Thursday, February 25, 2016

Divine Plans and Unholy Agendas: Wonder Woman #49

The following is my review of Wonder Woman #49, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


There are a number of common themes in ancient mythology and not all of them involve gods hooking up with mortal women/boys/animals/etc. These themes are often built around the consequences of mortals attempting to defy the will of the gods. It serves as the basis of most major cultural and religious traditions, minus those inspired by George Lucas. Eventually, within the context of these themes, the will of the gods tends to overwhelm the ambitions of mortals.

When Brian Azzarello kick-started Wonder Woman after the Flashpoint reboot, he built Wonder Wonder Woman's story around these themes, having her navigate the agendas of numerous gods and the mortals they manipulated. He tied Wonder Woman's story closer to Greek Mythology and less towards mid-20th century feminism. It helped create a more compelling narrative while proving that there's just no getting around the centuries-old appeal of gods impregnating mortals.

Wonder Woman's ties to the gods weren't just built around her being the daughter of Zeus. She ended up becoming the new God of War while saving Olympus from the wrath of her father's first of many, many obscene infidelities. She's had to manage this role on top of being a member of the Justice League, an icon to women all over the world, and Superman's lover. If it's true that no woman can truly have it all, then a case could be made that Wonder Woman come closest.

However, the themes of petty gods and the mortals they torment starts to catch up with Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman #49. The plot once again revolves around Zeke and Zola, who were the catalyst to all these holy/unholy upheavals during Brian Azzarello's run. Meredith Finch's plot focuses more on the unholy aspects of those upheavals and for once, it doesn't involve an unplanned pregnancy.

It starts with a mysterious illness. Something or someone, and sometimes that line is blurred when godly forces are at work, has caused Zeke to fall ill. It's up to Wonder Woman to help him. Zeke is, after all, the reborn incarnation of Zeus, her father. That means she's essentially babysitting her father. It's the kind of unholy upheaval that makes the Kardashians look dull and yet it feels oddly appropriate in a mythology where a woman with snakes for hair isn't even the tenth greatest oddity.

In attempting to help Zeke, Wonder Woman has to confront some of the less holy virtues that are uncomfortably common with gods. As nearly every mortal in the Odyssey learned, the gods tend to exercise a level of moral flexibility that even the most amoral televangelist would find disgusting. They will do and say whatever they must in order to maintain their power and authority. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, betraying those who see them as allies.


This creates a powerful sense of drama in Wonder Woman #49, which is by far the greatest strength of the story. Since the latter half of Brian Azzarello's run, Wonder Woman has considered Hera a friend and ally in her ascent to her godly roles. In terms of the larger narrative, she's someone who was easy to root for. She was, after all, married to a god who treated infidelity as an Olympic sport. Her gaining a greater role on Olympus in his absence felt like obscenely late karma. Now, she's in a position to screw Wonder Woman over in a way that might not leave her pregnant, but it will break her heart.

Wonder Woman has to entertain the uncomfortable possibility that Hera might be the one causing Zeke's illness. It's a possibility that Hecate, the Goddess of Magic and Witchcraft, presents to her and it's not one Wonder Woman can just casually discount. She's already learned that gods are annoyingly adept at keeping secrets. She can't, given her experience with other gods and the illegitimate offspring they bear, blindly trust that Hera is above plotting against her.


As uncomfortable a possibility it might be, Wonder Woman doesn't let this distract her from helping Zeke and Zola. It's another common theme that Meredith Finch carried over from Brian Azzarello and it works perfectly well within the context of the narrative. Like Azzarello, Finch has Wonder Woman carry out tasks that feel like they came right out of the director's cut of Greek Mythology. For that same reason, it makes that same narrative feel limited.

There's a lot of drama and uncertainty in Wonder Woman #49. While this helps create a plot with plenty of tension, it does little to add much excitement. There's no Trojan War in this story. It's mostly Wonder Woman having to navigate a world of gods who may or may not be plotting against her. The only bit of action involves a cyclops and even that unfolded off-panel. If it were the director's cut of any movie, then it would still be missing some key scenes.

That's not to say that the lack of action derails the story. The story in Wonder Woman #49 isn't built around the kind of conflict that would require epic, CGI-rendered battlefields on the level of a Peter Jackson movie. It's built as a personal drama where Wonder Woman is trying to help a friend while being mindful of the gods' tendency to act in very ungodly ways at times. It's a story that has many strengths, but the reliance on this drama does cause it to drag at times.

Even if the story doesn't get anyone's heart racing, it does generate plenty of intrigue. Meredith Finch does a good job of generating the same intrigue that made Brian Azzarello's run on the series so engaging. It might not result in another mortal woman being impregnated by a god, which would make it an novelty in Greek Mythology, but it does adhere to the same powerful themes that has helped certain mythologies stand the test of time.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

All-New X-men #5: Nuff Said!

I’ve heard some people say that the reason teenagers get into trouble is because their brains are underdeveloped and their experiences are too limited for them to have solid judgment. I want to think this is true to some degree, but I also believe that the bulk of teenage-fueled mischief is fueled by a potent combination of being uniformed, unintelligent, and overly horny. On top of all that shit, the O5 X-men have to deal with being from another fucking time period. So I think they deserve at least a partial pass for their mischief.

They’ve already gotten into plenty in All-New X-men, but Dennis Hopeless has done a decent job of making them the more lovable brand of teenagers. They’re not the kind that throw eggs at a car or take shits in a hot tub. They’re actually trying to do the right thing, not yet realizing just how fucked they are. All-New X-men #5 has them continuing this noble effort. I feel like I should start a betting pool for when their spirits are inevitably crushed.


O5 Angel’s spirits might not be crushed, but his girlfriend’s face is. He spent the latter part of the previous issue watching Blob basically treat X-23’s head as a tap-dancing lesson. In Blob’s defense, they interrupted his meal. In Blob’s counter-defense, he was about to eat an endangered animal so he’s still a fucking asshat, even by Chris Brown standards.

O5 Angel, who is supposed to be packing cosmic power, ought to be pissed. Blob just fucked up the girl who willingly lets him see her naked. That should enrage anyone. Instead, he just sort of flutters his wings and tends to his wounded girlfriend while letting Blob just walk off. I get that he’s concerned, but to not even cuss out the asshole who just beat up his girl...that takes a microscopic set of balls.


Blob has a golden opportunity to just shrug off this minor inconvenience, go somewhere quiet, and dine on his meal of endangered meat with the same glee that Ted Cruz probably has when he bathes in the tears of poor people. But he just fucked up an X-man and watched her micro-dick boyfriend just stand there while his piss dried. I can’t blame him for feeling a little emboldened.

So Blob ends up finding O5 Beast, who is just beginning to appreciate the utility of social media, crowdfunding, and internet porn. That last one is just a given. While this is a nice reminder that these X-men are from a time before sending pictures of your dick was disturbingly easy, it doesn’t exactly give him an advantage over Blob any more than a cell phone would give me an advantage over Teddy Rosevelt in a boxing match.

Not gonna lie though. Given the oversized douche that O5 Beast grows up to be, I kind of found myself rooting for Blob when he started throwing punches.


