Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review # 70: "Calvin and Hobbes"

I know this blog is mainly dedicated to superhero books (and Marvel ones at that,) but I figured with the recent release of a Kickstarter-funded documentary... what the hell? The subject is fresh in a lot of people's minds, and I wanted to dive back in.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review # 69: "Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron Vol. 6"

For the first time with Jason Aaron's "Wolverine and the X-Men" I'm putting down the trade not feeling particularly impressed. However, I understand what's going on here as a necessary evil.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review # 67: "Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 1"

The re-launch of X-Men that began with "Giant Size X-Men # 1" is unlike anything else in comics. Under the pen of Chris Claremont, it revolutionized storytelling within the medium creating unrivaled, long-term, interwoven plots the likes of which had never been seen. He may not have created Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman and Angel. He may not have created Professor X and Magneto. He may not have created Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus. However, Claremont is without a doubt the father of the X-Men. He was on the book for nearly two straight decades, defining an entire sector of the Marvel Universe. Many of his plots have been adapted into major feature films and animated TV series. Some multiple times. The imprint he has left on his craft is massive.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review # 66: "Uncanny X-Men - Sisterhood"

Despite the crapfest known as "X-Infernus" being billed as the sequel to "Inferno," one could argue that the pages of "Uncanny X-Men" at practically the same time were making a much stronger claim. "Sisterhood" is a novel concept as the spectre of Madelyne Pryor hatches a plan to claim the body of Jean Grey as a vessel. So she forms a team that includes Spiral, Deathstrike, Lady Mastermind, Martinique and Chimera to do her dirty work. Their first task: finding Betsy Braddock's original body. Pryor, you see, found Psylocke hopping around realities, trapped her, and - in the process of transplanting her consciousness - brainwashed her.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review # 65: "X-Force/Cable - Messiah War"

"Messiah War" is a big, fat slice of the 90s served up in 2009. X-Force. Cable. Bishop. Stryfe. Apocalypse. It's an over-the-top romp with big guns, cannon fodder and a lot of interior monologue. However, it learns from the past by not getting trapped in 90s mistakes. The stories don't drag, the villains don't state the obvious and both sides fight each other without trying to compete on a debate team.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review # 64: "X-Infernus"

I love "Inferno." Well, the X-Men/X-Factor side of the story, to say. The crossover by Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Louise Simonson and Walt Simonson that rewrote the history of Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor is the most well-executed retcon of all time with a breathtaking climax. Now, there was a third part involving the New Mutants that I never read, but it was the payoff to the years-long story of Illyana Rasputin - Colossus' sister - who had been abducted by Belasco - the ruler of Limbo - to become his successor.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review # 63: "Uncanny X-Men - Lovelorn"

Matt Fraction is Marvel's golden boy right now with his acclaimed work on "Hawkeye" and "FF," but things weren't always rosy in the public eye. His run on "Uncanny X-Men" was not the most popular in the world and drove a few people away from the series. Frankly, I don't get the hate. Some criticize Fraction for making "Uncanny X-Men" the "Scott and Emma Show." But, really... who cares? They were the centre not only of the team at the time, but of mutantkind's place in the Marvel Universe. If you wanted Rogue and Gambit, there was "X-Men Legacy." If you wanted Nightcrawler and Colossus, there was "X-Infernus." Um... er... OK, maybe not. I'll get to that next time. If you wanted Wolverine, the man was EVERYWHERE, front-and-centre in his solo series and "X-Force," and it's not like he completely disappears while the X-Men are in San Francisco.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review # 62: "Fantastic Four - Road Trip"

Damn it, Marvel: you got me. Originally, I had no plans to follow Matt Fraction's run on "Fantastic Four," but meshing his first three issues with the team with his first three issues with FF got enough of its hooks into me to drop 18 bucks on the second trade. I figure: why not? Fraction is on a roll, though its weird that the biggest property he's been working on with Marvel is the black sheep of his current output.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review # 61: "Deadpool - Soul Hunter"

In my review for Uncanny X-Force's "Final Execution," I mentioned that I was a little disappointed that - after Rick Remender turned Deadpool into a full-fledged hero - Wade had regressed to his goofy, inconsequential ways in Marvel NOW! Keep in mind I still liked "Dead Presidents," but I thought there was potential for a lot more with the character. So colour me surprised when I realized that Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan had actually managed to craft an engaging, ongoing narrative and a strong cast of characters. ALL of Deadpool's new clique (including the failed necromancer Michael, the dirty ghost of Ben Franklin and SHIELD Agent Preston - though she has no choice in the matter) stuck around for "Soul Hunter," which I did not expect. Deadpool has always gathered strange characters around him like Weasel or Blind Al, but strangely - despite their eccentricities - this group seems more human. Well, even though one is the ghost of a founding father and another is trapped in Wade's own head.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review # 60: "X-Men Legacy - 'Divided He Stands' and "Sins of the Father'"

Spread across multiple series, the "Divided We Stand" event saw members of the X-Men find themselves. No one had more of themselves to find than Charles Xavier. Shot in the head to conclude the events of "Messiah Complex," Professor X's body was abducted (thanks to Tempo) by the Acolytes. Under the watch of former lover Amelia Voght, first-class asshole Frenzy and New Excalibur tag-along Omega Sentinel, 90s overkill character Exodus attempts to repair what remains of Charles' fractured mind. Things aren't going well until the at-the-time powerless Magneto appears at Xavier's bedside, psychically drawing his old friend and rival out of his coma.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Review # 59: "Uncanny X-Men - Divided We Stand"

"Messiah Complex" went madly off in all directions, so it should be no surprise that its follow-up moves in a straight line. Well, two straight lines to be exact. The "Uncanny X-Men" portion of "Divided We Stand" focuses on two stories: Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus taking a trip through Europe and Cyclops and Emma Frost taking some downtime of their own while simultaneously trying to locate team members who have disappeared.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review # 58: "X-Men - Messiah Complex"

After what seemed like an endless wave in the 90s, massive crossovers had fallen out of favour at Marvel. They'd become bloated, overly contrived and generally a pain in the ass for collectors. They just plain needed to go away for a while. So they did. The X-Men franchise, which had been the centrepoint for most company crossovers, abandoned the concept for close to a decade. Series like Grant Morrison's "New X-Men," "X-Force/X-Statix," Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men" and Peter David's "X-Factor" stuck to their own stories, and the line enjoyed a creative renaissance.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review # 57: "X-Men - Endangered Species"

When it comes to superhero concepts, the X-Man Beast has to be among the best. Introduced as a young strongman bloke in the very first X-Men issue in 1963, Stan Lee had the brilliant idea of making Hank McCoy, well... brilliant. The intelligence he began to display in X-Men #3 set him apart from the likes of the Thing and years later, when Gerry Conway (inspired by Roy Thomas) turned Beast into a grotesque, fur-covered, gorilla-like creature it made the contrast that much better. Hank became a walking representation of how you can't judge anyone by not only their appearance, but in this case their mutation. Beast is a symbol for the entire series.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Review # 56: "X-Men - Deadly Genesis"

"Deadly Genesis" is a bit of a placeholder story after "House of M" despite some major repercussions within its pages. It tightens up the loose end of Professor X's whereabouts but doesn't do much in the way of forwarding the M-Day storyline.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review # 55: "House of M"

A lot of people hate "House of M." It was a status quo shift that people were uncomfortable with and - unlike many other event comics - it stuck for a long time. The repercussions were felt for eight whole years and you could argue they still are.