Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Secong Coming - Awesome as a Foundation

It's finally here! Second Coming is upon us. And no, I don't mean the second coming of Jesus Christ on this Easter holiday. I mean something much more awesome. X-men Second Coming, the crossover that has been building since House of M, officially began today with the release of the Second Coming one-shot.

This one-shot is an issue written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, the dynamic duo of X-men who have been one of the few consistent writing teams in this series. The art is by the always spectacular David Finch. Never one to disappoint, he gives a consistency and color that make each moment and expression a sight to behold. It's a shame talent like his was wasted on shit bombs like Ultimatum. His pen has given life to Second Coming and it's already off and running!

It starts just as Cable 25 ended with Hope and Cable appearing in the ruins of the Xavier Institute. As one would expect, as soon as they land they come fact to face with some killer robots with creepy smiles. Hope never had a birthday with creepy clowns so this is easy compensation. The shooting starts and so does the kickass with Cable and Hope making their escape, once again going on the run.

While this is happening, Cyclops is having a bit of a breakdown on Utopia. Fresh off the events of Necrosha, the mutant population is now down to 181. To mutants that's the equivalent of 100,000,000 human deaths. He lays out a plan to hold out, but shows he's getting extremely frustrated and it just so happens his means of venting involves blowing a hole through the wall. Punching a pillow might be easier, but he's Cyclops. He's got the fate of the mutant race on his shoulders. Sometimes a pillow just doesn't cut it.

So then the Stepford Cuckoos enter the picture, saying they detected Cable but only Cable. For some reason Hope isn't showing up as a mutant signature. This is not unprecedented. Hope was able to block Cerebro when she was just a baby. Now that she's 17 she could probably block 100 Cerebros and still have the energy to perform brain surgery. So Cyclops assembles an alpha team, consisting of both regulars and X-force to go after Hope. At one point Nightcrawler questions whether or not Hope is what she's cracked up to be. He responds with faith. He really doesn't seem to know. He's just banking on her pulling through.

So the team heads to the mansion where the Purifiers are still hanging around. Some more bloody fighting ensues (as is often the case in any Kyle & Yost comic) and some tension builds when X-23 jabs her claws into the head of one of the wounded. Apparently, they forgot their not on an X-Force mission and killing isn't exactly thought highly of. It leads to a tense moment that Wolverine and Cyclops will have to answer for. That will probably have to wait because they also detected both Cable and Hope nearby. They're on the run, but in deep trouble.

A the very end we get a glimpse of the men behind the attacks. The big villain here is Bastion and the ones helping him are Bolivar Trask, Graydon Creed, and William Stryker. So these are basically the all-stars of human douch-bags looking to destroy all mutants. No super-villains here. These are just bigoted humans who get their panties in a knot whenever they think of someone with mutant powers more awesome than their ability to rub their stomachs and pat their heads at the same time. The issue leaves the reader hoping that these men will be horribly maimed and their entrails mixed with elephant shit by the end of the issue. So for once there's no tragic villain. It's all good guys versus bad guys. And isn't that how it should be?

What else can be taken from this issue? Well for one, it basically broadcasts over a loudspeaker that Nightcrawler is going to die. He had some interesting conversations with Cyclops and X-23. He's talking as the one with the strict morality. He might as well paint a target on his back, grab a vest laced with grenades, and run out into the streets of a war zone naked singing Celine Dion. It's practically official. This guy will be dead by the end of this crossover. The preview teasers were very clear. Someone is going to die and that someone is going to be Kurt Wagner.

What else? Well there is still some major sentiment that Hope Summers is tied to Jean Grey. This issue didn't offer any major hints. But it did offer this:

Notice where Hope's finger is pointed. Yep, that's Jean Grey in her Original Five glory. That may or may not be a hint, but even she has to see that she looks VERY similar to this woman. It's still early and there's any number of ways it could unfold. It seems with all the Phoenix teases it will be nothing short of retarded for Hope NOT to have some connection with Phoenix and Jean Grey by default. Of course, Marvel has been known to flirt with retardation before. This is one plot point that has always been taboo. Second Coming is probably the most perfect moment for Jean to come back and if she doesn't, then they're just wasting a golden opportunity.

So overall, the verdict is clear. Second Coming is awesome. There's action, drama, dialogue and some kick ass art to boot. All great stories need to start out strong. In the case of Second Coming the status is so far so awesome!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

X-men Movie News (Sort Of)

In 2006 when X3: The Last Stand came out, a case study in how NOT to end a trilogy was born. Some call it the Godfather 3 syndrome. When a trilogy starts, the first two are usually good with the second one being a big improvement. Then the third movie comes out and it flat out sucks in a way that makes fans of the first two want to go back in time, strangle themselves, and make sure they stay in a coma for the duration of the movie's existence.

The X-men franchise didn't follow this trend exactly. The first X-men movie was revolutionary for it's time, but not well-praised by critics and fans. It wasn't terrible though. It did tell an interesting story and it did set a new tone for superhero movies. Then X2: X-men United came along and the bar was raised. This is one of the few times when both critics and fans were on the same page. This was a movie that finished where the first one fell short. It told a compelling story while doing justice to the characters and giving some much needed depth both emotionally and plot-wise. In a sense this may have been a bad thing because it made expectations for X3 so high. Then someone dropped a bomb.

