Friday, October 30, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue 126: Heart Attack PREVIEW!

Fear and uncertainty have gripped the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. It's an oddly appropriate state here on the eve of Halloween. The events of Dark Legacy and the damage left by Sinister have left mutants, humans, and the X-men both vulnerable and anxious. History has shown that when the strong have been weakened, those seeking strength will attempt to seize it.

The X-men's previous enemies, like the Brotherhood of Mutants, are reeling as much as they are. President Kelly, now mourning the death of his son, has lost his appetite for conflict. And the Morlocks, as shown in X-men Supreme Issue 5.1: Deceptive Revelation, have been disbanded. The time couldn't be better for a new, menacing threat to emerge. And that threat is going to be the centerpiece of the next era of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. That's why I'm pround to make this official. X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation is about to begin.

Like previous volumes of X-men Supreme, the foundation for this one were already laid in events that might have flown under the radar. The first hints of this new conflict began back during the Cambrian Explosion arc in X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. During that arc, Toad spent most of his time in a prison cell. Often seen as the Brotherhood of Mutants' least competent member, Magneto and his team didn't seem to care when he got captured during a clash at Worthington Industries in the Test Subject arc. But while in prison, something strange happened to Toad. Now, he's about to become more menacing and more dangerous than anyone the X-men have ever faced.

Yes, you heard that right. Toad is going to become a top-level villain in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Let that sink in for a moment. Toad, as a character, has been a classic pushover. From the earliest days in Uncanny X-men to his brief role in the X-men movies, he's never been more than a joke of a character. But I think characters like that have something to prove. And in X-men Supreme Issue 110: Supreme Justice, Toad took the first step towards proving himself.

Thanks to the effects of the Cambrian, Toad is now bigger and badder than he's ever been in the history of X-men. He helped a group of mutants who have never known justice escape. Now, with Magneto still missing and Sinister having been defeated, the world is ripe for Toad to rise to power. He will now lead the Mutant Liberation Front, a group X-men fans should know well, into this new era of X-men Supreme. It's an era that's going to have many upheavals, especially for charcters like Charles Xavier, Rogue, Mystique, Wolverine, and so many more. As such, I’ve prepared a preview to offer the first glimpse of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation.

“So you’re gonna make meh work for it this time? Ah’m game, sugah!” said Rogue playfully.

“Ain’t no game this time. You should be worried too. This be a game-changer,” said Remy in a serious tone.

“Don’t ya mean wildcard?”

“Call it whatever you want, cherè. When a gang of mutant terrorists starts making waves, it only be a matter of time before the X-men get involved.”

“All the more reason join meh under the sheets and make some waves of our own,” she quipped.

“Since when does late morning sex stop terrorists?” questioned Remy.

“Never said it stopped anything,” Rogue shrugged, “If nothin’ else, it’ll keep our strength up.”

Rogue had a strange way of rationalizing things now that she could touch. Intimacy seemed to be the solution to all her problems. Remy enjoyed it plenty while they were all still recovering from the damage left by the Legacy Virus. But that was months ago. The world around them was changing and they weren’t changing with it.

“You got a strange outlook on life, Rogue. You get your powers under control and suddenly everything has an easy answer,” said Remy.

“Who said it was easy? Ah didn’t gain control of mah powers. I lost ‘em. Well, the absorption part anyways, but it ain’t too big a loss.”

“So as long as you can still bench a fully loaded dump truck, you be happy?”

“Not entirely,” she said, sneaking her hand around his chest and tracing a daring path down his abdomen, “Ah do have other needs that ain’t gonna fill themselves.”

“And you can fill these needs better just lounging around District X?” questioned Remy, still not affected by her seductive gestures.

“Do ya really wanna have that conversation again? Or do you wanna turn the TV off and enjoy yourself?”

“Remy figured you would say that. And it ain’t puttin’ Remy in the mood,” he retorted.

Much to Rogue’s disappointment, Remy slipped out of her grip and got off the bed. She watched with a bed sheet still covering her nude body as Remy gathered his clothes. He looked as disappointed as her. This was the first time she saw him leave her bed with a disgruntled look on his face.

“Seriously? Watching the news now gives you an attitude?” questioned Rogue, “You’re usually so light-hearted when disaster strikes.”

“If Remy be overreacting, then you be under-reacting, cherè,” said Remy as he put on his pants and shirt.

“You sound like a new mutant terrorist group doesn’t bother meh.”

“Does it?” he asked her.

“Of course it does! Why wouldn’t it?”

“Maybe the idea of not layin’ around, catching up on class, and having sex bothers you. Maybe the idea of actually being an X-man bothers you.”

“That’s just crazy and comin’ from you, that’s saying something!” said Rogue defensively.

“Is it, cherè? Every time someone else brings up re-joining the institute, you change the subject. I know your list of reasons. You been helping District X with the influx of refugees. You still got some stuff you be talkin’ about with Isaac. That be all well and good a few months ago. Now it’s less like a reason and more like an excuse.”

Rogue wanted to scold the Cajun, but that wouldn’t have made his point any less valid. He wasn’t the first person that brought this up, but hearing it from him left a stronger impact. Everything he said was true. After the Legacy Virus, she stayed in District X and focused on helping Tessa, Bishop, Multiple, and Jubilee clean things up after the Legacy Virus. There was a large influx of mutants from mutant communities all over the world that collapsed. Bringing so many mutants into a limited area brough with all sorts of complications, but most of those complications didn’t require her strength and flight abilities to resolve.

She remained silent as Remy put on his shoes and trench coat. As much as she enjoyed his visits, they had been avoiding the most obvious issue. District X was stable now and she had too few reasons for being here. She never officially quit the X-men and she still saw herself as an X-man. Her reluctance to rejoin them was quite telling.

“Don’t be taking this the wrong way, Rogue. You know Remy still loves you, non?” said the Cajun upon tying his shoes.

“Ah know. Ah love you too, Remy. We’ve demonstrated that many times in bed together,” she sighed, “Ah just…”

“I know. Being in control changes everything, cherè. It makes some things easier. Problem is some things ain’t supposed to be easy. Everything that’s worth having involves a challenge. You usually real good about rising to a challenge, especially when the chips be stacked against you. Well now you been dealt a better hand. Don’t be afraid to bet big.”

I have X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation all planned out. I have every intention of seeing it through to the end. But as I've previously announced, updates will not be as regular. I worked long and hard to make sure that previous volumes of X-men Supreme were updated on a biweekly schedule. Between a lack of feedback and the emergence of other projects, I'm going to have to change that schedule. Now I don't intend for X-men Supreme to be subject to the same delays as Secret Wars. But moving forward, I will be updating less regularly.

However, that can change. If feedback for X-men Supreme grows, then I will consider resuming biweekly updates. That decision will be based solely on the extent of the feedback I get. As always, I strongly encourage everyone to take the time to review. Either post your comments in the issue or contact me directly. I have gotten some wonderful feedback, but it's sporadic and limited. I want to keep making X-men Supreme awesome. And I can't do that without consistent feedback. So please let me know so we can both make this fanfiction series as awesome as it can be. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Work/Life (Im)balance: Batgirl #45

The following is my review of Batgirl #45, which was posted on

When it comes to work/life balance, too many people see it as an either/or proposition. You work for 30 hours a day, toiling endlessly in the reckless pursuit of advancing a career that may or may not have room to advance. Or you can work with the same spirit as a Dilbert cartoon, seeing it only as a chore that gets in the way of whatever your true interests might be. There's a vast gray area in which most people operate, but it's also an area that is ill-suited for Batman and others like him.

