Saturday, November 28, 2015

Strangers In Paradise Chapter 21: War and Peace and Love is LIVE!

It’s official! My first ever Superman/Wonder Woman story is complete. It took a good chunk of this year, but I did it. I told a story of DC’s ultimate power couple and completed it. I’m not going to lie. It was a uniquely challenging story. I’m not talking challenging in a way like Lost or Fight Club. I’m not even talking about the challenge that comes with capturing the passion and heart of these two characters. The sincerity of Superman and Wonder Woman’s love is never in question. It’s the world around them that presents the challenges.

Those same challenges are reflective of them being the heroes they are. They each possess so much power, both physically and personally. Superman has the power to move planets and demolish cities. Wonder Woman has the power to kill gods and destroy entire armies. However, they don’t use their power in that way. Even when they get a chance to resolve a conflict with power alone, they choose not to use it. That’s what makes them heroes and that’s what makes them such great characters.

Throughout this story, I put Superman and Wonder Woman in some very difficult situations. Superman had a chance to defend himself against the hostel Amazons. He chose not to. He endured their wrath and that of Ares. He did so because he understood that power alone is not an effective way to solve a problem. Wonder Woman understood that too. That’s why she went into the same battle, knowing the gods had turned everyone she loved against her. But she didn’t let that stop her from doing the right thing.

Now, Superman and Wonder Woman have set a powerful example for the gods and for the Amazons. They proved through their compassion and their love that there is a better way. In this final chapter, the example they set starts to take hold. That, in many ways, is their greatest power and the greatest testament to their love. It stands as an example and an ideal for others to strive towards and it marks the culmination of a story that has come so far.

When I began this story, I knew I was taking on a challenge. Superman and Wonder Woman are difficult characters to write, but that’s exactly what makes their stories worth telling. I told a story of how they came together and how their love helped them overcome overwhelming odds. The response I’ve gotten from this story has been fantastic, especially from Superman/Wonder Woman fans. With that, I hope to tell another Superman/Wonder Woman story down the line. For now, this is the end of my first attempt and I hope it’s as awesome as DC’s ultimate power couple deserves to be. Nuff said!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

All-New Wolverine #2: Nuff Said!

There was a time when any Marvel story involving a clone indicated that someone had either given up or done way too much blow. Ever since the creation of Madelyne Pryor, clones have been glorified Doombots, a convenient way to make a story more fucked up than it needs to be. Then X-23 came along and proved that a clone didn't have to suck. A clone could actually be awesome. It helps that she's a cute teenage girl. And it helps even more that she's taken up the mantle of Wolverine in wake of his death. All-New Wolverine #2 gives her another chance to show that she's earned the right to go by that mantle. It also gives her another chance to prove that stories involving clones don't have to double as toilet paper. And since I give clone stories the same scrutiny I give bullshit traffic tickets, I've taken it upon myself to determine if X-23 succeeds.

A big part of being Wolverine involves dealing with amoral assholes who like to create armies of meat puppets that will dance to Vanilla Ice music if you order them. That’s what X-23 has to do with Alchemax Genetics, the company behind the clone attacker she fought in Paris in the previous issue. She managed to score a meeting with the amoral assholes in charge and, unlike her predecessor, resisted the urge to stab every one of them. While that might have been a better spectacle, it does show that she’s a bit more tactful than Logan. And she’s a teenage girl. What does that say about Logan?

We get a quick recap of what happened in Paris with the clone X-23 fought. Then, we meet Robert Chandler, who looks like a cross between Mr. Clean and Lex Luthor. He initially thanks her for killing one of his failed clones. I think Marvel gives tax breaks to those who kill clones anyways. It also turns out that the guy she saved from assassination was his son. So he’s not being a complete asshole in that he has the courtesy to thank her. Usually, Logan got a shotgun to the head on a good day. Definitely an upgrade for X-23.

There’s some heated, well-developed discussion on this army of clones that this guy made. He tells her they have her DNA, but none of her charming personality. They’re basically teenage girls on the wrong meds, a potent living weapon if ever there was one. And he wants to help her take them out because the last thing the world needs is more teenage girl killing machines. Again, she resists the urge to stab him, yet another testament to her capacity for restraint. Not sure if she would still hit on married women, but I guess she needs more time.

This Robert Chandler sounds so reasonable. He fucked up. He wants to help X-23 unfuck the situation. Is he really an amoral asshole? Well, he was damn close to not being one. Then he sent some of his goons to follow X-23. Why? Do amoral assholes need a reason? It doesn’t matter. X-23 still roughs them up, as Wolverine would gladly do in between shots of tequila. She doesn’t gut them where they stand. Instead, she instructs them to tell Chandler to back the fuck off. Somewhere out there, the spirit of Logan is wiping away a tear of joy in between banging Jean Grey and Mariko Yashida.

She makes her point. Then, her boy-toy/ride shows up in O5 Angel and he gets her back to her apartment. Apparently, Logan left her an apartment to stay in just in case she needed a place to sleep off a hangover. Beats the hell out of getting a pet cat in a will. Anyone looking for teen drama here better go back to watching John Hughes movies though. There’s some chat, but X-23 keeps it from turning into an MTV reality show. She says she’ll catch up later and O5 Angel’s dick probably hates him as a result. But she’s fucking Wolverine now. He’s not going to argue.