Bryan Singer, the director who brought the X-men movies to life, left the project to do Superman. Who got the job instead? A guy named Brett Ratner, whose very name now evokes a nauseous feeling that induces more suicidal thoughts than the come-down from a hit of ecstasy. This guy was the anti-Singer. He had about as much subtlety as a kick in the balls. Where Singer provided both plot depth and character depth, Ratner was all about the shock-and-awe. It was all about big wars, big fights, and big moments like the death of some beloved characters and a script tailor made to satisfy Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman's publicist. This would have been fine if the characters were actually shown the least bit of respect and if the plot was remotely engaging.

X3 was a travesty. You don't kill off Charles Xavier, Cyclops, and Jean Grey while thoroughly disrespecting the Phoenix Saga (also known as the best X-men story EVER) and make fans happy. Maybe this was an alien concept to Ratner, but people don't like seeing characters they love being casually killed off. What made the death of Jean Grey so powerful in X2 was that it was built up and given an emotionally powerful story that was in many ways tied to her first death in the comics. I don't know what comics Ratner was reading, but he must have got them from the ass of some schizophrenic hobo hanging outside a comic shop in Tijuana. That's the only possible explanation that could make any sense of his bullshit.

Since X3 ended, nobody seems interested in making a sequel (who can blame them?), but that didn't stop Fox from making a Wolverine movie. While nowhere near the travesty that was X3, it certainly didn't wow fans back onto the movie bandwagon. Many simply cannot forgive the stupidity that is "Barakapool." Never-the-less, it still made money and that's all Fox needs to keep making these movies.

So when X-men First Class was announced, fans returned to the world of hope. When Laura Donner, the producer of the X-men films, announced it as an origins story that told of Magneto and Xavier's original split, the appeal was self-evident. Fans were even more giddy when they heard Bryan Singer was coming back to direct. It seemed if anyone can recapture the magic, it would be him. Turns out, however, that excitement was premature.

Fused Film: Bryan Singer will only Produce X-men First Class

That's right. Singer, already contracted to do "Jack the Giant Killer," won't be returning to X-men in the same capacity. He'll only be producing, leaving yet another director gap. Since Brett Ratner was tarred and feathered and banished from the X-men Universe, someone new will have to take his place. Will they make the same mistake Ratner did or will Singer's involvement be enough? Only time will tell, but there is one aspect fans are not going to forget.

If this is a prequel then it really doesn't matter what the hell the movie does because everybody will know how it ends. Any character development with Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Xavier will be completely moot because they're just going to die in X3 anyways. So who cares? That makes fans of the franchise a little iffy about enjoying it. Perhaps it would be best if X-men did the same thing Spider-Man has done and reboot the whole franchise. It would give the studios a clean slate to work with. Of course, that may make too much sense. X3 has permanently tainted the current movie series and if Marvel and Fox want any hope of capturing the same excitement they did with X2, then they need to get back to basics. Spider-Man is doing it. Superman is doing it. Why can't the X-men do it?

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Return of Kitty Pryde - Awesome Yet Dull

It's official. Kitty Pryde has returned to the world of X-men. Uncanny 522 was released this past week and as was previously revealed, it centered around the return of Kitty Pryde. Magento, who has been in a meditative state for the past two issues, has been focusing his powers on retrieving the giant metal bullet that Kitty is currently stuck in from deep space. Now how he was able to reach across trillions of miles of space to retrieve this bullet is not explained, but it's a comic! It doesn't have to be explained. It just had to work and the issue centered around the excitement that lead to the big return.

That return, however, was somewhat underhanded. Whenever a beloved character returns, it's cause for celebration. However, when that character's return is nothing short of yawn inducing, something's gone wrong or something hasn't been thought out. Both seemed to happen in Uncanny 522. There wasn't really much conflict in this issue. There was just concern about the damage the bullet could do if it hit Earth and how the X-men were going to cover it up to avoid a panic. They were able to get the Stepford Cuckoos and Danger to do some creative hacking and mind wiping to get the job done, but it felt patched together and was done basically in the span of two pages.

In addition, the reactions by the characters weren't all that enthusiastic. If anything they were bland. Only Colossus, Angel, and Cyclops had discernible reactions. Colossus was probably the most appropriate, but that's to be expected given that Kitty his lover and he assumed her to be lost. Other than that, nobody did much else other than gather near the hilltop with Magneto and wait for the bullet to arrive. It's as about as exciting as it sounds.

The biggest problem with this issue happened at the end when Kitty Pryde finally stepped out. Just as she was about to embrace Piotr, she phased right through him. It revealed the grim truth that she was stuck in phase mode and couldn't get out of it, requiring that she be contained in a special container (yet again). This essentially puts her back on the sideline and takes her out of the story again. Yes, she has returned. But she can't do too much because she's stuck in phase mode. She didn't have any impact and she's been set up to not have one, even as Second Coming is just about to begin. This is quite possibly the worst way to bring a character back into the fold. It's not so much a return as it is a gimmick, bringing a character back but making sure they don't have ANY effect on the ongoing stories. Maybe I'm just a little slow on the uptake, but isn't the point of bringing in characters to shake things up a bit and make it more interesting? Don't interesting stories sell better?

