Tagged: X-Men

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Creative Conversation: Ibrahim Moustafa

Welcome to a Creative Conversation with creator Ibrahim Moustafa. Here we give you a chance to get inside the mind, learn some in depth background, and discuss the creative process of some of comics’ best writers and artists. In our first Creative Conversation I had the opportunity to speak with the artist behind Vertigo’s smashingly good new series, “Savage Things.” If the Bourne franchise went down the horror route, you have an inkling of what’s in store for you with this book. Ibrahim gives a better sum up a little further down. We talked about first comics, must reads, stories that stick with us as young comic fans, how this new series came about and who would be on Ibrahim’s own personal Mount Rushmore of comic book artists. Agree? Disagree? Find out!

MK: So let’s start with a little background because in all our conversations I’m not sure I know this: How did your journey lead you to working in comics?

IM: I was always drawing as a kid, and some of my earliest memories are of watching the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies. Not long after that I discovered the Ninja Turtles and Batman 66 TV shows, and was obsessed with them all. I had and read a few comics as a kid and was always drawing the aforementioned. I got much more into collecting and reading comics when I discovered the X-Men cartoon in the early 90s, and I would hoard those Fleer Ultra 93 and 94 X-Men cards sets as a kid.

I fell out of comics for a long time as I got into sports a bit. And then in high school I was heavily into drawing graffiti art and breakdancing. When I was a Junior, “Smallville” had come out and rekindled my love of Superman. Someone gave me a book called “The Complete History Of Superman” and it had a few Alex Ross paintings in it, which completely blew my mind. I had no idea you could do *that* with superheroes.

That sent me down the rabbit hole of “Who is this guy? How is he doing this? What is he painting with? What else has he done?” From there I found “Kingdome Come” and started going to the comic shop, and that ignited my interest in drawing superheroes again. After a short while I realized that people were drawing comics for a living, and I began a very disciplined, regimented plan to make that my reality as well.

It worked (laughs)!

MK: That’s epic! What was your local comic shop when you were getting heavily into it?

IM:The first one I wandered into was a small one-off called Hidden Treasures or something to that effect, but they closed down shortly after. Then a friend that I worked with told me that there was a place called Things From Another World that was literally blocks away from our job. And they became my regular supplier in the formative era of my comics addiction, haha.

MK:They’re a great operation out in the Portland area. Other than Alex Ross, who were some other artists that got you jazzed into drawing superheroes and comics again?

IM: There have been SO many, but the ones that have stayed an influence/inspiration regardless of my changing interests are probably Stuart Immonen, David Mazzucchelli, and Lee Bermejo. As I’ve burrowed deeper into comics and it’s artistic masters, I’d say my Mount Rushmore consists Alex Ross, Stuart Immonen, Alex Toth, and Jorge Zaffino.

MK: That’s an eclectic looking Mount Rushmore.

IM: It is!

MK:I dig it. Before we go too far off topic: Favorite X-Men character?

IM: Cyclops (I know), Wolverine is a close second, though. You?

MK: I feel like Wolverine is everybody’s top one or two but personally, especially since Grant Morrison brought her into the mix I’m an Emma Frost man. Which doesn’t make me a “real” X-Men fan in most folks’ eyes but it is what it is. What is it about Cyclops for you?

IM: 1) You can like whichever X-Person you want and damn anyone who tells you otherwise!

MK: Thank you!

IM: 2) Honestly, I think Cyclops was the most like Superman, aesthetically, and that really appealed to seven year-old me when I discovered the show; he was the do-good leader, he had red blasts from his eyes, and he wore all blue with yellow and red (laughs).

But there was something about the idea that he was encumbered by his power that really hit me as a kid. The fact that this thing he could do made him an outcast and made his life difficult, but he used it to help people anyway…That always got me.

Also, his mutation didn’t cause him to have a drastically different outward appearance, but it was enough to make him an other. And growing up half-Egyptian, I experienced a lot of cultural differences from the kids around me. Questions like, “Why can’t you eat pork?” are a lot like, “Why are you always wearing sunglasses?” So, I think that appealed to me about Cyclops as well.

MK: Take that Cyclops haters! That’s really inspiring how you were able to have that relation to Cyclops. For you, do you think comics has a special place as far as storytelling in a way that movies, TV, theatre, or other mediums don’t quite?

IM: I do, absolutely. I think that there are more opportunities to play with the passage of time visually on a comics page than with other mediums. In comics, for example, you can have a splash page of a scene that is split into four different panels across a single image of say, a park. And each panel can represent the four seasons in a year.

Comics also allow for opportunities to echo imagery from one page or one sequence to another. So let’s say you have a page where a character is a child, and they’re playing, and they fall down and scrape up their knee. Then, you cut to them as an adult in a few chapters and they’re in a completely different scenario, but they go through a similar accident, and you’re establishing that they’re prone to this kind of thing in their life.

In comics, seeing all of those panels in one page as a whole creates a different experience than film or TV where you would see that happen one shot at a time. You’re taking in the gestalt of the moment on a page rather than the disparate parts that make the whole. Symbolism, the efficiency afforded by narration paired with a parallel image to the text, the pacing of a page-turn into a splash. There are tons of cool ways to deliver a moment in a comics page that are unique to the medium, and that’s probably what I love about it the most.

MK: That’s an amazing answer. Thank you for that. To switch gears a little, let’s talk about your new series out which I think definitely displays some of those elements you’ve so eloquently discussed. “Savage Things” which you draw, and is written by the one and only Justin Jordan, hit shelves on March 1st. Did you and Justin know each other much prior to working on the book? Was it an arranged marriage by Vertigo? How did your collaboration come about?

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Savage Things #1

IM: Justin and I had met here in Portland back in 2012 or so at a great indy comics show we used to have here called Stumptown. We’ve bumped into each other a few times since then on Twitter, and I’ve been a fan of his work since I first read “Luthor Strode” but when our editor Jamie S. Rich reached out to me to draw the book he facilitated a wonderful reunion for the two of us. So, pretty much an arranged marriage and the dowry was a super-dope book that I get to draw

MK: I love it when an arranged marriage blossoms into true love and kick ass action sequences.

IM: (Laughs)

MK: If someone asks you to describe “Savage Things,” what’s been your favorite answer to give?

IM: “Savage Things” is what you get when a bunch of Dexters are kidnapped and raised by the government to be Jason Bourne.

MK: That’s maybe the most badass way of summing up a book I’ve ever heard. Here’s a two-parter: What’s been one of the most challenging and what’s been your favorite thing to draw so far for the series?

