Friday, June 30, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 153: Revolting Youth is LIVE!

These are exciting times for X-men fans and not just for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. The X-men comics are in the midst of an overdue revamp, one that is not built on an extinction and/or sterilization plot for once. As a lifelong X-men fan who has been pretty disappointed with the direction of the X-men comics in recent years, that counts as quite an upgrade. The timing is also ironic, if not fitting, because it’s happening at a time when there are deep divisions within X-men Supreme. Not since the near-extinction they faced in the Dark Legacy arc has Charles Xavier’s dream been so fragile.

While this fanfiction series can’t always complement what’s going on in the X-men comics, I can still make a concerted effort to make the events in X-men Supreme feel relevant. In addition to Marvel’s ongoing initiatives in the comics, the X-men have been making a lot of noise in the movie business. There’s another Deadpool movie in the works and a movie centered on Jean Grey and the Phoenix Saga. These are all exciting developments for X-men fans and I intend to maximize their impact in X-men Supreme.

One of the other movie projects that’s brewing for the X-men is New Mutants. That movie promises to explore other areas of the X-men mythos. I’ve already done that in this fanfiction series to some extent, although I don’t call them the New Mutants. I call them X-Factor. They made their debut in X-men Supreme Issue 104: School Daze. The team includes the likes of Hellion, Sunspot, Cannonball, Surge, Wolfsbane, and Mirage. They’re all a bunch of inexperienced mutant teenagers, attending a mutant school run by former X-men, Emma Frost. Like their comic counterparts, their story is built around more youthful tales. Unlike the main X-men, they lack the experience to deal with the Magnetos and Sinisters of the world.

In X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, the won’t have the luxury of waiting on the sidelines, hoping to gain their experience with lower stakes. After the events of Volatility Sensibility, tensions are escalating among mutants. Charles Xavier’s X-men and Cyclops’ X-Force endured their first clash and it did not go well for either side. Another clash is already in the works and this time, it’s going to happen within X-Factor’s ranks.

It’s another chance for a team of young, hopeful mutants to prove their worth in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Their ranks have already been bolstered with the arrival of Shadowcat and Iceman, who reluctantly joined the Academy of Tomorrow after the events of X-men Supreme Issue 148: New Divide. While they have more experience, they’ve never dealt with a conflict like this. They know as well as everyone else that the X-men and X-Force are divided. They know that Charles Xavier’s dream is at risk. What happens in this issue will show that the risk is even bigger than they thought.

X-men Supreme Issue 153: Revolting Youth

Everyone in X-men Supreme is going to have to step up their game. With the division between X-men and X-Force, expect new sides of familiar characters to emerge. Those kinds of divisions brought out the best and worst of the X-men in the X-men comics. I’ve tried to be careful with that process in this fanfiction series, but it’s a necessary process for X-men Supreme as a whole. That’s why I’m so intent on doing it right.

As such, it’s vital that I continue to get feedback so that I know how right or wrong my efforts have been. These are dark times for the world of X-men Supreme. There are a lot of difficult situations for many characters. I imagine I’ve upset more than a few fans with some of the decisions I’ve made, but I urge those fans to hang in there because there is a larger plan in place. I also urge those fans to tell me what they think so I can keep making X-men Supreme awesome. Either post your comments directly in the issue or contact me directly. Either way is fine. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

From Rebirth To Resolve: Wonder Woman #25

The following is my review of Wonder Woman #25, which was posted on

By every measure, Wonder Woman is having a great year. For the first time in her history, it's not unreasonable to say that hers is the brightest star in the DC trinity. Superman and Batman can have their epic battles and bitter disputes, but only Wonder Woman can say she raised her profile while maintaining the heart that makes her so endearing. She's conquered both the box office and the critics on Rotten Tomatoes, something that Batman and Superman's epic clash cannot claim.

Wonder Woman's star is burning so brightly at the moment that it's easy to forget that part of that flame has been regularly stoked by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp in her comics. After the events of DC Rebirth, Wonder Woman goes through a sobering process of sorts. The world she thought she knew is shrouded with lies that she didn't know were plaguing her. The life she thought she had lived has gaping holes in it that she cannot ignore. For a woman used to extracting truth with her lasso and her charm, that's an unfamiliar feelings.

Like many other DC Rebirth titles, the narrative in Wonder Woman is crafted in a way that builds and escalates. At times, it tends to drag. On top of that, Rucka and Sharp explore some of the gaps that emerged while the DC universe underwent its messy rebirthing process. They end up having to retell, reshape, and update Wonder Woman's story, often while trying to tell a parallel story in the present. It's easy to lose track of the story, but it can make for a uniquely satisfying payoff.

Wonder Woman #25 marks the end of Rucka's run on the series. It also marks the epilogue of sorts of all the various plots within Wonder Woman's rebirth-induced history. It's no easy feat, revamping and retelling Wonder Woman's entire history in just 25 issues while a major Hollywood movie is making headlines in the background. Rucka rises to the challenge, providing a capstone of sorts to a journey that balances the hardened warrior, the loving spirit, and the feminine ideal that she embodies.

It's an important balancing act for Wonder Woman. Throughout her history, multiple writers approach her from various angles. For some, she's only that hardened warrior. For others, she's only that loving spirit and feminine ideal. As iconic a character she is, the stories about her tend to segment her character. All too often, only parts of her personality are explored. Rucka dares to use every one of them in Wonder Woman #25 and in many ways, it completes her rebirth process.

The story itself is built around the aftermath of a lengthy arc that jumps between time periods, exploring Wonder Woman's initial arrival into man's world and her latest clash with a couple menacing gods. Along the way, she faces an identity crisis that makes a rebirth all too necessary. She faces a painful, soul-crushing revelation. For someone who's used to getting the truth out of everyone with ease, that's an accomplishment, even for gods.

Entire chunks of Wonder Woman's life are called into question. Her faith in the gods, her heritage, and herself become subject to major doubt. At the same time, she's still trying to help her friends and still be a full-time member of the Justice League. It's stressful, to say the least. It sends the message that if someone like Wonder Woman can crack under the strain at times, then what hope does anyone have?

That hope doesn't stay lost for long, though. Early on, Rucka shows that Wonder Woman can still be Wonder Woman in the midst of so much upheaval. She can arrive on the scene with the Justice League, fight giant monsters, and hardly break a sweat in taking it down. The hardened warrior aspect of her character is rightly preserved. However, that's not the sole focus of the story or Wonder Woman's journey over the course of the past 25 issues. It's never more than a secondary focus because Wonder Woman embodies more than just a fighting spirit.