Not everyone in the team is in Paris just to fuck up Blob’s latest illegal meal. Some are taking the time to see the sights that Paris has to offer and do a little introspection. Idie takes advantage of this better than most and I’m not just talking about smuggling French pastries in her bra. She visits the cathedral in Notre Dame and no, I’m not talking about the football stadium. Here, she’s looking to have a conversation with God and no, I’m not talking about Lemmy Kilmeister either.

Now this is an unexpected, but welcome development for Idie. It’s been a long time since she has done something other than be that cute girl who didn’t become a complete afterthought after Hope fucking Summers ditched the X-men. For a while, she had been a conflicted, yet very religious young girl, even after other conflicted religious people tried to burn her at the stake. It’s a part of her character that was forgotten. While nobody gives a shit that Hope fucking Summers has been forgotten, this is one of those traits that’s worth remembering.


Idie’s conversation with God is probably going to be one-sided. The fight against Blob is almost just as one-sided. That fight eventually finds O5 Cyclops, who decides to enjoy his time in France by buying...a soccer ball. Seriously, in a country of expensive wine and artery clogging deserts, this is what he thinks is worth getting? Not judging, but Paris does have more to offer.

The soccer ball does end up serving a purpose, which is something I know Americans have a hard time believing. It leads O5 Cyclops right into the fight, albeit under some mysterious circumstances. Those circumstances don’t mean dick for now. All that matters at this point is Blob is kicking O5 Beast’s ass and why would anyone want to miss that?


O5 Iceman and Kid Apocalypse are missing out, but for good reason. O5 Iceman is in a country that’s exceedingly gay friendly and doesn’t pressure men or women to shave anything below the neck. So when he meets a cute guy at a shoe store, he tries to put his gay on. He doesn’t exactly succeed. Neil Patrick Harris, he is not. Then again, very few of us are, gay or straight.

It’s another important moment, just like Idie at the church. O5 Iceman just recently came out as being pro-cock. However, he hasn’t really done much with it. He’s now trying to do what his older self never dared to do, pretending he liked vaginas more. It might piss off One Million Moms, but that only makes this development more important in making O5 Iceman more interesting.


Kid Apocalypse even gets involved in the interest, albeit in a very non-gay way. One Million Moms may still hate him for his name, but that’s their fucking problem. He and O5 Iceman have a nice conversation that offers some telling hints of the upcoming Apocalypse Wars. It also touches on O5 Iceman’s reluctance to discuss his newfound love of cock to O5 Beast, his best and oldest friend. It’s a tough position for both of them. One might get screwed in a good way and one is destined to get screwed in a bad way. Not sure that balances things out, but it’s a productive conversation that usually doesn’t happen between teenagers.


Their conversation is a lot more productive than the one Idie has with God in the cathedral. Not to piss off One Million Moms even more, but this is a conversation that any non-mutant minority could easily have with God and win. She says she was taught that God looks at mutants the same way John Goodman looks at a plate of kale. She basically tells God that this is divine horse shit. There’s no “mysterious ways” crap. It’s just soft, steaming horse shit that others love to smear on those who are different.

Idie doesn’t go full-fledged Christopher Hitchens on God, but it’s still a very powerful conversation that Marvel usually doesn’t have the balls to make. Idie believed in that Jesus Hates [Insert Minority Here] crap until she became a minority. The fact that she finally decides to speak up is a great moment for her. It might make Glenn Beck cry, but I guess that’s just a nice bonus.


Eventually, Idie tables the rest of her conversation with God and joins the fight against Blob. O5 Iceman and Kid Apocalypse do the same. It’s a somewhat chaotic and disorganized way of getting everyone involved, not to mention slow at times. But in the end, they still clash with Blob on the streets of Paris in a nice, albeit underdeveloped spectacle, courtesy of Mark Bagley’s art. It’s no Juggernaut vs. Hulk. It’s not Juggernaut vs. Squirrel Girl either. But it still has that classic feel of the X-men fighting one of their classic villains.


While this battle is unfolding, we don’t get to see as much of it as is teased. Instead, we catch up with O5 Angel and X-23, who haven’t been doing shit since O5 Angel decided that his balls were too small to fight someone who just fucked up his girlfriend. X-23 being durable and tough as fuck, she recovers. Hell, if Logan can get all the flesh blown off his bones and go back to banging Japanese hookers by the end of the day, then X-23 can certainly survive getting her head crushed. She’s fucking Wolverine now. She shakes that kind of shit off in ways no Taylor Swift song can ever match.

However, this is just too much for O5 Angel’s undersized balls to handle. Despite getting a cosmic upgrade. Despite sleeping with Logan’s daughter and living with all his limbs still attached. He’s still too much of a pussy to stay with X-23. He says he wants to break up. Keep in mind, he’s doing this while Blob is still has a huge rage boner in the streets of Paris. So not only are his balls that small, but his sense of timing is just as bad.

That said, this was a relationship that always felt more forced than a Russian democratic election so I can’t say I’m that broken up about it. I get more emotional when I run out of beer. Not that O5 Angel and X-23 didn’t have its moments, but those moments are too forgettable to get worked up about.


So...is it awesome?

Well in the sense that this team of young, time-and-plague-displaced mutants haven’t had their spirits completely crushed, yeah. I’d say so. I’d also say that this issue tried to juggle more balls than it should’ve, but not to the extent that it came off like a drunk Johnny Knoxville trying to win a bar bet. There were some nice personal moments. O5 Iceman is still struggling to embrace his new gay persona. O5 Cyclops is struggling to make soccer relevant. O5 Angel is struggling with balls that have been busted one time too many. There’s some intrigue, but not on the level that’ll make anyone’s assholes sore.

All-New X-men #5 was all about a classic fight against a classic, albeit B-rated X-men villain in Blob. Sure, it wasn’t the kind of fight that felt as explosive as the Hulk shitting napalm, but it felt like a nice reprieve in the sense that it didn’t involve killer robots. Not only that, they didn’t resort to whining about Cyclops at any point. That alone should give All-New X-men #5 some added appeal. The only ones who will be really disappointed were those deeply vested in the O5 Angel/X-23 relationship. I don’t know how big that fan club ever got, but let’s face facts here. Anyone who breaks up with Wolverine without getting killed should be grateful as fuck. Just ask Mariko Yashida.

Score: 6 out of 10

Friday, February 19, 2016

X-men Supreme Issue 131: Double Threat is LIVE and (Overdue) Pic Update!


There’s a major conflict brewing in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series and it’s about to get even more volatile. While the X-men have faced their share of conflicts throughout this fanfiction series, they’ve never faced anything like the Mutant Liberation Front. They are not like Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. They are not the kind of team that will overthrow a government on an island, direct a killer asteroid towards Earth, or crash a Dazzler concert. The Mutant Liberation Front isn’t as interested in destruction as it is in ensuring their dominance.

The X-men aren’t the only ones standing in the Mutant Liberation’s path to dominance. They’ve made plenty of enemies all over the world, including President Kelly’s constantly-changing inner circle and an increasingly beleaguered General Nathan Grimshaw. They all suffered a crippling defeat in X-men Supreme Issue 127: Terror Sell. The nations of the world, including the Mutant Security Agency, are still recovering from the damage wrought by the Legacy Virus in Dark Legacy. But it’s only a matter of time before the X-men and their allies regroup.