In that sense, Barbara Gordon makes the most concerted effort of the Batman family to balance work and life. She doesn't dedicate three-fourths of her day to living in a cave, analyzing crime patterns, and endlessly debating with Superman. She actually tries to have a functioning personal life in addition to being Batgirl. She's a college student now, trying to live off a diet of lattes and Ramen Noodle while fighting crime. For the most part, Barbara has managed to avoid having the kind of nervous breakdown that most ordinary college students have during midterms. But like tuition hikes and overpriced textbooks, there are bound to be complications.

These complications in Barbara Gordona's life, both in and out of the mask, have been slowly developing. Batgirl #45 attempts to accelerate that development. While the pace isn't going to be hazardous to anyone with a heart condition, it at least develops the parts of her life that usually get overlooked. It might not be as exciting as a fist-fight with the Joker, but it's still refreshing and meaningful.

There's no crime to fight in this issue. This isn't a case of Peter Parker getting a pay cut because the Hobgoblin attacked him on the way to work. The most pressing concern for Barbara and Batgirl in this issue is her friend Alysia's wedding. On the surface, it's mundane by Batman standards. Unless the wedding is subject to a random attack by Clayface, it doesn't seem like an event worth exploring. But Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher make the case that there is something compelling here.

Usually, when there's a wedding involving superheroes, it's only compelling if it coincides with a disaster that makes the first two Hangover movies look tame by comparison. We've come to expect the life of a superhero to make major events like weddings a magnet for super-villains, assassins, and the occasional killer robot. None of those threats show up at Alysia's wedding, but someone disruptive does enter the picture. And his name is Dick Grayson.

This is where the tone of the Batgirl series as a whole sets itself apart. Rather than put Barbara in a situation where her superhero life gets in the way of her personal life, Stewart and Fletcher blur the line between those lives. They put Barbara in a position where she has to deal with someone who was and still is part of both lives. It's an awkward position to be in, even when it's not on a friend's wedding day. But it's that awkwardness that makes it compelling and not in the same mold as a typical Jennifer Anniston movie.

While there's no major crime for Batgirl to fight, she does don her costume. She does end up chasing Dick in a way that helps them relive their history together. It's a history where major complications have kept them from developing a serious relationship. And Dick being "dead" is hardly the biggest complication.

Throughout the course of the Batgirl series, Barbara has focused on moving forward with her life. She's established herself as both a superhero and a college student. She even managed to find time to make new friends, some of which act as de-facto allies to the Batman family. She also has a new love interest in her life in Luke Fox. These are the new facets of her life. Dick Grayson is one of those old facets. He's not one of those bitter exes that would post embarrassing pictures on Facebook, but he makes clear that he still has an impact on Barbara.

It's this impact that gives the issue meaning. It provides a unique context to the progress Barbara has made with her life at this point. She's trying to move forward, but her behavior around Dick Grayson shows that a part of her is still clinging to the past. And it's not just because Dick Grayson has a way of making women weak in the knees. He and Barbara have a much richer history than Barbara and Luke Fox. And it's not like that history became tainted by a deal with Mephisto. It still has emotional weight.

In some ways, that's the biggest shortcoming of Batgirl #45. As meaningful as the interaction is between Barbara and Dick, there's never a sense of closure. It has emotional depth, but it doesn't give the impression that anything has changed. Barbara and Dick still can't be part of each other's lives. There's still an emotional connection between them. But beyond that, there isn't much progress in terms of character development. And what little there is certainly doesn't give the impression that Barbara Gordon and Luke Wilson will be DC's next power couple.

As a part of the story in Barbara Gordon's new life, this issue acts as a meaningful connection between the past and present. It lacks action in that this is one of those rare comic book weddings where the ceremony isn't ruined by a super-villain, alien invasion, or something of the sort. It's not meant to be the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones.

As such, it's not going to generate a lot of excitement or a lot of outrage from One Million Moms. It tries to do something different. It succeeds in part, but lacks the impact to make it feel complete. It's still another step forward in this new life for Barbara Gordon. The fact that she could make it through her friend's wedding without someone being abducted puts her way ahead of Peter Parker.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Announcement: THREE New eBooks by Jack Fisher

Today, I have another important announcement to make. No, I’m not shutting down this blog. No, I’m not going to stop Nuff Said just before Uncanny X-men #600 and Extraordinary X-men #1 come out. I’m that cruel. Instead, I want to announce something that I don’t talk about much on this blog, but is every bit as important to me.

In addition to writing awesome reviews and kick-ass X-men fanfiction, I’m actually an aspiring writer. I really do want to make this more than just something I do to be more awesome than I already am. I want to make a living with my writing skills. I’m not talking about a Stephen King or Chris Claremont type living, but a living none-the-less. And while I’ve been working on X-men Supreme, I’ve found time to work on other projects.

However, like Jennifer Lawrence’s panties, publishing is a hard business to get into. I’ve been submitting letters and manuscripts to dozens of publishers and agents. To date, I haven’t gotten any major offers. It’s become clear that some of my manuscripts are just gathering digital dust at this point. So while I work on more, it doesn’t make sense to just let them rot.

Enter Lulu, a self-publishing service that I’ve started using. This company is not a publisher like Marvel or Random House. They’re basically a self-publishing service. They’ll publish your manuscript through their channels in exchange for a cut of the sales profits. And after exploring this service, I decided to make use of it.

So with that, I’m proud to announce the publication of three books:

Behind the endless fantasy that is Las Vegas, Shawn Stevens makes a comfortable living as John Steadman, a professional gigolo and male stripper. Jane Jefferies makes a similar living as Charlotte, a stripper and high-class escort. For years, they’ve navigated an illicit criminal underworld run by Las Vegas’s unofficial queen of vice, Felicity Ramero. Within this world, they’ve fulfilled many fantasies while maintaining the lowest possible profile. But over time, they have become jaded and disillusioned with this world.

Then, on one fateful night, Shawn and Jane come in a moment of reckless passion at Club Oasis, the most popular club on the Strip. However, their passion does not go unnoticed by Felicity, who just happens to be in need of a couple of patsies to take the fall for her many crimes. In the face of increasing pressure from the law, she plans to blackmail Shawn and Jane by having them play a part in an elaborately decadent fantasy.

In a not-so-distant future, Reverend Simon Grant inspired a new generation of repression to oppose decades of moral liberalization. The two main characters of this book, Peter Watson and Scarlett Hunter, embody that struggle. They are two of the most successful Hollywood stars who fell in love on a movie set. They come from humble roots and do their best to embody the morals of restraint and chastity that they were taught. However, their passion for each other proves to be too strong.

Because of this passion, Reverend Grant invites them to a secluded island in the Mediterranean called Sadfur Island. This island is reserved only for men and women of great influence, but it’s no luxurious getaway. While on this island, Peter and Scarlett are exposed to a world of harsh truths that expose the struggle between repression and expression for the lie it is. In doing so they’re opened to a world of decadence that will test their bodies, souls, and hearts. Can their love survive such upheaval?

Emily Masters hates Christmas. She has hated it ever since the fateful Christmas Eve where her best friend, Jennifer Graves, stole the love of her life, Sean Sanders. And it only seems to get worse every year. She has failed in love, school, and work while Jennifer and Sean are now engaged to be married. In a desperate effort to reconcile, Jennifer and Sean attempt to help heal Emily’s wounded Christmas spirit. And in the process, things get very emotional and very heated.

If you’re a fan of X-men Supreme or my various side-projects, then I’m confident you’ll enjoy these. They’re not expensive. In fact, the ebook versions are actually cheaper than the $3.99 you’ll pay for most comics. These three books will join Skin Deep and Child of Orcus as my growing list of publications. And make no mistake. I have plenty more in the works.

So if you wish to support this blog and my various writing endeavors, please check out these books and tell me what you think. I’m always open to feedback. I’m always happy to hear from readers and discuss the merits of a story, be it X-men or anything else. I hope to publish more moving forward. I still have several manuscripts that haven’t been published. And I want to keep putting my material out there. It’s the only way I can add to my overall awesome. Nuff said!