And X-23 actually has a damn good reason for telling her boyfriend to keep it in his pants. It turns out, someone else is in the apartment raiding her fridge. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s one of the clones. She’s not on a crazy kill mission. She’s just hungry and eager to chat. Already, I’m starting to think she should’ve stabbed Robert Chandler anyways.

They’re a bit overly casual at times, talking about how X-23 offed one of her “sisters.” Apparently, this clone never read Spider-Man in the 90s. Otherwise, she would completely understand. But she does show that she’s not psychotic and that Robert Chandler was probably talking through multiple assholes. But X-23 is still a bit concerned about some of the killing sprees her clones have set up. She wants to help them, but she’s probably just as inclined to give them the Robert Chandler treatment too if they’re going to let innocent people get caught in the crossfire.

The clone eventually agrees to help X-23 find her “sisters.” Naturally, this leads them into the shit-rivers of the sewers of New York. There are no ninja turtles, just rivers of shit. And the clone, named Gabby, leads the way. Upon meeting up, we see again that these clones aren’t quite as psychotic as the Madelyne Pryors of the Marvel universe. They understand they’re fugitives. They understand they’re in a world where clones tend to get fucked. They actually carry themselves as something other than meat puppets. Somehow, I think the 90s Spider-Man comics didn’t get the memo.

X-23 finally joins the party and their first inclination? Shoot her. Why? They’re clones on top of being teenage girls. This might be their version of an overly firm handshake. But X-23 being the new Wolverine, she brushes it off the same way most folks brush off a hangnail. They get hostile. Things get tense. The clones make it clear that they’ve been victims of Robert Chandler’s amoral douche-baggery and I imagine X-23 is inclined to believe them. It makes for a powerful predicament and one I’m sure Logan dealt with at least twice a month.

The tense conversation doesn’t last long though. Before they can do some nice clone bonding, they find out that one of Robert Chandler’s goons, Captain Mooney, followed them. Because why wouldn’t they? That’s what amoral assholes do. They ask for help. Then they screw over that help the first chance they get. In Wolverine’s world, this is usually the quickest way to get stabbed. True to that tradition, this is exactly how X-23 and her clones handle the situation.

It makes for a bloody, visceral, engaging battle that should give Wolverine fans of all types a solid boner. It’s not epic on the level of a cage match with a crack-head Sabretooth, but it’s still pretty damn satisfying. This is X-23 being as brutal and tough as Wolverine is supposed to be. She just does it as a teenage girl with an awesome rack. How can that not be awesome?

At first, it seems like just another typical Wolverine-style slaughter that Logan usually experienced every other week or so. If that were the case, then it wouldn’t have been more than an inconvenience for X-23. Unfortunately, Robert Chandler is the kind of amoral asshole who knows some people who know some people who kill some people. That’s how he would know a guy like Taskmaster. He delivers the crushing blow to X-23 when he shows up and easily offs X-23’s clones. It turns this typical Saturday Night Slaughter into something much more personal for X-23. If she’s going to be Wolverine, she can expect to have to stab a lot more people for a lot more reasons. it awesome?

When clones are involved, that's usually a loaded question. This time, however, I'm willing to smoke a few extra joints to help me forget certain periods in the 90s that don't involve boy bands. This issue really established that X-23 really is Wolverine now. She gets caught up with a bunch of uptight, ethically suspect sciencey types. Then, she meets the fruits of their ethically suspect sciencey shit storm. For a while, she's torn. But eventually, she starts kicking ass. That's Wolverine. Hell, that's Wolverine on a typical Thursday. A lot of clones have failed miserably like the last three Spice Girls reunions. X-23 once again establishes that she's not one of them. She might be an exception, but she's a damn awesome one.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR - Official Trailer #1 (2016) Marvel Superhero...

Let's face it, Disney owns our ass. They have Star Wars. They have Marvel. They have Frozen. They might as well buy their own mint at this point. Well, like a rich douche on Instagram, they insist on flaunting how much they own us every chance they get. Enter the first official trailer for Captain America: Civil War.

It's a movie that's not nearly as hyped as Age of Ultron and maybe that's a good thing. Besides, why does Disney need hype at this point? They have a fucking Star Wars movie coming out in a month. I think they're worried about frying our brains with pure awesome at this point. Having fried my brain enough by sitting through shitty Batman movies in the 90s, I'm okay with letting some hype build for this one.

Will this movie be as big as the original Avengers movie? Probably not. Will it top Star Wars? Definitely not. Will it still be awesome? After seeing this trailer, I'm going to go off on a limb and say fuck yes!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dark Side Die Hard: Star Wars Vader Down #1

The following is my review of Star Wars: Vader Down #1, which was posted on

It's the common theme that made Die Hard a successful movie franchise. It spawned a generation of sequels, rip-offs, and parodies, all of which failed to rekindle Sylvester Stallone's career. But it's a theme that still has undeniable appeal, a lone warrior surrounded by enemies having to fight their way out. It's Captain America trapped behind enemy lines surrounded by Nazis. It's Superman trapped in a subterranean cave surrounded by kryptonite-powered cyborgs. It's a classic underdog story in the mold of the Karate Kid and the Mighty Ducks, albeit with more guns and explosions.

But what happens when this classic setup is turned inside out and upside-down? What if it's the Red Skull who's behind enemy lines, surrounded by Captain America's friends? What if it's Lex Luthor trapped in the Fortress of Solitude, surrounded by cyborg Supermen? Does the story still have the same appeal? It's like rooting for the axe murderer in a slasher movie. It tests an audiences sensibilities in uncomfortable ways not seen outside a Marilyn Manson concert. And those are the exact sensibilities that Star Wars Vader Down #1 appeals to.