Much more of Wonder Woman #25 focuses on her heart, which is heavy and wounded. She spent a great deal of her recent journey trying to save Dr. Barbara Minerva from the clutches of Cheetah, but circumstances beyond her control make that impossible. That's pretty heart-wrenching because when something is impossible for Wonder Woman, who regularly deals with gods, monsters, and Batman, that makes clear that some things are just beyond anyone's control.

She still makes an effort to help her former friend. She also makes a desperate plea for help from the last person who would want to help her. Even with all her love and heart, it isn't enough. It shows in the way she fights. Even her fellow friends on the Justice League sense it. When she finally gets around to confronting it, she has to essentially accept what she can't control. The truth may hurt, but that doesn't make it any less important. There are people who go their entire lives avoiding that. Wonder Woman confronts it, even when she's angry and wounded. Given her immortal heritage, that's quite an accomplishment.

Rucka goes heavy on the symbolism, giving Wonder Woman a love/hate relationship with her magic lasso at a time when the truth can hurt even an immortal warrior woman. Sharp's colorful artwork keeps the tone of the story from getting too bleak or dire. In the end, her willingness to take back her lasso and accept the harsh truth for what it is highlights the end of a journey that Wonder Woman needed to take. It's a journey that strengthens every part of her character, as well as those around her.

As fitting an end as Wonder Woman #25 is to that journey, it does gloss over a few issues and rushes a few others. There's never a clear resolution with Cheetah and Wonder Woman's acceptance of the truth feels somewhat rushed. The fact she only needs a pep talk before taking back her lasso feels somewhat unremarkable, if not contrived. There are a lot of arguments she could've and probably should've had with the gods that deceived her. However, those conversations are essentially shrugged off in favor of some sexy time with Steve Trevor. On some levels, though, that's a fair trade-off.

Overall, Rucka's run on Wonder Woman is a remarkable accomplishment. At a time when Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and Patty Jenkins are elevating Wonder Woman's star to new heights, her DC: Rebirth journey finds a way to make that star burn a little brighter. Wonder Woman is tough, compassionate, loving, loyal, and beautiful on every level. It's not something that most people need to be reminded of, but some reminders are still worth having.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Familiar and Weaponized Narrative: Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1

The following is my review of Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1, which was posted on

There are some ideas that are just so wrought with failure that the mere act of entertaining them again is akin to giving Deadpool an unlimited supply of napalm. It's one thing to revamp and reconsider a failed idea. Sometimes, ideas are just too ahead of their time or not properly managed. Others, however, are akin to fixing a cracked windshield with a sledgehammer.

When it comes to ideas that fail in the most spectacularly destructive ways possible, the Weapon X program and the gamma experiments that made the Incredible Hulk are basically co-champions. These are experiments with simple, albeit devious goals. One seeks to create the ultimate living weapon. The other seeks to create an unstoppable monster that can be controlled and directed like a bomb that never stops going off.

They are weapons that anyone, be they the Avengers or Hydra, wouldn't mind having in their arsenal. When it comes to developing them, however, there sheer breadth of the failures are so staggering that even the most deranged James Bond villain wouldn't dare attempt them again. Even with the combined efforts of the Scarlet Witch and every good luck charm that ever existed, the odds just aren't in anyone's favor.

That's why the premise for Weapons of Mutant Destruction is akin to waiting for a demolition derby where every car is armed with a machine gun and a rocket launcher. Weapon X and all things gamma related have done enough damage to the Marvel universe to buy Hulkbuster armor for every man, woman, and child. Greg Pak and Mahmud Asrar believe there's still plenty of entertainment value in that level of destruction. Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1 shows that even if that value is there, making it compelling is a challenge that even heavy doses of gamma can't help.

The foundation of the story is built on ongoing stories unfolding in two of Pak's other books, Weapon X and Totally Awesome Hulk. From a structural standpoint, the transition is seamless. A narrative that begins in Weapon X #1 starts to culminate in Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1. The key, with respect to the actual substance of the story, is that the culmination only starts. It just doesn't go very far. It's akin to a drag racer that makes a lot of noise, but stalls just as the race commences.

That's not to say the ingredients are there. Pak makes it a point to give the conflict in Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1 larger implications that go beyond his own books. Mutant-killing living weapons, as overdone as they may be, still pose an existential threat to the rest of the X-men. The use of gamma power poses a similar threat to anyone still affiliated with the Hulk. Every character involved has a purpose and a clear motivation in the story. Nobody ever gets involved in a living weapons program for fun. Even Deadpool isn't that deranged.

As the story unfolds, though, there's a sense that it's trying to avoid the familiar tropes associated with conflicts built around living weapons. There's a lot of exposition, not all of which is necessary. There are some mystery elements, which are organic extensions of the events unfolding in Weapon X. However, the very fact they involve living weapons somewhat limits the mystery.

The obscenely poor and exceedingly violent track record of living weapons programs in Marvel Comics doesn't hint at any major twist. In an era where Skrull agents and Hydra agents are overused, twists like that are limited in terms of impact. There's never a sense that Weapons of Mutant Destruction is going to break new ground. It has mutant-killing cyborgs and gamma-powered monsters. For both the X-men and the Hulk, these kinds of stories are aren't exactly as rare as adamantium.

Even though the story has many familiar elements, Pak does manage to mix in some unique details along the way. Teaming Amadeus Cho up with the likes of Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, and Lady Deathstrike adds some much-needed novelty to the story. Unlike Bruce Banner, Cho is less experienced with smashing mutant-killing machines. At the very least, though, Pak gives him plenty of incentive to learn quickly and not hesitate.

At one point, Cho is a little disturbed at the brutality of living weapons programs. Considering how Lady Deathstrike and Old Man Logan barely bat an eye, that's pretty revealing in terms of how common these stories are and how inexperienced Cho still is as the Hulk. From his perspective, fighting mutant killing machines isn't something he does every other Monday like the X-men. His role creates some new dynamics that help make the story feel fresh to a limited extent.

That extent still isn't enough to make Weapons of Mutant Destruction more than the latest in a long line of living weapons programs that need to be smashed and/or stabbed with adamantium claws. The story's reliance on exposition, as well as its slow pace, isn't going to make anyone hulk out. With the way the events plays out, the story acts more as a teaser rather than a culmination. That kind of structure works when a story is breaking new ground. It doesn't work quite as well when it's relying on the kind of living weapons tropes that have played out any number of ways since the disco era.