IM: The book is full of excellent opportunities to create cool action sequences, and I think that’s been my favorite part so far. There have also been a few types of locations I’ve never never drawn before (a hospital, a power plant, a few others) so that’s been a fun challenge.

The most difficult thing has been figuring out how to draw expressive faces on sociopaths (laughs).

MK: That seems like a challenge on several levels (laughs). Can you perhaps tease us about something readers should be super excited to discover in issue two and beyond?

IM: Yes! The next few issues pitt our lead character, Abel, against six of the other sociopathic, trained murderers that he grew up with. So as you can imagine, issue one was just a tease at some of the brutality that these guys are capable of, especially toward each other. By the end of issue three, we pull back the lens and broaden the scope of the battle quite a bit. I’m very excited!

MK: Man, I can’t wait to see how you and Justin up the ante! Final two questions before our time’s up:

1) For someone new to comics, what are five essential must reads you’d recommend?

2) For all things Ibrahim Moustafa, “Savage Things,” and your ridiculously amazing James Bond posters, where can fans keep up with you on social media and the web? (Seriously, his James Bond posters kind of cray cray. Don’t believe me, click here!)

IM: 1) This is a tough one! These are certainly slanted toward things that I love, so your mileage may certainly vary.

Scalped” is my favorite book of all-time. It’s a crime drama a la “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire.” Anyone can dive right into it.

“Kingdom Come”: I read this pretty early on and loved it. There are a ton of references and characters in it, but as long as you know who Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Shazaam are, the rest falls into place.

The Losers” is a great book if you love action movies with fun characters, a cool story/lots of intrigue.

Old Man Logan” is almost a companion piece to “Kingdom Come” in that it’s a look at a possible future, full of cool stuff and references but mainly if you know the X-Men and the Avengers, you’re solid.

Batman: Year One.” One of the greatest comics ever made and a perfect primer for Batman fans looking to give the comics a try.

2) I’m on twitter at: @Ibrahim_M_ and my official site is http://theartofibrahimmoustafa.blogspot.com/

MK: Ibrahim, you’re a class act, thank you for being so generous and gracious with your time in joining me in our first Creative Conversation.

Check out “Savage Things #1” now and get ready for “Savage Things #2,” on shelves Wednesday, April 5th, 2017. Stay tuned for our next…Creative Conversation.

Please send love/hate messages to Matthew via Twitter @matthewklein316 and on Instagram. Matthew loves all things Batman, Valiant, and pro-wrestling related. He’s also pretty sure that it’s not recommended to spend more waking hours watching reruns of “Chuck” than sleeping but hasn’t been able to prove this theory.

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The Final Battle Begins in IVX #6

The White Queen vs The Queen of the Inhumans! Only one will win. Can both survive?

When it was first announced there seemed to be a communal skepticism about Inhumans vs X-Men. It was an event series between two segments of the Marvel Universe that had been having a pretty rough track record as far as readers were concerned. Plus, with the new push for the X-Men in ResurrXion this whole event seemed poised to be just a means to a most certain end. We should have all had more faith in Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule. Now the cataclysmic conclusion has arrived to what has been a far superior series than Civil War II and, I daresay, Avengers Vs. X-Men. It will boil down to one last showdown on the snowy sleeps between Emma Frost and Crystal, the White Queen and the Queen of the Inhumans, in a war where it’s tough to call either side truly good or obviously evil.

The strength of this event has been the evenhanded approach to both sides of the conflict. The mutants want to avoid extinction and several of the Inhumans have switched sides to make that happy ending possible without the deaths of so many of both groups. While the adults have been resigned to slug it out for the “greater good” it’s been younger characters like Moon Girl and Cyclops that have tried to outthink the violent approach of their elders. But no matter how sympathetic both sides may be, there has to be a winner and a loser, right? I mean, at the end of the day one side’s going to lose a little less or gain a little more out of it. This is the part where we find out who will pay what cost for this clash between two groups of characters that Marvel is in need of a giving a good jolt to in 2017.

See how this chapter ends and maybe a tease of how the next one begins inside the oversized conclusion to the Inhumans Vs. X-Men event!

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10 & X-Men ’92 #5

RCO001_1469630922The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Tom Fowler, Rico Renzi, Kyle Starks

Marvel $3.99

Readers, please take note of the wonderful cover that graces this month’s issue of Squirrel Girl, as I’m sure it will be winning whatever fake internet award I’ll be handing out come December.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a book that has never fails to impress me in some manner, and this issue continues that streak. Our lead has to deal with a love-stricken Mole Man, who’s abducted key landmarks around the world in order to get Doreen to go on a date with him. Squirrel Girl dealing with toxic masculinity may not some like a good premise for a comic, haha that is a joke, it totally is, and the execution is nothing short of genius. I saw this as the ending for this issues sees our hero do the unthinkable, yet manages to not undo all the effort done by this team to make her an unstoppable and incredibly well rounded force for good. Also there’s another scene involving squirrels in Iron Man armor, which is something I’ll never grow tire of.

SQGIRL2015B010_int2_2-932x1414Ryan North. Erica Henderson, & Rico Renzi are a creative team I adore & adding Tow Fowler as an inker was fantastic move. This month we see Kyle Starks of Sexcastle (aka the greatest comic) swing by for a 3/4th page cameo, continuing the trend of a guest contributor knocking it out of the park. As per usual, the writing and art are impeccable, as North and Henderson continue to offer dialogue and art that are beyond unique.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10 is another fabulous issue that once again says something important while being an incredibly fun read. This may very well be my favorite arc to date, and even as a dude in my early 30s, I’m glad this book exist for the lessons it attempts to teach it’s young audience.

 

 

 

portrait_incredibleX-Men ’92 #5

Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Cory Hamscher, Matt Milla

Marvel $3.99

Speaking of surprises, this issue of X-Men ’92 ends by bring back some characters who haven’t been seen since the 90s. Chris Sims and Chad Bowers continue to do a bang-up job of making references to some of the most obscure corners of the 1990s X-universe, including a X-men board game I remember begin advertised like crazy in the back of Marvel comics when I was a wee millennial.

Issue 5 checks in with Cyclops and Jean Grey, whom haven’t been seen in the title since the Secret Wars mini-series. The couple are quasi-retired, but that makes for a boring super hero comic, so they find themselves dragged to the future by Rachel Grey. For long time X-fans, Scott + Jean + Future usually means one or two other character showing up, and they do. But Sims and Bower embrace the hell out of it, making for a strange but be873c68c1f206db75af43465f803c1b._SX640_QL80_TTD_wonderful read that riffs on a few different 90s X-stories.