This isn't the hero escaping the villain. It's the villain escaping the hero. It's not the rebels beating the Empire against overwhelming odds. It's the Empire outwitting the rebels, snatching away a tantalizing sliver of hope. Like cheering for Ivan Drago in a Rocky movie, it sounds like one of those things we shouldn't enjoy. But it's that inverted nature which plays out in Star Wars Vader Down #1 that makes the story uniquely appealing.

It's a story that unfolds seamlessly from recent events in the Star Wars and Darth Vader comic series. However, neither of these books are required reading. Even if Star Wars: A New Hope is the only Star Wars movie you ever saw, you won't be lost at any point. You might be confused by the presence of a homicidal version of C-3PO in Triple-0, but in a good way.

The story feels organic in that it follows Darth Vader's pursuit of Luke Skywalker. He knows he's the one who destroyed the Death Star. He also knows Luke is his son. So he's more than a little motivated to hunt him down and kill anyone or anything that gets in his way, as one would expect of a Sith Lord. However, like diving into a mosh pit at a Metallic concert unprepared, this level of motivation leads Darth Vader into a situation much deadlier than most mosh pits.

Our decidedly unheroic Sith Lord arrives at Vorgas Vas where his secret ally/fangirl, Aphra, says Luke Skywalker has been holding up. It's a setting that has the same feel as a graveyard in a slasher movie in that it's a fitting location for everything to go horribly wrong. There aren't any promiscuous teenagers, but there are plenty of X-wings and space battles. For Star Wars fans, this is every bit as appealing.

Mike Deodato's art really shines here. It's not the Battle of Hoth, but it has the same intense feel. It's dark, detailed, and destructive, the three D's of every successful space battle. Darth Vader, making every character in Top Gun look like rookie, makes the Rebels pay a high price for getting in his way. Even though he's completely surrounded and has no Imperial support, he doesn't retreat or evade the danger. He shoots at it. If he could do it with a smile, he probably could. But being Darth Vader, he doesn't need to.

It's Darth Vader's utter tenacity and his cold attitude that makes him worth rooting for. It's not like rooting for the New England Patriots after another cheating scandal. It's a testament to just how powerful and dangerous Darth Vader really is. Throw an entire squadron of X-wings at him? Go ahead. Send a whole battalion to the planet? Do it. None of that matters. Darth Vader will still make it feel like an unfair fight and he doesn't need a rousing speech from Mel Gibson to rise to the occasion.

While Darth Vader's imposing tenacity is the main driving force of the story, the rest of the classic Star Wars cast play critical roles as well. Fittingly enough, it's Luke who delivers the shot that downs Darth Vader while the rest of his squadron act as glorified target practice. Princess Leia and Han Solo get involved as well once word gets out that the Rebels have a chance to take down Darth Vader. With the destruction of Alderan still fresh in Leia's memory, it's a given that she's every bit as motivated as Vader. It once again shows that being excessively motivated runs deep in the Skywalker family.

At no point does the pace slow down. At no point does the danger stop escalating. Even after Darth Vader crashes on Vorgas Vas, he keeps fighting. The Rebels have X-wings, troops, and tanks. Darth Vader has only a light sabre. And yet it still feels as fair a fight as anyone can hope to have against Darth Vader. In many respects, that is the greatest accomplishment of Star Wars Vader Down #1. It doesn't just invert every major Die Hard theme. It puts Darth Vader in a position where he has to show just how menacing he is.

There are times when you'll feel inclined to root for the rebels. There are times when you'll feel inclined to root for Darth Vader. But it never feels conflicted or forced. This isn't a matter of rooting for Jason Vorhees or against a virgin teenage girl. This is just a different kind of epic Star Wars battle. It might not involve a Death Star, but it feels every bit as epic and won't be decided by some obscure design flaw.

Final Score: 10 out of 10

X-men Supreme Issue #127: Terror Sell PREVIEW!

Given all the amazing abilities that some mutants have, it’s easy to forget sometimes that they’re still human. It’s something the X-men constantly have to remind themselves and others in their fight for peace and understanding. In a famous scene from the X-men Animated Series, a Sentinel flat out determined that mutants are human, much to the shock of the humans who hate them. The humanity of the X-men is a big part of what makes them so appealing. I’ve tried to capture that in any number of ways in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series.

Sometimes that means tempering some of the more extreme elements of the X-men mythos to make the narrative of X-men Supreme more engaging. Charles Xavier’s paralysis wasn’t a result of supernatural conflicts. It was a result of cancer, a disease that affects real people. Madelyne Pryor isn’t a clone of Jean Grey in X-men Supreme. She’s Jean’s devious older cousin who fell in with a bad crowd, namely Sinister and Selene. And before Magneto’s plans escalated to throwing asteroids at the planet, he tried to start small by leading an uprising in a country. They still have the essence of X-men, but there are more human elements in the mix.

These sorts of elements are uniquely appropriate for the X-men because they’re a metaphor for minorities. Real life minorities have to deal with human issues. Minorities have to deal with cancer, renegade family members, and uprisings. Once hate and injustice enters the equation, the stage is set for a very dangerous situation. That situation began to unfold in X-men Supreme Issue 126: Heart Attack. Now, the X-men have a new challenge in this fanfiction series and it goes by the Mutant Liberation Front.