That is the biggest disappointment of this issue. Kitty Pryde comes back, but you're left wondering why. She's back, but she's stuck phasing and she can't do anything to effect the team. She can't help out during Second Coming. She can't meet Hope. She can't have any moments with Colossus. She can't even have any snarky comments with Emma Frost, which contributed a good 40 percent to Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-men awesomeness. There's no story there. There's just a gimmick for Kitty Pryde fans who wanted to see her back.

However, the comic does have a fair share of redeeming values that put it many levels above the toxic bullshit that is Ultimatum or Ultimate X. For one, the art is fantastic. Not that Greg Land wasn't good, but Dodson here really swung for the fences and the visuals of the issue were like a shot of ecstasy to the eyes. There is also some great dialogue by Matt Fraction. A funny 20-questions joke involving Fantomex, Logan, and beer was good for a laugh. There was also a nice exchange between Emma Frost and a deadpanned Magneto where she laid out the differences between him and Cyclops and how what he's doing comes so naturally and how Cyclops is still struggling like he always has. It hints at a possible divide that may very well grow during Second Coming.

These redeeming values make the issue worth at least a buy. It's not one of those comics that you would want to get multiple copies of, frame, and tell your grandkids about. It's also not something you're going to feel compelled to read again and again, just to indulge in the vast awesomeness. It's just a decent comic and there's nothing wrong with that. But Matt Fraction kept ranting and raving about this issue as if it could eclipse the sun by sheer awesome. Every time he gave an interview, he made a plug for Uncanny 522. It's going to be HUGE he says. Well when someone hypes a book up that much and it just turns into a gimmick, it's hard NOT to be disappointed. Fraction is a good writer, but the man overestimates worse than real estate investors. Uncanny 522 had too little be anywhere near as awesome as he claimed. While it's nice to see Kitty Pryde back, I would have more preferred she be BACK IN ACTION.

But so long as Kitty is back, she'll have her moment. It's just a matter of time before the writers get to her. If they didn't want to write her, they would keep her dead. You just can't do that with tough-nosed Jewish girls in comics. They're too awesome to keep down. The biggest tragedy, it seems, is that Kitty Pryde won't be able to partake in the awesome of Second Coming (provided it doesn't crash and burn). So to all those Uncanny fans, go ahead and get issue 522. Just don't expect it to be anywhere near as awesome as you wanted it to be.

X-men Supreme Issue 7: Mother Knows Best is LIVE

Two weeks have gone by and you know what that means! The world of X-men fanfiction is ready for another update from X-men Supreme! Issue 7: Mother Knows Best is live and ready for reading. For anybody who is a fan of Rogue or a fan of her ever mixed up family ties to Mystique, this issue is for you. There have been any number of comic and fanfiction stories about them. This is just the first of what will be many in the future.

Issue 7: Mother Knows Best

So please take the time to read and review this issue. It is important in any piece of writing to get feedback and X-men Supreme is no exception. I am open to all levels of criticism and I encourage everyone who reads this title to leave a review for me to work with. The more feedback I get, the better I can make this series. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Tribute to the Sexiness of Rogue

Just as I have done with Jean Grey and Storm, I have now added a special section to my website celebrating the hotness that is Rogue. As with the other X-ladies, I have gathered numerous pictures that show her in a very sexy light and put them together on a single page for your viewing pleasure. You can see this page yourself at the following link:

X-women: Rogue

I hope all you Rogue fans enjoy it! As for her bio page, that will have to wait until the next issue. The new issue will be released on March 26th and it should shed some light on her past as well as Mystique's. Stay tuned as there is plenty more to come within the annuls of X-men Supreme!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

X-Factor Forever: How X-Factor SHOULD Be

Nearly a year ago when Chris Claremont announced X-men Forever, a novel concept was born. Give a writer who left a certain series the option of coming back and continuing that series as if they never left. Chris Claremont left X-men in 1991 after well-publicized disputes with the editorial staff at the time. Now with X-men Forever, he got to come back and finish what he started. It sounded like a good idea on paper, giving a legendary writer the opportunity to tell the story they want to tell without the editors getting in the way. Unfortunately, the series unfolded as a testament to the importance of editors. Claremont butchered the characters he so carefully crafted in his seminal run, turning Jean into a cheating skank, Ororo into a murdering thug, Logan into too much of an emo, Kitty into an X-23 wannabe, and Cyclops into a dismissive shell.

You would think the idea would have no credibility after X-men Forever, which has declined in sales nearly every week since it started. But the Forever concept has been given a reprieve. Where Chris Claremont failed miserably, Louise Simonson has succeeded. Just this past week, X-Factor Forever 1 was released and Chris Claremont should take notice. While not as extensive as Claremont's run, Louise Simonson brought to life the world of X-Factor. She reunited the Original Five and set them apart from the main X-men, making them more like a mutant version of the Avengers or the Fantastic Four. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, and Archangel weren't so much a team as they were a family. That kind of sentiment is difficult in the other titles since the lineup keeps changing. Simonson was able to recapture that feeling in X-Factor Forever, bringing readers back to a time in X-men where there was less doom and gloom and more cosmic threats afoot.

It isn't all peaches and cream. This issue brings the likes of Apocalypse and Cameron Hodge into the fold, two big time villains from the pages of X-Factor that were known to do heavy damage. They utilize the technology of the Celestials, god-like beings who greatly influenced the development of mutants and mankind. Apocalypse is showing his old-school style villainy, getting Hodge under his wing and setting the stage for his trademark badassery. For any self-respecting X-fan, it's a wet dream wrapped in a fantasy.