Cory Hamscher is on art duties this month, and his style is a great fit for this tyle. He riffs on the Kuberts/Whilce Portacio look that was so famous in the 90s, while being a competen story teller in his own right. It’s good stuff.

X-men ’92 is another fun installment a series that’s been a constant delight. It’s the type of book that both satisfies readers looking for a less complicate super hero book, while giving long time X-fans plenty to enjoy.

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Chris’ Comics: Uncanny X-men #600

UNCX2013600COVUncanny X-men #600

Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Mahmud Asrar, Stuart Immone, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo, David Marquez, and Frazer Irving.

Marvel $5.99

If you want to know if Uncanny X-men is worth the $6, but also want a spoiler free review, then I’ll save you some time; it totally is. Granted it’s a tad pricey ( SIX BUCKS!!), the issue is well worth the money  if you are a fan of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ take on the X-men and want some closure from the last 3 years of X-comics.

If you want exact reasons as to why this book is worth your time, then I’ll give them to you, but beware, here lies spoilers.

The conclusion of the  long-running Revolution plot line in Uncanny X-men is brilliantly executed, as 2 long time creators says goodbye to one of Marvel’s most iconic franchises. Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo having Cyclops organizing a non-violent Million Mutant protest in Washington DC was a thing no one probably saw coming, and such an important moment for mainstream comics. Writers like Ryan North have been experimenting with non-violent methods to resolve super hero conflicts as of late, and it’s nice to see creators of this caliber follow suit. l. This may be the last issue of Uncanny X-men I’ll read after buying the book religiously for half a decade, so this relatively sweet moment made for a perfect ending of a run I’ve enjoyed for the most part.

1504366566587496519 That’s not to say the rest of the book isn’t brilliant. No, no, while the Bachalo and Bendis chapter is clearly my favorite, the rest of this comic is just as superb. Sara Pichelli kicks this issue off and tells a story that run  throughout the book, in which the X-men confront Beast about some of the reality-threatening nonsense he’s been pulling as of late. I love how diverse Pichelli’s X-Men look, especially the female characters, giving each X-Man a distinct look that most artists don’t consider that they draw them. It’s mostly talking head stuff, but the amount of emotion she gets from the character’s facial expressions is fantastic, and does and excellent job of selling Bendis’ dialogue. From there we have Kris Anka‘s , who pages are clean and sharp, making him a perfect fit for the comparatively light hearted story of reunion. Stuart Immonen‘s pages aren’t his best work, but it nice to see him come back to the All New X-men kids for a brief visit. which sets up the upcoming soft relaunch of the title. Mahmud Asrar‘s art is a tad uneven, but he manages to deliver on the anticipated Iceman sexuality story, making a a satisfying conclusion to that tale. I like how Bendis deals with Bobby coming out, giving it a bit of realistic edge. It’s far from perfect, uncannyxmen_600_pg15-x750but still really handled well, at least in my opinion. I feel bad about not discussing that segment more, but I feel there’s already enough said by people more qualified to. David Marquez swings by to help with the Beast confrontation and Frazier Irving wraps the issue up with some pages that are perfectly fine. But again, the biggest draw for me is  Bachalo’s final X-Men pages for the time being. Bachalo’s stuff is superb, cramming the pages with an army of mutants that he’s been associated with for the last few years.

Also worth nothing the inclusion of a old, I’m assuming rare solo Iceman story by Mary Jo Duffy and Georgr Perez. I’m not sure if it’s suppose to tie into the previously mentioned above Iceman tale, or just pad out the page count for this comic. Seeing Perez’s art is always welcomed though, and it’s a nice additional to the modern talents represented in this issue.

Uncanny X-Men 600 isn’t my favorite finale published this year, but it’s a strong ending to a pretty solid run of X-Men comics. Bendis gives the future creators plenty to work with, all while wrapping up his plot lines in a satisfying manner. Comics history should he kind to Bendis- he added a bunch of cool new toys to X-Men comics, touched upon some social commentary, and pulled off some Chris Claremont in his prime moments with a brilliant collection of amazing artists. I’ll be sad to see him go, and appreciate everything he’s done for Marvel’s mighty mutants.

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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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Chris’ Comics: X-men ’92 #2

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BROTIP Forbidden Planet Faithful: Don’t get bedbugs. It is the worst thing. Also why yes, my apartment building does have them, however did you figure that out?

 

X-Men ’92 #2

Scott Koblish, Chris Sims, Chad Bowers

Marvel $4.99

It’s a good thing I’m not allowed to talk about books strictly with gifs and images (also known as the Tumblr method), otherwise my entire review for this comic would consist of the following image:

 

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(( BONUS BROTIP:  If you’ve never read  Chris Onstad’s Achewood, you probably should go do so now))

X-Men ’92 #2 is a delight. Collecting the 3rd and 4th digital installment of the X-Men 92 Infinity Comics, the X-men find themselves at the mercy of Cassandra Nova, who’s been revised for this tie-in with a completely new origin that involves several classic characters. With the team at her mercy. Nova sets out to make the X-men more “Kids TV friendly”, which means making Wolverine hug it out, cleaning up Gambit and Rogue’s sexual tension and dealing with the likes of Storm and Beast as well, all while Jubilee and a few un-X-pected allies try to save them all. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s all played straight, which only makes the book all the funnier. Cassanova Nova as a literal stand in for US BS & P (That’s TV talk for Broadcast Standards and Practices) is a wonderful gag that’s effortlessly woven into the plot, not requiring the reader to know what sort of ridiculous TV rules the actual X-men 1992 animated series had to adhere to.

8dcc696bce064f1ebf5705823c76ca99Artist Scott Koblish is continues to mesh quite well with writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims, but you definitely get the sense Koblish is trying to out X-geek Chad and Chris at times. While Bowers and Sims make all sort of obscure X-Men reference, Scott’s channeling some iconic moments from X-history, as well as the people behind those books. That being said, it’s also the book’s biggest flaw. Sometimes the book is a little too inside baseball for it’s own good, and casual readers are properly going to be slightly lost at some of the references. BUT, if you’ve been reading the X-books from 1991-roughly 2012, you’re going to be fine. If you’re hoping that this is the issue that ties the story closer to Secret Wars, you’re out of luck, as it only mentions the Thors in passing, and nothing else related to the mega-event.