This new team of mutant renegades is led by Toad. Yes, I mean THAT Toad. The events of X-men Supreme Issue 110: Supreme Justice have left him empowered, bold, and very dangerous. He now has a new team of mutants who have also suffered injustice and inhumanity. They’re now attacking a world that is already vulnerable after Sinister’s plot with the Legacy Virus. But they’re not the same as Magneto. They’re not the same as the Brotherhood of Mutants. They have a very different approach to dominating humanity.

That approach is still unfolding. You saw hints of it in the previous issue. Now, Toad and his team of mutant radicals are set to do something even bolder and their timing couldn’t be worse for the X-men. At the same time they’re making their presence known, the X-men are dealing with some internal issues that have been brewing since the end of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths. Once again, it’s Charles Xavier who is tasked with leading the X-men into this battle. But is he up to this task? Is he as capable as he’s always been? He’ll have to find out the hard way as the X-men prepare to face the Mutant Liberation Front head on in the next issue. As always, I’ve prepared a preview of the kind of chaos the X-men can expect from this new threat.

“GET OUT OF MY WAY! I’M TAKING THEM IN!” yelled an enraged Swiss soldier in German.




Stryfe’s psychic talents saved them the trouble of taking down the vast army of armed guards that stood in their way. His ability to turn any weak mind into an irrational fury of rage made their approach as simple as a walk in the park. The only obstacles were various gates and walls, which Caliban and Callisto easily blew through. It was an unceremonious way to begin this attack, but the rest of the team wasn’t complaining.

“I thought these guys were supposed to have psychic dampening gear,” commented Callisto as she watched two guards strangle each other.

“They did. Someone must have sent them defective hardware by accident,” Toad wryly.

“How did you manage that again?” asked Caliban.

“I know some people who know some people,” he said with a confident grin, “There’s a reason we’re making so many friends in between terrorizing humans. Somehow guys like Magneto never learn the benefits of being both loved and feared.”

“Doesn’t one make the other redundant?” said Reignfire.

“Not if you do it right,” said Toad, “Which reminds me, go easy on the homicidal rage, Stryfe. We need to…”

“I know the drill, Toad! We’re to minimize casualties,” said Stryfe, not hiding his frustration, “I’m still not seeing the benefit of such mercy.”

“You will, my favorite disgruntled cynic! You all will!”

Toad cracked his knuckles in anticipation as they made it past the final gate. Behind them the Swiss soldiers were oblivious to their intrusion. Alarms were going off, but no one was paying attention to them. They were too busy beating each other to a pulp. The final barrier was an extra thick wall. It required Reignfire and Kamikaze to use a little firepower to loosen the locks. The Klienstocks did the rest, shoving the gate open and revealing their target.

It was no ordinary structure. Behind all these gates was the entrance to a facility that had been carved deep into one of the many mountains of the Alps. It was so big that it was easy to miss the main entrance at the base. Around the entrance was a large plateau manned with planes, helicopters, and various combat vehicles. It was a stronghold unlike any other and the Mutant Liberation Front had the arduous task of destroying it.

“My fellow liberators, welcome you to Gstaad, Switzerland’s most infamous landmark!” proclaimed Toad.

“This is our target?” said Sauron as he looked up at the mountain.

“What exactly are we looking at, Toad?” asked Strobe.

“Well according to the undercover operatives at Wikipedia, this is the Swiss Fort Knox! It’s supposed to be one of the most secure vaults in the entire world.”

“What’s it secure? Gold? Diamonds? Non-fat chocolate?” scoffed Stryfe.

“Oh it guards something much more valuable!” grinned Toad, “You see, back when Google was just an obscure math term, a bunch of paranoid humans figured it would be a good idea to make a universal back-up of humanity’s digital tech. For every computer ever used, a working database was created. That way if someone figured out a way to wipe out every system on the planet, there would be a way to get it working again.”

“Sounds like a glorified Radioshack,” commented the Klienstocks.

“It gets better! After the Y2K scare, the Swiss scaled it up. It added a second area to the complex. This one acts as a universal backup for all major data, public and private alike. So if every single computer on the planet shorted out at once, there would be a back-up to get humanity back into the 21st century. That’s why we’re going to turn this place into a glorified ski lodge!”

“Thus leaving humanity more vulnerable and without a backup,” surmised Callisto, “I like it!”

It was a deviously logical plan. Before they completely crippled humanity, they would make sure there was no backup. Even Stryfe seemed to agree. This would be a serious blow that would empower the Mutant Liberation Front and leave the world completely vulnerable.

“But what if there are other backups besides this?” asked Sauron.

“They’re all small-time compared to this. It ain’t gonna matter once we finish the final step!” said Toad as he stopped about halfway towards the complex.

“So if all we’re doing is destroying this place, why do we need to be here in full force?” asked Kamikaze, “Surely we don’t require this much firepower for a simple act of demolition.”

“You’re right. We all don’t need to be here. If we were only going to destroy this place, most of us would just be stuck watching Stryfe make a fool out of the Swiss army,” said Toad.

“Then what else are we doing? Why do you insist on keeping us in the dark?” asked Caliban.

“That’s to make sure nobody’s mind spills the beans to a certain bald-headed psychic with a super-psychic enhancing machine,” said Toad, “Now that we’re all out in the open like this, it’s only a matter of time before Xavier sends his X-people to herd us back to Leavenworth.”