The concept of Weapons of Mutant Destruction is still sound. The story is, by no means, bereft of value. By most measures, Pak's handling of the story is competent and concise. The characters are spot on and the plot never gets too convoluted. Asrar's artwork complements these efforts as well, creating the kinds of dark, sinister undertones that are to be expected with any story involving living weapons or anyone who has ever had to deal with Lady Deathstrike and Sabretooth.

There's something to be said about a story that's so familiar that nothing short of clowns and Cosmic Cubes can make it feel novel. The concept of living weapons in the Marvel Universe is still one that will make anyone who has ever had to clean up blood stains roll their eyes. It can still make for a fun story though. Like a cold beer for Wolverine, it's a familiar and comforting experience. There will always be a place for stories like that in Marvel.

Final Score: 5 out of 10

X-men Supreme Issue 153: Youth Revolt PREVIEW!

The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is entering a tenuous period. The first few issues of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided have established a very different, very divided status quo for Charles Xavier, the X-men, and their new competition, X-Force. Led by Cyclops and Wolverine, X-Force opposes the Mutant Monitoring Initiative that Charles Xavier crafted with President Kelly and General Grimshaw. They believe that this initiative means Xavier has compromised his dream and X-Force is trying to preserve that dream. Xavier is just as convinced that the Mutant Monitoring Initiative will benefit humans and mutants alike.

It’s a tough situation, one that has already tested both the X-men and X-Force. The first major arc of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, Volatility Sensibility, had both teams clash over a mutant struggling with a potent combination of bad luck and volatile powers. It’s the kind of conflict the X-men have dealt with throughout this fanfiction series and with much fewer complications. From Rogue’s arrival in X-men Supreme Issue 6: Rogue Recruit to Kitty Pryde’s recruitment in X-men Supreme Issue 16: Pryde and Prejudice, these kinds of conflicts are supposed to be easy for the X-men.

That’s not the case anymore, though. The simple act of helping a troubled mutant has become a lot more complicated. Charles Xavier understands this more than most. Cyclops, Wolverine, and the rest of X-Force understand it as well. They just see vastly different implications for the future of humans and mutants alike. In the grand scheme of things, Volatility Sensibility was a minor conflict involving one unlucky mutant, Nitro. Given how much the X-men and X-Force struggled with that issue, it doesn’t bode well for the larger conflicts that lay ahead. Some of those conflicts are already unfolding and within familiar places.

At the end of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation, the X-men underwent a major shift in their team lineup. Two of the X-men’s youngest members, Iceman and Shadowcat, left the team to join Emma Frost’s Academy of Tomorrow. They made their debut in this fanfiction series back in X-men Supreme Issue 104: School Daze and were supposed to represent a simpler form of heroics, the kind the X-men used to practice during their earliest days. After the Mutant Monitoring Initiative, though, their purpose has changed. The Academy of Tomorrow has become a dumping ground for troubled mutants, much to the dismay of its founder, Emma Frost.

While Emma is fighting the changes to her school with X-Force, the rest of her students are about to take matters into their own hands. As the X-men and X-Force struggle to adopt to the changes imposed by the Mutant Monitoring Imitative, another conflict is emerging within the walls of the Academy. Being veteran X-men, Iceman and Shadowcat are about to don their uniforms again. What they and their younger cohorts in X-Factor uncover will have major implications for X-men Supreme moving forward. Some of the danger will be familiar to X-men fans. Some will be very different. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of just how different/familiar those implications will be.

“Can’t escape like this. I won’t outrun a mosquito, let alone the MSA,” he groaned.

Beak panted heavily, hoping that the discomfort would pass. As it lingered, time was ticking by. For all he knew, Sunfire had informed Emma Frost and Dr. Nemesis. They in turn would inform the MSA. He couldn’t afford to be caught. The only way he stood a chance was if he took another outrageous risk. Looking at the vials of Kick in his suitcase, he could think of only one option.

“Fuck it! Watered down or not, I need a boost,” said the ailing mutant.

With shaky hands, Beak retrieved one of the vials. Through labored breaths, he reached for a syringe that he kept under his bed. Without checking the needle or cleaning it, he drew a full dose. He was prepared to inject it, but he hesitated for a moment.

He remembered what this stuff did to him against Rockslide. He originally took a dose just to make sure it was real. It gave him the strength to lay out a mutant that was bigger, stronger, and tougher than he was. He would need that kind of strength to escape.

“Here goes nothing,” Beak groaned.

He was about to stick the needle in his arm when he heard an ominous snikt behind his door. The next thing he knew, his bedroom door was sliced open and kicked in. It started him so much that he nearly dropped the needle. As he clutched it firmly, he turned to see a very unnerving sight outside his bedroom.

“See how much time we save when we skip knocking?” growled X-23 as she entered the room.

“Point taken. I’ll save it for bathrooms and Emma Frost’s office only,” said Hellion as he followed her.

“I think we got the message across,” said Iceman, his body now covered in an ice shell, “Barnell Bohusk, we need to talk.”

“By talk he means drop the needle be smart,” said Shadowcat, who wore a new variation of her X-men uniform.

In an instant, the Beak’s discomfort was overshadowed by dread. His outburst on the softball field wasn’t exactly subtle. In a school with two former X-men, this made him a target in more ways than he expected.

There was nothing subtle about this intrusion. The team arrived in full force. X-23 led Hellion, Iceman, Magma, Shadowcat, and Colossus right to Beak’s room. Along the way, they linked up with Sunspot, Cannonball, Surge, Mirage, and Metldown. They were all in their old X-Factor uniforms, including their masks. If this was as volatile as they were led to believe, then they were going to confront it as a team. Such a strong show of force put Beak in an even more desperate position.

“Don’t let the costumes fool you, Beak. We’re not here to fight,” said Cannonball as he emerged from behind.

“Listen to him,” urged Iceman, “You’ll save us all a world of trouble.”

“Trust me, you want that,” said X-23 in a threatening tone, “I can already smell what’s in that syringe! It’s Mutant Growth Hormone, isn’t it?”

“How…how do you know about that?” demanded Beak.

“That’s for me to know and you to forget,” she barked, “Now do your limbs a favor and drop the damn needle!”

Her commands were harsh, more so than X-Factor would have liked. Iceman, Shadowcat, and Colossus couldn’t help but cringe. It was exactly the kind of provocation they didn’t need.

“It’s just like working with Wolverine again,” commented Colossus.