Age of Apocalypse #5: Nuff said!

Let’s face it. A future where Apocalypse rules the world in ways Kim Jong Un jerks off to sucks. A future where Apocalypse rules the world and Dr. Doom is a god a double orgy gangbang of suck. It’s nowhere nearly as sexy as it sounds, but it has been as bleak and as dire as any 90s grunge band as a tie-in with Secret Wars. With the release of a new super virus, it’s poised to get dark in ways that Kurt Cobain himself couldn’t match. But can Age of Apocalypse #5 do this and still be awesome without this being 1996? I’m here to get drunk, get stoned, and find out, although not necessarily in that order.

So Apocalypse is dead, a doomsday virus has been unleashed, and they’re already living in a world where Doom is god. This is basically a trifecta of “We’re fucked!” and in an already apocalyptic future. On top of that, Dr. Nemesis managed to set it up so that he becomes the grossly, overpowered overlord of this shit stain of a future. He’s not as imposing as Apocalypse and I doubt Oscar Isaac could make him compelling, but he’s kicking plenty of ass. The X-men, Apocalypse’s Horsemen, what’s left of humanity…they don’t stand a chance.

It still makes for a nice, flashy clash the likes of which would be right at home in the 90s, most likely in an MC Hammer music video. Not much explanation is given to Dr. Nemesis’ powers, but not much is really needed. He’s been plotting since the beginning of the series. That plot just finally paid off. I’d say he deserves to flex his nuts.

And flex them he does. He flexes them in ways that even Apocalypse would respect. At one point, he just lets every one of the X-men and Apocalypse’s henchmen shoot him point blank. All they succeed in doing is giving him a minor itch. It’s like Rocky Balboa giving Ivan Drago a free punch. It’s pretty damn badass and that’s something I don’t think anyone would ever say about Dr. Nemesis…that and he would make a good babysitter.

Dr. Nemesis is kicking all this ass just as the virus that killed Apocalypse is starting to spread. And if it killed someone like Apocalypse, what hope do they have? Even Dr. Oz wouldn’t be able to pitch some bullshit treatment that anyone would take seriously.

The X-men still come up with a plan. Dark Beast is going to try and concoct a cure back at Sinister’s lab. Simple solution, right? Fuck no. Dr. Nemesis shows up and flat out off’s Dark Beast the same way I off a half-empty can of beer. It’s cold, but it’s oddly appropriate. That and seeing Beast get pwned does give me somewhat of a boner these days. Not gonna deny that.

So what’s Plan B? Or is it Plan F at this point? It involves Emma Frost soaking in all the knowledge from Dark Beast’s mind. I didn’t know she could do that, but that shit sure would’ve come in handy during mid-terms during my junior year. She and Blink decide they’re not going to fuck with a guy who just killed Dark Beast without giving him a chance to blame Cyclops. Probably a smart thing to do.

But Dr. Nemesis isn’t done just yet. He’s not content just offing annoying characters that haven’t been likable since the last Harry Potter movie came out. He actually wants to challenge Doom. And given the extent to which he’s flexed his nuts, I think he deserves a shot. He’ll get his balls busted, but for killing Dark Beast he still deserves a shot.

It’s still probably a good idea to keep Dr. Nemesis from pissing Dr. Doom off when he’s playing the game in god mode, but there’s still the matter of the killer plague. Emma Frost has Dark Beast’s brilliance, but she needs more than that to fix this mess. And wouldn’t you know it? The key happens to be Jean Grey, the woman who can tie a ruffle Emma’s obscenely revealing panties no matter which universe she’s in. This was already in the works going back several issues. Now these two women have to help each other. There’s something oddly appropriate about that. Pretty sure I can jerk off to it later tonight if I’m in the mood.

There is one minor problem, as if there are any minor problems in an apocalyptic future. Getting Jean Grey to save the day involves restoring the power that Dr. Nemesis took, courtesy of a lobotomy. And that involves the kind of brain surgery that would make even Dr. House sick. Needless to say, Cyclops and his brothers aren’t on board with this, given their role in how she ended up lobotomized in the first place. But Sinister shows up to convince them that this is a good idea. How he does this, I’m not sure. Just be glad this guy isn’t a used car salesman because I’d be broke as fuck.

The surgery begins. And it’s up to the rest of the X-men to keep Dr. Nemesis occupied. So they have to fight a grossly overpowered douche-bag in an apocalyptic world while Sinister does brain surgery on Emma Frost and Jean Grey? It couldn’t be more unreasonable without asking them to make a Fantastic Four movie that doesn’t suck. But fuck, they do it. They take on Dr. Nemesis in another flashy, epic battle that should have those craving 90s nostalgia reaching for their flannel and roller blades. Wolverine, Cyclops, Havok, Sabretooth…hell, everybody gets in on the action.

There’s even a touch of drama thrown into the mix, which you won’t find in an MC Hammer music video. This battle does have casualties, one of them being Burner. It’s not as callous as Beast, then again Burner isn’t an unrepentant asshole who jerks off to thoughts of Cyclops getting shot in the head. It’s not just epic. It has a genuine impact and fuck if that isn’t satisfying.

But you know what’s even more satisfying? How about Jean Grey waking up, her brain intact again, and ready to kick the everloving shit out of Dr. Nemesis. And she does it with the fucking Phoenix Force for good measure. Finally, there’s a ray of hope for the X-men and the endangered human population. Sure, the Phoenix has a knack for eating planets and shitting out smoldering ashes, but is it really worse than living in a world ruled by Dr. Doom or Dr. Nemesis? I say fuck no.

And since being emboldened and repowered wasn’t enough, Jean decides to use the Phoenix Force to cure the plague rather than take a cosmic shit on the world. I don’t think anyone would’ve blamed her if she decided this shitty apocalyptic future wasn’t worth saving, but for once she’s able to make the right choice while being jacked up on Phoenix power. That’s like me getting shit-faced drunk and making the right decision to call a designated driver. Some might complain that this is just some contrived, Deus Ex Machina shit to end the story. To those people, I say go back to jerking off your cat and snorting burnt Doritos. Jean Grey saving the day after a battle like this is pretty damn satisfying.

That’s not to say fixing all this shit didn’t come at a cost. It did. By curing the virus, Jean removed the X-gene. Now I know some will start bitching and moaning that she did exactly what Wanda did with House of M. Again, I say that’s bullshit for two reasons:

One, Jean did this to save mutants and humans from extinction.

Two, she didn’t lose her shit like Wanda did.

So it actually makes for a happy, satisfying ending…in Age of fucking Apocalypse no less. No, I’m not THAT high. I’m serious. It makes for a happy, satisfying ending. I’m almost tempted to sober up to make sure I haven’t suffered severe brain damage, but when an ending is satisfying, why bother? it awesome?

Well, it’s a happy ending in an apocalyptic world, one that completely defied expectations. It’s shocking, but in the most pleasant way possible. If it were a song, Kurt Cobain never would’ve written it. Sure, mutants were de-powered, but for once it wasn’t because the Scarlet Witch lost her shit. And the only ones that died were Dark Beast, Sinister, and Apocalypse. Honestly, I can live with that. It had heart. It had family elements. It had Emma Frost NOT being a total bitch. It had Jean Grey doing something OTHER than dying. It was dramatic, eventful, and fun. When was the last time anyone could say that about an apocalyptic future that didn’t involve Linda Hamilton getting naked?

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Monday, October 26, 2015

Covert Subversion: Darth Vader #11

The following is my review of Darth Vader #11, which was posted on

Most people learn about dramatic irony in high school English classes, albeit only by reading novels and plays that no teenager has willingly read since the 1830s. It's an important storytelling tool. It puts the reader in a position to understand the context of a story in a way that isn't possible for any of the characters, unless one of those characters happens to be Deadpool. By knowing what the characters can't know or having already seen the sequel, the story takes on a new meaning. It can either enhance the subsequent stories or make them more needlessly complicated than the plot of the last Matrix movie.

