Sunday, April 28, 2013

C2E2: X-men Panel Announcements - Wolverine and Battle of the Atom

I liken Marvel and DC as being the only two massage parlors in town. They both offer the possibility of happy endings, but it's very rare that they actually deliver. But because there's no other game in town and there's no other way to get that elusive happy ending, we keep coming back in hopes that our overly generous tips will one day get us what we want. And more often than not, we're disappointed.

Now to be fair, DC Comics has been much more willing to get dirty and work the shaft with their events compared to Marvel. They actually have had a number of events that end on some happy note. It's usually not so nice that it would make it into a Mr. Rogers rerun, but at the very least you won't have to up the dosage of your Prozac prescription. For Marvel, they must have a fuckton of stock in pharmaceutical companies because most of their events end with someone being killed, screwed over, and a little of both. Events like House of M, Civil War, Fear Itself, and Avengers vs. X-men all have one thing in common. Someone usually has to die and/or get screwed over for it to be a true Marvel ending.

For a jaded drunk like me, that's no big deal. But after a while, shit gets old. Marvel has been essentially copying and pasting a lot of old tactics lately, from time travel to big media-hyped deaths. Yet they somehow call themselves the House of Ideas. I think that's grounds for Webster's Dictionary to sue, but I'm not a lawyer so I'll only assume someone is sending a few judges a steady stream of blow and hookers. And yet guys like me keep coming back for more because as shitty as these events are at times, there are some pretty awesome gems in between like Schism, All New X-men, Uncanny X-men, and Uncanny X-Force. It may not give your dick all the attention it wants, but it's worth it.

That brings us to Marvel's latest batch of announcements at C2E2 this past weekend. It has been teased for a while that Marvel will be doing something to celebrate the X-men's 50th anniversary. I had planned to hire a few strippers, a midget, and some guys I met at a gay bar for a house party in Miami complete with pools of booze and cocaine. But Marvel has their own plans and here's what they announced, courtesy of CBR:

Marvel Director of Communications Arune Singh led the roundtable talk with "X-Men" writer Brian Wood, "Wolverine" writer Paul Cornell, Editors Jordan White and Tom Brevoort, "Wolverine & The X-Men" artist Ramon Perez, "Venom" artist Declan Shalvey, colorist Jordie Bellaire and "Uncanny Avengers" writer Rick Remender.

The panel started talking about "Uncanny Avengers" upcoming arc focusing on "Four Deaths" in the form of resurrected characters like Banshee, Sentry, Grim Reaper and Daken. The Apocalypse twins born of Archangel and Pestilance who were raised in the future by Kang raise the four for their own purposes. "What the Apocalypse twins have done is create the Four Horsemen of Death...this sounds like I'm sitting in my house playing D&D by myself," he joked. "Each one of them have context with our cast. You're going to see a big Sentry/Thor knockdown fight."

White teased incoming strife in "All-New X-Men" as Mystique and Lady Mastermind work behind the scenes to build a group against the time-dispalced original X-Men. Meanwhile in "Uncanny X-Men," young Warren Worthington has joined Cyclops' team, but the real question moving forward is can Magneto be trusted with the team?

"Wolverine & The X-Men" will flash to the future in May's issue #29. Perez announced that he'll be leaving the book after the issue. "I got to draw the school about 50 years in the future with a million and one characters," he said. "Wolverine looks kind of cool with a get to see what kids make it and what kids don't make it in the future. It is an alternate future, though," he said leaving the story possibilities open. The artist said he'll probably stick with the X-Men line in his future work before he and White noted that issue #29 will see a character defect to the Hellfire Club.

As for Wood's "X-Men," the writer said, "Who's tired of waiting for this book?" to applause. He then announced that a seventh, as of yet unseen cast member on the book will join the book on the very last page of issue #1.

The panel then announced that for September's 50th Anniversary of the franchise, Marvel will publish a new crossover event called "X-Men: Battle of The Atom" which has been put together by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron and Brian Wood as all of their books will play a part in the ten-part story. It will launch with a "Battle of the Aton" #1 issue drawn by Frank Cho before running in "Uncanny X-Men" #12-13, "All-New X-Men" #16-17, "Wolverine & The X-Men" #36-37, "X-Men" # 5-6 and then wrapping in "X-Men: Battle of The Atom" #2.

The story adds some new players to the Cyclops/Wolverine divide when a group of X-Men from the future land in the present including Kate Pryde, Molly Hayes, Deadpool, Lady Xorn, a futuristically mutated Beast and something called "Ice-Thing" – all designed by Arthur Adams.

The next announcement on the slate was a new story called "Killable" starting in "Wolverine" #7 in August by continuing team of Cornell and Alan Davis. The story will reveal how Wolverine can be killed, and when Sabertooth learns the secret, he gathers a cabal of killers to come after Logan. "It's a dirty, great revenge story with Sabertooth and a number of the great X-Men villains who decide that because of something that's about to happen, Wolverine is about to become killable...leading to a kind of Western-style revenge story," the writer said. "We're leading him to the shadow of the valley of death with Kitty Pryde by his side."

The panel promised that by the end of the story, Wolverine would be fundamentally changed – a story beat Singh said would be all over the national media. There were a number of jokes on the panel about that alongside the idea that fans should shower Cornell with love now as they're going to hate him when "Killable" wraps.

"Deadpool" kicks a new story called "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly" in issue #15 by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Shalvey as new interior artist. The story digs into Deadpool's past where Wade teams with former "Weapon Plus" comrades Captain America and Wolverine. "I'll be honest, I'm a really, really big Wolverine fan," Shalvey said of the gig. "It's a slightly darker story...which really pulled me in." Bellaire added that she hated Deadpool for years after a Deadpool cosplayer was rude to her at a show years before, but working on this book has brought her back around to the character.

The panel then announced that "X-Factor's" September issue will be its last. The move is writer Peter David's choice as he found a natural endpoint of his story. "Right now they're in the middle of the 'Hell On Earth War' arc which really wraps up a lot of the supernatural stories that have been running through the arc," White explained saying that the very final issues will focus on the character relationships in the book including Polaris' relationship with Quicksilver after she accepts that she is, in fact, Magneto's daughter. They then showed a brief video David recorded on the end of the series which has to be seen to get the full effect of the humor, but the writer did say he had another Marvel project in the works.

White then took out his ukulele and led the audience in a "sing along" of the theme from the '90s "X-Men" animated series.

The panel opened up to fan questions, starting with a question as to whether Marvel had any say in how the new "X-Men: Days of Future Past" movie was turning out. Brevoort explained that some higher ups at Marvel were in the loop and could give some notes, but unlike Marvel Studios films, the X-Men franchise is really solely in the control of the team at 20th Century Fox. Similarly, a fan asked after the possibility of more X-Men Legos to which the panel said there may be more sets coming in September.

Wood told a fan that his "X-Men" book would start as a self-contained story and then jump write into the big "Battle of the Atom" event. After that, he'll find a better mix of his own concerns and story beats that play off the events in some of the other X-books.

A fan scoping images online as the panel went asked after another cast member of the "Battle of the Atom" event wondering if Wolverine and Mystique would have a daughter in the future. The question got a "No comment."

Sentry's choice as a Horseman of Death came up, and Remender said the Apocalypse twins have been picking team members based on what they've seen in the future, and what they've seen necessitates certain characters. "We played with Ares as an option, and after going back and forth on it, I went with the Sentry because there was...not untapped potential, but I had some ideas for him," the writer said, adding that it also worked thematically for the idea of a mix of X-Men and Avengers concerns in the book and specifically to lead to the Thor/Sentry rematch. Brevoort said he argued for Ares, but he ceded to Remender's choice in the end.

A fan asked after resurrections of characters might happen in "Battle of the Atom" – particularly Nightcrawler and Jean Grey. The panel took the temperature on the room for either return before declining to comment in any specific fashion.

Wood said that other female characters from the X-Franchise like Pixie could possibly show up in the long term plans for his "X-Men" title, but at the start he wants to get the core cast established strongly.

See those parts I bolded? Well those aren't just the parts that led me to take a few extra shots of tequila. Those are the parts of the announcement that prove my earlier points about Marvel being a shitty massage parlor.

First off, there's time travel. Oh Odin have mercy, there's even more time travel. First we had the Original Five X-men come from the past. Now we've got another team coming in from the future, mostly likely to inform the X-men that they once again fucked up and the world is a dystopian wasteland of killer robots, mutant concentration camps, and Nazi cos-players. Gee, where the fuck have we heard that before? And aren't they making a movie with the same premise? If any of these questions crossed your mind, you need better weed.