It all feels like a wonderful extension of Simonson's X-Factor run while also being set up for those not familiar with the series. Even someone just getting into X-men comics could pick this issue up, understand what's going on, and enjoy it. You won't find yourself scratching your head and scheduling a brain biopsy like many found themselves doing after reading issue one of X-men Forever. Nothing is forced and nothing is done out of context. Claremont's series fails due to a lack of balance where his ideas aren't necessarily too much, they just happen too fast and they feel too forced. Simonson takes a more conservative approach with X-Factor. She forces nothing, keeping each character in line with how they developed over the course of X-Factor. While it doesn't feel too bold and the reader is left wanting more in some areas, there's just enough to keep you hooked. Claremont overshot by a mile whereas Simonson undershot by a few feet. Neither title is perfect, but by comparison you have a toxic waste dump next to a half-completed structure with only minor dents in it. Some parts can still be buffed out, but a toxic waste dump is much harder to clean up.

When taken together, the Forever titles leave us with two major conclusions. It was a shame that Louise Simonson left when she did and it was a good thing Chris Claremont left when he did. Simonson still had plenty of stories to tell while the editors that chased Claremont away from X-men were more than vindicated. If Claremont had his way, Wolverine would have been killed and many characters would have been skewed beyond repair. Even though Claremont gave us some of the most memorable moments in X-men history, his vision for the X-men simply wasn't palatable. He had to go. X-men Forever shows that when it comes to the essence of these characters, he's essentially forgotten the very nature of what made them great. Simonson shows she hasn't forgotten and she can still tell great stories that speak to both old school fans and new readers.

So in the bout between Simonson and Claremont, Simonson wins with a KO in X-Factor Forever and Claremont's X-men Forever remains the ugly step-child with a cleft lip, a deformed skull, and bent spine that makes people vomit when it tries to speak. X-Factor Forever #1 is a must-have for anyone fond old school X-Factor or just a less dreary take on these classic characters. For great story, great art, and great characters I deem X-Factor Forever a title worthy of true awesome.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Issue 7: Mother Knows Best Preview

I know I haven't updated my site much this week. God of War 3 has been taking up a great deal of my time. But fear not! I haven't forgotten X-men Supreme. I'm still working on the new issue and it is still on schedule to be released next week. Issue 7: Mother Knows Best will pick up where the previous chapter left off. So all you Rogue fans will get to know a bit more about her history and that of Mystique's as well.

Now I know I usually put up a bio for characters after they are introduced, but since there are still some areas where I want to flesh Rogue out a bit I'll hold off on posting one until after this next chapter. In the meantime, you can expect to see her get a section in the X-ladies part of the picture area. I hope to have that up within a week.

So here is the preview for the next issue of X-men Supreme. I hope you all enjoy it! Stay tuned for more updates.

About half-a-mile away from the institute perimeter, a small metal sphere descended from the sky and landed in a clearing. It moved silently, guided by the invisible forces of magnetism. It was small so it was hard to detect, even for a system as advanced as Xavier’s. Inside the sphere was a lone occupant. Once powered down, it opened up to reveal a very perturbed Mystique.

The shape shifter was not in a good mood. Just being close to the mansion made her blood boil. She was so enraged when she heard that her daughter’s powers had manifested and the X-men had come in and picked her up. They had no right to drag her into their world. Marie was her responsibility. She adopted her and raised her. She was supposed to join the Brotherhood, not the X-men. And she would be damned if she was going to let Xavier brainwash her daughter.

“Raven…I know you can hear me. This is the third time I’ve contacted you and you’re testing my patience.”

The deep, menacing voice of Magneto through her earpiece failed to sway her as she stepped out and started making her way towards the mansion. Ever since she hijacked a transport sphere and flew it out of the Brotherhood base, the master of magnetism had been trying to contact her. She didn’t answer him the first time he called and she wasn’t going to start now. He may have been her superior and one of the most powerful mutants on the planet, but that was not enough to keep her from her daughter.

“I’ll tell you one last time…stand down. Do NOT approach the X-men. They are too strong for you to face on your own! I know you want to get your daughter out of there, but this is not the way to do it! Let us formulate a plan with the Brotherhood and…”

At that point, he was cut off. Mystique grew tired of his urgings and took out the ear piece. She tossed it aside, not caring how angry Magneto was going to be with her. She would worry about that after she confronted Rogue and got her away from this cursed place. It didn’t matter if it was safer to confront the X-men as a team. This was her fight. This was her daughter. She would handle it personally and if Magneto didn’t like that, she could show him where to stick that helmet of his.

“Sorry, Erik…but this is a family affair.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

God of War 3: An Epic in Awesome

So I spent the last day or so camped out in front of my PS3 playing God of War 3. I've actually had to suspend my X-men Supreme duties for this game (but fear not, it will NOT cause delays). I've had to suspend a lot of things actually, but it was all very worth it!