Kieron Gillen has been attempting to accomplish the former and avoid the latter in Marvel's Darth Vader series. And by nearly every measure, he has succeeded. In fact, he's succeeded in measures nobody has expected.

He doesn't expect the readers to rely the events of the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, two movies that have been effectively spoiled since 1983. He actually attempts to build a comprehensive story about Darth Vader in wake of the Death Star's destruction. And he does it in a way that somehow makes Vader even more menacing. Even James Earl Jones' voice might not do justice to the persona he's crafted.

More than anything else, Kieron Gillen's work on Darth Vader has crafted a story that laid the seeds for the events in Return of the Jedi. He succeeds where Revenge of the Sith failed so spectacularly in that he's made Darth Vader more than the emperor's puppet. He's shown that unlike the character Hayden Christiansen played in the movies, Darth Vader is capable of following his own agenda. And he's been doing so with help from a cast of surprisingly compelling characters in Aphra, BT, and Triple-0. But in Darth Vader #11, this agenda begins to clash with that of the emperor. Something has to give and it can't give until Luke loses a hand and Han takes a carbonite bath.

This means the story has to unfold in a careful, tactful way. That's not easy to do in a story that involves Darth Vader, an army of Stormtroopers, and a less-than-ethical archaeologist like Aphra. But somehow, Gillen manages to navigate this fragile narrative with the skill of a brain surgeon. He's very careful to mix in details that will later show up in the Empire Strikes Back, but not to the point that it would trigger another Han/Greedo situation.

This kind of attention to detail is refreshing in an era where continuity gaffs and retcons happen every other Thursday. Gillen channels his inner Stanley Kubrick, making sure every major and minor detail is addressed. And he does this without creepy twins or Jack Nicholson. Even with all these details, he still finds a way to include battles involving Stormtroopers, blasters, and light sabres. With no gungans or pod racers in sight, classic Star Wars fans will find plenty to enjoy.

But it's the use of dramatic irony that makes this story more satisfying than just seeing Stormtroopers get shot. This is where Thanoth, Darth Vader's new nemesis/ally, shows more competence than the average Imperial officer. Throughout this series, Vader has been subverting the Emperor, pursuing his own private agenda with Aphra. Being Darth Vader, he's made it look as easy as outsmarting Homer Simpson at times. That's no longer the case with Thanoth.

He's not Boba Fett. He's not Jar Jar Binks either. Thanoth is a Star Wars anomaly of sorts in that he's actually a competent bureaucrat. He's not content to just check out at five o'clock and count down the days until he can collect a pension. He sensed there was something not right about Darth Vader's latest covert mission and he's been investigating it, much to Vader's chagrin. It creates one of those situations where you know both of them can succeed without one of them being screwed over.

This marks the first time in this series where Darth Vader has to covertly help Aphra. He's only partially successful. This makes for some powerful moments where Vader is genuinely torn between his private agenda and his loyalty to the Emperor. Were he not Darth Vader, he might get nervous like Lance Armstrong during a drug test.

But the fact remains he is Darth Vader. He is the menacing Sith Lord that's destined to chop off Luke's hand and kill the Emperor. And his ability to pull this off under the watchful eye of someone like Thanoth is most impressive, even by Darth Vader's standards. He's very careful and covert in his ability to manipulate the battle. So he's not just a menacing Sith Lord with a light sabre. He's a menacing Sith Lord that knows how to use deception and tact.

These aren't just traits that neither Hayden Christiansen nor James Earl Jones can hope to capture. These are traits that add a complexity to Darth Vader that really didn't show until Return of the Jedi. The fact that Darth Vader is willing to go to such lengths to deceive the Emperor makes it more believable that he will eventually turn on him. Sure, it still takes the near-murder of his son, but it helps it feel less forced.

Darth Vader #11 acts as a culmination of sorts where Darth Vader's agenda finally clashes with that of the Emperor. It's a clash that's not quite on the level as the Battle of Hoth or the Battle of Endor. No planets blow up and nobody gets a hand chopped off. But it has all the necessary details. It conveys a refined, concise narrative that fits perfectly into the existing Star Wars mythos. And most importantly, it does this without gungans or Trade Federations.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Friday, October 23, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue 5.1: Deceptive Revelation is LIVE!

It’s almost here. The next volume of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is upon us. The X-men are about to enter a world that was devastated by the Legacy Virus. This is a world where humans and mutants alike are vulnerable. It’s only a matter of time before someone exploits this situation. It’s bound to put the X-men in many difficult situations. It comes at a time when characters like Wolverine, Mystique, Rogue, and Professor Charles Xavier are going through major upheavals. But before they enter that world, it’s important for that world to have some context.

That’s exactly what X-men Supreme Issue 5.1: Deceptive Revelation is going to provide. This is a story that takes place before the conflict in X-men Supreme Volume 6 starts to unfold. It’s the calm before the storm. The world is recovering and so is Mystique. After the revelations in Dark Legacy, she’s deeply torn about her identity. She now knows that before she was Raven Darkholme, she was Rose. She was Wolverine’s lover and a former member of Team X. She’s lived her whole life under false identities. How does she live life by having one of her own?

It’s a side to Mystique that has not been explored in the X-men comics. For the past decade, Mystique has only ever functioned as an unapologetic killer and sociopath whose only purpose is to frustrate the X-men. I didn’t want that for her in X-men Supreme. That’s why I focused heavily on Mystique’s relationship to Nightcrawler and Rogue, as I’ve shown in arcs like Uprising and Family and Fiends. But I didn’t just want to stop at her kids. I wanted Mystique to have other motivations. I also wanted her to have an actual backstory, something Marvel probably won’t provide anytime soon.

That’s what I hope will help set the X-men Supreme fanfiction series apart for X-men fans. In this series, Mystique is more than just a shape-shifting sociopath. Like the wounded world around her, she’s going to be recovering from the damage done by the Legacy Virus. In doing so, she’ll reveal the kind of character she’ll be moving forward in X-men Supreme. It’s an important story and an important transition at this stage in X-men Supreme. And I’m proud to offer it to Mystique fans and X-men fans of all kinds.

X-men Supreme Issue 5.1: Deceptive Revelation

The stage is now set. Mystique has a new identity. At the same time, a new threat is emerging that is poised to strike a vulnerable world. Both Mystique and the X-men are set to face a very different kind of challenge. This isn’t Magneto. This isn’t Sinister. This isn’t even Bolivar Trask and his Sentinels. This is a dangerous new threat that’s going to complicate the X-men’s mission in ways they’ve never trained for.

While I’m intent on expanding this story, please keep in mind that updates will not be as regular anymore. The decline in feedback has made it difficult to keep to the biweekly schedule I’ve kept since X-men Supreme began. I’ll announce the schedule as I make preparations. But that schedule can change if feedback significantly increases. I’m always open to it. Either submit it to me directly via email or post your comments directly in the issue. Either way is fine. I hope X-men Supreme continues to grow and flourish. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Invincible Iron Man #2: Nuff Said!

It's a new era for Tony Stark. If by new you mean he's got another new suit of armor and he's making yet another attempt to be less of an arrogant prick. By that standard, it's a new era for Tony Stark every other week. But this time, he really, really means it. Sure, he's ditched Pepper Potts and alienated damn near every friend he's ever had. He can still cry himself to sleep on top of a pile of money while banging supermodels.

But Brian Michael Bendis is doing his best to make this version of Tony Stark as charismatic and likable as Robert Downey Jr. is in real life. It's a tall, if not impossible order. He laid the foundation in Invincible Iron Man #1. He tries to build on that foundation in Invincible Iron Man #2. Does anything he build last longer than freshly painted wall in Downtown Detroit? That's what I hope to determine and I hope to do so without sobering up.