Given what's taken place in Age of Ultron right now, Marvel isn't just fucking with the space time continuum. They're drugging Father Time, date raping him, and carving dicks on his face with an ice pick. I know Marvel does a lot of time travel shit, but at some point you gotta give Einstein a chance to stop rolling over in his grave. I'm not saying this event can't be good. Hell, I'll be the first in line to read and review it on my blog with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bottle of lube just in case. But some new ideas wouldn't hurt.

At the very least, it looks like one of the new characters from the future that was teased involves someone that may or may not be proof that Wolverine and Mystique eventually bone again. It's hard to imagine the circumstances where these two would want to get busy in the current set of circumstances, but that doesn't mean I won't be jerking off to it later.

Smut fanfiction writers, you know you want to show how Mystique and Wolverine make this!
Then there's the announcement that will probably kill my boner. It's yet another tease that Marvel is killing yet another big name character. If ever there was a universal trigger to make every comic book fan erupt in a volcano of bitching and moaning, killing a big name character would be it. And who is bigger than fucking Wolverine? The guy has yet another movie coming out after the last one sucked so bad that the word Barakapool is now considered a synonym for comic book movies that suck elephant balls. And now Marvel wants to kill him?

They don't say outright that he's dying, but it does fall perfectly in line with a rumor that Bleeding Cool ran earlier this year that I reported on that said Wolverine would die in 2014. The man is going to lose his healing factor and his worst enemies are going to take advantage of it. How else can this shit end?

We've seen it with Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four, Charles Xavier in Avengers vs. X-men, and Peter Parker in Ultimate Spider-Man. Killing big name characters draws attention and for some reason it gets fans to fork over their money. I've said it time and again on this blog. The only reason Marvel keeps doing shit like this is because it sells. If this shit didn't sell, Marvel would stop and try to figure out another way to get us to give them our hard-earned money. But it hasn't stopped working. We fanboys are like perpetually PMSing teenage girls and Marvel are the ones dishing out the Midol and chocolate. And we keep taking it like the gullible bitches we are. It's not Marvel's fault. It's ours. And until we understand that (and we won't anytime soon), we'll keep getting fed shit like this and we'll keep gobbling it down.

He's gonna die without knowing how Jean Grey's breasts feel. Poor bastard.
So between time travel and major deaths, the future of X-men looks both promising and infuriating. Yet the high quality of books like Uncanny X-men and All New X-men as well as upcoming books like Brian Wood's all-female X-men give me hope that I'll still have plenty of reviews to do on this blog. And unless you're a Nightcrawler fan or a fan of Peter David's X-Factor, you should have plenty to look forward to. But if you're still holding out for a possible happy ending, keep your lube and porno handy. Because I don't think Marvel is going to deliver once again. Nuff said!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wolverine and the X-men #28 - Flat-Footed Semi-Awesome

Sometimes it takes a number of painful lessons to get a point across and more often than not, it takes even more to get those lessons across to hormonal, whiney teenagers. I know I harp on teenagers a lot on this blog, but I’m only speaking from both experience and personal trauma. Reading Wolverine and the X-men and seeing mutant teenagers experience trauma in the form of a trip to the Savage Land doesn’t make me feel a lick of sympathy. It only makes me envy the students of the Jean Grey Institute for at least having something to brag about that didn’t involve banging one of the art teachers.

Despite my envy, I’ve enjoyed Jason Aaron’s efforts at giving the students of the Jean Grey Institute some obscenely harsh life lessons in the Savage Land. Hell, they’ve been a lot harsher than even he planned since his asshole brother, Dog Logan, decided to show up from the future, rough him up, and fuck with his students. If that weren’t enough, a number of high tech poachers have also joined the lesson and have decided to add mutants to their list of things they want stuffed and mounted on their wall. It may have some subtle hippie rhetoric from PETA and the environmental douche-bags that scold you whenever you order a steak, but it’s still plenty entertaining.

Wolverine and the X-men #27 showed Wolverine’s lesson plan for his students going horribly wrong. His students, who are a bunch of inexperienced teenagers who have yet to shit out their excessive hormones, didn’t exactly become Superfriends in their efforts to survive. They didn’t even ask questions when Dog Logan showed up and offered to be a substitute. It’s odd how teenagers will always question authority when it comes to sex, pot, and borrowing the car. But when it comes to creepy bearded guys with serious daddy issues, they just shrug their shoulders and go with it. And that, my friends, should tell you everything you need to know about teenagers.

The lesson continues to unfold in Wolverine and the X-men #28, but not without another quick preface from the past. Throughout this arc, Jason Aaron has sprinkled in a few quick flashbacks to add some context to the overall story. And like sprinkles on an ice cream sunday, they can sweeten the deal. But like piss in your coffee, it can also make it suck (see the first arc of Cable and X-Force). In this instance, thankfully, it’s the former. We see Wolverine musing over how much he wants to protect these kids. Given that he’s been such an unapologetic douche-bag lately whose sole purpose is to find new ways to hate on Cyclops, it’s a welcome shift. He does genuinely care about more than Jean Grey’s pussy and I think that sort of sentiment is long overdue for a guy like him.

But that isn’t the only flashback we get. Like a drunk Doc Brown we skip ahead just a little bit to reveal another little tidbit that also helps improve Wolverine’s douche-factor. In previous issues, you could make the argument that Wolverine was just playing the part of a sadistic gym teacher that got caught screwing the principal’s wife and was stuck teaching gym for the rest of his career. Throwing his students in the middle of the Savage Land without much preparation certainly puts him up there with those same teachers that threw basketballs at your head if he caught you nodding off in the middle of class. But apparently, he had a little meeting with Broo shortly after they arrived to let him know where the X-jet was in case shit got heavy. It’s like a gym teacher keeping some morphine on hand in case he gets too rough. He’s still a douche, but he’s prepared to make up for it, which is more than I can say for half the teachers I ever had.

The only problem is that it still doesn’t address what the hell even happened to Broo a few issues ago. That has been an ongoing problem with this arc since it began. Wolverine and the X-men #25 ended on such a dramatic note with Broo waking up from his coma and Wolverine swapping spit with Storm. Yet we’ve had absolutely no fucking explanation or hint of any juicy pillow talk that transpired after. It been all about teenagers trying to survive attacks by dinosaurs. Granted, that’s probably more entertaining, but fuck if it isn’t a gross oversight. At the very least, this scene shows that Broo hasn’t completely lost his shit.

This information does come in handy because Broo manages to lead Idie to the X-jet by swapping her bible. While I doubt Wolverine expected that he would have to deal with his dipshit long lost brother, Dog Logan, I’m sure he’s glad he had a backup plan. That’s usually the kind of shit that only Cyclops thinks of. It came in handy here because it got Idie to the X-jet. It also ensured that she was there when he clawed his way half-digested out of the stomach of a T-Rex. And no, that’s not a colorful jungle metaphor or a poop joke. Wolverine actually had to do that. Who else aside from him could handle being digested by a T-Rex and clawing his way out? He’s a douche, but he’s still more badass than we mere mortals can ever hope to be.

Back with the other students, they’re basically getting a new lesson now with Dog Logan. But like learning calculus from Paris Hilton, it doesn’t exactly sink in. And like the schools Paris Hilton thinks she went to, it eventually devolves into a bunch of teenagers bitching and moaning. Because of this, they’re not exactly prepared when one of the high tech robot poachers that have been chasing them decides to target them the same way a hungry grizzly targets a wounded dear. So not only is Dog Logan a douche, he’s a really shitty teacher.

But this scene accomplishes something other than showing that Dog Logan doesn’t know how to reach teenagers. It shows that these young mutants are still teenagers at heart. As such they don’t take kindly to authority, they incessantly bicker with one another, and they couldn’t degree which direction was north if they all had a compass glued to their wrist. And some, like Eye Boy, get fed up and decide to lash out at the machines before they attack by becoming badass just long enough to shoot them. But sadly, the rest of the team is too busy bickering to notice. It’s a painfully accurate portrayal of how teenagers are and is sure to give me nightmares of third period English during my junior year tonight.

Dog Logan, having such limited experience in dealing with teenagers, gets exceedingly pissed off that these punk teenagers aren’t listening to him. That only means he’s failing once again to prove his dick is bigger than Wolverine’s. It makes for a nice moment that shows just how big a douche Dog truly is. He’s getting pissed off at a bunch of teenagers for not listening to him. He might as well get pissed off for the sky being blue or for his shit being brown. That or Wolverine actually did a halfway decent job of conditioning these students to have decent bullshit detectors. It may not help them survive in a jungle full of dinosaurs, but it will go a long ways to avoiding assholes whose lessons are best left ignored and/or forgotten. There’s another nightmare about one of my old English teachers in there, but I’ll skip it and just take a bong hit to help avoid further recollections.