I was among those who waited in line at midnight at a Gamestop on the eve of the launch. I had my game in hand by 12:03 AM and was home playing it by 12:30 AM. I started out on easy mode so I could get a feel for the game and the story and boy was it a big one! When people talk about the scale of a game, they throw around a lot of words like huge and epic. For God of War 3, it would take a whole new word in the English language to define the kind of scale this game has. From the very beginning, you're riding on the back of the titan, Gia. From there you routinely fly between Hades, Tartarus, and Mount Olympus. Every step of the way, the main character, Kratos, is slaughtering everyone and everything that gets in his way, including the gods of Olyumpus. And he doesn't just kill. He makes it makes brutal and bloody!

Now in relation to the first two games, it's worth noting that God of War 3 looks absolutely gorgeous. The first two were already a testament to the processing power of the Playstation 2. God of War 3 does the same with the Playstation 3 and utterly milks the system's capabilities for all they're worth. The environments, skin textures, and facial features are all so beautifully rendered. It's much easier to appreciate it later in the game when you encounter the likes of Aphrodite, who stars in the traditional God of War sex mini-game. While these sex games have been part of every God of War game, this one is special in some very unique ways!

Playing through the game is a roller coaster ride of awesome. You follow Kratos down the bloody path he has taken from the previous two games and see everything get tied together. It's interesting how some elements from the first two games were tied into this one, more so with the first God of War than the second. Some have argued that this makes for a somewhat choppy story that takes away from the finished product. It's easy to see why some would think that, but taken as a whole the story and the themes within it are wonderfully integrated.

By the end of the game dozens of gods have fallen. Posiden, Hades, Hermes, Helios, Hera, and Hercules to just name a few. Even the titans begin to fall as well including Gia and Kronos. Nobody is spared by Kratos. In a sense it seems fitting because throughout the game series, Kratos has been used and in many cases abused by these gods. His rage and wrath are without parallel and in the end, all those who did him wrong suffer by his blades.

As for the ending itself, the creators stated early on that the end of this series would explain why there are no more Greek myths. Well that definitely holds true. There really is nothing left in the end. As for Kratos, however, that's less clear. The door remains open for the Ghost of Sparta to return in some capacity. Even if it is in a new trilogy, the opportunity is there. Kratos has already shown an ability to cheat death many times before. There's no reason to believe he can't do it again.

So overall, God of War 3 and the God of War deserves a perfect 10/10, five stars, and all the acclaim in the world. Kratos proves himself to be an epic character. In relation to the characters in X-men Supreme, the X-men, there are none that stack up. Some have been so bold as to draw parallels between Kratos and Wolverine. This is simply no contest. Wolverine wouldn't stand a chance against Kratos. Wolverine may be tough, but his brutality depends on how much he's in control of himself. Kratos is ALWAYS in control and chooses to be the brutal killer he is. Wolverine may stab and hack through his enemies, but Kratos will take the extra time to brutally slaughter and torment them in ways that increases their suffering. There's simply no comparison. Kratos could go toe-to-toe against anybody in X-men. And who knows? He just might get that chance some day.

So that's my take on God of War 3. Now that I've beaten it, let me assure my readers that I will be getting back to X-men Supreme. I will not negate my series. That you can count on. But for something as epic as God of War 3, it deserves a moment to reflect and cherish this caliber of awesome. Such awesome is so rare when it comes along, but at the same time is so very worth it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

An Ode to Laura "X-23" Kinney

Every so often a character comes along that pushes all the right buttons and does all the right things to become awesome. It's rare in this day and age when there are literally thousands of established characters that can kick ass and be awesome that it's hard for a new character to really assert themselves. There have been many attempts to make good characters, but they often get lost in the shadows of much bigger foes. One that has avoided such a fate and become awesome on a whole new level is a very special X-girl named Laura "X-23" Kinney.

Her story is unusual. As evidenced in her bio she emerged not from the comics, but from the X-men Evolution cartoon series. Created by Craig Kyle while he was a writer for the show with Chris Yost, X-23 she entered the world of the X-men in a single episode entitled fittingly enough as "X-23." Her appearance caused such a splash that she later appeared in another episode called "Target X." From there, she entered the comics through Uncanny X-men and later got her own mini in 2005. She has since become a major player in the ongoing series X-Force where she shows off her ability to kick ass and be the meanest teenage girl in the Marvel Universe.

On the surface the idea seems corny. Take Wolverine, make him a teenage girl with only two claws instead of three, make it so she was raised in a lab and have her erupt with anger against the people that created her. It really doesn't seem all that radical. But what makes X-23 special is how she was developed. She could have easily become yet another Wolverine knock-off, but thanks to the development Craig Kyle and Chris Yost have done for her, she's established herself as her own character and one with her own brand of awesome.

In X-men Evolution, she was created by Hydra (a familiar Marvel foe) as an assassin. This same template was adopted when her comic origins were established in her first mini, Innocence Lost, only with a few important twists. For one, she wasn't born purely in a test tube. She was birthed by the woman who created her, a woman named Sarah Kinney. She was a scientist at a Weapon X offshoot to make a clone of Wolverine and in doing so, she became X-23's mother. This really humanized her because Sarah would later go on to be a huge factor in X-23's life. She would be that fragile sliver of humanity that X-23 would hold onto even as she was conditioned to be a machine and an assassin. This didn't stop her form pulling off all sorts of badass killing. She cut a bloody trail while she was an operative and was every bit as effective as Wolverine. While she remained stoic through the whole ordeal, Sarah Kinney was deeply effected.