So now Dr. Doom is no longer a god. He’s no longer wearing that badass armor and cape. He now looks like a model for Jos. A Bank. And what’s Iron Man’s first instinct? Shoot him. Can’t say I blame him. Can’t say I’m surprised that Doom blocked it without breaking a sweat, courtesy of magic. He may look like an extra on Law and Order, but he’s still Doom. And he’s remarkably calm about it. He’s gone from looking evil and imposing to looking refined and well-dressed, but still evil as fuck. I say it’s an upgrade.

Tony Starks’ next instinct…attack with the Hulk Buster. All he does is ruffle up Doom’s die. Now, Tony just looks foolish and it’s entertaining as fuck. Sure, he doesn’t shoot a cosmic entity with a giant gun, but he might as well be that kid in gym class who pissed his gym shorts one day. Not gonna lie. I enjoyed this.

There’s still the matter of why the fuck Tony came to Latveria in the first place. Short of an orgy involving Emma Frost clones, there’s not much that could draw him to Latveria. But Madam Masque apparently is kicking up some shit and Doom doesn’t want to get any stains on his fancy new suit. Can’t say I blame him.

We don’t really learn much. And Tony retains what’s left of his dignity by not attacking Doom again. He opts to follow him into the ruins of his castle. I guess Doom takes pity on those who make an ass of themselves. He says Madam Masque is after some dangerous artifacts. They’re the kind that can tear the world a new asshole and on a planet that routinely attracts cosmic forces, alien invasions, and Thanos, it already has enough as it stands. So he’s going to help Iron Man. I guess if anyone is going to tear new assholes into this world at this point, it’s going to be Doom and he’s doing to do it in a nice suit, damn it.

Enter the Wand of Watoomb. It sounds the Voodoo name I would give to my penis. It’s a painfully generic mystical artifact. So of course Doom has one and being the nice sociopath he is, he lends it to Tony. But there’s another and that’s the one Madam Masque is after. And he trusts Tony to take care of it. That or he’s just expecting Tony to make an ass of himself again. Either way, Doom wins.

There’s a lot more talking. We don’t learn much else other than Madam Masque stole a fake wand and Dr. Doom isn’t in a hurry to rule over Latveria again. Hell, he was a god for a while. After that, ruling over a country would be like going from drinking imported vodka to expired light beer. We really have no fucking clue what Doom is going to do now other than look good in overpriced suits. He seems content to let his country fuck itself while he watches Tony Stark make an ass of himself.

Whatever his reasons, he makes sure Tony Stark leaves with a deflated scrotum. When Tony gets all cranky and paranoid around Doom, as most reasonable people in the Marvel universe are one to do, Doom just shrugs his shoulders and teleports him across the world and in a fucking zoo no less. And he does it without breaking a sweat and with more swag than three Kanye West albums.

Not gonna lie. I enjoyed that too. And now I kind of want to read a comic about this new Dr. Doom. Marvel, if you’re reading this, get on it before Fox makes another shitty movie about it!

Finally, we get to Madam Masque. So far, she’s done nothing we haven’t seen in a shitty Robert De Niro movie, stealing fancy shit and shooting people along the way. She finds the woman who gave her the location of the Wand of Watoomb, says his info was bullshit, and she shoots her and the guy who thought he would be getting his dick wet tonight. I feel bad for the guy’s dick, but not much else.

Since there are no more people left to kill, Madam Masque decides to shower. It’s barely as sexy as it sounds. Then, being the kind of guy who sneaks up on naked women, Iron Man shows up in the room. He’s not in his armor. He’s just there to ask questions. Madam Masque is understandably pissed and wearing just a robe no less. I’m sure Tony has confronted many pissed off, minimally clothed women in his life so there’s really nothing special about this scene. Angry, half-naked women as common as hangovers, minus the fun of being drunk.

They barely talk about the people she just shot. Tony tries to ask questions as calmly as he can in front of a half-naked women. Madam Masque responds with generic bitchiness. She claims to know nothing about what’s going on with Dr. Doom. For some reason, Tony thinks this is terrifying because it means Doom might actually have told him the truth. And that’s more horrifying than Thanos on crystal meth. Can’t say I disagree. But beyond the bitching and confusion, there’s nothing all that exciting other than a beautiful woman in a bathrobe.

Eventually, Madam Masque gets pissed off enough to attack. It doesn’t work. Turns out Tony’s new armor has stealth mode because of course he does. He’s Tony fucking Stark. If he can build a giant gun to shoot the Phoenix Force, he can build a stealth suit to protect him from a pissed off, half-naked woman.

The problem is this pissed off half-naked woman has another trick. After failing to land her first punch, she does…something. It could be magic. It could be some fancy new weapon. I really have no fucking clue other than it big, flashy, and not in a Transformer movie. It’s just a generic spectacle, which pretty much sums up this comic in a nutshell…well, that and Dr. Doom looks damn good in a suit. it awesome?

Well, the new, less menacing version of Dr. Doom is pretty damn awesome. That's for sure. Everything else? Well, I'd need a more than a few joints to answer that question fully. For the sake of my lungs, I'll offer a partial answer. Yes, there is a fair amount of awesome in Invincible Iron Man #2. Granted, not a whole lot happens other than Tony Stark making an ass of himself and while he's sober no less. But there's still a story worth telling here involving Madam Masque. There are still too many blanks and nobody's going to get a raging boner waiting for the next issue. But still, it's Tony Stark making an ass of himself. Like the Indianapolis Colts special teams fuck-up last Sunday Night, some shit never gets old.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer (Official)

Every so often, there comes a story for which I don't need alcohol, weed, or any exotic substances to sufficiently convey the awesome it displays. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's a thing of beauty. So with that in mind, I share the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Nuff said!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Growth and Regression: Amazing Spider-Man #1

The following is my review of Amazing Spider-Man #1, which was posted on

Certain characters have certain characteristics that make them iconic, lovable, or at the very least acceptable. On the surface, characters like Batman or the Punisher would be diagnosed with serious personality disorders in the real world. But within their respective narratives, they're portrayed in a way that makes them respectable despite whatever disorder they might have. Whereas they would need serious counseling and medication in the real world, they're able to channel their problems into a personal journey. And in some respects, that might be healthier, given the side-effects of certain medications.

The personal journey of Peter Parker isn't nearly as dark or distressing as Batman or the Punisher. It's not all rainbows and ponies either, given how he's lost loved ones and endured trauma that few therapists are equipped to treat. But his journey has always been conveyed in a way that feels more relatable than most characters. He's not an alien from a distant world. He's not an ex-marine or eccentric billionaire. He's a kid from Queens. If he were in a high school yearbook, he'd be voted the most likely to be completely forgotten the day after graduation.

But over the past few years, that reliability has been undermined and this time it's not because he married a supermodel. He's gone from a no-name kid from Queens to an aspiring Tony Stark wannabe. He has his own company. He has a doctorate. The amount of people who can make that claim these days could probably fill Yankee's Stadium and still have enough room left for an open bar and buffet.

Now, in Amazing Spider-Man #1, the journey of Peter Parker goes in a bold new direction. But does this direction remain true to the narrative that makes Peter Parker respectable? The answer isn't a clear yes or no. However, there are clear undertones that attempt to keep this new direction from being too bold. And in some respects, this is a major crack in the foundation of Spider-Man. It hasn't caused the whole building to crumble, but it does give the impression that it bribed the building code inspector.

That's not to say the foundation doesn't support an engaging story. It's a story that involves an oversized car that can climb walls. And if the success of the Fast and the Furious movies has taught us anything, it's that obscenely overpowered cars are awesome. Peter Parker might not Vin Disel, but he does finally put that genius IQ to work for him and he's able to do it without losing any hair. That alone is an accomplishment.