Having failed to fuck with his students, Wolverine eventually catches up with Dog. Idie and Broo are with him and he’s understandably pissed. Nobody is allowed to torment his students but him and given the whole sibling rivalry, they have plenty of incentive to beat the everloving shit out of each other. It has all the makings of an epic battle that the rest of the students get to watch. It sure beats the hell out of watching your typical violent TV shows that don’t involve animated coyotes or road runners. But it’s not all that epic in the end. The battle between Cyclops and Wolverine in Schism was a trillion times more awesome in scale. It’s still satisfying to see Dog get his ass kicked, but not as satisfying as you want it to be.

The not-so-epic battle ends in a not-so-epic manner when the guy with the iron mask NOT named Tony Stark catches up with them. He’s stopped taking out his frustrations on the Jean Grey Institute students and decides to focus on the guy who looks like he belongs on a sex offender registry. It took him long enough to do something that made some fucking sense and Dog reacts like a total pussy and once again whines about his daddy issues. Then he uses that special crystal his future self gave him earlier in the arc and disappears.

In terms of not-so-epic resolutions, this is right up there with it all being a dream from having eaten one too many tacos and had one too many shots of tequila. There’s no real resolution here. Dog just runs away and Wolverine treats it like a fucking hangnail. Usually when shit from his past comes back to haunt him, it’s a lot more dramatic. For it to just vanish, it doesn’t just feel underwhelming. It makes all that brutality seem worthless. Now I’m usually all for mindless brutality, but it makes for a lousy resolution to a story.

As underwhelming as it is, the ending isn’t completely without some ominous complications. Not every student in the Jean Grey Institute stuck around to watch the battle between Wolverine and Dog. Glob Herman, despite looking like a walking lava lamp, chickened out like a little bitch and ran off. He basically ditched school and decided that falling in with the wrong crowd was the way to go for him. Except in this instance, the wrong ground involves Sauron, who offers him a spot a welcoming little place called the Hellfire Academy. So the seeds of the next conflict have been sewn and hopefully this one isn’t completely ignored like the last arc.

As for the students who did stick around, there’s a nice yet still underwhelming moment where Wolverine basically tells them they passed the course, as if it’s possible to get a C- for a course that involves surviving dinosaurs and asshole brothers. At the very least it reinforces that Wolverine does care for his students. It also helps reinforce that he’s a better man than Dog. Then again, that’s like saying your dick is larger than a two-year-old’s. It’s not a fair comparison.

And as for Dog, he basically just ends up getting the shit beat out of him by his older self. It’s a very flat and bland way to end a story that he was practically rushed into. It could have been much more epic, but now he’s just back to being a whiney old bitch with daddy issues. In other words he’s right back to where he started. He would have made more progress just getting drunk and watching reruns of Two and a Half Men. That alone should kill any possible sympathy you might have for this character.

I liked this issue, but only to the extent that I like cold pizza. I’ll still consume it. It won’t make me throw up and if I’m stoned, I’ll even enjoy it. But it’s not like biting into a freshly baked cookie or licking ice cream off Jessica Alba’s ass. It’s a somewhat bland taste that’s utterly forgettable. It still gets the job done. The students of the Jean Grey Institute, minus Glob Herman, learn a few valuable lessons about survival. Dog Logan is defeated. There’s some nice insight into Wolverine’s dedication as a teacher. But overall, it falls flat.

This arc had a fun premise and plenty of nice moments, but this issue really didn’t end it on a satisfying note. It was disorganized and chaotic at times. It failed to address pretty much every major issue that emerged in the previous arc where so many characters hooked up in a helping of juicy schoolyard drama. And it was really had to take Dog Logan seriously as a compelling character. He hates Wolverine, blames him for everything, and wants him to suffer. I mean why don’t you just make him a teenage girl who takes it up the ass for five bucks because her daddy didn’t pay attention to her? While it was still satisfying to see him defeated, the resolution felt incomplete and bland.

There was still a number of things to like about this issue. It continued the theme of showing that Wolverine isn’t a complete douche-bag in that he genuinely cares about protecting these kids and is willing to throw them in the middle of an inhospitable, dinosaur-laden wasteland to teach them. Okay, so he is still a douche-bag on some levels, but there was purpose behind this lesson. And Jason Aaron also did a great job of showing repeatedly that these students are still irrational, ill-tempered, ill-mannered teenagers. They all behaved as you would expect teenagers to act if they had superpowers. They have egos. They don’t care for authority. And some think having pink hair actually looks cool. It was enough to give a guy like me flashbacks/nightmares of my own high school experience, but in a good way for once.

Wolverine and the X-men is still a fun series with a distinct theme that focuses on mutant students trying to survive life at the Jean Grey Institute. Wolverine and the X-men #28 maintained that theme for the most part, but failed to make it as compelling as previous arcs. Too many details were just poorly developed. Dog Logan came off as the least interesting wannabe badass since MC Hammer tried to make it as a gangster rapper. And the overall resolution was just under-developed and overly rushed. The art was still awesome and so where the characterizations of everyone not named Dog Logan. For that, I give Wolverine and the X-men #28 a 3 out of 5. So nearly every student managed to pass this twisted course in the Savage Land. I guess it’s all downhill from here. Once you’ve survived attacks by dinosaurs, a calculus exam is like a massage and a blowjob. Nuff said!

Friday, April 26, 2013

X-men Supreme Issue 73: Inauguration Day Part 2 is LIVE!

Hail to the chief! It's Inauguration Day in the world of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series and President Elect Robert Kelly is in for the rough day to say the least. But he's in good company. X-men Volume 4: Politics of Fear has already introduced a new threat to this fanfiction series and the X-men are poised to clash with him. He's no Magneto, but he's dangerous in his own right. His name is Alexander Kahn, but he goes by Stryfe. He's not the Stryfe you've seen in the pages of Marvel comics. He's a very different character with a very different agenda. And that agenda involves making Robert Kelly's inauguration historic for all the wrong reasons. And it's up to the X-men to stop him. Can they do it? And what part will Callisto play in this affair? Find out in the latest issue of X-men Supreme!

Issue 73: Inauguration Day Part 2

The X-men are poised to clash with Stryfe and he's poised to further disrupt the fragile situation between humans and mutants. While in recent times I have introduced some cosmic and mystical elements into the world of X-men Supreme, such as the Phoenix Force, the Shi'ar, and Juggernaut, the major theme of X-men is still that of a minority trying to carve their place in a world that hates and fears them. That sort of story is difficult to keep telling.

Anyone who has been following Marvel comics lately knows how the X-men's mission has changed significantly over the years. Now they're much more integrated with the Avengers and are given the label of hero for the most part. But in the world of X-men Supreme, that's not a label they can rely on. Some see the X-men as heroes. Some see the X-men as a menace. I'll be exploring that more thoroughly in X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. I'm going to focus more on that aspect of X-men moving forward in this fanfiction series because I think that's an important part of their core. There will always be a place for the cosmic and mystical elements, but I want them to be secondary. The X-men are still, at their core, symbols of minorities and their struggles.

With this in mind, I really hope everyone following X-men Supreme takes the time to provide feedback or at the very least tells their fellow comic book loving friends about this fanfiction series. X-men Supreme has grown quite a bit over the past few years. It has already lasted longer than some runs in X-men comics. I have every intention of continuing it for even longer, but I can only make it as awesome as it deserves to be with the help of feedback and support! So please take the time to contact me with your comments or thoughts or post your feedback directly in the issue. Either way is fine! Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to support the X-men Supreme fanfiction series and I hope it continues. Until next time, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Uncanny Avengers #7 - Inner and Outer Conflicts (of Awesome)

I've dedicated a good chunk of this blog to explaining why Rick Remender's run on Uncanny X-Force was the most awesome shit to come along in comics since Emma Frost's tits. Any series can have a handful of awesome comics in the same way the Cleveland Browns can have a handful of wins every year. It doesn't amount to jack shit in the long run. But for a series to sustain a consistent level of awesome for dozens of issues is akin to juggling torches while banging supermodels for days on end. It takes skill and Remender proved that he has both the skill and the necessary endowments to get it done. And yes, that was a dick joke.