4704979-xm922015002_int2-3Even with the book deep in in jokes and nostalgia, casual X-fans will find something to enjoy with this issue. Sims and Bowers Wolverine feels like the more iconic version of the character, which makes his fate all the most amusing. Their Storm is over the top, Beasts is a fun genius, Rogue smoldering in generic southern angst, and like I said last time, their Gambit is PEAK scumbag. If whoever is responsible for “It not you it Gambit” doesn’t win some sort of aware in 2016, comics award ceremonies have failed me. Koblish is equally as impressive, telling a fantastic story while sneaking in all sorts of in-jokes and visuals gags.

 

This book is tie in comics at it’s finest: creators who are fans of their source material celebrating it’s rich history, even the more ridiculous stuff. X-Men ’92 continues to be everything I wanted from this sort of book, if not more.

 

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Uncanny X-men 35

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_35_TextlessUncanny X-men 35

Brian Michael Bendis, Valerio Schiti, Richard Isanove

Marvel $3.99

Okay real talk (about fictional characters) time: This is a dumb comic.

I realize that there has to be some suspension of belief when dealing with super hero books. It’s fantasy, so things that don’t work in the real world may fly in comics, and cool, I’m down with that. But man, that is not the case with this issue, where I had to turn my brain off to get past a huge plot point.

UNCX2013035_int2_00006Uncanny X-men 35 sees the kids of the former New Xavier Institute go out on their own and try the whole super hero team thing. As a result, the hilariously terrible named Goldballs goes viral and becomes a minor celebrity (because you know, super heroes are a rarity on Marvel Earth 616), until SPOILERS, it’s revealed that he’s a mutant and everyone fears and hates him again. Which I think we’ve seen before with Dazzler in the 80s, but whatever. It’s a fun little cautionary tale and that doesn’t bug me. What does is the whole “Wait he’s a mutant” reveal. I mean the dude runs around with a giant X-belt buckle and with 2 dudes who are rocking big X jackets. Not to mention paling the 3 girls who are clones of wanted terrorist Emma Frost in broad daylight. How did no one know he was an X-man of sorts prior to this reveal, especially when this was hanging out with the literal face of the mutant revolution for months? Did they miss the giant X-plane as well? This book also suffers a number of bad Brian Michael Bendis troupes, such as Avengers-level threats jobbing to Bendis’ new wunderkind, Middle age dad dialogue for teens, a cool cover that has nothing to do with the interior, and jokes that miss that mark by roughly a mile. I’ve generally been a fan of Bendis’ work on this book, but the script for this issue is sadly quite rough.

That being said, there’s a gag involving Emma Frost and her past that really works for me, and appreciate it when Bendis makes little nods to X-godfather Chris Claremont’s numerous contributions to this franchise. And the book starts off and ends well, but 80% of this book’s script and direction really doesn’t work for me.

Comics-072215-UncannyHOWEVER, this issue certainly looks great. Valerio Schiti comes over from Guardians of the Galaxy to fill in for cover artist Kris Anka, and he’s a perfect fit for this book. Valerio’s style is comparable to Anka, although there’s also some hints of Joe Quesada as well, resulting is some softer, yet clean looking takes on the casts. It’s impressive how well these characters look under Valerio, as I’m certain this is the first time he’s drawn them, not to mention he was probably under a deadline crunch as well. I particular;y dig the final few pages of this book, where Schiti draws a scene involving an angry mob quite well, perfectly portraying some real anger and violence and hitting all the proper emotional beats to make the scene really work. Schiti inks himself as well, leaving veteran colorist Richard Isanove to finish the art with a crisp and bright pallet. It’s a fantastic looking book that would have been a buy on sight if the script was a little tighter.

I hate to sound nit picky and aggressive towards this comic, but I’ve re-read it a number of times and remain disappointed with it. I think it’s more so due to the fact the Bendis has been really good on Uncanny X-men for quite a while, so a dud issue hurts more, especially if this is the penultimate issue in his run. It’s really a surprise that the book reads so poorly, as Bendis’ past X-done in one’s have been some of the best issues of this run. Luckily Scitit’s art cushions the blow, making for a great looking coming that just read poorly. This issue is far from a must read sadly, and while I feel bad trashing a creative team I like, it’s something I can’t recommend to anyone at $4.

 

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Chris’ Comics: X-Men ’92 edition

XM92_HIRES.0X-Men ’92 #1

Chad Bowers/ Chris Sims/ Scott Koblish/Matt Milla

Marvel $4.99

So here we are in the middle of All New Marvel leaks week. There’s been 3 new X-men books announced so far, and Dennis Hopeless aside, I’m really not feeling them. Aside from some questionable character designs and artists, none of the rosters nor directions do much for me. It’s going to be weird to not be buying an X-book come this fall, but I’ll live, as there’s no shortage of great comics to buy at the moment. Case in point X-Men ’92, the digital first book from Marvel that’s based on one of the most lucrative and iconic eras of the team’s existence.

unnamed-136500The 1990s were a weird period for comics. It was decade that brought us the rise and fall of the collector market, nearly saw the end of Marvel, the creation of Image and a brief love affair with the extreme. Comic Book Scholars (aka older nerds) have varying opinions of the decade, but one thing can be agreed on: No one franchise ruled the decade more than the X-men. The Uncanny X-men (mostly Wolverine) were everywhere: over a dozen books which crossed over every other months, TV, video games, chain pizza restaurants, Mall kiosks, and toy shops. It was a complete 360 from now, where Marvel merchandising partners are allegedly attempting to get the general public from forgetting the character.