Toad and the Mutant Liberation Front know this. Yes, Toad is still leading this team and he’s leading it well. He’s been a very different character since his transformation after the Cambrian arc. He’s already inspired fierce loyalty among his team, as well as other mutants. But he understands that if he’s going to subdue the X-men, the Mutant Security Agency, and everyone in between, he has to make his move. That’s the next big clash in this fanfiction series.

In order for the Mutant Liberation Front to deliver the finishing blow, they need the willing or unwilling assistance of Madison Jefferies. That’s a name that some particularly hardcore X-men fans should recognize. As a character, he’s a fairly recent creation in the grand scheme of the X-men mythos. He’s also another one of those X-men characters that hasn’t really been fleshed out in the X-men comics. I intend to change that in X-men Supreme.

It all starts with Madison Jefferies. His introduction to this fanfiction series will have some major implications for the coming conflict, as well as conflicts in the future. The X-men are already under pressure to stop the declining state of mutant affairs. They scored a badly needed victory in the Impossible Odds arc, but they need a victory on a much larger scale this time. And they’ll have to achieve it without Professor Charles Xavier. Are they up to the task? We begin to find out today.

X-men Supreme Issue 131: Double Threat

In addition, I finally got around to doing a small update ot the pics section section. I know I've been negating it. The holidays, as well as various side-projects, have kept me from doing so. I'd like to get back on track. And for all you artists out there, please remember that I'm always open for submissions and comissions. Please contact me if you're interested.

Rogue Pics

Jean Pics

Phoenix Pics

As the various conflicts continue to evolve in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, expect me to explore other characters like Madison Jefferies in a major way. Between him and Domino, as well as Rogue’s pending return, there are a lot of shifting tides within X-men Supreme. Constant change is a big part of what makes the X-men mythos so strong, but this can be overdone it at times. I want to avoid that, which is why it’s so important that X-men fans of all types continue to send me feedback. Either post it directly in the issue or contact me directly. I’m always happy to chat X-men, whether it’s this fanfiction series or some other X-men related topic. So either way is fine. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!

Jack

Thursday, February 18, 2016

When Worlds Collide (and Thrive): Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3

The following is my review of Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


There are certain crossovers that make us question the sobriety of the minds behind them. Back in the late 90s, someone thought it would be a good idea to do a crossover with the Power Rangers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Keep in mind, this was during the forgettable Venus de Milo era for the Ninja Turtles. In terms of potential, this one was ill-timed, behind the curve, and utterly untenable in every measurable way.

Fast forward a decade-and-a-half, throw in Megan Fox, a successful cartoon, and a Michael Bay movie, and the situation is very different for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The same can be said for Batman. He rode three Christopher Nolan movies over the course of a decade to a new level respectability, which is saying a lot in the post-Bat Nipples era. That begs the question. Why can’t a crossover between Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles work?

On the surface, it sounds like the kind of question only a kid hopped up on sugar in the mid-90s would ask, but it’s a question that James Tynion IV has been answering in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. After two issues, Tynion IV makes the case that this is one of those crossovers that should be right up there with Wolverine and Captain America, Batman and Superman, or Deadpool and strippers.

In Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3, the once-outlandish question finally manifests in a story that captures all the right elements for Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, right down to Michelangelo’s immaturity. These elements aren’t overly complicated, even though they involve universe-hopping, ninja battles, and technobabble ripped from Star Trek. It still works because compared to a typical episode of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, it might as well be a typical Tuesday.

The story takes its time, sometimes to a frustrating degree, to set up the conflict that brings Batman and the turtles together. When the teasing finally ends, the payoff is undeniable. Like a movie trailer that doesn’t spoil the best parts of a movie beforehand, it guides the story into a satisfying convergence.

The greatest strength of this convergence has little to do with the inherent theatrics of Batman teaming up with a team of teenage anthropomorphic turtles. Tynion IV creates heavy stakes for both sides, especially for the turtles. He puts them in a position where they can’t just hang out in the Batcave and drool over Batman’s gadgets. They have to return to their world or they revert back to their pre-mutated form.

The reason for this is more than a little contrived, even by the weighted standards of early-90s cartoons, but it accomplishes an important task. It creates a sense of urgency and dramatic weight, which are often among the first casualties in an atypical crossover. Too often, such a narrative relies heavily on the novelty alone to carry the story. Tynion IV actually tries to build a functional story around it. When that story involves pizza-loving turtle humanoids, this can be a challenge.

The story that culminates in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3, certainly meets that challenge and does so without undermining the personality of each character. Michelangelo is still lovably immature. Donatello is still lovably nerdy. Raphael is still lovably temperamental. Batman is still the dark, brooding ball of angst he’s always been. There’s nothing about these characters that every person born after 1987 will find out of place.

The combination of personality and story help convey the necessary impact as the conflict progresses. At times, it’s presented as the final conflict of the story, but it ends up being a setback that paves the way for a much larger conflict. The unexpected tactics of Shredder, which is saying something for someone who teams up with alien brain creatures, adds a compelling twist to a story built on a premise that most over the age of 12 wouldn't struggle to take seriously.

This twist in the story, along with the high stakes it established, promises more coordination between Batman and the turtles. Companies like Apple make their billions by giving us things we never knew we needed. Tynion IV follows this business model to the letter, creating something that we didn’t know we wanted until it was presented. It might not trigger the same excitement as the next iPhone, but it does generate plenty of intrigue.


That’s not to say there aren’t some shortcomings in the story. There are times when it feels rushed and in many respects, it has to be. There’s only so much time a story can dedicate to two entirely different worlds interacting with one another before it becomes akin to an economics lecture. There isn’t much time and energy put into a more in-depth interaction between Batman’s world and the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That’s entirely understandable, but requires one too many assumptions.

While Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 is not presented as the final showdown for the conflict that unfolds, the action is somewhat muted due to being rushed. However, it never gives the impression that anything is being glossed over or underplayed. There is still plenty of story left and plenty of directions it can take. Between Batman’s resources and Michelangelo’s talent for screwing around, there’s plenty of entertainment value to be had.

It is a remarkable accomplishment, creating a functional crossover between Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe Batman is just more flexible than the Power Rangers, but there’s something to be said about a story that threats the concept as more than a gimmick. In an era where unwritten rules dictate that every gimmick be done to death, it’s refreshing to find one like this that is genuinely enjoyable.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Extraordinary X-men #7: Nuff Said!

A part of me is glad that telepathy doesn’t exist in the real world. If it did, anyone who scanned my mind would be bombarded by the equivalent of porno spam and Super Bowl beer ads. And I’m not entirely convinced that telepathy could make me enjoy getting shit faced and reviewing comics any less. But for the X-men, having to telepathically repair a damaged mind is the equivalent of an oil change and a tire rotation. And wouldn’t you know it? Nightcrawler’s mind is due at the same time the rest of the team is taking a trip to the LSD-inspired expanse that is Weirdworld. Extraordinary X-men #7 promises some pretty exotic locales. I may need something stronger than beer in order to fully appreciate it as I write this review.