For that reason, I could think of nobody more qualified to take on a series like Uncanny Avengers after the shit storm that was Avengers vs. X-men. But as well-endowed as Remender is, the series started off slow. It didn't help that Havok was a complete douche and the Avengers still pranced around like their shit didn't stink. But in recent issues, Remender has reminded readers of why he's more awesome than most of us can ever hope to be. We an stuff our pants with socks and sausages all we want. He'll still be the most qualified guy to write this series of Avengers and X-men trying to work together.

The past few issues have been better by getting back to the kind of character-centered subtlety that made Uncanny X-Force so awesome. Havok is trying to lead a team while making sure he has enough time to piss and moan about Cyclops. And behind the scenes, Kang the Conqueror is fucking with the space time continuum again by triggering a fight between Thor and Apocalypse in the past. It was as awesome as it sounded, but now his bullshit has led him to cross paths with the aftermath of the Dark Angel Saga, which is considered by myself and many to be the crown jewel of Remender's Uncanny X-Force run. At the end of that run, two new Apocalypse babies were sired in what may be the most disturbing sex act not depicted in 50 Shades of Grey. Now Kang has plans for them that even some abortion doctors would find disturbing, but the Apocalypse twins aren't about to let that horrific sex act that created them go to waste.

Whereas Uncanny Avengers #6 was basically one prolonged brawl, Uncanny Avengers #7 is more of a family affair. And by family affair, I mean a reunion with Apocalypse’s horsemen so they can summon a Celestial to ordain a new Apocalypse. It still sounds less chaotic than a family gathering with the Kardashians. The point of the gathering is for Genocide, who is currently the flaming skull horsemen of Death, to take on Apocalypse’s mantle. Since Archangel was defeated in the Dark Angel Saga in an epic story you should totally fucking read (or at the very least see my reviews of every issue), someone needs to be the ultimate nightmare to creationists everywhere. And when in doubt, go with the guy who has the flaming skull.

But like a gathering of Kardashians, it turns into a spectacle of the most fucked up kind when the Apocalypse twins show up. Even though they appeared to have only been born a couple issues ago, they’re already fully grown up and ready to exact to be Darwin’s prison bitch. Not only are they grown up, one of them is now armed with the enchanted axe that Thor used to defeat Apocalypse in the previous issue. It’s a nice bit of connectivity to the previous issue, but it’s a detail that is easily missed in the haze of awesome in the fight that follows.

It’s not very long or drawn out compared to the epic brawl we saw in the last issue. It basically amounts to the Apocalypse twins bitch-slapping the horsemen and actually wounding a Celestial. Now for those Marvel novices out there, the Celestials are basically gods minus the obsession with foreskins, sodomy, and shellfish. For anything to actually wound them is akin to kicking God in the nuts and spitting on his shoes. It’s a big fucking deal and one that is bound to make the universe shit itself.

Between brawls between demigods and space gods, it’s easy to forget that this series once dealt with some much more down-to-Earth issues, namely humans going ape-shit over new mutants emerging. Captain America placed Havok in charge of a new X-men/Avengers team to help deal with it while making it look good publicly. So far, it has been as successful as Paris Hilton’s singing career. First, the Red Skull dug up Xavier’s body and used the power of his brain to mind-fuck people. Then the Grim Reaper showed up at a press conference where Rogue ended up murdering his ass on live TV. If the Uncanny Avengers are supposed to be conveying a message of peace and tolerance, then Charles Xavier is probably shitting himself in his grave.

It took a few issues, but we finally get to see some of the aftermath. It’s as bad as you would expect anything that involved giving the media something to freak out about. Nick Fury (the black one) informs Havok and his team that in addition to the press conference being a disaster, violence against mutants is on the rise and the Red Skull is still on the loose. Not only that, the media is portraying the failed press event the same way Fox News portrays any story involving Muslims. If I were Havok, I would be more worried about Fox News than the Red Skull.

After this shit storm of bad news, Havok meets up with the rest of his team to tell them how fucked they are. And not surprisingly, they react in the exact opposite ways you would expect superheroes to react. They point fingers, bitch, and complain. This may sound petty, but Remender actually makes this scene work very well because it gives the team itself a very distinct feel. This ain’t the Avengers. A lot of these characters aren’t exactly friends. In fact, Rogue and the Scarlett Witch tried to kill each other earlier in the series. It may sound like the Jerry Springer of superhero teams, but damn if the tension and the bickering isn’t entertaining.

But one detail will make you miss the more rational debates from Jerry Springer. At one point Havok reveals that Rogue has been absolved of the murder of Grim Reaper, which she claims she didn’t intend to do. And while the team is upset that it happened, they basically just brush it off. Now anyone who read Avengers vs. X-men should be standing on a chair right now and screaming “HYPOCRISY!” Because it is. Rogue kills someone when she didn’t intend to on national fucking TV and she’s absolved. Cyclops kills Charles Xavier when he didn’t intend to while under the influence of a fucking cosmic force (that the Avengers thrust on him against his will mind you) and he’s a fucking criminal?! Even a brain dead monkey with a concussion would see the utter bullshit in that standard. It shows just how fucked up the Uncanny Avengers are in terms of their double, triple, and quintuple standards at times. I would be sickened by it, but I’ve grown so used to this hypocrisy that I’ll just gag on it and smoke a few joints to prevent myself from banging my head against the wall.

The hypocrisy is plenty disgusting and so is the tension throughout the team. But not everyone is at each other’s throats. Remender does take time to remind readers that some of these characters actually do care about each other. This leads to a nice moment between the Scarlett Witch and Wonder Man. These two do have a history, but it doesn’t involve them swapping various body fluids. But Wonder man makes it clear that he would like that to be a possibility. I mean who wouldn’t want to bone someone that could warp reality just because she had a bad hair day? But the Scarlett Witch, having already made it clear she prefers her men to be machines and/or battery operated, pushes him off. It’s a nice moment that helps make these characters feel a bit more relatable while also making you feel bad for Wonder Man’s penis.

And Wonder Man and Scarlett Witch aren’t the only one looking to bump uglies. Wasp makes it clear to Havok that she wants to jump his bone as he’s showing her his plans to improve human/mutant relations by starting a mutant-themed hipster clothing label. No, I’m not making that up. He’s really expecting that to help. It’s not the most fucked up PR stunt ever conjured, but it’s right up there. But I guess the main takeaway from this scene is that Havok makes it clear he’s not interested in getting his dick wet at a time when human/mutant tensions are poised to blow up at a moments notice. And wouldn’t you know it? Shit starts blowing up before Wasp can charm her way into his pants. And once again, someone is cock-blocked. It makes me wonder if anyone will ever get laid on this team.

The shit that starts going horribly wrong in this instance doesn’t involve the Red Skull. It involves an incoming Celestial ship, courtesy of the Apocalypse twins. Abigail Brand of SWORD had Captain America and Sunfire as soon as it showed up. But unlike most alien ships they deal with, it didn’t just start shooting or demand that it send an army of young Sigorney Weavers as breeding slaves. It just rammed right into SWORD’s orbiting base, forcing everyone to evacuate. Sunfire, however, stayed behind. Why would he do that? It’s not immediately clear, but given his history with Apocalypse it’s not entirely unreasonable that he would want to just stay and give the finger to his evolution-loving ass before it rams him.

The fancy dildo-shaped SWORD base shatters under the weight of the Celestial ship in a beautiful spectacle that probably would have looked much better if John Cassaday had drawn it. But knowing that would probably mean delaying this issue an ungodly number of months, it may be for the better. It creates yet another global mutant-related crisis that the Uncanny Avengers must resolve. We get some narration on the spectacle as it transpires, which has been one of the more unique aspects of Uncanny Avengers in recent times. But this time, however, it’s somewhat trivial and bland. It really isn’t necessary either. You could just watch the giant space station crash and burn and the message is pretty damn clear.

Even if the narration is unnecessary, this moment offers yet another strong connection between this issue and the previous Apocalypse vs. Thor brawl. When Captain America informs the team that Apocalypse or something like it is on the ship and just killed a Celestial with an enchanted axe, Thor’s asshole clenches in ways befitting of a demigod. As I mentioned earlier, that is the same axe he used to battle Apocalypse in the previous issue and now it’s being used to fuck up a Celestial. Thor knows he done fucked up in his efforts to prove his dick was bigger than Apocalypse’s. Now it’s come back to bite him in a way that effectively ties his story into what Remender is developing with the Apocalypse twins and like his run on Uncanny X-Force, those connections are like the icing on the tits of a Las Vegas stripper.