It feels like one of those stories that shouldn't have taken this long to develop. Like a state that only recently revoked laws that banned short skirts, it feels like Peter should've done something like this earlier. A big part of his character is that he's a nerd with an above-average IQ. It's because of that IQ that he was able to make the kind of artificial webbing that DARPA probably spent $10 billion trying to develop. That kind of resourcefulness gives him all the traits he needs to be a successful businessman. Elon Musk is proof enough of that.

But however long it took, Peter never gives the impression that he's all that comfortable with this role. His definitely not Tony Stark in that he carries himself with the kind of Kanye West swagger that would lead him to spend six figures on a toilet seat. He does still come off as the kind of humble everyman that makes Spider-Man so iconic. While this is admirable, it's also the greatest flaw in the narrative.

A good chunk of the story is spent showing how Peter runs his company. He basically tries to run it in the way Bernie Sanders thinks all companies should be run. He doesn't pay himself an obscene salary. He tries to put himself on the same levels as his workers. And he tries to be charitable in a way that the Bill Gates of the world would approve of. But it's the Bruce Waynes and Tony Starks of the world who would sense something amiss.

The readers already know what's amiss and they don't need Bruce Wayne's detective skills to figure it out. Peter Parker, for all his brilliance and humility, doesn't give the impression that he knows what he's doing. In the same way he basically fell into his powers, he fell into this company as well. He didn't create it out of a garage like Steve Jobs. Otto Octavious created it. He just inherited it when the whole mind-swap story finally regressed. And because of this, there's this underlying sentiment that Peter will regress.

This is what makes it hard to get overly excited about the bold new direction of Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man #1. There's this sense that because Peter doesn't know what he's doing, he's going to screw it up somehow and regress back to the guy who lives with his Aunt and works a lousy job for J. Jonah Jameson. He calls it Parker Luck, but it's really a flaw in system that makes it hard to get attached to any of these new developments.

It's played out many times throughout Spider-Man's history. Gets a really nice job that pulls him out of poverty? He screws it up. Gets a really nice girl? He screws that up too. Gets his own company that somebody else created for him? He hasn't screwed that up yet, but there's a distinct sense that he will. The ending already lays the foundation in that a familiar enemy re-emerges who is bound to make screwing up that much easier.

For the moment, Peter Parker is in a new position with a new narrative. There are elements in Amazing Spider-Man #1 that give that narrative plenty of promise. At the same time, it feels more like a gimmick in the same mold of Superior Spider-Man. There's still a sense that at some point, Peter Parker will snap back to being that everyman who hasn't progressed beyond the stage of an indebted college student. And as relatable as that is, there comes a point where someone stuck in that stage isn't all that amazing.

Final Score: 5 out of 10

Friday, October 16, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue 5.1: Deceptive Revelation Announcement and PREVIEW!

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing. The air is getting colder. Winter is coming. It’s oddly appropriate for the current status of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. The events of the Dark Legacy arc have had a cold, chilling effect on the X-men’s world. When Sinister unleashed the Legacy Virus, he unleashed a devastating force that swept across every corner of the world. It didn’t just affect mutants either. Humans suffered as well. It didn’t matter who they were, what genes they had, or how they felt about human/mutant conflict. They were all equally vulnerable to Sinister’s wrath. The X-men’s own John “Thunderbird” Proudstar and even President Kelly’s own son succumbed.

It’s a dangerous world for the X-men. And it’s a world that the next entry of X-men Supreme will explore in greater detail. But before I begin the next phase of this fanfiction series, I feel as though it needs a transition of sorts. A few years ago, Marvel Comics began a new initiative called point one. This initiative created comics that were meant to be transition comics or jumping on points for new readers. It’s an initiative that I feel has a lot of merit, so much so that I’ve utilized it myself with special issues like X-men Supreme Issue 0: Revelation X and X-men Supreme Issue 3.1: Sin City Shenanigans. I didn’t do an issue after X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear because I didn’t feel one was necessary for the progression of this fanfiction series. But after the events of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths, I think it’s warranted.

So with that, I’m officially announcing X-men Supreme Issue 5.1: Deceptive Revelation. This issue will act as a transition issue that should help get readers up to speed on the current situation within this fanfiction series. It officially takes place between the final issue of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths and the first issue of X-men Supreme Volume 6, which I’ve yet to announce. It’s a simple, self-contained story that should help set the tone for what X-men Supreme is going to become. And the character who will guide that story is Mystique.

I’ve already given Mystique some significant insight with her entry in X-men Supreme Reflections. And after the shocking revelations that occurred in X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths, I think she’s the most appropriate character with which to tell this story. Her life has been completely turned upside down and inside out after the events of the Dark Legacy arc. She just recently learned that before she was Mystique, she was Rose, a former lover of Wolverine. She died at the hands of what would become Weapon X, but Sinister brought her back to life. She didn’t remember her previous life though. She only remembered the alias she went by, Raven Darkholme.

Now, as she adjusts to these revelations, Mystique will find herself in an unfamiliar situation in X-men Supreme. For the first time in her existence, she has a life she can call her own. She has an identity that she didn’t have to steal. What does this mean for her? What will it mean for the X-men, Wolverine, and the future of this fanfiction series? New threats are already emerging and the world is vulnerable for humans and mutants alike. Mystique will find herself at the forefront of this new conflict and it begins with X-men Supreme Issue 5.1: Deceptive Revelation. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of the kinds of revelations that our favorite shape shifter will be dealing with.

The shape shifter was actually in a good mood. This outing had been therapeutic. Being Rose felt right. All that time she spent agonizing over who she was didn’t matter as much. Just spending some time as her true self helped put everything in perspective.

She made a stop by the food court for a quick bite before continuing. She bought herself a burrito and a drink from one of the concession stands. It was around lunch so it was pretty crowded. She looked around to see where she would go next. Just going wherever fate took her seemed to be working so far. There was little reason why she shouldn’t continue.

Then as she stood near the south end of the food court, a strange feeling came over her. Being a hardened mercenary, she had instincts that were hard to match. Those instincts were telling her that she was being watched. It was a distressing feeling and it wasn’t because of the potential danger.

“No…not now,” she groaned to herself, “Not when my day has been going so well!”

Within moments of saying these words, a figure approached her from behind.

“Mystique…we need to talk,” he said.

When Mystique heard that voice she tensed. She turned around to see a man in street clothes wearing a thick coat. It didn’t take hardened instincts to know that he was packing heat inside. She had not seen him in a long time, yet because of the memories that Sinister revealed she was able to recognize him.

“Christopher Nord?” she said.

“I have a message to deliver,” said Agent Zero.

“A message, you say? Why is my first instinct to say return to sender and fuck off?”

Agent Zero didn’t flinch in the slightest. He was like a machine. When Mystique saw that cold look in his eyes, another round of instincts took over.

In lightning-fast move, she threw her half-finished drink right into Zero’s face. The moment it hit, she struck him with a kick to the gut. This stunned him for a split second. That was all the time Mystique needed to get away and slip into the crowded food court.

“Target is resisting,” he said flatly, not even wiping Mystique’s drink from his face, “Initiating secondary protocol.”

Agent Zero went into action, reaching into his coat and pulling out two Colt 45 pistols. He fired off two shots in Mystique’s direction. The echoes of gunfire reverberated throughout the area, quickly causing panic among the crowded food court.

“Whoa! What was that?!” exclaimed a young mother with two kids.

“Holy shit! That guy has a gun!” yelled an older man standing nearby.

“Must have missed a sale or something!” said a teenage girl.


This sentiment quickly spread and everyone who heard the shots dashed towards the nearest exit. Those operating the food courts took cover and ducked out behind the back. It was pandemonium, the crowds pushing and shoving to get as far away from the danger as possible. Agent Zero used the new clearing to head in Mystique’s direction. The shape shifter hadn’t gotten more than fifteen feet. She was still in his sights and weaving through the tables in the central area.