The first locale is pretty exotic, but it’s not Weirdworld. It’s Nightcrawler’s mind. He’s got Mystique for a mother, Azazel for a father, and Rogue as an adopted sister. His mind is NOT going to be normal is what I’m saying. Even the Pope would forgive him for having unholy thoughts about Rogue every now and then, but these are not the thoughts O5 Jean and Storm experience.

They enter Nightcrawler’s mind in an effort to get him to shut the fuck up with the apocalyptic ramblings. They can leave that shit to Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck. They arrive in a familiar, Claremont-inspired memory where Nightcrawler is being chased by pitchforks and torches. O5 Jean is even decked out in a new Marvel Girl style uniform. I consider it a downgrade compared to her last uniform, but it’s not like she’s dressed like Power Girl or Starfire. She doesn’t need to give Nightcrawler any more unholy thoughts as they chase him. I’m sure he’s gotten enough of those from Rogue.


Being in Nightcrawler’s mind, the laws of physics are drunk off their ass and probably high too. That means Storm’s powers aren’t as potent as usual. This means O5 Jean, a teenage girl in a goofy costume, has to be the one to lead them through Nightcrawler’s mind to save them. Not saying Nightcrawler should be scared shitless. I’m just saying that putting a teenage girl in the driver’s seat in a life-threatening situation is a gamble at best.


Back in Weirdworld, another exotic locale where teenagers and adults alike are unequipped to deal with the weirdness, the X-men catch up with Sunfire. This is a big fucking deal because apparently, he helped Cyclops in doing whatever horrific crime that’s so horrific nobody can say what the fuck it is. It could’ve made for a very telling moment. Instead, we get only slightly more than jack shit.

There’s no answers here. There’s not much drama either. Magik just whines at him for doing what he did with Cyclops, but this is Magik. I’m sure she has the same reaction with the pizza guy when he’s 10 minutes late. Sunfire just reveals that they were trying to get as many mutant refugees as possible to X-Haven, but they ended up in Weirdworld instead. Why? Well why the fuck does there need to be a valid reason? They’ve already fucked over the mutant race and Cyclops’ character off-panel. I guess they think actual reasons for events in a story fell out of fashion with razor scooters and boy bands.

Instead of reasons, we just get more Weirdworld style attacks. This time, it comes from ghosts. Why? Well, in Weirdworld, reasons are even less necessary so it gets a pass. It only gives Old Man Logan another chance to remind everyone he’s too old for this shit. I say it’s a point worth belaboring.


The laws of physics seemed fucked on both ends. It gets downright disorienting in Nightcrawler’s mind, who decides that the stoner crowd has run out of shiny shit to stare at. So everything turns upside down when they arrive on a pirate ship with Nightcrawer, another nice homage to the Chris Claremont contributions to Nightcrawler’s story. It’s disorienting, but I can say on behalf of stoners it definitely make shit more interesting. If you get motion sickness, you might not agree. But it fits nicely with the overall theme of this issue, namely that real world physics are boring as hell.


The X-men continue fighting the ghosts in Weirdworld and being a demon-loving teenage girl, it’s Magik’s job to take care of this shit. So she tracks down the source, albeit in the most contrived way possible. She finds the evil wizard who is conjuring these ghosts because I guess there always has to be an evil wizard in this shit. Magik and the wizard have a chat and by chat, I mean Magik stabs him. In a series where Wolverine stabs his way out of problems for the same reason most people end up rebooting their computers, it’s not exactly ground-breaking.

There is a slight hint that the new mutant Magik made friends with last issue might need stabbing too, but the scene itself is so inanely unepic that it has little impact. Introduce some random wizard, stab him, and solve the problem. That’s pretty much as dramatic as it gets here. Even stoners can’t find that too interesting.


Inane or not, stabbing the wizard solved the problem. The ghosts are no longer attacking mutants. They’re all safe and sound, at least as much as they can be in Weirdworld. All that tension that was teased surrounding Sunfire and his allegiance with Cyclops? They seemed to have forgotten about that real fucking fast because they don’t even mention it. They just welcome him and the refugees to X-Haven because why actually explore that drama? It’s not like that ever makes a story actually interesting, right? That’s why movies like Titanic and Avatar tanked at the box office, right? Excuse me while I rest my omega level sarcasm.


So that’s one exotic locale they’re done with. In Nightcrawler’s exotic mindscape, Storm and O5 Jean keep following their friends fucked up thoughts. They end up in a more recent, non-Claremont era memory that happened only a week ago. They see Nightcrawler rescuing some young mutants from a couple of thugs dragging them out in the woods. They’re not wearing clown masks so it’s not as creepy as it sounds, but it is every bit as brutal. Nightcrawler manages to save these mutants, but he learns something else that fucks him up and it couldn’t be any worse than finding a sex tape between Mystique and Sabretooth.


It turns out these mutants were being taken to a mass grave. They weren’t being chased out of the city or protested against. They just decided that the Nazis were onto something and decided that mass graves were a viable solution to mutant issues. And seeing this kind of fucked Nightcrawler up, as it would most people.

Now I want to sympathize with Nightcrawler, but this is a guy who has fucking died for crying out loud. He’s died and he’s probably seen more than his share of horrific shit. He hangs out with Wolverine. He’s bound to see more than a few dead bodies. So for this to fuck him up to the point of getting overly biblical feels kind of forced, but not at all unwarranted. It provides at least some of the drama that we never got with Weirdworld.


This seems to be the jolt O5 Jean and Storm need to get out of Nightcrawler’s head. And for whatever reason, revisiting that has made him marginally sane again. There’s not much else other than O5 Jean giving Nightcrawler a hug. That’s not completely unwarranted either. She’s been overly fond of hugs since Brian Michael Bendis’ run began. It still feels forced, as though this somehow resolves all the crazy shit surrounding Nightcrawler’s state and Weirdworld. But it’s not as contrived as it could’ve been.


So...is it awesome?

The drunk in me wants to give a definitive answer. The sober mind in me wants to hold off because the story as a whole feels so incomplete. Usually, I’d let the drunk me kick the sober me’s ass, but I’ll have to call it a push here. There is some heavy drama. There are some heart-warming moments in Extraordinary X-men #7, albeit of the Schindler’s List variety. The art and visuals are very well-done, but there are a lot of missing details here and for once, they don’t just involve people whining about Cyclops.

Between the plot in Weirdworld and the plot in Nightcrawler’s fucked up head, every resolution feels rushed and unrefined. So there were mass graves in Germany? So there’s a wizard in Weirdworld? Like the side-effects to boner pills, these aren’t the kinds of things that should be glossed over. While it never gets too confusing, it never feels all that complete either. Extraordinary X-men #7 has the rest setting. But like Elton John at the Playboy Mansion, it ends up feeling soft.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Overpriced, Chaotic, and Undeniably Entertaining: Deadpool #7

The following is my review of Deadpool #7, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


The comic book industry has come a long ways since the days of Saturday morning cartoons, Richard Donner movies, and campy TV shows starring Adam West. There have been periods of growth, thanks to the tireless efforts of Sam Raimi and Christopher Nolan. There have been periods of darkness, thanks to the more forgettable efforts of Joel Shumacher and Brett Ratner. In the era of billion-dollar blockbusters and post-credits teasers, there have been very few constants. One of them is the irreverent humor of Deadpool.