There are a lot of conflicting forces working within the pages of Uncanny Avengers. Perhaps that’s by design. The Avengers and the X-men have never coordinated like this before. They’ve never had to deal with the aftermath of shit like Avengers vs. X-men before either. It shouldn’t be all hookers and blow. They shouldn’t be carrying themselves like the fucking Superfriends at this point. And Rick Remender seems to understand that, which helps make this issue all the more awesome.

In many ways this issue feels like it should have taken place immediately after Uncanny Avengers #5. While seeing Apocalypse fight Thor was fun and all, this issue actually addressed the shit storm that Uncanny Avengers #5 kicked up. It was light on action in that it basically highlighted a lot of bickering within the team while the heavy action was taking place between the Apocalypse Twins and the Celestials. Perhaps that’s for the best because that action alone is enough for one comic. And unless your Michael Bay, seeing the team struggle to come together in the midst of all this bitterness and finger-pointing should be plenty satisfying, provided it doesn’t remind you too much of your last family reunion.

I still take issue with some of the blatant fucking hypocrisy demonstrated by Havok and the Avengers. Cyclops murders Charles Xavier while under the influence of a cosmic force in front of the Avengers and now he’s a fucking criminal. Yet Rogue murders some schmuck attacking them on live fucking TV and she gets a fucking pardon? I’m sorry, but that’s not a double standard. That’s a standard that could only work in the mind of a schizophrenic or a member of Congress. It’s total bullshit and comes off as Remender and Marvel just trying to write around how fucking retarded their treatment of Cyclops is at the moment.

I’ll take another bong hit and just add that some of the dramatic elements were still compelling. The Scarlett Witch almost got laid. Havok almost got laid. SWORD is getting screwed over in the worst possible way. There’s plenty to like about it is what I’m saying. The lack of John Cassaday’s art doesn’t help and neither the inconsistent dialog/narration. But Rick Remender has done a great job of setting up these characters and making this team come off as the Oakland Raiders of comics. For that, I give Uncanny Avengers #7 a 4 out of 5. SWORD is falling to pieces. Demigods are learning a harsh lesson about picking fights. And while parts of the team hate each other, other parts want to bone each other. If this were a reality show, you actually might be able to watch it without throwing up. Nuff said!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Uncanny X-men #5 - Demon Seeds of Awesome

We all go through rebellious phases in our lives. When we're young, uninformed, and gullible we actually think that shit like communism, bell bottoms, and hair metal are cool. We think we can solve all the world's problems within a generation with simple, common-sense solutions that the fat cats in power are too chicken shit to do. As we grow up, we learn that we're not just dead wrong. We also learn that the teenage mind is capable of immense ass-backwards thinking. That kind of thinking also leads some of us to go through a goth phase or a hippie phase of sorts where we just think it's so cool to stop giving a fuck. It's only later in life that we realize that not giving a fuck won't make you cool. It'll make you unemployed, broke, and smelling like hobo piss.

The exception to that rule is Magik. Unlike the goths and hippies, all that sinister energy they feel around them is not only real. But there's no need for weed or LSD to make use of it. She is a teenager and a pretty blond at that. So it shouldn't be too surprising that she gets a pussy boner with all things hellfire and brimstone. That and being the lord of Limbo and losing her soul probably didn't help. She is by far the most dangerous combination you can get without giving a metric ton of weapons grade plutonium to North Korea. She's a teenage girl armed with the powers of a devil and no common sense on how to use it.

Because of this dangerous mix, Magik is one of the most powerful figures on Cyclops's team. She was a big part of the Extinction Team during Kieron Gillen's run. She was one of the Phoenix Five and ended up being the only one who didn't have her powers fucked up. Now a member of Cyclops's new revolutionary team, she's now the most powerful by default, so much so that some of the new teenage mutants can't help but get a boner around her. As someone who has banged his share of goth chicks, I completely understand that. But for a girl who literally lost her soul in Limbo, that sort of evil pussy just isn't worth it.

Now Magik's devil-loving ways seem to be catching up with her in a manner that Jerry Falwell (may his intolerant ass burn in Hell) would have bitched about endlessly. In the previous issue of Uncanny X-men, the focus was on Cyclops recruiting O5 Angel from the Jean Grey Institute. However, one of the random side-plots was Magik having a few bouts of Hellfire PMS. No explanation was given, but it's clear that this will be the next major challenge for Cyclops's revolutionary team. Because what's a better exercise than taking on the very forces of Hell itself? When you just got done pwning the Avengers, you gotta ride that momentum as far as it will take you.

The first problem is SHIELD. While pwning the Avengers may feel good in the short term, like herpes it could come back to haunt the team in the long run. Bendis, always attentive to detail, takes some time to show Maria Hill and SHIELD’s reaction to Cyclops’s stunt in Australia. It’s easy to forget that this stunt took place in an area where people have cell phones, the internet, and too much free time. While the Avengers are content to fume while their balls regrow, it does show that Cyclops’s revolutionary team is getting plenty of attention and it’s not the good kind. They don’t take kindly to pwnage and now Cyclops is at the top of their shit list. The problem is we really don’t get a sense for how SHIELD and the Avengers are going to react. This is pretty much all we hear from them and we don’t even get a clue as to how they’re going to try to pwn them back. Other side-plots take priority.

Once such plot involves one of the many cute blond girls on Cyclops’s team and for once, it isn’t Emma Frost. In the previous issue, Magik just randomly flashed some hellfire-style PMS for no fucking reason. It was almost as random as a Lady Gaga outfit, but this issue dedicates a fuckton of ink to explaining that moment. And there’s a lot to explain. It basically amounts to Magik telling Cyclops about what happened to her. And the asshole behind it all was Dormammu, the flaming skull evil overlord who is more known for fucking with Dr. Strange. Now he’s decided to fuck with a messed up teenage girl. And for a great many reasons, I find this appropriate in ways that would piss off every feminist in the world.

Like any self-respecting messed up teenage girl (if that’s not the most paradoxical phrase ever uttered), Magik doesn’t take kindly to Dormammu’s shit and fights back. But in doing so he reveals something that has been touched on only slightly since the beginning of Uncanny X-men. It was established early on that everyone who interacted with the Phoenix Force had their powers fucked up. But for some reason Magik was as healthy and deviant as ever. Well, we now find out that isn’t exactly the case. Her powers were fucked up too and in the process, it fucked up the Limbo dimension she’s so closely linked to.

It makes a little bit of sense, but not as much as a sober mind would prefer. How exactly does her mixing it up with the Phoenix Force fuck up Limbo? Well seeing as how this involves magic and teenage girls, it probably falls into that category of things that can’t and probably shouldn’t make sense. And even if it doesn’t, it still provides a solid connection to the story that Bendis established earlier in the series. And those kinds of connections are like the private phone numbers of supermodels. They’re worth their weight in Wakandan vibranium.

But by fighting back, Magik also stirs in her what I’m assuming is a metaphor for every temper tantrum ever thrown by a teenage girl. Dormammu releases the Darkchilde, which is basically a cross between the Hulk, Satan, and that girl in high school that screams whenever she finds out someone posted those naked pictures of hers on Tumbler. Dormammu is basically pissing on a hornet’s nest. Even for a powerful demonic creature like him, that shit is pretty dangerous. He may be one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel universe, but you never get the sense that this match-up is unfair. Makes me think Dormammu probably would have been right at home in my old high school.

The hellish battle is pretty fucking epic. She lays into Dormammu and the demon hoards of Limbo with her flaming sword which isn’t a dick joke. And like the battle between the jocks and the gym coaches in high school, it’s pretty evenly matched. And keep in mind, this is just Magik retelling it to Cyclops. All this shit happened behind the scenes in the previous issue. So I guess karma worked quickly for the X-men after pwning the Avengers. But in the process of this battle, Dormammu also hints that Magik doesn’t completely understand how the Phoenix Force fucked up her powers. It offers some compelling hints that there are some other fucked up forces at work here that could be revealed later on. If your asshole doesn’t clench at the prospects, then you’re either too drunk or not drunk enough.

After telling Cyclops her story, Cyclops makes it clear to her that he wants to help her. While he may not be boning a hot blond anymore, they still have a special place in his heart. But what makes this scene even more compelling is how Magik actually shows some fear and emotion. For once, she’s not just some unapologetic bitch that reminds me of the women I used to date. It’s a major shift considering every other character has had their moment of drama except her. It’s overdue, but it has just the right impact.