While Zero pursued her, three mall cops came rushing into the area. As soon as they saw Zero, they drew their weapons and approached him.

“You there! Drop the guns and get your hands in the air!” said one of the officers.

“I must not fail,” said Zero flatly.

With terrified crowds still running around, Zero fired off several well-aimed shots that struck the three mall cops. One was shot through the head and killed instantly. The others were hit in the chest and quickly bled to death. No one was going to get in Zero’s way. When Mystique looked back towards him, he saw her turn his guns in her direction.

“Time to be Raven again!” she grunted.

This one-shot story will act as a prelude of sorts to X-men Supreme Volume 6. As I announced at the end of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths, I won’t be updating as often as I have I the past. Rest assured, I won’t let X-men Supreme be subject to the same delays as Marvel has allowed with Secret Wars and Uncanny X-men #600. The reason I’m limiting these updates is because the lack of feedback and reviews has made it difficult to keep this schedule. I am pursuing other projects and if there isn’t a lot of support for this fanfiction series, I find it hard to justify dedicating as much time to it. I’m still committed to telling the story of X-men Supreme. But for now, it’s going to be more limited.

That can change though. If I get an influx of feedback and reviews, I will reconsider my current update schedule. You can always submit your feedback to me by contacting me directly or posting your comments directly in the issue. Either is fine and I’m always happy to chat X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ms. Marvel #19: Nuff Said!

In recent years, Marvel realized something remarkable. They found out that women make up half the population and they actually have money to buy comics. I know. What a fucking concept, right? It’s one of those things that shouldn’t have had to wait until the 21st century, but better late than never I guess. Among Marvel’s efforts to appeal to the less masculine sex, Ms. Marvel has been its biggest success story. And Ms. Marvel #19 shows why. Sure, it takes place before the world ends during Secret Wars, but the Marvel universe ends every other Monday it seems. So does it really matter?

So Kamala’s mother apparently knew that she was Ms. Marvel all along. So does it really matter? Wait a second. She knew? An adult in a comic book about a teenage superhero actually has a functioning brain and can figure out when their child is acting strange? Well wax my balls, stick a feather up my ass, and call me a rooster because that’s another one of those concepts that should’ve happened way before 2015.

Beyond the shocking revelation that parents of teenage heroes can think for themselves, there’s no outrage or anger. There’s just feels…beautiful, glorious feels between a mother and her daughter. And why wouldn’t Kamala’s mother be proud? She raised a daughter who decided to become a superhero with her powers and didn’t need her uncle to get killed. I’m not saying she automatically deserves to be Mother of the Year in the Marvel universe. I’m just saying she’s got a head start.

As for Kamala’s father…well, he’s got a valid excuse. His son and Kamala’s brother just became an Inhuman. And he’s apparently not being very proactive about it. He says he’s going to pray about it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but when was the last time prayer solved a problem that involved Inhumans and/or mutants? It’s frustrating, but it doesn’t stop Kamala from embracing her parents. Unlike them, she knows the world is coming to an end. And she’s not going to be an immature brat about it.

Looking at YOU Hope fucking Summers.

She gives her parents time to fume. This gives her time to catch up with Bruno, Ms. Marvel’s unofficial side-kick who badly needs a haircut. She tells him she knows the world is ending and there’s not a damn thing the Avengers can do about it. And when the Avengers are fucked, everyone is fucked. That’s all there is to it. But you know what? If the world is fucked, then they can spend their last day without any regrets. Bruno flat out says that, making him the most honest and sincere guy to ever stand in front of a teenage girl in any capacity in any universe.

He doesn’t need superpowers. He doesn’t need to be Batman either. He just needs to be Kamala’s friend. And hell, that might as well count as a superpower in this series.

Can everybody else seeking shelter in a fucking high school say the same? I doubt it, but we get a nice glimpse of how everybody is dealing. And no, they’re not eating live babies and using the sickly as target practice. They’re being decent human beings, helping one another in what they think is just another Skrull invasion. They don’t know the world is coming to an end, but they’re helping each other. That strange, alien feeling you’re getting in the pit of your stomach…that’s called faith in the human race. We don’t feel it often these days, but when we do it’s like a cold beer on a hot summer day.

Among these people trying to help out everybody is Zoey. Yes, I mean the same Zoey who might as well have been eye-candy in a Revenge of the Nerds movie. She actually takes Kamala aside and apologizes to her. She actually admits she’s jealous of Kamala. Everybody loves Kamala, but they only pretend to love her because she has nice tits. She’s probably the most honest a pretty girl has ever been outside of a divorce hearing. I didn’t think I could respect an spoiled brat like Zoey, but she actually made me like her here.

Again, looking at YOU Hope fucking Summers.

Kamala then catches up with her other friend, Nakia. She hasn’t had many moments to shine in this series, but she has come off as more likable than Zoey, which might not be saying much. But Kamala still goes out of her way to reach out to her. There is some unpleasantness, namely because Kamala didn’t tell her that she got a crush on an oversized sweat stain named Kamran. Granted, she doesn’t know Kamran also happened to be an Inhuman who used his powers to enhance his douche-baggery, but that’s beside the point. A quick Frozen joke and a hug later and they’re still on speaking terms. If the world is ending, the last thing Kamala needs is one of her friends to hate her. It won’t make Kamran’s scrotum collapse, but it’s the next best thing.

So the world is ending. And what do the fine people of Jersey City do? They say, “Fuck it! Let’s throw one last party.” Actually, that might be the healthiest way anyone has ever handled the end of the world. There’s no ritualistic human sacrifice, no crying, and no deep philosophical bullshit. They just party and enjoy their last few moments as best they can. Not gonna lie, I’d probably do the same thing, albeit with a few extra beers in me.

The last great party in Jersey City continues. But as the world ends, Kamala catches up with Bruno one last time. They finally have that chat that usually comes just as the rain starts falling in a shitty chick flick. But there’s nothing crass or contrived about this moment. Hugh Grant doesn’t make some dumb speech. Cameron Diaz doesn’t start crying. Kamala just thanks Bruno for being the best friend in her life. It’s the greatest non-pornographic display of affection two people can have outside a Disney movie.

Then, they both say they love each other. It’s not that “I’ve always loved you” crap that makes up every shitty boy band song ever made. It’s actually sincere. It feels truly genuine. It comes with context as well. Kamala says that right now, being Ms. Marvel has to be her focus, not playing the part of every Jennifer Anniston movie ever. That doesn’t bother Bruno in the slightest. Why would it? It’s not like he’s the kind of guy who feels like he has to control a woman to love her. Wait…that’s actually a thing? Men are capable of that? Well wipe my ass, spit on my face, and call me Ted Haggard. That’s way too reasonable, but it’s so damn fitting I don’t give a shit.

The world finally ends. The incursion finally happens. We all know what happens after that…Dr. Doom, Battleworld, and a fuckton of delays. But if I enter that shit storm after having spent one last day with Kamala Khan, then I’d be okay with that. it awesome?

Before I answer that, I need a moment to wipe the tears of joy and feels from my eyes. No, that’s not because of alcohol or weed, although that certainly helps. This really is one of those comics where you need to take a moment to soak in all the feels. Everything is so heartfelt and sincere, but it’s still fun and uplifting as Kamala Khan has been since her inception into the Marvel universe. Sure, there’s no epic battles or anything. She doesn’t even don her Ms. Marvel costume, but she doesn’t need to.