Spider-Man may grow up, get married, get unmarried, and run his own company. Superman may wear red underwear, marry Lois Lane, have his marriage to Lois Lane undone, and date Wonder Woman. Gwen Stacy might become relevant again, despite being dead since the disco era. Deadpool, however, remains committed to the same deranged, bombastic persona that has given Ryan Reynolds a chance to redeem himself after the Green Lantern movie. It's almost hard to imagine that Deadpool was once labeled a Deathstroke rip-off.

With a movie coming out and a growing to-do list in the comics, Deadpool #7 offers a giant-sized plate of chimichangas to those who have come to appreciate his not-so-unique brand of humor. Like Seth MacFarlane, Deadpool built his career on telling the kinds of jokes that got most kids sent to the principal's office in grade school. That humor might be labeled as immature by those who eat their chimichangas plain and with no guacamole on the side, but Deadpool always found a way to appeal to the inner 8-year-old in all of us.

Deadpool #7 does plenty to cater this appeal while offering plenty of bonus material in the process. Most of that bonus material is somewhat forgettable, but it doesn't take away from the overall entertainment value of the finished product. Deadpool is described by some of his own fellow mercs as "an unfocused, impatient, chaos monkey." In terms of an over-arching narrative, there couldn't be a more appropriate description of Deadpool without including taco meat and spent bullet casings.


There's no way around it. The story that unfolds in Deadpool #7 is chaotic and unfocused. For any other character in any other medium, this would seriously undermine the story. For Deadpool, however, it's entirely appropriate. In fact, it embodies the primary appeal about Deadpool. In the same way Michael Bay movies gratuitously exploit CGI and Megan Fox's sex appeal, Deadpool exploits the chaotic violence around him with an irreverent humor that has undeniable entertainment value.

Nobody is going to mistake the story that unfolds for Watchman or Saga. That said, there is an actual story within the circus-like chaos that is Deadpool's life. His profile is rising in the Marvel universe and not because of anything Ryan Reynolds is doing. He's expanded beyond being a one-man mercenary operation and assembled a team called the Merc for Money. On the surface, they look like cos-players who are the complete antithesis of Ocean's 11, but their colorful, cartoonish presence is entirely fitting for Deadpool.

Despite being the founder, leader, and visionary behind the Mercs for Money, Deadpool spends most of the main story in Deadpool #7 being distracted. It's not the kind of distraction caused by excessive sugar or a lack of Adderall either. Deadpool, like every other character that tried to leech off of Wolverine's popularity, has a fragmented memory. Unlike Wolverine though, Deadpool has a sense of humor about it and that sense of humor creates the bulk of the entertainment value.

Deadpool goes about his reckless and destructive business with a casual bravado that never feels arrogant or egotistical. He'll casually sit back in a car and chat about his issues while the Mercs for Money get into a gun fight with Hydra. He'll stop shooting his machine guns into an army of Hand ninjas in order to ask a few questions, even though he has an axe lodged in his skull. Such an overly casual approach to such violence might not win him any allies at local PTA meetings, but it will make for plenty of entertaining moments.

These moments aren't well-organized, nor should they be in a story that reflects the living chaos that is Deadpool. There are times when they're difficult to follow, even if they are appropriate within the context of a Deadpool story. There is still a cohesive theme in the end that helps tie the chaos together, albeit barely. It helps set up Deadpool's next mission in a way that promises more gratuitous violence. If that's the primary measure by which all Deadpool stories are judged, then this one certainly qualifies.


The main story in Deadpool #7 acts as a testament of sorts to the entertainment value of Deadpool's narrative. As a means of justifying the $9.99 price tag, it also comes with a number of bonus stories that explore stories from other members of the Mercs for Money. Some of these bonus stories are more entertaining than others. Most are fairly forgettable, but they do at least add some extra depth to Deadpool's team.

None of them are as colorfully deranged as Deadpool himself, but that might be for the best. The Marvel universe can barely contain one Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds can only capture the essence of one non-Van Wilder character at a time. These other characters certainly have potential and personality. They just aren't going to inspire the same level of creative cos-playing that Deadpool inspires at every comic con.

Deadpool's story is still the primary selling point in Deadpool #7 and that story checks all the necessary boxes. The forgettable bonus stories don't detract from this selling point in any way, but they aren't going to make anyone feel better about the bloated price. It's still an entertaining Deadpool story, complete with obscene violence and unrepentant immaturity. As the failure of Wolverine Origins definitively proved, we wouldn't have Deadpool any other way.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Superman/Wonder Woman Valentine's Day Special: The Intimacy Pod


Happy Valentine's Day everybody! Or, as single people call it, Happy Loneliness-Reminder Day! Whatever you call it, it's a day where we celebrate everything involving love. Some see it as an excuse to guilt partners into buying them some overpriced gift. Some see it as an opportunity to get an extra blowjob. There are any number of ways to celebrate it. Since I consider myself a romantic at heart (albeit a drunk one) I've decided to join the celebration.

For me, that means posting another one of my sexy side-projects. I've done more than my share, including a few for Superman and Wonder Woman. And since Marvel has effectively pissed all over every established and iconic romance they've ever created, DC has been able to provide much more inspiration in terms of romance. Right now, Superman/Wonder Woman definitely provide the most.

Nuff said!
This particular sexy side-project takes place in conjunction with the Superman/Wonder Woman series. Specifically, it takes place shortly after the first arc involving Zod. It was one of the high points for the relationship. This story just makes it extra passionate and extra sexy in the most blatant, unapologetic way possible. This isn't just polished smut. I tried to emphasize the romantic elements here. So for those of you who actually enjoy Valentine's Day, you should enjoy this.


I have other side-projects in the works. Nothing to announce or tease right now, but assume I've got a dirty yet romantic mind that's still humming along. If anyone has any sexy suggestions, feel free to shoot me a message. I'm always happy to chat. Until then, Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Old Man Logan #2: Nuff Said!

He’s old, his tough, and he can be mean as fuck. No, I’m not talking about Bernie Sanders. I’m talking about Old Man Logan, although I imagine he’d be an awesome spokesman for Sanders’ campaign. The most jaded version of Wolverine who didn’t have to kill Jean Grey is back in the Marvel universe and he’s every bit as awesome as before. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have put him in a Marvel Universe where he has plenty of shit to stab. He got off to a great start with the Butcher. Now, he’s aiming a little higher in Old Man Logan #2 with the motherfucking Hulk. I normally don’t make political endorsements, but if Bernie Sanders exists in the Marvel Universe, then he should make Old Man Logan his running mate right now. His balls alone should sway independents.


Before Old Man Logan can get around to being his graying, gritty self, a little context is needed. Just like the first issue, we get a quick flashback to provide some additional insight into the world Old Man Logan came from. In that world, the Hulk went batshit and that was bad enough. But when he decided to start knocking up women and churning out hulking, green-skinned kids, then the shit got a lot worse. Because what could possibly go wrong with an entire population of hulked out youths in a world completely devoid of heroes?

It’s an important context to consider and one that Jeff Lemire makes sure to reinforce. In this particular flashback, we find one of Hulk’s darling little bastards slaughtering the innocent cow of an innocent farmer because he’s either bored, hungry, horny, or some combination of the three. It effectively conveys that the Hulk created an entire generation of unapologetic assholes. If he were alive, he probably would’ve ripped his own balls off in disgust.