At first glance, X-men ’92 would appear to be Marvel’s answer to DC’s Batman 66. But it’s more than that. Writers Chris Sims, Chad Bowers and artist Scott Koblish celebrate everything the decade brought to Marvel’s mutants, while using the iconic animated series roster. Don’t get me wrong, the comic is definitely faithful to the cartoon in terms of character behavior: Gambit is a peak scumbag, Cyclops has a stick up his butt, Jean Grey falls down a ton, etc.  But it brings it a ton of things from the comics of the same time, as well as a character slightly newer to the X-lore. X-Men ’92 collects the first two digital installment of the series, in which the X-men throw down in a game of laser tag and investigate a rehabilitation center which reportedly cures villainous mutants of their evil ways. There’s some mention of Secret Wars related nonsense, but for the most part the crossover has minimal impact on the story, letting the creators tell their story.

x1-e1432736008112-600x415Sims and Bowers, making their Marvel debut, tell a story that’s incredibly faithful to the way the characters were portrayed in that era, and one that’s quite hilarious. The writing duo make a ton of inside jokes, ranging from references to Pizza Hut tie-in comics, to cameos from internet famous X-Men podcasters, and some more accessibly ones, like setting the bulk of the first issue in a mall. The book is incredibly fun and clever, never punching down when it comes to the source material, but always embracing it. Artist Scott Koblish is also on point, channeling everyone from Jim Lee to Rob Liefield, making this book look like a product of the 90s. He and colorist Matt Milla are just dedicated to making this book look like the X-men 90’s animated series and slip in some deep cuts, like constantly miss-coloring Jean Grey’s gloves, changing the length of Cyclops’ neck, and never putting Rogue’s white hair streak in the same location.  The duo absolutely nail the look and the feel of the show, to the point where I could here the animated series actors saying the dialogue in my head. And luckily for us, we don’t have to worry about the budget getting slashed at any given time.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-11-at-7.25.33-PM-672x372X-Men ’92 is everything I would want from a book based on one of my gateways into the Marvel Universe as a kid. The source material may not be the best incarnation of the X-men, but it felt larger than life, something the creators of this book obviously felt as well. It’s tells a story that you may not like if you’re here for Secret War related content or aren’t familiar with the 90s era of the team, BUT I’m not here for Doom and am VERY familiar with the 1990s! I’m here to see the X-men fight Free Ranged Sentinels and protect the X-treme. Er Extreme. I’m not sure if Adam X, the X-Treme will be showing up in this book. I mean it would make sense, but I can’t promise it. Either way, pick this book up, in print or digitally if you like the stranger side of the X-men, or just like chili fries. It’s higher price point is well worth the trip down memory lane bub. #killme

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Memorial Day Lateness

4339743-uxm34Uncanny X-men #34

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka/Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

As I’ve said plenty of times in the past, the strongest issues of Brian Michael Bendis’ Uncanny X-men run have been the done in ones. UXM #34  is another done in one, so it’s safe to say you can another positive review from me for this title.

One of the things Bendis did early in his run was set up a cool Mystique Vs Dazzler feud. It’s something I’ve enjoyed because they’re 2 of my favorite mutants, and it’s lead to a cool Kris Anka (who draws this issue) redesign for Dazzler. With the Bendis run coming to an end soon October,  he uses this issue to wrap up that plot up in a satisfying way.

One of the reasons why this issue worked for me was it gave Dazzler some much needed focus and characterization. She joined the team shortly before the Charles Xavier retcon a go-go arc, but was quickly delegated to a background character role. She’s a lead character here, and Bendis gets a lot out of her in 20 pages. It also helps that Bendis get to bounce her off of Maria Hill, a character he co-created and has a massive amount of experience writing. His take on Mystique is also rad, as he handles her with a certain degree of sympathy that makes the character relatable even though she’s a bit of a monster. Aside from the Dazzler & friends related business, we get to  check in on the new students who are currently without a school. Bendis drops some hints that he has some plans for them to be revealed soon, and I’m curious to see what they are. It’s been a bit of a challenge to get new mutants to stick around for an extended period of time, and I’m curious to see if Bendis has any ideas on how to change that with his generation of  “X-kids”.

Kris Anka was the best choice to draw this issue, as he is great at drawing female characters and can convey the proper emotions needed for this story. His body language is really strong, and it shows in this issue, especially since there’s a lot of scenes involving 2 or more character standing/sitting around chatting. Anka’s work is exceptionally clean, and Marte Gracia‘s coloring keep the book looking fresh, giving Anka’s minimalist style a much needed sense of dimension.

Uncanny X-men 34 is another fine single issue that tell a story within 20 pages and will warrant an immediate re-read. It’s not the best this run has seen, but it’s definitely worth the price of admission if you’ve been enjoying this incarnation of X-men

Kaptara_02Kapatara #2

Chip Zdarsky/Kagan McLeod

Image, $3.50

Kaptara #2 is a fine comic, but I’ll be honest: the art is wasted on the monthly format. Artist Kagan McLeod‘s work is so good, it begs to be put in one of those oversize albums (Hardcovers as their known as in the States) the European market gets because they appreciate the medium better. This  absolutely bizarre but incredible looking take on the Masters of the Universe universe deserves an over-sized hardcover at the very least. McLeod’s art, especially his character designs, are hard to describe properly. They’re extremely odd, but are flowing with creativity that it’s worth admiring. Everything from the body language, to the layouts to the environments are so unique, and have just the right amount of comedy to remind you that this is not exactly the most serious book. The best way to describe it would be those old  Sunday morning newspaper strips with a modern Adult Swim twist.

Writer Chip Zdarsky‘s second efforts on this book are a improvement from the previous issue. The main character Keith is given some much needed drive, and the characters from the previous issue also get their fair share of development. Chip and Kagan also introduce several new characters that are also as equally amusing and well designed, expanding the cast quite a bit. Now that the general premise is explained, Chip gets a little more room to breath, and the book benefits greatly from it.

Kaptara #2 is insanity on paper, but also gorgeous. It’s unpredictable, hilarious and something genuinely unique, which something both the readers and the industry benefits from.

 

 

 

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danielketchum

5.5 Questions with Marvel Editor Daniel Ketchum

One of the nice things about comics is that the people who write and draw ‘em are just as likely to show up at Forbidden Planet on a Wednesday to pick up their stack as anyone else.

And that’s when we strike!

This week we caught up with STORM, MAGNETO, and X-MEN editor, Daniel Ketchum. No Pokemon questions were asked. Probably for the best.

FORBIDDEN PLANET: So, as an editor, I’m assuming that you sometimes have to be the bad guy. SO in the world of bad guys are you more like Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsay or Judge Judy?

DANIEL KETCHUM: If I had to choose one, I’d say Gordon Ramsay, because he’s a Tiger Mom like I am–he criticizes out of love and only wants people to be their best. But when it comes to likening myself to reality show judges, I have definitely said that I am the Michael Kors of Marvel. (e.g. “It looks like you colored that page with a trackball mouse and an eye full of lemon juice!”)

FP: If you could put any single character in all of your books, who would it be and why?

DK: Definitely Mary Cherry from your favorite TV show, Popular. (“Y’all, I’ve got two words for you: EXORCISM!”) But if we’re talking about a Marvel character I would put in all of the books that I edit, it would be STORM…and I do.