The most powerful moment in all of X-23's comic origins is the moment that comes at the end of Innocence Lost. In this, Sarah tries to free her from Weapon X so they could run away and be a family. But in a cruel twist of fate, she is tricked into killing her own mother. This act brings out a level of emotion that is so powerful for the characters and fittingly enough, that's also when she gets her name, Laura, that she goes by now.

It is this origin story that really helps set the stage for X-23 to become every bit as awesome as Wolverine. Her origin is similar, but not so similar that it's cliched. In it she was raised completely in a lab, she had a mother, and was controlled thoroughly for much of her youth. At the same time the vital elements that make Wolverine such a compelling character hold true. The way in which she was forced to kill her mother parallels how Logan has been forced to kill those he loves as well, namely Mariko Yashida.

What really sets her apart is what happens after she gets away. In the follow up mini "Target X" she is taken in by relatives of her mother only to be hunted down by elements of Weapon X. For a while she tried to live the life of a young teenage girl. But the way she carries herself is so outside the norm that it reflects just how distant she is from a normal life. Just as Wolverine, it's impossible for her to have a normal life. She is a figher and a killer and she can't escape that. That's why she has to leave her family and seek out Logan, who is essentially the only real family she has who really understands her. In a fitting moment he helps her find a life with the X-men and she's been kicking ass for them ever since. In a way she's embraced the killer instinct she was born with as part of X-Force and shows that while she does have Wolverine's tendencies, she is still a teenage girl with all the fragility and conflict that comes along with it.

Now X-23 is going to have yet another chance to show off her special brand of awesome in a one-shot simply titled X-23. Written by Marjorie Liu, she's going to reunite with NYX in a single story with Logan and Jubilee making an appearance.

CBR: X-23 Preview

X-23 has come a long way, but she's established herself as someone who can go toe-to-toe with her predecessor, Wolverine, in terms of awesomeness. She is one of the few who has broken into X-men within the last five years and really made an impact. Her appeal is undeniable and her depth as a character is uncanny (no pun intended). So for the teenage girl with the spirit of a Wolverine, I celebrate her greatness. May her future be bright in both the comics and other mediums.

And who knows? Perhaps she'll make an appearance in X-men Supreme as well.

Friday, March 12, 2010

X-men Supreme Issue 6: Rogue Recruit is LIVE!

All you Rogue fans can finally exhale. The new issue of X-men Supreme is ready! Issue 6: Rogue Recruit should help satisfy your fan cravings for the untouchable southern belle the X-men know and love. Always a favorite of fanfiction writers and readers, Rogue will make some major contributions to the X-men Supreme series. Her sassy personality and rebellious attitude will take center stage in a big way. Also, I'll be posting her bios page soon so be prepared. She will have a different story compared to the comics. But don't expect to see every detail. There's a reason she's called Rogue after all.

Issue 6: Rogue Recruit

Enjoy the issue! And don't forget to review!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cable 24: The End and the Beginning

Every so often a comic comes along that you don't really appreciate until it's over. I admit that after Messiah Complex, the Cable series wasn't on my pull list. I only started getting interested after Messiah War. Then my interest waned again only to re-emerge with the last few issues. Now issue 24 has come full circle and I have to say, it finally comes together at a level that is worthy of the title AWESOME.

Issue 24 follows Cable and Hope Summers to the end of their time-hopping which takes them everywhere from the 1920s to 1978 to 1990. Nearly every step of the way, Bishop keeps chasing them. It makes for action and destruction that has more depth than previous issues and it really comes together in a way that leaves the door open for more developments. In the end it's not clear how much Bishop succeeds or fails. In the end Cable is able to trick him by re-working his time machine and sending him thousands of years into the future. Yet despite this, Bishop seems certain that he has done the right thing. He seems to know what Hope is and what she's in for. He also feels he's going to be proven right, something that should be settled with Second Coming.

One of the reasons I was turned off early on in this series is how Bishop was portrayed as having gone completely off the deep end. He was no longer the hero. He was the destroyer, trying to doom the mutant race by killing the messiah baby. But at the end of Cable 24 you get the sense that there was a method to this madness. He truly believed that this girl was going to destroy everything and that the life he sought so desperately to escape would be created. The way he fights and the way he muses over his mission helps redeem some of his credibility, but not all. He still has a LONG way to go and if he ever comes back into the fold (which he probably will since time travel is easier than ordering a pizza in Marvel comics), he's going to have to do a hell of a lot to make up for what he did. Even if Second Coming further vindicates him, Bishop has a taint that isn't easy to recover from. I tend to think the writers were a little unfair with him and a lot of what they did in Messiah Complex felt forced. But so long as he's still in the picture, he can be redeemed. It just may take a while.

But what was probably the best and most telling part of the issue was near the end when Cable and Hope prepared to head back to the present to meet up with the X-men. Along the way, Hope nearly ran over a familiar looking redhead. One that Cable seemed to be serious about not hitting. Could that be another Jean hint? Or possibly a reference to Annie, who was part of Jean's history? Then there was the part where Hope actually called Cable her father. It felt very satisfying because Cable really has gone above and beyond to raise her, protect her, and train her in a way that makes him her father in pretty much every meaningful way. If Hope ends up being Jean Grey (which is still possible albeit remotely), it would be ironic yet fitting because Jean did the same for Cable with Scott when they raised him. Could anything be more appropriate? That is, of course, if the writers have more than a three dollar fart for a brain.