Unfortunately, that impact is mired by yet another outburst of Hellfire PMS. And this time, the rest of the team hears it. They probably think Magik is pitching a demonic hissy fit or Cyclops allure to attractive blonds is too much for her. And they’re all still wide-eyed teenagers who just became mutants at this point. How the fuck are they supposed to process this when a few days ago they were only struggling to process the last two episodes of the Walking Dead?

At this point, however, the focus actually shifts away from Magik so that some of the other side-plots can be explored. Brian Michael Bendis has shown he’s willing to juggle multiple plots before and while it may be a bit late, he does make a nice effort to add more connections. This includes a nice moment with O5 Angel and Magneto. It’s easy to forget that from O5 Angel’s perspective, Magneto is still basically a mutant Hitler. O5 Angel reveals that he’s still not completely comfortable being around him, but he does note that Magneto does seem a bit less deranged. That or he just looks less creepy with a shaved head.

That’s not the only side-plot Bendis explores either. In the previous issue, all these young and inexperienced mutants were just getting to know one another. And that continues here. By that I mean some continue to flirt with one another. We saw a couple of flirtatious moments in the previous issue. We see even more here and why not? Three hot blonds just joined the team. Anything with a penis is bound to be at least somewhat intrigued. Although the Stepford Cuckoos make it clear they don’t appreciate it, going so far as to make Christopher forget his own name. It’s a funny, light-hearted moment in a comic involving demons and devils. It’s still a bit unbalanced, but at least it isn’t completely one-sided.

And it isn’t just the boys drooling either. As Cyclops returns with Magik, we find out that he still has this strange way of soaking a woman’s panties. He’s boned Jean Grey and Emma Frost. At one point Psylocke had the insatiable urge to bone him as well. Now it seems Tempus has taken a moment to admire him. He’s single, he’s charismatic, and he’s a wanted fugitive. He’s basically a walking pussy magnet right now and anyone who has a daughter with a functioning vagina should be very afraid.

Sadly though, these light-hearted moments of boners and soaked panties are shot lived. As they begin mulling over options to help Magik, she has another bout of hellfire-fueled PMS. And this time, she takes the whole team along for the ride. She claims she’s not the one behind it. She may or may not be telling the truth, but it effectively ends the comic with Cyclops and his new inexperienced team right in the middle of Limbo. So they thought fighting the Avengers was a challenge? How about an army of demons? I guess in addition to attracting beautiful woman, Cyclops just can’t help but attract the wrath of evil forces.

If you just happen to be in that rebellious phase I mentioned earlier, this comic may encourage you to davel in devil worship. If you’re a guy, you’ll want to bone Magik until she sets your dick on fire. If you’re a girl, you’ll want to dress like Magik and recruit your own army of demons. The Christian Coalition may go ape shit over it, but that doesn’t prevent this issue from being any less awesome. Even if you’re not inclined to join a Satanist cult or participate in human sacrifice at the moment, you’ll still find plenty to enjoy about this comic.

This issue effectively establishes the next major challenge that Cyclops’s revolutionary team will have to face. Pwning the Avengers? Shit, that’s what they do on the weekends when there’s no football on. They actually have to go up against the demon hoards of Limbo now. There’s trial by fire and then there’s trial by fucking hellfire. For a team that is still new and includes a bunch of young, inexperienced, and obviously horny mutants, that’s a pretty tall order. And Brian Michael Bendis sets it up beautifully.

He had to juggle a number of plots in this issue. The biggest was, by far, Magik’s hellish outburst. It’s probably the first time Magik has come off as more than just a deranged teenage girl that hung out with Charlie Sheen for too long. She actually had some emotion here to go along with the conflict, which is a very nice shift. It also forced Cyclops to set aside his revolution to help one of his fellow X-men. So even though many may see him as the douche that murdered Charles Xavier, he’s still a caring guy who will do his best to help his teammates. That helps make him less of a douche and soaks the panties of teenage girls like Tempus.

Even though the Magik plot was the most pressing concern in this issue, there were a number of side-plots that helped keep this issue coherent with the others. Bendis continued the plot he established in the previous issue of having the new mutants get to know one another. And as he’s already done a number of times, he’s shown that these are still teenagers. And unfortunately, the horniness of most teenagers exceeds their common sense. It added some more light-hearted moments to what is otherwise the kind of plot that Bill O’Riley believes takes place in the ACLU every day. In other words, it’s near perfect balance.

I say near-perfect because it did get a little choppy at times. That’s bound to happen when you try to juggle too many plots. It’s like having multiple girlfriends. When it works, it’s an orgy of awesome. When it doesn’t, you’ll either be nagged to death or castrated in your sleep. I get the sense that this issue fell somewhere in between. Bendis has shown in previous issues that he can balance multiple plots (and women probably). However, that didn’t show here. Some of the scene, such as the conversations between Magneto and O5 Angel, felt a bit underdone and so did the first scene with SHIELD. It didn’t distract from the quality of the art, the impact of the drama, or the solid progression of the story. But it did keep this comic from having that perfect blend that would make it perfectly awesome. For that reason, I give Uncanny X-men #5 a 4.5 out of 5. Cyclops’s team is literally going through hell right now. After reading this issue, we’re left with only one question. Which woman will be smitten by Cyclops next? Nuff said!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Iron Man: Rise of Technovore - Marve + Anime = Awesome

Some things just go together perfectly. Peanut butter and jelly. Chicken wings and beer. Fake boobs and porn stars. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Some of these combinations are obvious to anyone who ever smoked too much weed and got the munchies or skilled enough to use internet porn. But a combination like Marvel and anime? That's one of those combinations that doesn't immediately come to mind. But when you think about it you're like, "Holy fuck! Why didn't I think of that?! I'm either smoking too much weed or not smoking enough!"

That was the feeling I got after watching Iron Man: Rise of Technovore. This neatly packaged little direct-to-Blu-Ray feature really didn't generate much fanfare. It didn't have Rorbert Downey Jr. and Gweneth Paltrow whoring themselves to the Hollywood elites at the behest of studio heads in need of more cocaine money. It was just a simple anime feature, courtesy of an ongoing partnership between Madhouse and Marvel. On its own, it doesn't sound like it's worth breaking out your best vodka. But when you look at the details, you'll either end up drooling with a raging boner or you'll be pissed off to no end that nobody did this sooner.

Here are the basics. This story takes place within the framework of the Avengers movies. It appears to take place either before Avengers or it could take place after. It has the Sam Jackson version of Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. It also has James Rhodes, aka War Machine. It even has a guest star in the Punisher, a guy who hasn't been relevant in the Marvel movies since Tom Jane failed miserably at making a decent Punisher movie and ended up doing a show about being a male prostitute. That's a lot of fucking star power from the outset. But it doesn't rely on star power alone.

Although with anyone looking like Sam Jackson, it probably could.
The story is well thought out. It introduces a new, very anime-ish version of Technovore. It isn't just some hulking monster that eats technology that probably came from Bill Gates's worst nightmare that didn't involve watching Steve Jobs bang his wife. It's actually a creature born from events that began in the first Iron Man movie.

Say what you want about Obidiah Stane and Iron Monger. Yes, he was a somewhat shitty villain for the first movie, but he served his purpose well. But we find out in this movie that he left behind a son that he treated like shit. And like so many others kids with daddy issues, he decides he's going to scheme ways to fuck over the world for denying him a decent childhood. But unlike most kids with daddy issues, he actually has a way to do that. That way is Technovore.

It's not just Iron Man versus some evil twisted kid. This is anime. Unlike us drunken westerners, the Japanese actually put some effort into telling a deeper story. I know that sounds strange to us Americans. It's like not putting steak sauce on our steak. But it actually works better at establishing a sense of drama and emotion that you won't see on any of the Saturday morning cartoons we're all used to. I'm not saying there isn't a place for a more basic kind of animated entertainment. I'm just saying it's nice to have an outlet that actually feels like it's meant for people with hair on their chest and/or vagina.

The story has plenty of gripping moments, like War Machine being seriously injured and Iron Man having to reason with an obviously disturbed kid. But one other thing anime loves to do is throw in violent action that can be pretty gruesome, even when it doesn't involve tentacle rape. When shit starts blowing up here in this feature, people actually die. Blood is actually shed. It's not like that watered down shit you see on the action cartoons aired on Disney XD. This is visceral shit and it feels so good.

Not only is the violence more detailed, but the style of animation is more refined. There's greater depth to each image. It's an anime made for adults. That means the characters talk like adults and the cleavage of the women isn't obscured like some Iranian censorship plot. Pepper Potts is in a bikini at one point and looks absolutely bonerific. And Black Widow in anime form looks every bit as hot as Scarlett Johanssen. I've always said that cartoons need more boobs. It sucks that we have to rely on the Japanese to give it to us in our cartoons, but it doesn't make the boners any less satisfying.