FP: If you could have any non-comic writer (novelist, screenwriter, poet) write book for you, who would it be?

DK: Oh, lordy. You know, the last book book I ran to the store to buy the day it was released was Joan Didion’s BLUE NIGHTS. I can only vaguely imagine what a comic written by Joan Didion would be like. But I’d love to read it and, even more so, I’d love to be the editor who got to collaborate with her on it.

FP: If you could have dinner with any comic character (you’re paying) who would it be and why?

DK: I would take Alfred Pennyworth and Jarvis to dinner because they deserve a chance to kick back and enjoy a delicious meal they didn’t have to lift a finger for. I might also take Jubilee, because it looks like she’s fallen on hard times…

FP: Follow-up: Would your answer change if they were paying?

DK: Yes. Because then I would be dining with ALL-NEW X-MEN‘s Hank McCoy and I would expect no less than a magical evening. MAGICAL.

FP: Who would win a Magic the Gathering game? Batman, Reed Richards or Emma Frost?

DK: Obviously Emma Frost. You can’t play a card game with a telepath! And you know Emma would totally cheat and, like, read her opponents’ minds to find out what their face-down morph creatures are…

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Review: X-men No More Humans

no_more_humans_cover_a_pX-Men: No More Humans

Mike Carey/Salvador Larroca

Marvel/$24.99

Marvel’s renewed focus on the original graphic novel is a creative decision I approve of. Mixing A-list creators with some of their biggest properties is a smart move, especially when they release them around the same times as their big summer movie drops. That’s some solid synergy right there.

Released around the same time as the excellent X-Men Days of Future Past film, X-Men: No Humans has Marvel’s mutants finding themselves in a world with no humans (hence the title). The splintered X-Men (#Cyclopswasright) are forced to work together to get to the source to the disappearances. Said disappearances are tied to Raze, the son of Wolverine and Mystique who’s come from the future to-wait come back here, it’s not as complex as it all sounds!

 

nomorehumanstrailerUnlike the previously released Avengers and Spider-Man OGNs, No More Humans is DEEP in X-continuity, taking place shortly after the Trial of Jean Grey arc (All New X-Men) and return of Nightcrawler (Amazing X-men) story arcs. To the story’s credit, the book is packaged with a digital copy of last year’s Battle of the Atom crossover, which helps explains most of the current status quo.

 

maxresdefaultNo More Humans sees creators Mike Carey and Salvador Larrocca return to the X-Universe proper and for the most part, it’s a welcome returned. LaRocca’s art is great, clean, bright and perfect for the story being told. Even with  several of the characters appearing in newer costumes, the more legendary X-men characters still look very iconic.  Keep in mind, the last time I’ve read an X-Book with Salvador’s art, everyone was wearing jackets with sunglasses or leather jackets. X-Treme X-Men was a weird book kids.

 

tumblr_n5c722Vlwh1r9u466o1_500Mike Carey is another welcomed return, although the reveal of the reason all non-mutants/mutates disappearing is kind of weak in my opinion. That being said, Carey’s dialogue and pacing is perfect, as the X-Men, their allies, and enemies all sound “like they suppose to”. I know that’s a bit of a cliché when it comes to  comic book reviews, but considering these OGNs are supposed to appeal to the Barnes and Noble crowd as well as Forbidden Planet faithful, it helps that it’s accessible. Both hardcore X-Men and new/returning fans can get something out of it. Also it’s nice to see Carey get to play with characters like Cyclops, Emma Frost, Beat, Jean Grey, Storm and Wolverine, instead of being “stuck” with 2nd tier X-Men like he was with his X-men Legacy run ( which was great by the way, despite the presence of Gambit).

 

The only disservice Marvel does with this book is pointing out that it’s the first all new original graphic novel since the legendary “God loves, Man Kills”. While No More Humans is good, that book is a classic that outclasses this story and really defines that X-Men. That being said, No More Humans is a fun read with beautiful visuals and a fun mystery. Your enjoyment just may vary with it depending on how into the current crop of X-Men books you are.

 

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An X-MAS Tale!

The portal opened five feet from his left, and Wolverine watched the lanky, muscled frame of his former teammate and friend step out onto the snowy grounds of the Jean Gray School for Gifted Students. Cyclops looked grim as usual, and travelled with a dusty satchel. Wolverine couldn’t remember the last time he had seen Scott Summers smile.

Wolverine Cyclops X-Men cartoon

“I’m here, Logan.” Cyclops said, looking around for traps. “What is it you needed? Make it quick, I’m a wanted man.”

Wolverine uncrossed his arms and stepped forward. “I’ve been one too, Cyke, many times. After awhile, being out in the cold gets to ya’.” Scott just nodded, and so Wolverine continued. “Remember that first Christmas back at the Mansion with Chucky, Kitty, Peter and Kurt? We all laughed watchin’ Storm give the Professor Snow-Fros?”

“That was a long time ago,” Cyclops said, and instantly struggled with a thought. How long ago was that? Sometimes it feels like it was Thirty years ago, but it may have been only Five.

“If there’s one thing you learn while being an X-Man, it’s that time can always be changed.” Wolverine half smiled, and reached behind a nearby statue. He pulled out a box, brightly wrapped in red and green candy cane printed paper.

It was an X-Mas present from one X-Man to an Ex-X-Man.

Cyclops opened the box with hesitant hands. Years of battle hardened ambushes had trained him to be wary of gifts. What lay inside the present surprised him more than any bomb, alien parasite or severed head of a beloved comrade.

Inside the box was a case of custom made, ruby quartz contact lenses. Enough to last an entire year.

“Merry X-Mas, Slim.” growled Wolverine. “Hank helped with the design. I wonder why we’ve never thought of this before.”

“Logan,” choked Scott, “It’s-. I don’t know what to say.” Embarrassed, he turned and reached into his travel bag, taking out a brightly wrapped box of his own. Wolverine was stunned. He did not expect this…because this story takes place now. If this was the 80’s or 90’s, they would have said Wolverine could pre-smell the present with his heightened senses, but nobody remembers that power set anymore.

“I had hoped your message was sincere, so I came prepared. Thanks for forgiving me for killing Professor X. Again.” Cyclops laughed.

“Ah, heck, Slim. Who hasn’t killed that bald S.O.B. once or twice. Now what have we here,” Wolverine asked, opening the gift. He, too, was surprised because again- no heightened sense of smell.