But what does Old Man Logan do while these Hulk degenerates are out slaughtering farm animals and killing innocent ranchers? Well, he can’t do much of anything and not just because he’s a walking mascot for the AARP. In this shitty world, he actually has a family to consider. He has a wife and two kids to protect. He can’t just pick fights, chug a beer, and get into a dick-measuring contest with Cyclops every other day. Being older actually got him to mature somewhat and he actually values his family’s well-being over fighting a hulk. It might not sound badass, but it’s probably the most decent thing he can do in a shitty post-apocalyptic future like this.


The problem is all that restraint and hiding ended up doing jack shit in the end. Eventually, the Hulk gang ran out of cows and innocent ranchers to harass. So they eventually found their way to Old Man Logan’s family. In a world where all the heroes are already dead and he’s a walking arthritis commercial, he couldn’t do jack shit to save his family. While Wolverine has had many painful personal losses over the years, this one still has an impact. And at least this time, he didn’t kill them by accident. He did all the right things while the Hulk fucked him over with his degenerate offspring.

I’m not usually a fan of flashbacks that don’t involve Emma Frost’s time as a stripper, but there is a right way and a wrong way to use them. Lemire did all the right things with this one and then some, providing insight into why Old Man Logan is this willing to pick a fight with the Hulk. Most people will avoid fighting the Hulk the same way they avoid root canal surgery. Old Man Logan is ready to end the not-so-jolly green giant and his reasons for doing so are personal, emotional, and perfectly understandable.


There’s just one problem that might or might not make a difference. Well, there two actually. First, the Hulk in this time period isn’t an asshole yet and hasn’t started fathering asshole children, although it might be on his to-do list. Second, the Hulk in this time period isn’t Bruce Banner. It’s Amadeus Cho, the ultimate Hulk fanboy who doesn’t prioritize fathering asshole children nearly as much.

But does this dissuade Old Man Logan in the slightest? Fuck no. Keep in mind, he still thinks he’s in the past. He’s still bathing in the afterglow of the clusterfuck that was Secret Wars. He has no idea that Amadeus Cho is the new Hulk. That doesn’t make his initial attack any less brutal or bloody. Maybe he can claim senility at his age, but I doubt the Hulk accepts that excuse.


What follows next should bring tears of joy and soaked panties for Wolverine fans. It’s Wolverine versus Hulk. It’s Marvel equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter. Sure, this is an AU version of Wolverine and a new version of Hulk, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still every bit as brutal and visceral as a Wolverine vs. Hulk fight should be. Thanks once again to Andrea Sorrentino’s artwork, the brutality and violence is a sight to behold. It couldn’t be more appropriate without a bottle of Canadian whisky and green jolly ranchers.


The fight isn’t just brutal. We can see that kind of brutality in a WWE event. What gives this battle weight is the personal drama that Old Man Logan has put into it. As he battles the new Hulk, memories of his family still haunt him. It’s an important detail to remember because it gives a certain level of emotional weight to the fight. That kind of weight is difference between an epic brawl and a super-powered pissing contest. The drama surrounding Old Man Logan’s memories help make this fight appropriately epic.

Because it’s so epic, Old Man Logan takes quite a beating while Amadeus Cho remains confused. As far as he’s concerned, this is another clone or time traveler. Unlike Bruce Banner, he has no real history or personal connection with Wolverine. So he’s basically just reacting as we would expect any pissed off Hulk to react. At least he’s more reasonable than Banner once Old Man Logan’s age starts to catch up to him. I guess that means Cho is a lot better about respecting the elderly.


Finally, only after Old Man Logan is too beaten up and battered to keep fighting, Cho explains to him that he’s not Banner. He even offers to help him. This after Old Man Logan greeted him by slashing the tendons in his legs. It’s understandably confusing for Old Man Logan and not just because Cho didn’t use this as an excuse to rip his spine out through his nose. It shows that the shit he remembers isn’t exactly in place. He’s basically running on old instincts, old bitterness, and old assumptions. Some might call it senility. I just call it Old Man Logan doing what he does best…even if it means making an ass of himself sometimes.


Despite Cho’s overly generous offer to help, Old Man Logan runs off. Cho isn’t the one he needs to take down. Now he’s confused and understandably sore from a fight against a Hulk. Hell, most people who fight the Hulk are lucky enough to be in one piece. How lucky is Old Man Logan? He founds out the Hulk punched him all the way into Brooklyn. Not saying there are worse places to be punched, but that’s going to sting a little extra.

While in Brooklyn, he tries to collect himself and rest so his internal organs can get back into place. He ends up finding a place that belongs to another friend of his. Since Old Man Logan isn’t one to send a text or tweet asking if he can stay, he just lets himself in. Because when has an old man sneaking into someone’s house ever caused any problems? Somewhere out there, Wes Craven is rolling his eyes.


That old friend of his eventually does show up, but once again it’s not who he expected. Just as the Hulk now has a new identity in Amadeus Cho. Hawkeye has a new identity and this time he has boobs. Yes, Old Man Logan is about to team up with a female Hawkeye. Excuse me while I get another case of Canadian whiskey and popcorn. This show just keeps getting better. I can’t wait to see how he reacts when he finds out there’s a black Captain America now.


So...is it awesome?

That should be a rhetorical question at this point, but I’ll humor it. A better question would be what did Old Man Logan #2 NOT have to make it anything other than awesome? Personal Wolverine-style drama? Check. Brutal Wolverine-style violence? Check. Dark and gritty art, courtesy of Andrea Sorrentino? Check. Jeff Lemire capturing Old Man Logan’s voice perfectly? Check. Do I really need to go on? Can I please save some of my hard liquor for Valentine’s Day? Because there really isn’t much more that needs to be said.

Old Man Logan, even if he is dense and misguided, is the kind of Wolverine that has soaked the panties of X-men fans for generations. Old Man Logan #2 continues to ruin panties while providing all the right thrills. He’s still learning that this world he woke up in is way more different and way more fucked up than he remembers. And this is a guy who came from a world where gangs of Hulk wannabes rip apart farm animals for fun. I ask again, do I really need to go on?

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Friday, February 12, 2016

X-men Supreme Issue 131: Double Threat PREVIEW!


Today is an exciting day for X-men fans and it’s not even the last in 2016. Today, the Deadpool movie comes out in theaters. The Merc With a Mouth, who has already had his own arc in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, is finally back on the big screen the way he ought to be. This isn’t Barakapool. This is Deadpool and I hope X-men fans everywhere rejoice. It’s not like we’ve got much to rejoice about, given the recent events in the X-men comics.

Given how far out I plan this fanfiction series, it’s not always possible for events in X-men Supreme to coincide with events in the X-men movies. I managed to accomplish this with the Lotus and the Warrior arc, a Wolverine-centered story that came out alongside the last Wolverine movie. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to pull this off with the Deadpool movie. Make no mistake. I still have plans for him in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. However, those plans won’t unfold until later.