Overall, the Cable series has come full circle. The ending has officially made the 23 issues before it more awesome. That's not easy to do and I take my hat off to Duane Swiercyznski for pulling it off! Definitely a five out of five and a nice prelude to Second Coming!

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Sexy Pics of Storm on X-men Supreme

In the spirit of celebrating the sexiness of Jean Grey recently on X-men Supreme, I feel it's only fair that other X-women get their share as well. So today I have added a new section celebrating the exotic sexiness of Storm. As an exotic and charismatic emblem of the spirit of the X-men, she deserves her fair share. Look for her to play an increasing role in the coming issues of X-men Supreme!

Check out the new shrine to Ororo Munroe here at X-men Supreme!

While Storm is a fine addition to the sexy ladies of X-men, she will not be the last! In this week's issue of X-men Supreme, Rogue will make her debut so all you Rogue fans looking forward to seeing her tribute need only stay tuned. Her time is coming! If you have any pictures you would like to donate, please contact me and I will be happy to add them.


Friday, March 5, 2010

X-men Supreme Issue 6: Rogue Recruit Preview

Another week has come and another preview is upon us. The next issue of X-men Supreme is well on it's way and is set to be live by March 12th. I'm hoping for more feedback as this series goes along. I understand that fanfiction sometimes takes time to develop, but I've got so many ideas for this series and so many stories to tell down the line that feedback is even more important. So for all you readers of X-men Supreme, please remember to take the time to review or post feedback so I can make this series the best it can be!

For now, I offer fans of X-men Supreme a brief taste of what is to come with the new issue. If you're a fan of Rogue, I think you'll like it!

Rogue felt the man rub up against her. He looked at her and she looked right back at him, showing she was every bit the rebel her name implied. He leaned in to touch her, trailing his hand up her waist and onto her exposed mid-drift. Rogue leaned into it, matching him move for move. Then something unexpected happened. Suddenly, the man’s expression shifted to one of great discomfort.


His cries were barely audible over the music and crowd, but Rogue heard him loud and clear. When she saw the look on his face, she realized something was wrong. Then she felt it too.

“What the…aaaaaarghhhhhhhhh!”

The man’s body went limp and he collapsed lifelessly onto the floor. Rogue fell back in confusion, grasping her head. It was like someone had just injected fire into her veins. A rush of images surged through her mind. Only these images weren’t from her.

‘My name is Cody Hawkins. I am 18. I’m a poor student. I played football. I got kicked off the team because they found needles in my locker. My dad’s a jerk. My mom’s overbearing. I sneak out at night to go to punk concerts. I dress differently during the day. I become someone else at night. I am…’

It was happened so fast. Along with these thoughts came this strange surge of energy. It felt weird. It left her disoriented and confused. She tried to keep her balance. Then she stumbled onto a girl who was dancing next to her. She felt her arm make contact with her shoulder. Another surge followed, only this time the thoughts were different.

‘My name is Risty Wilde. My other name is Moonlight. My parents are nice. My family is wealthy. I don’t fit in. I want to be different. I skip church to hang out with friends. I hide drugs under my mattress in a hallowed out bible. I want to get out of this town. I want to start my own band. My parents don’t understand. Nobody understands.’

The girl went limp and Rogue tripped over onto another girl. More strange sensations followed and like the previous two, she went limp. At this point, people were starting to notice. Even as the music kept playing, onlookers began to panic. Three people were out cold and one girl was freaking out. Something was seriously wrong with her. She couldn’t stop screaming.

“MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT-AHHHHHHH!” cried Rogue as she clutched her head.

“Take it easy, missy! You on a bad trip or something?” asked a middle aged man.

He reached down to help her up, but when she grabbed her hand he joined the three other victims lying on the floor. And once again, Rogue was bombarded with a wave of images and sensations. Her reaction drew more attention as onlookers began piecing it together.

“What’s happening to her?”

“She some sort of succubus or something?”

“She knocked them out cold just by touching her? She must be cursed or something!”

“Should we get help or something?”

More closed in on Rogue and the four bodies of her victims. But this time, she wouldn’t let them.


With strength that defied her stature, Rogue plowed through the crowd and rushed for the nearest exit. Some tried to stop her, but they were overwhelmed. It was like she had the strength of several men. By the time she reached the back, nobody dared stand in her way. She could barely coordinate herself. Her mind was going so fast she could barely keep up with her body. Once she reached the back door, she stormed aimlessly into the night.

“What’s going on?! Why is this happening to me?! Somebody? Anybody! HELP MEH!”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Second Coming Q&A - Thoughts From The Adherents

Second Coming is in full swing at Marvel. It appears the writers and editors simply cannot contain their excitement as they have been giving out interviews in the way McDonalds gives out heart attacks. On the hype alone it may be just as dangerous for all fanboys with heart conditions, but nobody is complaining yet. So far nothing has been revealed to completely destroy interest in this crossover so Marvel is doing all the right things thus far.