Rogue, Jubilee, X-Men cartoon

Inside was an Adamantium claw sharpener with a jar of Adamantium claw polish. Wolverine smiled. Cyclops did the same. Somewhere a jolly, fat elf was Ho-Hoed. They both started to laugh.

“You know, Scott, this gift is the most thoughtful thing anyone’s ever given me,” Wolvie sighed, “And as useless as a Metrocard for Nightcrawler. You see-” and what followed was a sickening SHLACK sound, as the bloody stumps of bones broke through Wolverine’s hands. “I sold my Adamantium claws and skeleton to a scrap dealer in order to afford the Ruby Quartz Contacts.”

Tears started to swell in Scott Summers’ eyes, as he broke into a silly grin. “Of course. That seems like our luck, Logan, because you see-” He paused. Red streaks started to roll down his cheeks. Tears of blood were flowing fast now, as Cyclops removed his visor, revealing the ruined cavities of his former weapons. “I sold my eyes to a mutant organ harvester in order to afford the Adamantium claw sharpener.”

They laughed, cried, hugged and bled all over each other there in the snow, both laughing at the magic of Christmas. They soon both passed out from blood loss and died of exposure.

MERRY X-MAS!

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Just Kill Me

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover…somebody should tell that to Clown Fatale #1 from Dark Horse. I don’t WANT to think that this may be the stupidest human creation of all time, but I don’t want to spend the money in order to make an informed decision. LOOK at this monstrosity!

 

I always envision every comic book taking place in an alternate universe… it helps with the suspension of disbelief. What we have here is an alternate universe in which there are still roving circuses. In one of these, the clowns are a drop dead gorgeous troupe of multi-ethnic ladies who dress like strippers. Our story transpires when criminals, due to a wacky misunderstanding, hire these sexy lady clowns in full make-up to kill, mistaking them for assassins. The clowns naturally accept.

 

I’m not sure if my suspension of disbelief stretches this far.

 

I’ll rationalize it, however, by reminding myself of the strange universe we DO inhabit; We live in a world where someone at a highly successful comic book publisher rationalized that A) People LIKE clowns (hint: They don’t) and that B) People like sexy women, so logically people will like sexy women clowns. I’m sure this creative genius then spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out whether the clowns should be Vampires, Assassins or Crime Scene Investigators.

 

Maybe they figured that Harley Quin was popular, and wanted in on some of that action. Regardless of motives, Clown Fatales #1 seems an affront to all art, past, present and future, as well as a finger in the eye to the indomitable human spirit. A veritable raspberry in the face of taste and sense, this.

 

But I will buy it. And I will read it. And I will judge this erotic, tightly paced crime clown drama on its own merits. And I will write a review. And I will weep at the funeral of my artistic credibility, and I will morn my dignity as I bury the last shreds of my self respect.

 

NOT TO SPOIL THE FUN

And you’ll weep, too, if you miss out on Wolverine #11 this week! SOMETHING huge and crazy is going to happen…but WHAT?! There’s much to suggest this issue will be a massive milestone, a sales bonanza to rival Spider-Man’s wedding or the death of Captain America. I’d guess Wolverine is going to die (again,) but the maybe we’re in for something stranger?

 

Marvel, a Disney Entertainment company, wants to make movies off of the Avengers as a step in the process of making money off the toys and merchandise from Marvel comics. A fly in their ointment, however, is the prior business deal wherein Fox owns the motion picture rights to the X-Men franchise and Sony own the Spidey movies.

 

Spidey and Wolvie fighting alongside the Hulk, Thor and Scarlet Johanson would sure sell some lunchboxes.

 

Here’s Unkiedev’s crazy prediction for Wolverine #11…it’s a doozy. It will be revealed that Wolverine is actually AN ALIEN, the last son of a distant planet called Canadaton, which blew up after his parents messed up an experiment. To cover up their mistake, they sent their only son in a small spaceship to a planet where he would have fantastic superpowers…and brain washed him through pre-recorded messages to tell anyone who ever asked that THEY didn’t destroy the planet, they were the only ones trying to stop it from blowing up the whole time!

 

See what this does? Wolverine is no longer a mutant, and no longer tied to the X-Men continuity. That’s why the big Marvel movie coming up is Guardians of the Galaxy! Wolverine #11 will plant these seeds when alien warriors from beyond the stars come to the long ignored planet Earth to bring Wolverine to justice for his parent’s crimes!

 

Or he might just die. I’ll never know. I’ll probably be so traumatized after reading Clown Fatales #1 that I’ll wander into traffic and get hit by a semi. If I see Wolverine in Hell, I’ll send you kids an e-mail.

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The Unbearable Lightness of X-Being

One of the biggest themes in the Marvel X-Men universe at the moment is the rift between founding member Cyclops and best selling Canadian bad-boy Wolverine. Their rivalry, previously limited to girls and respect, changed tone under the X-Men “Schism” storyline. Cyclops, an X-man since his teenage years, believed that students at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters were defacto soldiers in the X-Men army, and further argued that this was always Xavier’s intention. Wolverine felt otherwise.

Fighting ensued. As happens in an X-Story, Cyclops goes crazy with the power of the Phoenix and kills Professor X before freeing himself from the Phoenix’s corrupting influence. Even though they have all seen Xavier die and come back at least three times, and even though it could have been worse (I mean, Jean Gray killed a whole planet while possessed by Phoenix, so I’d say Earth got off pretty easy there,) Scott’s actions put him in dutch with his fellow mutants. NOW…

 

The coinage of mainstream comic books is violence, which has an ultimate resolution. The problem with this, from a dramatic standpoint, appears when the finale isn’t as final as you would have like. In other words, “Why should I care about who dies in a comic book when they’re just going to come back again?”

 

HMMMMM…

 

Amazing X-Men #1 hits the stands this week, and we should all be excited for multiple reasons. A brand new, spanking “#1” issue of an X-Title! Ed McGuinness is drawing the X-men again! Nightcrawler is making his come back to the good ole’ Marvel 616! Thrills, chills, spills, big time action and top shelf fun!

 

Ah, but here’s the rub; Amazing X-Men will reintroduce Nightcrawler, arguable one of the more iconic and popular current Ex-X-Men, back into the story…after being dead for only three years. Keep in mind that comics, especially Marvel comics, do NOT take place on any real timeline. Kurt Wagner has been dead since 2010, but it might have only been a year, maybe less to the people living in the stories.