While Deadpool won’t be showing up in X-men Supreme to coincide with his movie, there is one character that’s set to show up and it’s a character that Deadpool fans should recognize. In the comics, he’s had more than a few sordid missions with Domino, the X-men’s resident sharpshooter. Some of those missions were more sordid than others, but that didn’t stop Domino from establishing herself. Now, she’s joining the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, albeit under less sordid circumstances.

At the beginning of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation, I sent Rogue on her own mission. The events of the Dark Legacy arc gave her control of her powers again. And she made good use of those powers to say the least, eagerly rekindling her relationship with Gambit. However, she remains absent from the X-men. She’s also avoiding the unresolved conflicts involving Mystique and Nightcrawler. Now, she’s preparing to confront these conflicts again. But to do so, she’s getting help from Domino. And as it just so happens, this mission might just tie into the ongoing conflict between the X-men and the Mutant Liberation Front.

The events of Impossible Odds showed the effects of the Mutant Liberation Front beyond the violence. There’s a lot of tension between mutants and the authorities. Fear and uncertainty rule the day. And this time, Charles Xavier isn’t around to preach reason and compassion. He’s recovering from his drug-induced ailments, leaving his X-men to deal with this conflict on their own. It’s a major test for the X-men. They were able to defeat Mojo Adams. Can they do so with the Mutant Liberation Front? It’s a complex threat that will begin to unfold soon. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of what kind of threat the X-men will be dealing with.

“Come on! Hurry up, you overpriced hunk of junk!” said an anxious middle-aged man hovering over a computer screen.

Madison Jefferies was sweating profusely and it wasn’t because of the muggy Florida weather. He had been looking over his shoulder every five seconds and listening for footsteps all day. Overnight, his life had gone to Hell again. He was in deep trouble and he had to escape.

Madison had been under pressure before. He tried and failed to save his brother after he was wounded in Iraq. Before that, he was forced under threat of torture to help construct illegal weapons for Russian arms dealers. None of that compared to what he was up against now.

Just when it seemed his life had achieved some sense of stability, his status as a mutant came back to haunt him. It wasn’t enough that he was a brilliant engineer in NASA’s top robotics division. The recent attacks by the Mutant Liberation Front put mutants under intense scrutiny, regardless of how law abiding they were. That scrutiny threatened to destroy his life’s work and he refused to let that happen.

‘Ungrateful jerk-offs! I spend five years building the best robots these pin-heads will ever see and this is how they repay me? Someone blindly accuses me of selling tech to the Mutant Liberation Front and suddenly I’m a terrorist by default. I barely even use my powers! I bet it was that asshole I fired for using our data network to download porn. He wants get back at me and all he has to do is lie. Now there’s an arrest warrant on my ass and I have to go on the run…again.’

Madison wiped the sweat off his face as his computer finished purging itself of all relevant data. It was the last in a series of steps he took to submit his impromptu resignation from NASA. He didn’t have much time and every second he wasted lowered his chances of escaping.

Hours ago, he found out his phone had been bugged. He also hacked a few emails from his co-workers and discovered that they had been in touch with the MSA. They were coming to arrest him and were probably waiting for him back at his condo. It didn’t matter that the accusations about the Mutant Liberation Front were all lies. They assumed he was guilty and weren’t taking any chances.

Given his checkered history, Madison wasn’t taking any chances either. As soon as his computer was wiped clean, he turned his attention to a painting he had mounted behind his desk. It wasn’t just for decor. Behind it was a special safe he built into installed the wall. Upon removing the painting, he unlocked the safe by using a special retina scanner and opened the heavy door to reveal his most prized possession.

“Don’t worry, Danger. I won’t let them take you,” he said strongly.

The “Danger” he spoke to wasn’t a person. It was a robotic head that he had been working on for years now. It had an array of bluish circuits that made up a type of skin. It also had special wires going out of the head, which acted as hair. It had the look of a woman’s head. And when Madison held it in his hands, he held it with the utmost care before placing it in his backpack.

“Time to get moving,” he said as he checked his watch, “Unless Mark is working late, I should be home free.”

It was almost nine and most of the building was empty. He stayed in his office the entire day, not seeing anyone or attending any meetings. As far as everyone knew, he was going about his business. He noticed that not too many people bothered him. Perhaps they knew something was about to happen to him. He was pushing his luck by staying. He had to get moving before his luck ran out.

After putting on a hat and sunglasses, Madison Jefferies walked out of his office in the least conspicuous way possible. The halls were empty and partially darkened. He heard some of the custodians cleaning on the other wing of the office. He didn’t want to risk drawing their attention so he made his way towards the west exit.

‘Stay calm, Madison. You escaped Russian arms dealers and pissed off family members. You can escape the feds. You already made the necessary arrangements. You have your passport, money, and alias. Just get to New Orleans. Get on the boat. And prepare for a new life on Genosha.’

Madison walked quickly yet casually through the mostly vacant halls. The only figure he came across was an electrician installing new fluorescent bulbs near the bathroom. He was so immersed in his work that he barely noticed Madison. The anxious mutant didn’t dare make eye-contact before entering the stairwell and making his way down to the parking garage.

Unknown to Madison, the electrician had noticed him. However, the electrician wasn’t exactly an electrician either. It was Logan. While he wasn’t keen on disguises, this was one mission that required a little tact. Looking down from the ladder, he checked to make sure that Madison was out of sight. He also sniffed the air to make sure he had his scent.

“Bout time you made your move, bub,” said Logan under his breath, “I’m sick of playing handyman in this dump.”

Logan stepped down from the ladder and tossed aside his tools. He then opened a nearby utility door. Inside was more than the usual maintenance equipment. There were three men tied up and beaten up from what had been a very lopsided fight. One was the real electrician, who Logan was gentle with. The other two were armed men in dark suits that warranted more force

“So some prick named Henry Peter Gyrich sent you two to jump Madison Jefferies,” said Logan to the men in suits, “Guess that means I’m on that right track. That or you just feel like being assholes to some random mutant.”

“Mmf mhh hmmf!” grunted one of the men.

“I’m not sure what you said, but I’m pretty sure there was a ‘fuck you’ in there. Just for that, I’ll leave this door locked so you guys have some peace and quiet. Should give you plenty of time to work on some manners.”

“Hnn fuuuu!”

Logan ignored their muffled curses, shutting off the light and closing the door. It would probably be a few hours before anyone came by to let them out. It should allow more than enough time for him to catch up with Jefferies.

‘Either Madison Jefferies is cunning as hell or unlucky as hell. Those guys weren’t just here to arrest him. He either has something they want or knows something they wanna know. All I know is Mystique says he’s a big part of Mutant Liberation Front’s next move. And I usually trust the word of a woman I’m sleeping with.’


I hope the X-men Supreme fanfiction series can act as extra frosting on the cake for those who see the Deadpool movie. Between Deadpool and X-men Apocalypse, it’s a big year for the X-men. It might not show in the comics, but I hope to contribute with this fanfiction series. There will be some big moments in X-men Supreme this year. And as always, it’s important I know that I’m making these moments as awesome as they deserve to be. So please take the time to provide feedback for X-men Supreme. Either contact me directly or post your feedback in the individual issues. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to chat X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!

Jack

Thursday, February 11, 2016

All-New Wolverine #5: Nuff Said!