“Oye, this won’t end well,” groaned Shadowcat.

“Ten bucks says he doesn’t give up the needle,” said Meltdown.

“No deal. I can see where this is going,” said Sunspot.

X-23 wasn’t about to wait for an answer and Beak wasn’t given much time to consider it. As she clenched her fists in anticipation, Beak closed his eyes and jammed the needle into his arm, injecting the drug in the process. As soon as the reddish fluid entered his system, it had an immediate affect.

“Oh no you don’t!” growled X-23 as she lunged for Beak.

“No Laura! Don’t!” exclaimed Hellion.

There was no stopping her. The former living weapon followed her battle-hardened instincts, lunging towards Beak in an all-out attack. She had every intention of subduing him regardless of the wounds it would incur. However, she wasn’t the only one acting on instinct.

Just as X-23’s claws were within inches of Beak, he got up and revealed that the extra dose of Kick had a more profound effect. He made this effect painfully appearance as he took a deep breath and let out an ear-splitting screech that was coupled with a concussive wave of force.

“GO AWWWWAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!” he roared through the sonic assault.

“Arrgghhh!” X-23 cried out as she was blown back by the force.

“My ears!” exclaimed Surge.

“That’s a new trick,” groaned Mirage.

“Just like old times indeed,” groaned Iceman.

The powerful noise was incapacitated X-Factor. They were all forced to cover their ears and fall back. In addition, they had to get out of the way of the concussive blast. Beak’s roar was so loud that it blew a ten-foot hole in the wall, breaking lights and shattering his own desk in the process.

Hellion tried to divert some of the shrapnel with telekinesis while catching X-23. This didn’t prevent some from incurring some light wounds in addition to the assault on their ears. It was an impressive show of force from a mutant who wasn’t known for it.

“Damn! That’s more like it,” said Beak upon halting his assault, “No way that shit was watered down.”

“What? Is he saying something?” exclaimed Cannonball, still rubbing his ears.

“I think he just told us to piss off, but I’m not sure,” said Shadowcat, whose ears were bleeding.

Shadowcat, Iceman, and Colossus struggled to reorient themselves along with the rest of X-Factor. Their ears were reeling, but they didn’t need to hear in order to understand what was going on. They could see what was happening with Beak.

In addition to a new skill, the drug he just injected was giving him a new appearance. The veins in his neck and arms weren’t just throbbing. They were growing. His muscle mass increased three-fold, going from a somewhat scrawny teenager to a heavily muscled young man. In addition to his muscles his skin changed in a profound way, forming a thick layer gray feathers. This layer of feathers extending to his face, making it so he looked like a perfect half-man/half-bird.

The once obscure mutant was seething with a new rush of energy. This change in his body and his powers quickly filled him with a new mentality. He was no longer the feeble freak that his parents threw away. He was his own creature and nobody was going to push him around any more. With X-Factor still dazed, he secured the remaining doses of Kick and closed his suitcase.

“I didn’t want to make a scene, but I’m glad you guys made it necessary,” Beak taunted, “You have no idea how hard it was to get this shit.”

“Whatever you’re planning, I’m pretty sure it’s a mistake,” said Iceman.

“Says you!” scoffed Beak, “This stupid initiative gives you guys plenty to look forward to. But for guys like me, I got nothing! I don’t give a damn if it is breaking the law. I’m making my own law from here on out!”

As I develop the story around a divided X-men, there will be numerous plots and conflicts to manage. This may very well be the most complicated this fanfiction series has ever become. I knew in the early days, going back to X-men Supreme Volume 2: War Powers, that the stories I had planned would add complications. I’ve tried to minimize them so that X-men Supreme doesn’t become as bloated as the X-men comics. It has been difficult and X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided marks my biggest challenge to date.

As such, it’s vital that I continue to get more feedback from readers. I need to know whether I’m managing this challenge well or screwing up completely. Whether you’re a die-hard X-men fan or just a casual observer, I want to hear from you. This site has been subject to an annoying amount of spammers lately. I’d like to hear from actual readers so I don’t have to sift through so much crap. Either contact me directly or post your comments directly in the issue. I’ll try to find a way to filter out the spam. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


Friday, June 16, 2017

The Red Queen Chronicles: Phoenix Part 3 is LIVE!

It's the beginning of summer. It's hotter than Emma Frost's panties as a diamond exchange. It's the time of sun, beaches, and bikinis. In other words, it's the perfect time of year for my sexy side-projects.

Since the unexpected success I got with "Spider-Man and the Prostitute," I've had plenty of projects to keep me busy. I've since expanded that world with "The New Red Queen" and the various spin-offs I've done from that. With someone as sexy as Mary Jane Watson running the show at the Hellfire Club, of all places, the potential for sexiness is virtually unlimited. There are so many sexy ideas to explore and I'm about to cap off another.

In the latest round of the Red Queen Chronicles, I've had Mary Jane and Emma Frost recruit Cyclops and Jean Grey to their ranks. So far, the process has been a bit messy, but sexy as hell for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who read the first two chapters. The final chapter should help cap things off in the most fitting, sexy way possible. Whether you're a Cyclops/Jean fan or just fans of sexy stuff like this, you'll find plenty to enjoy.

Again, I appreciate the strong response I've gotten with this and all my recent Red Queen stories. The more support I get, the more motivation I have to keep this sexy series going. I will announce right now that I do have another spin-off in the works. After that, though, nothing is set in stone. It depends on the response I get to this story and the next one. If there's still sufficient demand, I'll keep at it. Like I said, the potential for sexiness when it comes to Mary Jane Watson is unlimited. Nuff said!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

United, Divided, and Spited: Secret Empire United #1

The following is my review of Secret Empire United #1, which was posted on

Every tyrannical regime in history usually learns the hard way that governing people is hard. People are erratic, petty, melodramatic, greedy, and every other quality associated with Lex Luthor. United them under a common state, guiding them down what tyrannical leaders think is in their best interests, tends to morph into a prolonged test of unending frustration. In a world populated by mutants, Inhumans, and teenagers that build suits of armor from trash cans, even Captain America is prone to such frustration.

Secret Empire pulls back the proverbial curtain, revealing a conspiracy wrapped in an agenda sparked by a retcon. The biggest secret not related to Tony Stark's biological parents comes out. Captain America has been a secret Hydra agent the whole time and puts himself in a position to take over. He does so with an efficiency that would give hippies and tobacco lobbyists alike nightmares. Short of a grassy knoll, it has everything conspiracy theory enthusiasts could ever want.