“I thought you said we had sufficient psychic defenses from the X-men!” said Caliban.

“We do. I just lowered them,” said Toad casually.

“Wait…you want the X-men to find us?” said Callisto, “Do you have any idea how foolish that is?!”

“It would be if I didn’t have a plan,” explained Toad, “That’s why you all need to listen closely because this is about more than striking a blow to humanity. We need to humiliate the X-men! We need to show them that this is a fight they aren’t going to win!"

While the situation for mutants is declining in the X-men comics, expect a very different set of challenges for mutants in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. This isn’t an extinction plot. This isn’t a sterilization plot. This a very different, but equally daunting challenge for the X-men and the mutant race to face. I sincerely hope that this fanfiction series will provide X-men fans with a viable outlet, especially since there is no more alternative like Ultimate anymore. I want to make X-men Supreme a viable world for X-men fans and I can’t do that without the continued support of such fans. So please take the time to review and provide feedback. Either contact me directly or post your comments directly on my site. Either way is fine and I’m always happy to chat. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ms. Marvel #1: Nuff Said!

We live in an era where feels might as well be currency. There's a generation of kids who have gone to schools who will suspend your ass if you so much as hug someone in public. And pretty much any gesture towards any person of any gender in any situation can be construed as harassment if you're a big enough dick about it. That's what makes Ms. Marvel such a valuable mine for awesome. Kamala Khan has proven to be an ocean of feels. She proved that in the final days leading up to Secret Wars. Now that this multiversal clusterfuck is ending, Ms. Marvel #1 can get back to doing what she does best, giving feels to drunks like me and saving me a fuckton on weed.

So how much has Kamala’s life changed since the 8-month gap? She’s a freakin’ Avenger now. That’s right. A few years ago, she was just a nobody running around Jersey City in a mask. Now she’s fighting alongside Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. That basically means 8 months is plenty of time for her to become awesome enough to join the Avengers. And she’s still not old enough to drive. She’s basically in the exact opposite position of the X-men. That’s how awesome her life is now.

Unfortunately, high school is still part of that life. She still has a secret identity to keep and friendships to maintain. At the very least, her school was rebuilt thanks to Tony Stark’s deep pockets. Plus, Loki’s golems stuck around. I admit high school would’ve been a lot more interesting if it had golems roaming the halls. Because let’s face it, golems aren’t even in the top 10 in terms of the most stressful shit teens face in high school.

Everything seems to be going well for Kamala. She’s with her friends. One of them is Zoe, who was once the kind of peppy cheerleader type that would get butchered first in every slasher movie. It seems her social life is on the up and up. Then she sees that Bruno, her best friend and the boy she kissed as the world was ending, has a new girlfriend.

As adults, seeing love interests swap spit with others is infuriating enough. For teenagers who live secret lives as Avengers, it’s like a punch in the kidneys while getting root canal by a drunk dentist. Kamala, already dealing with a lot of Avengers-related crap, reacts as well as any we can expect of a teenage girl. By that, I don’t mean she found the nearest pile of dog shit and threw it at him.

She avoids him at first. Eventually, they meet up in class and Kamala makes it clear that she’s pissed off at Bruno. She still exercises more restraint than half the girls in my graduating high school class. The fact that Bruno’s jaw is still intact makes him lucky. It leads to a difficult conversation, but one that is not nearly as hostile as it could’ve been. The fact that no bones are broken and no windows are shattered is a testament to Kamala and Bruno’s maturity.

It’s a painful recurring theme for the life of a superhero. Bruno flat out admitted he was in love with Kamala. They even kissed. Then, he kindly points out to her that she told him outright that she needs to focus on being a hero and not on being someone’s girlfriend. And when he finds someone else to swap spit with, it upsets her. Yeah, it’s the kind of petty jealousy that has existed in every teen movie John Hughes ever made, but they’re teenagers. Being petty and jealous is only a fraction of the overwhelming emotions teenagers experience. Just wait until they start paying taxes.

The conversation is personal and well-done. Then, they get an unpleasant distraction in the form of a billboard featuring Ms. Marvel’s image. Apparently, some yuppie developer used it showcase a fancy new development that appeals primarily to the hipster douche crowd with too much disposable income and an ass too small to kick. Short of a billboard for a cigarette company or for boner pills, I can’t think of a worse way for Ms. Marvel to have her image publicly degraded.

Naturally, she voices her outrage towards some douchey manager who looks like he came crawling out of Gordon Gecko’s anus. It’s just as effective as bitching about it on a message board. He basically explains to her that this development catering to hipster douche-bags is part of a revitalization effort and since Ms. Marvel is an icon and not a trademarked image, they can use it to sell their crap. Is it frustrating and a dick move? Yes. But is it illegal? No. Naturally, it pisses Kamala off even more. Between her friend hooking up with someone new and her image being tainted, this is a shittier day than most school days.

So what’s her response? It’s actually somewhat more meaningful than bitching about it on a message board. She dons her costume, breaks into the building, and finds out that this “revitalization plan” is an even bigger dick move than she thought. They don’t just want to knock over a few dilapidated buildings. They want to build over the entire city, use Ms. Marvel’s image, and presumably jerk off into a pool of orphan tears. They’re already acting like the pool is half-full when they kick out a former tenant. Doing this in front of Kamala, given the day she’s having, I’d say she’s well within her right to shatter a few kneecaps.