This issue dealt with the impact that Ms. Marvel has had on Kamala and her world as a whole. Even though that world came to an end, it’s an impact that hits you in all the right ways. And damn it, you want to keep getting hit. Kamala Khan, I’ve come to trust you with my heart, my balls, and everything in between. I trust you’ll use it wisely in the post-Secret Wars world of Marvel comics.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Uncanny Avengers #1: Nuff Said

What happens when a concept that hasn't been viable since Chris Pratt was a chubby no-name extra on Parks and Recreation keeps trying to make it work? I don't know, but it's usually the first step towards making comic fans like me bang my head against the wall no fewer than 20 times in a row. There was a time when Uncanny Avengers actually sounded like an awesome concept. Then at some point, Marvel stopped giving enough fucks to make it work. That still hasn't stopped them from trying to make it work. They chose to relaunch it along with every other one of their titles after Secret Wars. Did it work this time? Well here's what my drunken ravings have concluded.

So how do we make Uncanny Avengers more interesting? Let's start with some ominous new guy who looks like he won the lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Creepy Old Uncles. And since Marvel is trying to pimp the Inhumans like a fat hooker with the muscle control of a Russian gymnast, why not make said creepy old guy an Inhuman? It's working for Agents of SHIELD. Sure, they're ripping off every X-men theme that ever existed, but that's besides the point.

Creepy old guy's new Inhuman powers have an unclear effect. Maybe he controls plants. Maybe he can talk to nature. Maybe he's now able to listen to Al Gore's speeches about the environment without passing out. I really have no fucking clue and I actually tried reading this sober. All we really know is the guy now has a big boner for Mother Earth and Mother Earth is probably going to need a restraining order.

Fast forward 8 months and we completely ditch the whole creepy old man/hippie plot. It's probably for the best. Instead, we get to see the new Uncanny Avengers in action. How they came together isn't revealed, but some crazy shit can happen in 8 months. Just ask anyone running for President in 2016. It must not have been too crazy though because all they're doing is fighting some Amazo rip-off. The Inhumans already rip off X-men. Why not rip off a little DC while they're at it? It worked for Deadpool.

Still makes for a nice battle scene. I'd much rather see the unity team kick ass rather than bitch about Cyclops, the Scarlet Witch, or whatever latest retcon someone just crapped out. It's not all that epic, but it has Deadpool in it. And like Bill Murray, Deadpool can make anything entertaining.

Not only does Deadpool make it entertaining, but he helps win the day. I think Ryan Reynolds just cried a few tears of joy. Everyone else really didn't do shit. Dr. Voodoo? Synapse? When was the last time these fuckers got Ryan Reynolds excited? Johnny Storm, Rogue, and Spider-Man just take up space for the most part. As for old man Rogers...well, he lets Deadpool be Deadpool. That shows he's not senile in his old age. He knows what's awesome and he knows what gets the job done. Sorry Deathstroke fans, but he'll never be as effective or fun as Deadpool.

They win the day. And what does Spider-Man do? He starts bitching and moaning. I guess Mephisto isn't around to make another deal. I'm sure he would sell his soul again to be on a less frustrating team. But old man Rogers says they need to meet the press. They need to show the world that mutants, Avengers, and Inhumans can work together and get the job done. Sure, all they did was beat a generic synthaziod/Amazo rip-off. It's not like they took down Hydra or kicked Thanos in the dick. But they gotta start somewhere, right?

So they all decide to listen to the old man. Unless that old man is Stan Lee, that's usually not a good idea. Rogers says all the right things, but then again so does the CEO of Volkswagen. It doesn't unfuck a situation that's already fucked. And Rogue decides to fuck it a little more and not in a sexy way either. She throws in an anti-Inhumans comment that sounds like something Joe Biden might say when he's hung over. Rogers does his best to save face, but the message is clear. Mutants and Inhumans might as well be the bloods and crips of the Marvel Universe.

Old man Rogers takes Rogue aside and explains to her that dealing with the press is like dealing with special needs children who haven't been taking their medications. He also tries to convince her that having Deadpool on the team is a good idea and not just because he's helping to fund the team. He might as well try to convince her that it's a good idea to let oil companies run the EPA. Even so, Rogue does agree to give Deadpool a chance. She and old man Rogers even have a nice heart-to-heart about how far she's come and how she keeps fighting, despite mutants getting screwed over in ways only Josh Trank can exceed.

How screwed are mutants? Well, Rogue offers a hint. She reveals she can't dress in a way that would piss off the Anita Sarkesians of the world anymore. She's been affected/screwed over by the Terrigen Mists. It's fucked up her skin in ways that no Neutrogena commercial can claim to cure. It's forcing her to get regular treatments to keep her from becoming an extra in a Walking Dead rerun. It's a nice tease as to the current crisis facing mutants. It's not directly hinted that Marvel jerks off to their suffering because of the movie rights. But it's still sort of implied.

There's some other sub-plot randomly unfolding with Dr. Voodoo. But again, when was the last time anybody gave more than half a fuck about Dr. Voodoo? All he does is bitch and moan with a guy he "killed" back in the day. It's not nearly as awesome as it sounds. John Constatine would probably roll his eyes at this shit. It would've helped if this had absolutely anything to do with the team or the creepy old guy that showed up earlier. But it might as well be another shitty Mountain Dew commercial.

A little more action should help get things back on track, right? Right?! Well, at least some effort is made. All it really succeeds in doing is fucking up Quicksilver's dates. Apparently, he dates multiple women at the same time and not in a way that shitty sitcoms depicted. He's like a hornier version of the Flash with shittier hair. But the man places a high priority on beautiful women and I can respect that.

What I can't respect is Synapse basically losing her shit for no reason. Seriously, that's the catalyst for this fight. There's no build. There's no ominous hint. She's just having a nice date with Quicksilver and she loses her shit like someone who just watched Wolf Blitzer bite the head off a kitten. Seriously, that's how organized this story is at this point. We have side-plots we don't give a shit about and random shit storms popping up for no reason. There are episodes of Lost more organized than this.

Whatever the cause (if one is even necessary at this point), it turns downtown Boston into a nightmare version of a Home Depot commercial. The rest of the unity team meets up with Quicksilver, who is probably pissed as hell that he had to keep his pants on. Again, there's just some random crashes and fighting. And Deadpool isn't even given a chance to make it fun or entertaining. Rogue may or may not have hinted that she boned Johnny Storm, but there's very little to this battle beyond cock-blocking Quicksilver. Not that cock-blocking Quicksilver isn't a good way to spend an afternoon, but still.

There is some effort at adding a little mystery. The team investigate this Greenpeace wet dream of a landscape to find out it's got a few things that even Greenpeace wouldn't fight to protect. Apparently, this isn't just Mother Earth being extra cranky. Someone is turning Boston into an oversized greenhouse that grows hideous demon-like dogs that even Sarah Mclachlan wouldn't adopt. Why is this important and what the fuck does it have to do with any of the other randoms side-plots that have been littered throughout this story? Don't look at me this time. I am NOT sobering up to figure that out. It would just be a perfect waste of sobriety.

The only real hint we get comes in the form of a prototypical ominous figure, minus the ominous part. There's no mystery to the guy. He identifies himself as the Shredded Man. He basically looks like a much less imposing version of the Shredder from the Ninja Turtles. Apparently, he's the one behind this Greenpeace wet dream. Details, motivations, and depth...if you're expecting any of that shit, go see the last two Fantastic Four movies. You'll get just about the right amount of disappointment. it awesome?

A better question would be is this really all the fucks Marvel can give about this series right now? It's got a handful of characters that few people give a shit about and does nothing to make those characters all that interesting. Plus, Spider-Man quitting in the first issue? Can this motherfucker go one week without threatening to hang up his webs? Maybe I'm being too harsh. It is a diverse team that struggles to get along and there is some appeal to that. It just doesn't really show much in this issue.

Most of what we get is a bland, disorganized plot that's built mostly around old man Rogers trying to keep everyone from killing each other. Add Robert De Niro to the cast and you might actually have something. Without him, we just got another reminder of why Uncanny Avengers is the Detroit Lions of Marvel Comics. They'll have a few wins here and there, but in the long run they'll lose and lose badly.

Final Score: 4 out of 10