You'll NEVER see a shot like this on the Disney Channel.
That's not to say that the story is without flaws. Probably the most glaring flaw (and possibly the only flaw) of Iron Man: Rise of Technovore is the pace of the story. It feels rushed and underdeveloped at times. After the first attack by Technovore, SHIELD spends most of the movie just hunting down Tony Stark. He wasn't behind it. They don't even accuse him of being involved. But for some reason Nick Fury thinks it's necessary to treat Iron Man like a criminal. It makes no god damn sense and it really never feels right. While it does make for some great action scenes and nice boob shots for Black Widow, it lacks the refinement that would otherwise make this story truly awesome.

Even with this flaw, Iron Man: Rise of Technovore is an amazing achievement. It is a neat little package that perfectly demonstrates how anime and Marvel can work. It tells a great story, has some awesome animation, and captures the same energy that made the Avengers movie a historic achievement in awesome. If I had to score this like I would a comic, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5. Even if you don't like cartoons and only watch the movies because the comics are too damn confusing, you'll find a lot to love about this. When you finish watching it, you'll have the urge to visit Marvel's main office, slap the first person you see across the face, and yell, "What the fuck are you waiting for?! Make more Marvel anime!" That's perfectly normal. Nuff said!

Friday, April 19, 2013

X-men Supreme Issue 73: Inauguration Day Part 2 PREVIEW and Pic Updates

X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear is off to a fast and chaotic start! The inauguration of Robert Kelly is already quite a spectacle, but a new threat in a familiar X-men foe named Stryfe looks to make it even historic in all the wrong ways. This fanfiction series has used a variety of villains and threats, but Stryfe is a threat of a differnet kind. He's not Magneto. He's not Sinister. And he's not Graydon Creed. He's got his own reason for sparking conflict between humans and mutants. While Stryfe does have a history in X-men and with Marvel comics, his plan in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is quite different.

Since I began this fanfiction series, I've tweaked and twisted the history and backgrounds of numerous characters to varying degrees. Some chracters aren't all that different from their comic counterparts. Characters like Magneto haven't strayed far from what makes him who he is. Some of that is intentional because I want to maintain a certain level of harmony with the ongoing Marvel universe. But for other characters in X-men Supreme, I decided to switch it up a bit more. For some characters, like Bishop, it was purely a matter of logistics. But for someone like Stryrfe, it's more about pragmatics. He's not a very well-developed character in the Marvel comics and I don't think he's been given a lot of depth. So I intend to make Stryfe very unique to the X-men Supreme fanfiction series and you'll see just how much different he'll be in the next issue! To get a clue of just what Stryfe is capable of, check out this extended preview of X-men Supreme Issue 73: Inauguration Day Part 2!

“What do you mean a riot just broke out?” exclaimed Reverend Stryker into his communicator to one of his lieutenants.

“I don’t know how else to describe it! One minute these protest groups were yelling at each other! The next minute they’re all fighting like a bunch of deranged meth heads!”

“So break it up!  I know it’s hard protecting heathens, but your job was to keep the peace!”

“We’re trying, but a few of our boys decided to join in! Even the Secret Service is getting into the act!”

“You had best be exaggerating!” barked Stryker.

“I wish I was, sir. This isn’t just a couple of guys getting into a scuffle. It’s men, women, and even a couple of kids just going off on each other! It’s like they’re possessed!”

It was one of the many scenarios Reverend Stryker hoped to avoid. Protests were not unusual in Washington, especially on days like this. A full blown riot, however, was a different beast and could easily become a major problem.

Sitting in the back of a black van that was part of the secure motorcade, Reverend Stryker had access to all security feeds covering the downtown area. He and his associates used a couple of laptops to access camera displays so they could see the unfolding events near the Washington Monument. When the images started coming in, they learned that the lieutenant was definitely not understating the situation.

“My God…” said one of Stryker’s associates.

“You’re right,” said Stryker into his communicator, “It’s as if the devil himself is guiding these people into a sea of carnage.”

“What should we do, sir? We’re spread really thin in this area and…”

Suddenly, there was a loud bang through the communicator. What they heard next was cause for even greater concern.

“Augh! My arm! What the hell is wrong with…”

There was a brief silence over the line. They could hear the lieutenant grunting in pain. Then his tone abruptly shifted something far more sinister.


It sounded like the ravings of a madman. Before Stryker or anyone else could try to talk him down, the communication link was severed. Whatever it was that was possessing these people, the Purifiers and the Secret Service were not immune.

Reverend Stryker sat in silence for a moment, his expression hardening as he watched more video feeds from the riots that were growing with each passing second. He also kept an eye on the parade with Senator Kelly, which was still going smoothly for the moment. But if this chaos spread, the ceremony was sure to be disrupted.

“We’ve lost the uplink,” said one of Styrker’s Purifier associates anxiously, “All our teams around the Washington Monument have gone offline.”

“You think they’re participating in this madness?” said another associate.

“We’ve trained these holy warriors long and hard! They should be more disciplined than this!” said another.

“You’re right…they should be,” said Stryker suspiciously, “Perhaps it isn’t just mob mentality we’re dealing with. Perhaps something much more unholy is afoot.”

“What do you mean, Reverend?”

Reverend Stryker paused for a moment. There was any number of deranged individuals who would seek to disrupt this affair, but this was something different. Somebody or something was pulling the strings and they were doing so with forces that seemed all but unholy. There was only one logical conclusion.

“This has the stench of the mutant menace all over it!” said the reverend strongly, “There’s no way these abominations would let this moment go unchallenged!”

“Mutants…they’re just not satisfied with being mere abominations!” grunted one of the Purifiers, “So what do we do about it, Reverend?”

“We do what the Purifiers always do. We fight in the name of the Lord!”

With growing urgency, Reverend Stryker picked up his communicator and switched the channel so he could reach as many of his crusaders as possible. This unholy obstruction had to be confronted before the whole ceremony was compromised.

“Attention all, Purifiers! We have a level five alert! All secondary units are to leave their posts immediately and converge on the Washington Monument! Use whatever lethal force you have to and find the source of the aberration! Let nothing stand in your way!”

I've also been hard at work collecting more pics. There never seems to be any shortage of graphic images depicting the beautiful women from comic books and that means I've always got something to add to this site! I know I've negated some sections, but I know certain fans of the X-men Supreme website have a strong appreciation for the pics section so I've always been on the lookout for new images. And I've finally gathered enough to update the sections for Rogue and Kitty Pryde. Enjoy!


I'm still very excited about this newest installation of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. And with the launch of X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear, I've noticed some readers making more of an effort to provide feedback. For that, I'm deeply grateful. And I hope to gain more as this fanfiction series continues to unfold. There are some big moments ahead for this fanfiction series. I look forward to exploring them, but the only way I can make them as awesome as they deserve to be is if I keep getting feedback from the wonderful readers of X-men Supreme. So please take the time to tell me what you think about this fanfiction series by either posting your comments on each issue or contacting me directly. Either way is fine! Until next time, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Savage Wolverine #4 - Too Savage To Be Awesome

Disclaimer: Yes, I know I didn't review Savage Wolverine #3. Yes, I know this disrupts the flow of reviews. But don't blame me. Blame God for not dedicating a day for reviewing comics. If you're going to bitch about this, please note that I'll respond by deleting your bitching in all forms. That is all.

We like to pretend that discovering ancient secrets is as awesome and exciting as Harrison Ford led us to believe in every Indiana Jones movie. We think it’s all exploring hidden temples, surviving ancient traps, and killing a few Nazis in the process. The reality is probably a billion times more boring. I imagine real archeology is like watching a couple of dead flies decompose in slow motion. You dig through piles upon piles of dirt, fine jack shit 99 percent of the time, and are lucky to recover artifacts that aren’t completely decomposed. It’s right up there with Snooki’s gynecologist in terms of jobs I don’t want.

Wolverine isn’t an archeologist, but he has a way of attracting shit that wants to kill him and sometimes that leads to discovering ancient secrets. It doesn’t lead to it very often, but for a guy as old as Wolverine the law of averages has to catch up at some point. And it caught up with him in a very painful way in the pages of Savage Wolverine. He’s been fighting along-side Shanna the She-Devil, trying to escape an unforgiving island of savage cavemen that may or may not be racist by uncovering ancient technology on an island. It has been eventful and entertaining so far, even with the somewhat random appearance of Amadeus Cho. And while there are no Nazis, I’m sure Indiana Jones would be right at home in a setting like this.