 

HOW did Kurt die? He died teleporting Hope Summer to safety in a noble sacrifice…which ultimately meant nothing as two (real-time) years later Wolverine did his best to kill her in order to stop her from merging with the Phoenix. Yes, the same Wolverine who had a falling out with Cyclops because he thought putting children in harms way, even when serving a greater good, was morally wrong.

 

The theme of “Noble death” should sound familiar to long time X-Readers. Colossus died, sacrificing himself to destroy the Legacy Virus, only to come back from death at the beginning of Joss Whedon’s X-Run. Ironic, really, as Whedon himself kills Kitty Pryde, the X-Woman known as Shadowcat, in a self sacrificing gesture. Needless to say, she’s alive right now, too.

 

TEETER TOTTER

 

Currently Cyclops is on a mission to punish those who would dare hurt Mutant kind…which often takes the form of him hurting other Mutants trying to stop him from hurting other Mutants. The big sticking point is what to do with the time traveling, alternate reality versions of the founding X-Men, who want to go back in time and prevent our timeline from ever happening. Let’s review:

 

Every member of the X-Men, a group which believes they are genetically superior to humans, though philosophically dedicated to living with them equally, has either died, returned from death or has seen a team member or loved one reborn. They are currently split into factions, fighting with each other, trying to figure out the best way to stop each other from dying and creating world threatening apocalypses. Got it? GOOD! HERE comes the important part…

 

Amazing X-Men is going to be just that…Amazing. It will be Amazing for all the reasons I mentioned previously, and for all of the blatant, mind hurting logical flaws the X-Tales continue to propagate.

 

X-Men comics are not based on “Making Sense.” The X-Men are the greatest comic book soap opera going, with a history spanning multiple realities and endless timelines. I hope Kurt Wagner, a staunch Catholic, comes back to life through Buddhist reincarnation, mistakenly marries his own dimension hopping daughter from an alternate timeline (Yes, she exists) and they both fall back in time while giving birth to their new son…WOLVERINE!

 

Pick up Amazing X-Men, and let your mind go. You don’t buy an X-Book for logic, kids. You buy an X-book to watch brightly clad weirdoes make the least amount of sense they possibly can.

 

 

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I have bought some comics, also eaten wayyy too much candy.

Halloween is a hell of a thing y’all, and this year’s beer and candy diet was not the best plan. Probably should have thought that one out a bit. :: snorts a crushed-up Kit-Kat bar , because YOLO ::: Woo, comics talk time.

Saga #15, Saga Bryan K. Vaughan, Fiona StaplesSaga #15

Brian K Vaughan. Fiona Staples

Image Comics, $2.99, 20 pages

Remember last week when I was complaining about how it’s hard to critique flawless comics. Here were are again, this time with the newest issue of Saga, which I’m sure surprises no one.  Also damn, that cover is hot, despite also being sort of ridiculous if you’re at all familiar with the book’s leads.

Without diving into spoilers, in this issue Staples and BKV introduce a new character, catch us up with several other characters, answer some questions about an alien planet, and end it all with a killer cliffhanger. The later comes as no surprise, because the book ends on a cliffhanger 90% of the time, which results in me cursing 100% of the time. Other norms for this title seen in this issue include Staples’ fantastic art and colors, and BKV’s hilarious and heartful dialogue. Also vulgar at times, which we all know I’m okay with because I love Sex Criminals. Also damn, that ending, really makes one long for the next issue (less than 30 days away, ha ha crap). So yeah, Saga‘s still perfect in case you were wondering.

SANDMAN-OVERTURE-MCKEAN-600x924Sandman Overture #1

Neil Gaiman/ JH Williams III

DC Comics, $4.99, 20 pages

Speaking of incredibly difficult comics to review…..

Let me say something. If you think Overture is going to be your introduction to the Sandman universe, you’re wrong. So wrong even. This book is fan-service in a way, and if you’ve yet to read arguably one of the BEST comics series of all time, this is not for you. You will be lost, even if you wiki it like a sucker-punk.

But let’s say you’re like me and LOVED the original series. Is this book worth $5? I’ll say YES, it most certainly is, but don’t expect a game changer. This is an incredibly DENSE read, because that’s how Neil Gaiman rolls, and it’s kind of slow paced, because again, Neil Gaiman. WHICH IS FINE, BECAUSE HOLY HELL, J.H. WILLIAMS IS REALLY GOOD AT THIS ART THING EVERYONE. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book William’s drawn (yeah I dropped Batwoman 8 issues in, sorry not sorry), and his skill meets Gaiman’s wonderfully trippy script makes for an fantastical end result.

Now is this book worth buying now, or worth holding out for the eventual deluxe hardcover may be a question you have if you’re a hardcore Sandman fan. That’s entirely up to you. Chances are I’ll double dip on this, assuming it’s a good read. Again I REALLY liked issue #1, BUT your mileage may vary. And again, it’s kinda fan service-y, not in a pandering way, but more of a you need to be up on your Sandman lore to get this book way like I said earlier. And who knows,  it may end up not be completely necessary at all by this all said and done, not unlike Before Watchmen (only you know, not scummy). But it’s hard to imagine that will be the case, especially with the quality of the debut issue.

 

X-Men_Battle_of_the_Atom_Vol_1_2_TextlessX-Men Battle of the Atom #2

Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrew Currie and like 6 or 7 other dudes.

Marvel, $3.99, 30 pages

You had one job X-team. One job.

Looks like I’m repeating myself again when it comes to reviewing an X-book. Jason Aaron, as well as Brian Wood and Brian Michael Bendis for the epilogues, wrap up a fairly fun X-event. But once again, the art on this event falls apart.

I don’t mind Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo and Stuart Immonen swinging by to draw some of the epilogues, because they all are great artists who make the ending of this book look really good. But the main story by Esad Ribic, and 2 or 3 others dudes? Not so great. It’s sloppy, looks rushed, the characters are extremely off model-looking at times and you couldn’t have chosen artists whose styles clash any more it seems. It once again ruins Aaron’s solid script, which to be honest, could have toned down the snark in some parts.

But yeah, this event is kind of a mixed bag now that it’s all is said and done. Some really cool stuff happens,  including some fun fan servicey stuff for X-readers, and some new plots to work with going into the 2nd year of the Aaron/Bendis/Wood era of X-books. I just wish some of the questions raised were answered now opposed to down the line (if at all!), and that the art delivered in the last 2 chapters.

 

Up next, an advance look at Vaillant’s Comics Unity #1, the end of Captain Marvel volume 1 and LONGSHOT, SAVING THE UNIVERSE!

 

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