However, taking over the world is actually the easy part. The fact it takes Hydra so long and requires a Cosmic Cube says a lot about their efficiency as an organization. It also doesn't bode well for their ability to actually manage what they conquer. The pages of Secret Empire are already setting the stage for a clash to overthrow Hydra's new favorite patriot. Secret Empire United #1 opens a new front in that battle, one that's sure to complicate Hydra's efforts.

Jim Zub and Ario Anindito go out of their way to create some real-world parallels, giving the new Hydra-dominated nation a bitter border dispute. Given the sheer breadth of Hydra's power and influence, there aren't many nations that could actually threaten it. However, a nation full of mutants run by both X-men and their former enemies definitely would give any nation pause, Hydra or otherwise.

New Tian is presented as Hydra's solution for managing a sizable population of super-powered mutants. It's a small, semi-sovereign state where mutants and mutants live in limited harmony. It's actually very limited because the catalyst for the story is basically a script in racially bias police, albeit the opposite of what mutants are used to. It's both fitting and relevant. It highlights issues that are plucked right from the news and hashtag movements. While it's sure to spark divisive political debates, complete with outrage on both sides, it establishes and important dynamic for the issue.

Given how fascist states usually deal with minorities, it's surprisingly pragmatic. The Hydra-affiliated Steve Rogers understands that going to war with mutants rarely works out for anyone. It often ends with heroes fighting heroes and at some point, cosmic forces get involved and Tony Stark will try to shoot it with an oversized gun. That's not good for the stability of any nation, fascist or otherwise.

It's not a perfect solution, but it creates the perfect setup for a story that effectively doubles down on the conspiracy dynamics that guide the narrative in Secret Empire. It's a gamble, but it pays off in a big, satisfying way in terms of actual substance. It's a story that involves secrets, real-world issues, a prison break, and a fight that includes Deadpool. By the ever-changing standards of Marvel, it checks more boxes than most.

At the heart of that story are secrets and agendas. Captain America wants his Hydra-led empire to succeed and he prefers to do it without going to war with mutants. Mutants also want to improve their lot in the world. They've lived most of their non-Hydra lives in constant fear of Sentinel attacks, racial bigotry, and living weapons programs. Under Hydra, they have a chance to live in a state where they're the majority and they get preferential treatment by the cops. Even if it means living in a world dominated by Hydra, it still counts as an upgrade to them.

However, they're still a minority that shares a border with a Hydra-run nation. If the history of the real and fictional world has shown anybody anything, it's that minorities and fascist regimes don't get along. It creates bitter disputes, fosters even greater racism, and even sparks full-blown world wars. As everyone learned in Avengers vs. X-men, a war with mutants has no real winners in the long run.

That backdrop in Secret Empire United #1 helps make the events that play out feel real and dramatic. It's not just that there are parallels to draw between the story and the news that plays out every day on social media. It's easier to relate to the high emotions involve. Seeing characters like Sunfire decry a fascist state or listening to Hydra's leadership rail on strengthening the border carries more dramatic weight.

There are so many other cases of one group of super-powered people whining about another. In fact, that makes up the vast majority of Marvel's major conflicts. Secret Empire United #1 stands out by providing a real, relevant context to the situation. While it may inspire more political whining on social media, it makes for a much more compelling story and in an era where almost anything can spark political whining, that's a fair price to pay.

A story that fosters that kind of dramatic weight is strong enough on concept alone. However, Zub and Anindito really overachieve by crafting a concise, action-packed narrative, complete with a satisfying twist at the end. It's not the kind of twist that involves Cosmic Cubes or deals with Mephisto either. It's just a resolution that feels so perfectly appropriate, given the context of the situation and the over-arching themes of Secret Empire.

By nearly every measure, Secret Empire United #1 exceeds the expectations usually associated with tie-in issues. It's not simply a shameless plug for a larger story that creates one too many holes. It tells the kind of story that offers just the right kind of impact for a specific kind of story. It's essentially a targeted narrative, one that hits its mark in all the right ways. That, in the grand scheme of things, is still worth inspiring more angry political rants.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Friday, June 9, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 152: Volatility Sensibility Part 2 is LIVE!

There’s a difference between the right decision and the prudent decision. That’s something the X-men deal with all the time in the comics, movies, and cartoons. The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is no different. Whether they’re caught in the middle of a war with the Shi’ar or trying to save the lost city of Nova Roma, the X-men have had to made more than a few hard decisions. In every occasion, their guiding principles came from Charles Xavier’s dream of peace and understanding. Now, in the evolving conflicts of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, those principles have become obscured.

It’s a critical and tenuous moment for this fanfiction series. The X-men are divided, but the world still needs them to make these hard decisions. Charles Xavier is trying to pursue a different dream with the Mutant Monitoring Initiative. Cyclops and X-Force are trying to preserve what remains of Xavier’s old dream. They cannot and will not compromise their principles. Now, in the events of Volatility Sensibility, they won’t have a choice.

X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided is in the midst of its first arc. It’s also the first major conflict since the X-men split in the events of X-men Supreme Issue 148: New Divide. A young mutant named Nitro find himself at ground zero of a potentially explosive situation, both literally and figuratively. A combination of bad luck and poor decisions on his part have made him a target of both the Mutant Monitoring Initiative and a group of petty criminals to which he is indebted. It’s up to the X-men and X-Force to try and resolve this situation before it literally blows up in their face.

In previous volumes of X-men Supreme, the decision would be relatively easy. Helping distressed mutants is what the X-men do. Whether it’s someone struggling with their powers, like Rogue did when hers first manifested, or helping a mutant like Gambit, who found himself in a tricky situation back home, the X-men make it a point to protect mutants. Under the Mutant Monitoring Initiative, complete with the constant scrutiny of President Kelly and General Grimshaw, it’s not so easy anymore. Helping Nitro might also mean turning him over to the government or sending him to prison. That puts the X-men in a tough position while giving X-Force an opportunity to intervene.

Who is right and who is wrong in this instance? Will Xavier’s new methods win out? Will Cyclops and X-Force prove him wrong? It’s the first major test for the X-men and X-Force in X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided, but it will certainly not be the last. It is, however, as explosive as it gets. Whether they want to save Nitro or the innocent people he may hurt with his powers, they’ll have to make those hard decisions soon. What they do and don’t do will set the tone for the future of this fanfiction series. Make no mistake. Volatility Sensibility will have significant implications and it starts with this issue.

