nice. I tried to be helpful. I recommended cool new books. You seem uninterested. You seem like something is bothering you. Oh well. I hope you have a great life though.” With that your time with TRY SOMETHING NEW comes to an end. You can read on and find out if Unkie Dev still likes Hellboy a lot. You can go even further still and find out if that other guy still likes incomprehensible Japanese robot toys. But you won’t. Your ennui pushes you out the door. You need to walk. You wander for hours only to find yourself in a deserted part of town. Nearly deserted. You think you are being followed now but you can’t be sure. You duck into an alley to get away or maybe it’s just to clear your head. Why would someone be after you? You decide to stay in the alley just to catch your breath. You are safe. No one wants to hurt you. A misguided feeling of relief washes over. You decide to make the most of the alley and look into some people’s windows because, well, because you’re not a good person. As you look into a dingy studio apartment you catch a reflection in the window of a crazed, half starved man looming behind you. All at once three things enter your head. The first is “Was that tech wizard/escaped mental patient Tyler?” The second is “Was that a brick in his hand?” And the last thing to enter your head is the aforementioned brick. As you bleed to death in the backstreets of Anytown USA you finally understand that neither Tyler nor the universe ever cared about you. You realize that you wasted a great opportunity. You realize you should have TRIED SOMETHING NEW. THE END.

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At Long Last, an Edgy Batman

Sorry I wasn’t around last week…I took the week off in order to save up enough money to buy this week’s TOP TWO NOT TO BE MISSED HITS!

In 1988, a few years after they published The Dark Knight Returns and a year after Watchmen, DC released another grim and gritty comic steeped in the flavor of the times called Batman The Cult. Penned by Jim Starlin (who had garnered attention at Marvel through his work on Adam Warlock and Captain Marvel) and drawn by the legendary Bernie Wrightson, Batman The Cult also featured Bill Wray (creator of Hellboy Jr. and notorious Ren & Stimpy background artist) on colors.

Batman The Cult almost reads as an Elseworlds story, as it is based on a premise slightly unsavory to Batfans: What if a foe psychologically broke Bats? This theme of ultimate defeat reappears from time to time, most notable in Knightfall and Batman R.I.P., though The Cult tells it tough and stark.

Batman is kidnapped, starved, beaten, drugged and abused to the point where his brain gets woozy enough to break. This torture is administrated at the hands of a mystic in the guise of a slum preacher named Deacon BlackFire. Blackfire then uses Batman as a killing machine against his enemies…yes Batman kills. With Guns, TOO!

In this story Batman uses guns (loaded with both bullets and tranquilizers), drives a monster truck version of the Batmobile, and features Jason Todd in one of his best pre-death appearances. Does Batman save the day and overcome all obstacles? Not without scars, he doesn’t!

The Cult is…an interesting story. Batman is after all a man. Men do fail. Batmen must also Bat-Fail. The Cult is a well rounded look at Batman’s mental frailty, far subtler than Arkham Asylum and WAY subtler than Batman R.I.P.

Curious? Check it out. But not this week. THIS was all a preamble for this week’s recommendation: Continue reading

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Marvel Universe: The Wolverine Buyer’s Guide

By Chris Troy

Happy post Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday (who says the holidays are commercialized) FPNYC Faithful! If you’re anything like me (which if so, I’m sorry to hear that), you probably spent most of your weekend in a food/football/shopping coma. If not, I’m extremely jealous of you, unless you were working.

So let’s talk toys shall we? I’m going to attempt to start a new feature for the blog, highlighting the evolution of certain popular characters throughout a particular line. The easiest would be Batman, but that would be a month’s work of articles (hmmm..). Instead we’ll go with something a littler easier, Marvel’s most popular mutant/Canadian: Wolverine!

Single Carded:

Surprisingly, the 1st Wolverine figure that came from the Marvel Universe line was not in his modern costume, but his X-Force costume (back when it was written by X-Men:Evolution creators Craig Kyle & Chris Yost, and was mostly all claw-based characters). It’s actually a really great figure, despite Wolverine never actually using a gun during that run of the book. Post-X-Force Wolverine’s release, Hasbro released several Wolverine figures in his classic yellow costume and brown one in the Wolverine: Origins line, as well as several figures based on Hugh Jackman’s version of the character. Since that took care of the iconic costumes, the Marvel Universe line saw the release of 3 other variant Wolverine costumes: his maskless yellow/blue jumpsuit from Jim Lee‘s run on Uncanny, his Weapon X Operative outfit (also designed in the 90s, which explains the pouches) and his classic first appearance costume from Incredible Hulk #181. I’m not particularly thrilled with ANY of these figures to be honest, but different strokes for different folks and all that. Continue reading

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Holiday Madness

By Unkiedev

I was watching the Flintstones the other day and noticed that Fred reads a newspaper that is two solid slabs of rocks with carvings etched into them. These rocks are held together via a crude rope.

Now, if the journalists of the stone age INSTEAD tattooed the news onto the wings of small pterodactyls, and then lashed those pterodactyls together via the same crude rope I BET you could get a few more pages in the same spatial constraints as those gigantic stone newspapers. PLUS the pterodactyls are far more recyclable, as you can get eggs out of them when they grow up, or just let them fly away out the window.

AND THEN I thought “I am a raving madman for having these thoughts. I need to go have myself committed.”

MAD ABOUT COMICS

So I am writing from the psyche ward of an undisclosed private brain rehabilitation sanitarium. They are very nice to me and they let me write my columns in crayon with my feet.

DC’s Blackest Night is still going strong, and this week’s Green Lantern Corps #34 sees bemusing 80’s Green Lantern Guy Gardner lose what little cool he had as he blows his stack so high he becomes a Red Lantern. I think I know where DC is going with this: He’ll regain his will, but learn to wield BOTH the red and green power rings JUST in time to decorate Oa in festive, holiday colors for Christmas. Continue reading

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