However, this isn’t a case of her beating up on a couple of semi-innocent business types. For some reason, these guys are armed with glowing energy sticks that look like they were stolen from Iron Man. They even have the kind of attack drones that I’m sure the Koch brothers use to protect their beach house. So if anyone had any doubts that this was just some simple redevelopment that some people bitched about, go ahead and throw them away along with any notion that hipster douche types have redeeming qualities.

Thankfully, the angry property owner helps her get away. She’s even nice enough to explain that she didn’t give permission for these hipster types to use her image. He believes her. The protesters that have gathered outside the development? Not so much. Oh yeah, that’s also happening, piling even more shit onto what has been a shitty day for both Kamala Khan and Ms. Marvel. Rather than face an angry mob alone, without the aid of the Avengers or a good lawyer, Ms. Marvel decides to shrink and get away. There’s just no reasoning with people who think you’re in league with some hipster douche business type.

She manages to catch up with Bruno and slip into an alley. With a protest going on, you would think that would be an important thing to discuss. But no. They’re teenagers. They first have to talk about who was kissing who and why. Yes, those priorities are fucked up. But again, their teenagers. Who they kiss tends to be as important as who they accept as friends on Facebook.

This is where the story ditches the whole douche-bag developer story and focuses back on Bruno. It’s a bit chaotic, but seriously. Who wants to know more about a douche-bag developer who uses Ms. Marvel’s image rather than dig into the juicy details of Kamala’s personal life? Anyone who answers that question sober knows the choice is obvious.

The way Bruno describes it, his meeting with this girl wasn’t stolen from a Julia Roberts movie. One day, Ms. Marvel is chasing a giant amphibian monster through the streets, which I imagine is basically a worse-than-average rush-hour in Jersey City. In the middle of the shit storm, Bruno’s ass is saved by a girl named Michaela Miller. Apparently, they go to the same school. And now, she’s saved his life. By teenage standards, that basically requires them to dry hump at some point.

There’s a surprising amount of detail put into Bruno’s relationship with this girl. Hell, there’s more detail and depth here than the last two Christopher Nolan movies. It’s almost like G. Willow Wilson put some actual effort into developing these characters. What a concept, right?

It’s somewhat generic, but it keeps drunks like me from making too many assumptions. Without any insight, I would just assume that this girl is a Skrull agent like anyone else that gets caught up in a superhero’s personal life. But even if she is a Srkull, the girl is a very likable person. And Bruno is actually honest with her, telling her about his feelings for Kamala and not keeping it a secret. Most teenagers wait for something to blow up in their face like a shit pie mixed with napalm before they learn keeping secrets is a bad idea. Bruno didn’t wait, showing he’s so mature that he’d NEVER end up on a shitty reality show on MTV.

While letting Kamala know that he’s found someone else is kind of a dick move, Bruno doesn’t make it a bigger dick move than it has to be. There’s a sense of genuine emotion. He makes it clear that he likes this girl and he wants to be happy with her. I’m still not convinced that this girl isn’t a Skrull agent of sorts, but I’m willing to give her a chance. T still means Kamala is going to be miserable for a while, but she’s still a freakin’ Avenger. She’s got what it takes to bounce back. That or she’ll kiss Miles Morales the first chance she gets. it awesome?

It's Kamala Khan wrestling with being a superhero, being a teenage girl, and being pissed off that her best friend hooked up with someone else. If you can't find awesome in that, then you need to find a better weed dealer. This series, like a Jennifer Lopez's ass in a twerking contest, never misses a beat and never stops being awesome.

It does get a little chaotic, but that's to be expected of every teenage superhero that just joined the Avengers. It even gets a little side-tracked, but it offers details and insight to a story that requires more effort than those other than G. Willow Wilson are willing to give. And unlike the Peter Parkers of the world, Kamala Khan is toughing through this chaos in a way that feels genuine and refreshing. A god-powered Dr. Doom couldn't make her less lovable. What hope does anyone else in Jersey City have?

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Extraordinary X-men #2: Nuff Said!

Hear me, X-men fans! We are fucked. Game over. No need for debate. We are truly and utterly fucked like a Tijuana crack whore in withdraw. Inhumans are wiping out mutants. Cyclops has been turned into the worst villain since the guy who invented unskippable video ads. The O5 X-men have ditched each other and being X-men in general. No lube was applied. The X-men and the entire mutant race were just fucked with an oversized dildo. And that story is the new basis for the X-men comics in Extraordinary X-men. Granted, the first issue was lacking, but it laid the foundation for so many things that have the potential to be awesome. But can it be awesome? That's why I'm reviewing Extraordinary X-men #2 with an extra bottle of whiskey. I think that's the only way I can give X-men fans the assessment they deserve.

If mutants and the X-men are going to be screwed over, then they might as well endure it together. Hence, Magik is going on a bit of a recruitment run. She managed to drag Colossus away from a life of farm work and vodka, most likely by promising that X-Haven has better martinis. Now, she’s off to recruit Nightcrawler, who was last seen reciting Bible verses to a bunch of demons. That or he’s been re-watching Pulp Fiction. He must have misquoted because he ended up getting his ass kicked, so much so that only his tail is left behind. That’s some Old Testament shit right there.