X-men Second Coming: Q&A

On the whole there's nothing too shocking here, just an overall reinforcing of what is already known about this crossover. It's the final chapter to Messiah Complex, it will bring Hope and Cable back into the present, and it will have Bastion as the main enemy. In earlier interviews it was revealed by Matt Fraction that someone big was going to die. There weren't any further hints here, but it appears the sentiment seems to be leaning towards someone like Nightcrawler, Beast, Pixie, or potentially Angel. There were some notable quotes.

Matt Fraction: Yeah. This is the bookend to [Messiah Complex]. But it's the X-Men. Nothing is ever wrapped up in a tidy little package. But you will know who Hope is. You will know what she is capable of. You will have a sense of what she is going to be capable of. This is the end of all the questions that have been asked since [Messiah Complex]. Well...almost. [Laughs] It answers the questions, but asks new ones that propel us into the future.

Chris Yost: Bastion is a very committed villain. He's got a goal and he's never going to stop. He will never stop no matter what. He is the kind of guy who crosses his t's and dots his i's. Anything he does is going to be very extreme and very well thought out and thorough. The X-Men have no idea what's coming for them.

Mike Carey: I would see [Hope] as being ambivalent about a lot of things. She's met a number of the mutants from our time now in the events of Messiah War and she's curious about that. She's curious about the time that she's come from and she knows that it's assumed by everybody around her that she'll go back there. I think she wants to do that, but she's also afraid. The burden she carries is an enormous one and she's a bit uncertain of her ability to carry it. Particularly since there is still this question mark about what she can do.

Zeb Wells: Well, Cyclops honestly believes that Hope is the future of mutantkind, where her living makes the difference between mutantkind surviving and mutantkind dying. So, as soon as Hope shows up, any danger that she finds herself in is going to be met with a huge reaction from Cyclops. Basically, an attack on Hope would be considered an attack on mutantkind. So, he is going to throw everything he possibly can to making sure Hope is safe and that she is in a place where she can be protected.

Nick Lowe: Our big instruction when Axel Alonso came in as our group editor was to simplify the line in a lot of ways and make it that each book has a pretty distinctive identity and each one has a mission statement you can identity. That's still going to be it-maintaining these "simple mission statement books"-but on the other end of it, what we're pushing back is to the core X-Men "hated and feared" and the differences between people and what makes you special. But we've been in a really dark tunnel in a way ever since "no more mutants." It's been a really dark time with no real hope for the future. Like Cyclops, in editorial we'd like to go beyond that dread of extinction.

Axel Alonso: Everything hinges on Hope. Back in Messiah Complex, Cyclops, acting on nothing more than faith, allowed Cable to jump with this girl into the time stream with no plan other than "bring her back when she's ready and when it's safe." Since that time, he has had to live with that decision and ponder everything, from the mortality of the mutant species to choices he had to make to ensure survival. Understand that he's been operating on nothing more than faith. There's no proof that Hope means anything to mutants. And as any reader of the books knows, there's more than a faint flicker of danger. Red hair, green eyes. Say no more. Really, the overarching theme of the X-Men for the last couple of years has been faith. What do they believe in? What do they stand for? And at the center of that storm has been Cyclops. If you've been reading CABLE, you know that two heroes, Bishop and Cable, have two very different ideas of who Hope is and what she means for the mutant race. For Cable, she's salvation. For Bishop, she's destruction. Maybe both are true. That's what Cyclops has to ponder and what readers have to ponder when we bring her back. By the end of Second Coming, readers will fully understand who Hope is and what she means for mutants.

So what can we draw from this? First off, it looks as though they'll finally revisit the early scenes in Messiah Complex where Hope was born. There has been a lot of mystery surrounding the birth, but there haven't been any answers. As for Hope herself, it seems they're playing up the overall uncertainty in her character. She is being billed as either a savior or destroyer (sound familiar?). Who and what she is appears to be more complex than just some Deus Ex Machina that's going to undo M-Day. Also, the red hair and green eyes comment once again finds is way with Alonso, which again hints at Jean Grey. However, there has been next to no mention of her. But considering the Phoenix hints, the appearance, and having a destructive/creative nature it's pretty damn hard to ignore. All indications are that Hope is going to be yet another Jean-lite, one who looks and acts like Jean Grey but isn't Jean Grey. Like Rachel Summers without the alternate universe mess. This once again feels like Marvel trying to have their cake and eat it too, wanting to bring Jean's star power back without disrupting their precious new version of Cyclops and Emma Frost. It would be a great story if it wasn't so damn blatant. If Hope looked nothing like Jean Grey, this would not be an issue. There are any number of ways they could have drawn her, but they gave her a look that was just like Jean. Could the subtext be any clearer?

In addition it appears that the end of Second Coming will mark yet another transition period for the X-men. The team may once again get reshuffled like they did after Messiah Complex and House of M. And for once it may actually end without so much doom and gloom, which seems to be a major theme of every crossover since 2000. It seems all events either have to end with a funeral or a massive demoralizing. It's as if the only way the stories can be interesting is if they are downers. Like people want to read a book that makes them depressed? If Second Coming ends in a way that doesn't require a fresh prescription of Prozac, I'll be content. You have a character in this story named Hope. Shouldn't it at least be hopeful?

March 31st is set to be the beginning. The aftermath begins in July. From the looks of it, Second Coming will set the stage for the next decade of X-comics. The question remains will the decade erupt with awesomeness or fizzle with all that which is lame?