X-men Supreme Issue 152: Volatility Sensibility Part 2

There’s plenty more to come with X-men Supreme. This first arc of X-men Supreme Volume 7: United and Divided is meant to set the tone for the kind of conflict you’ll see between the X-men and X-Force. Now, I’ve followed the X-men comics as closely as most other X-men fans and I know that divided X-men has become somewhat taboo in recent years. I hope to go at it from a different perspective here in X-men Supreme.

As such, it’s very important that I continue to get feedback from readers on this fanfiction series. I especially want to hear from those fans who were as disappointed as I was with how the whole schism issue was handled with the X-men comics. I want to handle it better here in X-men Supreme and I need feedback to ensure I’m succeeding. Either post your comment directly in the issue or contact me directly. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to chat X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Real (And Relevant) Coolness: Iceman #1

The following is my review of Iceman #1, which was posted on

No character ever becomes iconic without doing something to set themselves apart. For years, going all the way back to the Lee/Kirby era of Uncanny X-men, Iceman never gets that chance. Despite being a member of the iconic Original Five X-men, he never gets his own Phoenix Saga. He never undergoes a transformation like Angel or Beast. He never even goes through the twisted melodrama of marrying a clone or have a time-displaced child. In a sense, Iceman is like a capable backup quarterback on a team of pro bowl players. He can hold his own. He just never gets a chance to show his skill.

That all changed after the events of All-New X-men #40. In what is, without a doubt, the biggest upheaval in Iceman's 50-plus year history, Jean reveals that he's gay. Now, there's a lot that can be said about how his outing was handled. Jean's somewhat callous approach to the situation, as well as the circumstances in which it occurred, are somewhat troubling. There's also the issue of Iceman's past entanglements with women. Some of them even count as serious. One of them, namely Mystique, almost got him killed.

However, that only makes the reveal more powerful because it reflects the real-life conflicts that many homosexuals deal with. Sometimes, they spend decades of their lives pretending to be something their not. Adding this on top of the underlying themes of the X-men, which is somewhat analogous to LGBT issues, it puts Iceman's story in a whole new context. It does more than set him apart from the rest of the Original Five X-men, who've already done plenty to distinguish themselves. It puts Iceman in a position to forge a unique path, one that few characters of his status have ever attempted.

Iceman #1 isn't entirely structured around Bobby Drake's homosexuality or how he deals with it. It's not built around him just going on solo adventures either. He's not Wolverine, Iron Man, or even Squirrel Girl. His path has the potential to be both unique and revealing. Sina Grace doesn't try to fit Bobby into another Phoenix Saga, a Dark Angel Saga, or any kind of saga. More than anything else, Grace tries to focus on Bobby's very human struggles while still giving him a chance to be Iceman.

In setting up the story, Grace establishes a distinct difference between Iceman and his time-displaced counterpart. Whether due to recklessness or immaturity, the teenage Iceman does a much better job of accepting his sexuality. He even has a male love interest that he's been exploring in other X-men comics. Ironically, the older, adult Iceman is behind the curve of his teenage self. He's admitted that he's gay, but he hasn't done anything with it yet. He's still more focused on being Iceman rather than Bobby Drake.

Iceman #1 puts him in a position where he has to be both. He doesn't face a cosmic entity or a killer robot. Instead, he faces a very real, very relevant issue with his parents. Unlike the rest of the X-men, they don't know that he's gay. His mother even asks about whether or not he has any girlfriends. It establishes that while Iceman may be out as a gay character, he's not quite out with the world at large.

It's the kind of situation that real homosexuals with real families deal with, not knowing how to talk to their parents about their sexuality. Bobby's parents make it even harder because they're not necessarily proud of his mutant status either. They give the impression that they'd much rather see him holding down a steady job as a garbage man rather than regularly saving the planet from Apocalypse. It's not so much that they have unreasonable standards as much as it is they want a "normal" son.

It's a concept that resonates with both mutants and the LGBT community, the idea of being so not normal that it undermines friends, family, and everything in between. In Bobby's case, he's got a double dose of non-normalcy. He's a minority within a minority, a homosexual man and a mutant. That means he can expect double the hate from every racist bigot, of which there are plenty in both the real world and the Marvel universe.

Fittingly enough, the main conflict in Iceman #1 isn't a killer robot or invading aliens. It's a wannabe Purifier, who are basically Marvel's that anti-mutant version of the KKK. While they don't make their position on homosexuality known, it's hard to imagine that would make them any less hostile to someone like Bobby.

It gives Bobby a chance to be a hero and, strangely enough, that's the most normal thing he does. When he's fighting a rogue Purfier, he's the same Iceman that people have known and loved since the Kennedy Administration. It's only when he has to be Bobby Drake that he faces an insurmountable conflict, of sorts. His parents don't accept him. The world, as a whole, doesn't accept him. Even other mutants seem more "normal" by comparison.

It's a powerful message that makes for a story that feels real and relevant. That's the greatest strength of Iceman #1. Grace tells a story that real people can relate to and Alessandro Vitti's artwork makes it visually appealing. Anyone who is LGBT, an outcast, or just not "normal" in a classic sort of way will find something to appreciate.

While the story may feel real, it also lacks the kind of dramatic impact or emotional upheaval that so many other major X-men characters have enjoyed in their 50-year plus history. That may be too much to hope for in one issue of a solo series for a character who hasn't had one before, but while the plot feels real and relevant, the substance is somewhat lacking. It's a competent, cohesive story that delivers a powerful message. It just doesn't go much further than that.

What gives this series promise, though, is the way Grace and Vitti frame Bobby's story at this point in his history. He's a minority within a minority, still trying to be a hero while trying to find his place. Being a hero is the easy part for him. Trying to find his place is a far greater challenge, one that he's very uncertain about. It's easy to be certain when there are killer robots to smash and evil mutant racists to fight. It's much harder to live a distinctly non-normal life that still feels normal. For mutants and LGBT individuals alike, it's an important story to tell.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Friday, June 2, 2017

X-men Supreme Issue 152: Volatility Sensibility Part 2 PREVIEW!

Image result for Charles Xavier

In the world of X-men Supreme, it doesn’t take much to turn a difficult situation into a crisis. It happened with Impossible. It happened with Prison Break. It happened with Proactive Regression. These situations weren’t like Overlord or the Phoenix Saga, two events that started off as crises from the beginning. They started small and devolved quickly, eventually becoming pivotal turning points for this fanfiction series. In their current divided state, the X-men are vulnerable to a crisis in any situation.