When he was still alive, Logan got around the Marvel universe like a Jenna Jameson at a blowjob convention. Every other week, he teamed up with someone new. He kind of had to. His awesome and badassery helped raise the bar for every hero. That’s just one of the many lofty legacies that X-23 has to live up to now that she’s donned his tacky spandex. She’s already teamed up with Dr. Strange. Now, she’s making her rounds with other characters, just as Logan did. She hasn’t slept with many of them...yet. I’m sure that’s on her to-do list.

For now, X-23’s immediate concern is saving her clone sisters with the help of Wasp. Dr. Strange couldn’t do dick other than let her know that magic isn’t going to do jack shit for her. She needs to get scientific with saving her sisters and that’s just what she does in All-New Wolverine #4. I doubt she’ll have time to bang Wasp. If Wasp had red hair, they might squeeze it in. For now, X-23 will settle for making a decent clone story and it’s not every day I can say that with a straight face.


Wasp sure doesn’t have a straight face when she finds X-23 trying to steal Ant Man’s suit. She’s even less thrilled to find out that Dr. Strange used his magic to basically let X-23 and her clone sisters into her lab. I know magic doesn’t have a lot of rules and the Marvel universe has enough teleporters to start its own uber rip-off, but barging in without permission is still a dick move.

Dick move or not, X-23 still needs Ant Man’s tech. There’s a bunch of nano-robots inside one of her sisters, Zelda to be specific, and she’s not going to wait around for modern medicine to come up with some overpriced cure that an insurance company will probably price-gouge. She wants to shrink down to the size of a cell and beat the shit out of these robots one-by-one. It’s the most potent and badass kind of medicine that doesn’t involve a bottle of Jack Daniels.


While I’m sure this procedure would never get the approval of the AMA, there are others who are just as interested in stopping this shit even before Big Pharma lobbyists get involved. Throughout this clone story that hasn’t sucked, there has been a much less sexier version of Patrick Stewart pulling the strings. He’s the one behind X-23’s clones and he’s only now realizing what a big fucking mistake that was. He already hired Taskmaster to take them out and failed miserably. So he’s giving his people one last chance to finish the job before he resorts to calling Spider-man for advice.


Wasp, having calmed down from her burning desire to strangle Dr. Strange, agrees to help X-23. She lends her Ant Man’s suit and they shrink down Magic School Bus style to enter Gabby’s bloodstream. It’s not as gross or as sexy as it sounds, being inside a teenage girl’s body. The visuals are stunning and wonderfully detailed while never feeling like a biology lesson. And once they find their first nano-robot, X-23 does what she does bests and starts stabbing shit. No matter what the scale, she kicks ass and it’s a sight to behold.


The treatment is working. That’s great news for Zelda and for Big Pharma. Why create chemical cocktails of drugs that make us shit ourselves when you can just inject a pissed off micro-sized Wolverine into your bloodstream? I bet you could even take it with alcohol. The only ones not thrilled about this are the assholes trying to rid the world of yet more clones. This is normally a respectable endeavor, but in this case it’s a dick move on any scale.


The battle inside Zelda rages and despite the microscopic scale, it’s as epic as any battle involving Wolverine and killer robots can be. This is great news for Zelda’s health and shitty news for assholes who don’t like being stabbed. She actually wakes up to greet her sisters. It’s a nice moment in that they actually act like sisters rather than clones. I want to say it shows that Marvel has learned their lessons when it comes to clones, but I don’t want to jinx it.


Everything seems to be looking up for X-23’s clone sisters. At the rate they’re going, they’ll be one big happy clone family soon enough. I’m sure TLC and A&E are already on the phones negotiating rights for a reality show. Unfortunately, those same people that are overdue for a stabbing finally catch up with them and they manage to shoot Zelda, who is already sick mind you.

Now I’m still not a fan of clones. I still see them as the Rob Schneider of comic book characters. But when someone who is very sick gets shot just as they’re recovering, that’s several steps beyond a dick move. Throw in an explosion and we’re entering uncharted territory. It’s dangerous because it’s actually making me feel sorry for clones. That alone says a lot about what Tom Taylor has accomplished here.


The shot and the explosion effectively fucks up X-23 and Wasp’s rescue efforts inside Zelda. They start feeling the turbulence that often comes with an explosion at any scale. Then, Captain Mooney, the guy tasked with sending these clones to join the Ben Rileys of the Marvel Universe, enters the scene to finish the job. If ever a dick move took human form, it would be this guy. Zelda’s sisters naturally try to defend her and there isn’t enough stabbing they can do to rectify this situation. That doesn’t mean seeing Captain Mooney getting his nose broken isn’t satisfying. I’m just saying it’s way less than he deserves.


He’s able to fight off Zelda’s sisters. Then, because he’s just that determined to be the biggest douche-bag not campaigning for Donald Trump, he shoots Zelda. Keep in mind, she’s already sick. He might as well have kicked a sick puppy. The fact that this man’s limbs remain intact is an affront to all things decent.

X-23 seems to agree with this and manages to escape and enlarge just in time to attack Captain Mooney. She wounds him while Wasp puts him in a world of pain, but it’s still way less than he deserves. If the strength of every villain is the extent to which he goes out of his way to be hated, then this guy is pretty fucking strong. X-23 could carve out one of his kidneys, shove it up his ass, make him piss it out of his urethra and it still wouldn’t be enough. A guy has to be a hell of a dick for me to start rooting for clones and this Captain Mooney just raised the bar.


But if you can stop fantasizing about all the ways Mephisto will be torturing Captain Mooney, you can also appreciate the last moment Zelda shares with X-23 and her sisters. At this point, her wounds are fatal. Anyone with X-23’s blood in their veins is going to be tough by default. But when the punishment involves bullets, explosions, and killer robots in the bloodstream, even she has her limits.

It still makes for a solemn and dramatic moment. The death of a clone is often viewed with the same dramatic weight as an overdue library book. Tom Taylor made sure this one felt meaningful. It strikes X-23 and her sisters on a deeply personal level. The weight of that impact is beautifully proportional to the scope and scale of the story. X-23 may have whiney boyfriend in O5 Angel, but nobody can say she doesn’t have a heart.


While the weight of the drama is appropriate, it doesn’t last. It really can’t because X-23 has two more sisters who probably have killer robots in their blood as well. And they also have Captain Mooney captive, who may or may not have information about the asshole who thinks putting killer robots in teenage girls is a good idea. Whatever the case, they have someone they can take their grief out on. I’d say Odin have mercy on Captain Mooney, but he’s way past the point of deserving it.


So...is it awesome?

It has X-23 kicking ass on a macro and micro scale, proving once again that size really doesn’t matter outside gay porn. All-New Wolverine #5 continues the story in a meaningful, dramatic way. What happens at the end with Zelda ensures it has the kind of impact that’s somewhere between a joyful sob and a good blowjob. Wolverine’s story has always been filled with heavy drama about losing loved ones. X-23 is continuing that tradition in all the right ways. I honestly didn’t think I could ever give a sliver of a fuck about a clone after the Clone Saga. This issue proved I still have some fucks left to give. X-23 has already proven she’s worthy of being Wolverine. Now, she’s just finding ways to overachieve.

Final Score: 9 out of 10