The only one who might function in a world where mutants are this screwed is Old Man Logan. He comes from a world where the X-men are dead and not just screwed. So when Storm and Iceman come by to recruit him, he’s not all that eager to join. A few traumatic flashbacks about how he killed the X-men in his world probably makes him wish he were more senile. It’s got some emotion, but not as much as it could have. It’s still a sweet moment though.

Oh, and Cyclops is dead apparently. Yeah, Storm dropped that bomb. Don’t clench your asshole too hard though. She offers no context or detail. Dead in the Marvel universe can mean so many things. And unless a tombstone or a body is on panel, take it with a grain of salt and some watered down light beer. Still no further details on why the fuck everyone hates Cyclops. It can’t just be that he banged Jean Grey and Emma Frost. At the very least, it meant he died happy.

O5 Jean Grey is trying hard to avoid that fate. Storm came to her hoping to recruit her back to the X-men. O5 Jean told her to piss off, giving her Old Man Logan’s location for good measure. Instead, she’s hanging out at a college party, hooking up with a boy who isn’t Cyclops, Hank McCoy, or Wolverine. Can’t say I blame her, but this guy looks like an underpaid IT intern. The fact that he gets to kiss O5 Jean is probably the highlight of his life.

Also, she reveals that her and O5 Hank didn’t work out. I’ll give everyone a moment of silence to commemorate that revelation. Then, I’ll smoke a joint, raise a glass, and dance happy with everyone else who felt that relationship was a contrived pile of dog shit.

Don’t expect this new relationship with Mr. No-Name-College-Hookup to be much more meaningful. As soon as they leave the bar, he tries to carefully navigate her way into Jean Grey’s panties, as any heterosexual college male would be inclined to do. Then, she senses a couple of Donald Trump supporters beating up an innocent mutant. Being the kind of person who has a big problem with that shit, O5 Jean steps in and gives them a taste of mini-Dark Phoenix. It’s not enough to swallow a star, but it is enough to make a bunch of redneck racists shit themselves.

She succeeds in protecting the mutant. She also succeeds in ending her relationship with Mr. No-Name-College-Hookup. Apparently, she didn’t let him know that she’s a mutant. I’m guessing that slipped her mind, along with details like she has a daughter from an apocalyptic alternate future running around. Guess she was worried that would kill his boner. Now, he’s disgusted by her and will probably let every other boy at college know they’ve been fantasizing about hooking up with a mutant. It won’t stop them from jerking off, but it will definitely kill her college career.

On top of that, the mutant she saved wasn’t even a mutant. It was an Inhuman. At this point, she’s well within her right to go Dark Phoenix and give the world a big cosmic, “Fuck it!” She doesn’t exercise that right, but let’s face it. Nobody would blame her if she did.

Colossus and Magic are only slightly less pissed off than O5 Jean. They now have to find the assholes that ripped Nightcrawler’s tail off. This means heading into a sewer and fighting the same demon creatures that didn’t appreciate Nightcrwaler’s biblical knowledge. In other words, it’s just another Thursday for the X-men in a world where their kind is more and more fucked with each passing day. Hell, beating up demon creatures might be therapeutic for them.

Too bad Storm and Iceman don’t have something to attack. They return to X-Haven with exactly zero new recruits. They do get to show off their fancy new Cerebra, which happens to be built into a Sentinel. I don’t know how Forge thought that was a good idea, but I have to assume he was really drunk. They find out what happened to Nightcrawler and let Forge know that there’s another Wolverine running around. Even if Forge is still drunk, I doubt he’s all that surprised. It’s another case of muted emotions, but it does create potential for Old Man Logan to make things awkward and I’m all for that.

Storm has some nice inner monologues as she’s helping the residents of X-Haven, who are probably still adjusting to how fucked their kind is. As this goes on, Colossus and Magik continue fighting demons in the sewer. It’s a nice mix of drama and action, helping to set a nice tone. Sure, mutants are still fucked, but they’re adapting as best they can and still finding demons to beat up. That’s healthy by X-men standards.

What’s not healthy? How about Sinister? Yeah, in terms of the X-men’s health, he’s the equivalent of explosive diarrhea. It turns out he’s the one who lured Colossus and Rasputin into this fight. Nightcrawler was just the bait. I guess this answers the question whether the X-men could be any more fucked. According to Sinister, the answer is a definitive “fuck yes!”

Sinister attacks Magik and Colossus. Fighting him is nowhere near as therapeutic. However, there’s a problem with this. It ends up revealing that X-Haven isn’t just some remote location in the middle of nowhere with shitty wi-fi. It’s built right out of Limbo. And last I checked, Magik made Limbo her personal demonic playground. So anything that fucks her up in turn fucks up Limbo. I don’t know who the X-men used as a real estate broker, but their ass deserves to be fired and deep fried.

And where is Old Man Logan off in all this? He’s Logan. He’s getting drunk at a bar. Where else would he rather be? But as he’s downing enough whiskey to kill an entire battalion of Civil War re-enactors, he gets a psychic message from O5 Jean. Apparently, being around an old, drunk version of Wolverine is less dangerous than staying in college. Sure, this old version of Wolverine still probably wants to bang her. Then again, I’m sure most of the boys in college wanted to do the same so I guess it’s not that much of a difference. it awesome?

Short answer, it's getting there. Long answer, it still has a handful of WTFs to work through. We do get a taste of these answers at times. We learn Cyclops is "dead." I put that in quotes on purpose because death in the Marvel universe always comes with an asterisk. We also learn where X-Haven is. We even learn that O5 Jean Grey's efforts to hook up with someone who isn't Cyclops continue to fail. That's all well and good, but the non-sober crowd is still going to be confused.