The events that culminated at the end of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation are still reverberating for many. Charles Xavier is still working tirelessly to make the Mutant Monitoring Initiative work. He has the strong, yet tepid support of General Grimshaw and President Kelly. He’s even managed to forge some significant progress, as shown in X-men Supreme Issue 149: Law Abiding Bind. This new form of X-men has done plenty of good, but they’ve done that good without having to deal with a difficult situation. That all changed in the first issue of Volatility Sensibility.

The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is about to give Charles Xavier and his new brand X-men a familiar challenge with a different set of complications. Dealing with a mutant who’s struggling with volatile powers is nothing new. The X-men have handled situations like this on my occasions, going back to Rogue’s initial recruitment in X-men Supreme Issue 6: Rogue Recruit and Jean Grey’s encounter with the Phoenix Force in the Phoenix Saga. In each case, the X-men were able to deal overcome the challenge. Now, they have to do so under the intense scrutiny of General Grimshaw and Captain Freeman.

The X-men have always prided themselves on being heroes, working within the system and sometimes outside it when necessary. Part of Xavier’s dream was to show that mutants could work together to help each other and mankind. More importantly, they could do this without a government sanctioning or supporting them. Now, they don’t have the option of working outside a system. They have to play by whatever rules that General Grimshaw and President Kelly prescribe. Can those rules work? Can they save lives when they can’t be the heroes they’ve always been?

Charles Xavier is willing to take that chance. Cyclops and his renegade brand of X-men, which he calls X-Force, is not. Whoever ends up being vindicated will likely shape the course for mutants moving forward in this fanfiction series. At the center of it all is a young mutant with a bad streak of luck named Nitro. He not only finds himself being born with mutant powers that literally make him a walking time bomb. He’s also a target of some very bad people that he managed to piss off, even before he found out he was a mutant.

Nitro’s fate is very much the fate of the X-men and X-Force. His fate will act as a major catalyst for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series moving forward. However it plays out, there will be consequences. There will be challenges. There’s more than Charles Xavier’s dream on the line now. It’s a volatile time for the X-men at every level and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of the next issue of Volatility Sensibility and all the chaos that's just starting to unfold.

“Will you quit driving like a pussy and step on it already?” shouted one of Boss’s body guards, “That light show behind us is getting too flashy for my tastes.”

“I’m going as fast as I can,” replied the driver, “This van wasn’t built for shitty back roads.”

“Forget about damaging the rims. Just gun it already!”

“Both of you, pipe down!” said Boss firmly, “Bickering will not make us go any faster.”

The two body guards and the driver fell silent, fearing Boss’s wrath almost as much as the explosion. He earned his title by taking big chances. Having a walking bomb on their side would have been a potent weapon and a lucrative resource. It was too bad Nitro had to be so stubborn with them. However, Boss was not deterred.

The mood inside the van remained tense as they neared the front gates of the mine. The light behind them continued growing, but from the looks of it they were going to outrun it. As the van picked up speed, Boss was already contemplating ways to make this work for them.

“This was risky venture for all of us. It turned out to be riskier than expected, but the potential is still there,” mused Boss, “We missed out today. Our friend, Nitro, is clearly going through some growing pains.”

“Those pains may turn our boys back there to bird chow,” commented his body guard.

“Well it’s their own fault for not being efficient enough. They should have handled Nitro more carefully. They don’t understand that he’s an immature child. Like any immature child, he’ll grow out of it. Then we’ll be able to make another offer.”

“You think he’ll change his mind?” asked his second body guard.

“I doubt it, but I’m sure we’ll find a way to convince him,” said Boss wryly, “He’s a mutant and mutants are the future, my friends. It’s an untapped market that’s ripe for the picking. I plan on getting in at the ground floor. Once the dust settles from this incident, we’ll be ready to…”

Suddenly, the van was brought to a screeching halt. Boss was thrown from his seat in mid-sentence and so were his body guards. It was like they just ran into steel column.

“Ungh! What the hell just happened?” barked one of the body guards, now rubbing his head.

“Uh…we just hit something, Boss,” said the driver in a daze.

“Then drive over it already!”

“That’s…going to be a problem,” he replied, his voice filled with dread.

From the front seat, the driver was staring at an obstacle that was not going to let him through. That obstacle was Warpath. Just as the van was about to reach the main entrance, the Native American mutant jumped out in front of them and dug his feet into the ground.

The van had no chance when it hit him. Now he had his hands firmly dug into the hood. If that show of strength wasn’t intimidating enough, the anger in his eyes only added to the driver’s fear.

“Your boys just shot my girlfriend. So I’m taking my anger out on you!” barked Warpath as he rocked the van with his strength.

“Ahhhhhh! What the hell are you talking about?” the driver exclaimed.

“I think he means to say we’re making our escape on foot!” said the Boss from the back.

Despite the shaking, Boss only had minor injuries and was able to open the side door. One of his body guards had a concussion and was in no condition to follow. Since the glowing light in the distance was getting worse, he was in no condition to aid him. So as soon as Boss was out of the van, he prepared to run.

“We’re really going to try and outrun this thing?” exclaimed the other body guard that wasn’t concussed.

“Unless you want to take that chance, you’re welcome to keep up!” said Boss.

With his eyes set on the main entrance, Boss took his first step. It ended up being his last because another obstacle literally fell from the sky in the form of large metal shards. They struck within mere inches of his feet. They were sharp as well, cutting his oversized trench coat in the process. It was enough to make him fall back towards the van.

“Oh no you don’t, Don Corleone! You’re going to stick around for the show and the after party,” said the menacing voice of Angel from above.

“By after party, he means your arrest or the cleanup of what’s left of you.” said Warpath, still gripping the van.

“More mutants…figures,” groaned Boss, “Surely ,we can be reasonable about this?”

“Save your reasons. Unless I need to remind you that these wings aren’t made of feathers,” said Angel.

The winged mutant flexed his techno-organic wings, forming dozens of sharp tips and arching them so that they were pointed right at Boss. He got the message and slowly inched back towards his van. His body guards stayed put, not testing Angel’s patience. Angel made sure they didn’t try and take the cowards way out. He kept his wings pointed at them, ensuring they would be here to face the consequences of what they instigated.

With each thug secure, Warpath smashed through the front of the van to take out the engine. It further stifled their escape while giving him a means to vent his anger. Moments ago, Emma Frost gave them a telepathic update on what was happening with Nitro. It wasn’t pretty. He was poised to explode again thanks to Boss’s thugs. The X-men showed up as well and Storm had been shot. It left him with plenty of reasons to be enraged in addition to facing another massive explosion.