Part of the charm of Savage Wolverine has been a return to basics. Wolverine is no headmaster of a school or leader of a team here. He’s just the lovable savage brute we know and love, surviving in a dangerous wilderness full of dinosaurs, cavemen, and death. There’s no bullshit about his past, no ninjas, and no piss poor love triangles. Throw in Shanna’s rack and there’s very little reason not to enjoy this book on the surface, but it’s been dragging a bit lately with this whole ancient artifact bullshit. Frank Cho has been building towards some answers for the past few issues and is this the issue we finally get them? Well, I’m here to get drunk and review comics last I checked and since I’m currently low on booze, that leaves me with one option!

In Savage Wolverine #4 we get a nice glimpse into a ritual that for once doesn’t involve human sacrifice to appease goat-headed gods with a thing for the blood of virgins. Instead, it involves actually saving a life. In this case, that life belongs to Shanna the She-Devil. In the previous issue, her rack was not powerful enough to save her if you can believe that. She sustained an injury that…well, killed her. But if that at all worries you or your penis, take comfort in the knowledge that Marvel never kills hot female characters not named Jean Grey and keeps them dead for long. But do to that, Cho convinced the chief of the savages to save her in a ritual that involves Man-Thing. Or at least it looks like Man-Thing. Cho is as confused as the readers. And seeing as how Cho himself also randomly appeared in this story without an explanation, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised when we don’t get one. Yet still, an explanation would be a damn good thing to have at some point.

For now, an explanation takes a back-seat to bringing Shanna back to life. Marvel knows that it just can’t let a beautiful woman with a great rack just go to waste. But in order to bring her back to life, she has to bath in some strange green liquid that comes gushing out of that thing that looks like Man-Thing. There’s a joke about the healing properties of semen in there somewhere, but given all the inappropriate comments I’ve made about Shanna’s breasts I think I’ll hold off.

The important part is the ritual works. It revives Shanna so that she’s as good as new and back to being exceedingly bonerific. However, the whole resurrection-by-glowing-water ordeal comes off as both bland and a blatant rip-off of the Lazarus Pit from Batman. Only this comes off as much more disconcerting because it involves shit that oozes from something that looks like Man-Thing. Hell, for all we know that green stuff is his semen and Shanna just got the most twisted bukakke in history. While it’s nice to see Marvel avoid killing another character, it comes off as both bland and unoriginal.

Things get even less creative as Cho keeps Shanna from lashing out at the savages who killed her. They also have a long and somewhat unnecessary conversation where Cho explains how she ended up alive again. He also reminds readers of why calculus class sucked ass in school because he spends some time just surmising the output of the ancient machine that’s supposed to be the central focus of this whole damn arc. We don’t learn much about it other than it powered the dampening field that knocked out the SHIELD aircrafts and has the power of three H-bombs. That’s about it. Cho didn’t have to reinforce another Asian stereotype to prove it, but he did anyways and it still doesn’t tell us jack shit about this alien gizmo. I bet Indiana Jones would have probably figured this shit out by now.

Unfortunately, Wolverine is no Indiana Jones. As such, he probably hasn’t figured out how powerful the ancient machine is or that Shanna is still alive again. All he knows is that he’s pissed off that someone killed another hot chick before he had a chance to bone her and having already been tormented by his failure to taste Jean Grey’s pussy, he’s not going to let this stand. So still armed with some explosives and an intent to blow up the machine, he makes his way to the temple. He meets some armed savages along the way who attempt to slow him down. But this is a Wolverine who is pissed off and cock-blocked. They might as well try to keep an army of stoners away from a pool filled with Twinkees and cookie dough.

The savages may know this on some level because after all their best warriors are dead, they keep trying to stop him by attacking him with giant killer gorillas. It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds. In a land that is basically a glorified Jurassic Park, why not throw a little King Kong into the mix? The savages somehow have tamed these giant apes and they don’t much care for cock-blocked Canadians so they rip into Wolverine. Because if a bunch of determined savages aren’t enough to stop a pissed off Wolverine who just saw a hot chick die, shouldn’t a bunch of oversized apes be able to succeed?

The short answer is no. The long answer is something that PETA supporters will probably be disgusted by because Wolverine does to the giant apes what he did to the savages. Hey, at least you can’t claim he treats humans and animals differently. He shows them the same sort of savage brutality. He’s all for equality in that respect.

But what makes this sort of brutality all the more enjoyable is just how detailed and drawn out it is. While this issue may not have provided many answers about the machine and blatantly ripped off Batman, it does continue a general theme of putting Wolverine in battles that just allow him to be his badass self. It’s the kind of bloody brawls he just doesn’t fight as often anymore because he’s too busy rubbing elbows with the Avengers or running a school named after a woman he never got to bone. That sort of action is one of the best selling points in Savage Wolverine and this issue maintained that at the expense of apes and savage cavemen.

Once Wolverine is done ripping through angry natives and gorillas, he’s pretty roughed up. We even get some nice internal monologue that helps detail what happens when you’re attacked by three angry gorillas (might be handy information if you’re planning a trip to the zoo with a drunk). But he moves forward, driven by the anger over Shanna dying before he could see her naked. He reaches the temple and the strange alien machine, which he intends to blow up. Shanna, having learned from Cho why that is a shitty idea, manages to reach him just in time to stab him in the stomach to prevent him from detonating the device. That’s right. Wolverine gets stabbed again and this time by a hot woman. I don’t know why, but something about that is extra satisfying.

It seems like all is well. Wolverine didn’t blow up the alien machine (which looks like a fancy box mind you) and Shanna lets him know she’s still alive. The stab wound I guess is just extra reinforcement. But it seems as though this should be the end of it. Then the Hulk appears. No really, that’s what happens. The Hulk just fucking appears. I had to wait to sober up a bit to make sure I wasn’t reading this issue after taking too many hits of LSD. But apparently, this is how the comic ends. The Hulk appears out of nowhere, just like Amadeus Cho did a couple issues ago. We don’t get an explanation. We don’t even get a clue. We just know the Hulk is here and shit is likely to be smashed in the next issue.

I’ll need more than a few bong hits to make sense of this comic. I’ll probably also need a few to try and ignore the blatant parallels between the Lazarus Pit in Batman and whole resurrection bit with Shanna and Man-Thing blood. Since I’m low on weed, I’ll still do my best to break it down and it comes back to there being too many fucking blanks to fill in. This issue had some entertaining (and violent) moments that PETA supporters will bitch about, but in terms of overall plot it is still akin to that stoner buddy of yours who lays passed out on your couch and refuses to watch anything other than reruns of Scooby Doo. It just won’t move forward and even when it does, it comes off as something we’ve already seen before in one too many Batman comics.

But beyond the Batman parallels, this issue just threw too much shit into the pot without letting it cook. And I’m not just talking about the Hulk’s appearance at the end either. Man-Thing (or something that looks just like it) showing up early on raises more than a few eyebrows and not much of an effort was made at giving an explanation. The same can be said for the machine, which Cho tries to break down with his science-babble. And if you flunked 11th grade physics, it’s probably not going to make this machine that’s at the center of the whole damn plot any less mysterious. We still have no fucking clue what this machine is. We know it’s what caused the SHIELD ship to crash, but beyond that why the fuck is it such a big deal if it doesn’t even melt the faces of Nazis?

Despite these flaws, this issue still retains some of the elements that helps make Savage Wolverine a solid book. It’s still Wolverine at his most basic, kicking ass in the jungle and getting roughed up in ways that would paralyze anyone else not named Chuck Norris. The battle against the natives and the giant apes was classic Wolverine-style brutality. It was well-crafted and the internal narration definitely added something extra special to the bloodshed. If you only read those portions of the comic, it’s still worthwhile. But in terms of the overall story, it’ll have you both scratching your head and rolling your eyes in ways no amount of bong hits will help.

Savage Wolverine may be one of the few X-books right now where Wolverine isn’t an insufferable douche-bag. It has a lot of appeal, but it has a lot of fucking holes in it as well. Aside from reading a Wolverine you don’t hate and Shanna’s rack, this issue didn’t add much to that appeal. Savage Wolverine #4 fell short in way too many ways to be awesome. I can only give it a 2.5 out of 5. I’m okay with leaving some things to the imagination. A peep show in Amsterdam or my parents wedding night come to mind as good examples. But that shit just doesn’t work for a comic. For this series to be awesome, some of those blanks need to start getting filled in. There’s just only so much power that Shanna’s breasts have. Nuff said!