“I’ll let Cyclops know we’ve secured our wannbe Godfathers,” said Angel.

“Any idea if he plans on preventing this mine from becoming a crater?” asked Warpth.

“He’ll figure something out. He always does,” assured Angel.

“If by chance he doesn’t, at least let me break some bones with these guys,” said the Native American, cracking his knuckles as he stared down Boss, “They deserve a little discomfort just for what they did to Storm. Never mind the whole putting an entire town at risk.”

“I can appreciate your feelings for assholes like this, but we’re not here to break bones. We have a mission and it hasn’t blown up in our faces yet.”

“But it’s about to,” quipped Warpath, “Mission or no mission, somebody back there better do something. This kid blowing up is gonna suck for both X-Force and the X-men!”

I still find it somewhat ironic how things in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series are so divided while the X-men comics are going in the opposite direction. At the moment, the X-men comics are returning to a more familiar state. Divisions, rivalries, and schisms are ending. The X-men, as fans have known them, are taking shape once more. Meanwhile, the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is throwing all sorts of divisions and complications into the mix. It’s a tough situation, one that I didn’t plan, but am trying to flesh out none-the-less.

I get that a lot of X-men fans are tired of the divisions, extinctions, and time travel plots. Granted, this fanfiction series has yet to use time travel or alternate universes to further a plot and I don’t plan to. I’m still plenty determined to make sure that X-men Supreme is as awesome as it can possibly be. That’s why it’s so important that people continue to provide feedback. Either post your comments directly in the issue or contact me directly. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to chat X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Timely Traditions: Cable #1

The following is my review of Cable #1, which was posted on

When it comes to time travel, there aren't many superheroes these days that can do it without making fans roll their eyes. As a concept, time travel is overdone, burned out, and utterly devoid of shock value. The days of "Back To The Future" and the lovable eccentricities of Doc Brown are long gone. Stories that involve time travel are about as inane as a stories that involve Superman telling kids to eat their vegetables.

However, there is still one character who can build their story around time travel and make it work. It's not Doc Brown either. It's Cable. He's part Terminator, part Marty McFly, and part Rocky Balboa. He's also friends with Deadpool and willingly works with him on a regular basis. That alone is a testament to his grit and determination.

With a major role in the next Deadpool movie, as well as the star power of Josh Brolin, the time traveling mutant has a lot going for him. With Cable #1, another title in Marvel's ongoing RessurXion effort, James Robinson and Carlos Pacheco try to put Cable on the same wave that Deadpool rode to a wave of popularity. He may never inspire as many Funko figures or cos-play costumes, but he still has so many factors going for him.

The story in Cable #1 takes the core of his character and runs with it. There's no elaborate exposition. There's no major build-up to the plot. It just puts Cable in the middle of a time travel plot and lets him do his thing. Anyone who knows anything about Cable won't be too surprised. They won't be disappointed either. There's time travel, there's big guns, and there's large-scale violence both on and off-panel. By every measure, this is a typical Tuesday for Cable.

In terms of getting back to the core of a particular character, Cable #1 checks the necessary boxes. It doesn't check every box, but it checks the ones that are most important to the core of Cable's character. Robinson doesn't try to reinvent Cable or twist his story in some elaborate way. He sticks to the basics of time travel and big guns, which are the meat and potatoes of every great Cable story.

In terms of the contents of that story, it itself doesn't try to be too iconic. It has Cable doing some time-hopping to find someone who has been sharing futuristic weapons with people and time periods that haven't even mastered indoor plumbing. Anyone who deals with Marvel's twisted timeline is right to be concerned about that sort of thing. Given the absence of the Fantastic Four and the ineptitude of those such as Hank McCoy, Cable is the only one qualified to handle this issue. The substance is there. It's only the portion size that's lacking.

The core concept is there in Cable #1. There's someone screwing with the timeline by giving high-tech guns and swords to cowboys and samurai. That makes for plenty of gun-fights and gratuitous violence, as only Cable can inspire, but there's little context to the story. There's no real clue as to who Cable is after. The only detail revealed is that they think giving people who still see bathing as a luxury is a good idea. Beyond that, there's little else to go on.

That doesn't make Cable's battles any less entertaining. Compared to the plots of a typical Terminator movie, Cable #1 is refreshingly straightforward. There's just too little drama and too little setup to intrigue those who aren't already fans of Cable's time-hopping narratives. Robinson doesn't try to push the envelope and that's understandable. At a time when many other X-men characters are returning to their roots in wake of Inhumans vs. X-men, his efforts in Cable #1 fit the larger narrative. It just doesn't try to push it any further.

For those who don't know much about Cable or his convoluted backstory, complete with clones and techno-organic viruses, they won't see anything too overwhelming. They won't see anything too shocking either. They'll just see a character that specializes in traveling through time, shooting big guns, and getting into big fights. That alone has plenty of entertainment value. However, in a world that still has Deadpool and multiple Wolverine knock-offs, that only goes so far.

There aren't many details of the story in Cable #1 that are clear from the beginning or even the end, for that matter. That's not to say the story is messy or convoluted, though. It is the beginning of a larger story. The ending teases a much larger conflict at hand, one that will require more time travel and more big guns.

That has plenty of appeal to long-time Cable fans, but new readers won't find anything that they can't find in other comics that deal with big guns and gratuitous violence. Given the number of characters that rely on big guns and gratuitous violence, Cable #1 doesn't do much to set itself apart. However, there is still something to be said about a story that can involve cowboys and samurais in the same story.

In the end, the greatest success of Cable #1 is how sticks to the basics and doesn't complicate the narrative. In any story that involves time travel, that in and of itself is an accomplishment. Robinson maintains the core of Cable's character and Pacheco's art ensures that it's visually appealing. The story has the necessary foundation on which to build upon Cable's story. There's nothing in that story that precludes a narrative that becomes an iconic moment in his history. It's a long way towards achieving that level of quality, but it's on the right path.

With a promising future in Deadpool 2, courtesy of Josh Brolin, Cable is one of those characters whose profile is on the rise. Cable #1 puts him at the front of the batting order and shows off the potential of what he can bring to the table. With big guns, a bad attitude, and a blatant disregard for time paradoxes, he has all the tools he needs to be a major player for the X-men. At a time when Hugh Jackman has retired and Deadpool is the new adamantium standard, the timing couldn't be better.

Final Score: 6 out of 10