That same crowd isn't going to overdose on feels with the reunion of Storm and Old Man Logan either, but there are signs that the cloud from the shit storm is starting to lift. Even after I sobered up, I was still excited about the direction of this series and for once it wasn't because I had an erection. I'm still confident that the extent to which the X-men are fucked will be revealed in Extraordinary X-men. Whether or not it's awesome or nothing more than toilet paper for Fox's lawyers is to be determined.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Friday, November 13, 2015

X-men Supreme Issue 126: Heart Attack is LIVE!

When it comes to fighting for peace and understanding in a world that hates and fears them, the X-men’s approach has been fairly straightforward. Throughout their history in the comics and throughout the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, the X-men have generally embraced the tenants that Professor Charles Xavier has preached. They confront those who would foster conflict rather than peace. They battle the forces of hatred to encourage peace. The results often vary. In X-men Supreme, it has led to Genosha becoming a mutant-dominated country. It has also caused unrest in mutant communities like District X. But the purpose and intent is usually the same.

With the X-men’s villains, however, the approach is somewhat trickier. The X-men have already encountered their share of villains in this fanfiction series. Their motivations aren’t always the same. Whether it’s Magneto seeking to destroy human dominance with an asteroid or Mr. Sinister seeking to extract the secrets of mutation, the threats to peace and understanding take many different forms. At times it’s downright ambiguous, as has been shown with tenuous allies like General Grimshaw and President Kelly. But in X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation, the X-men will encounter an enemy that takes a wholly unique approach to stirring up conflict.

Enter the Mutant Liberation Front. It’s a group that X-men fans are familiar with from the comics. Today, this group of mutant radicals make their official debut in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. However, this is not like any other enemy mutant group you’ve seen before. These aren’t just an army of mutant radicals following Magneto’s ideals of mutant supremacy. In the world of X-men Supreme, the Mutant Liberation Front is something far more elaborate and much more menacing.

The seeds of this group were already laid back in X-men Supreme Issue 110: Supreme Justice. When an enhanced Toad escaped from Fort Leavenworth prison, he didn’t just leave with a team of fellow mutant prisoners at his side. He left with a plan to succeed where Magneto failed. There’s no question that this plan will directly clash with the X-men’s goals of peace and understanding. There’s also no question that this plan will exploit the recent devastation of the Legacy Virus, which ravaged the world in the Dark Legacy arc. But it’s the method by which that plan will unfold that makes it truly daunting for the X-men.

This is another one of those stories that you won’t see anywhere outside of X-men Supreme. This is a version of Toad and the Mutant Liberation Front that is wholly unique to this fanfiction series. The comics have their own set of circumstances. X-men Supreme will be taking a very different approach. And for those dissatisfied with the comics, I think there will be plenty to enjoy. Expect big things from Toad, Wolverine, Mystique, Rogue, Gambit, and Professor Xavier. And it begins today!

X-men Supreme Issue 126: Heart Attack

This new era of X-men Supreme will continue to develop the narrative that has been unfolding for the past five years now. It’s a narrative that I want to make as awesome as possible. And while I’m constantly encouraging feedback, there have been those who have been generous enough to provide it. To those who have commented on X-men Supreme, I sincerely thank you. And to those asking about Rogue and Gambit, I say stay tuned! I think you’ll like what you see. But for those who have other comments, please share them. Either contact me directly or post them directly in the issue itself. Either way is fine and both help make the X-men Supreme fanfiction series more awesome. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Secret Wars #7: Nuff said!

It's late as fuck, partially spoiled, and coming out at a time when some of us are still hung over from Halloween. But in the same way every mall in America assumes I want to do my Christmas shopping this early, I assume enough readers still give a shit about what's going on in Secret Wars. There are only a few issues left. Dr. Doom has already laid the foundation for screwing himself over. It's just a matter of actually getting there. But due to so many shitty delays, even a god-powered Doom only has the power to give so many fucks. I'll try to conjure as many fucks as possible as I review Secret Wars #7, but I'm not making any promises. At least not until I get the taste of Pumpkin Ale and tequila out of my mouth.

Right now, Doom is going to be the one who needs some ale and tequila of the very unholy variety. It's been brewing for a while, both in the tie-ins and in the main series. People are starting to suspect that a world where Doom is god just ain't right. And now, some of Marvel's mightiest heroes are channeling their inner Christopher Hitchens and rebelling against a god-powered Doom in ways that would make the entire Catholic Church shit themselves. One of them even has raised an army and marched right onto Doom's doorstep. Sure, it's only Maximus, whose about as menacing as a barista in a bad mood. But he's got a fucking army and people are actually following him. Now Doom is about to find out how Pat Robertson feels on an atheist message board.

It's not like Doom is twiddling his thumbs and laughing his ass off at idiots who write holy books in his name. He does see this shit storm brewing. He is aware that adherents are getting less and less willing to kiss his divine ass. But he still has god-like power and a smoking hot blonde in Sue Richards by his side. So he still has the edge. But even Sue suspects this isn't just Richard Dawkins publishing another god-bashing book. This is a real threat, right up there with the IRS threatening to audit a church.

While Doom is preparing his holy response, the battle below begins to unfold. It's pretty damn epic, albeit not on the same scale as the third Lord of the Rings movie. It still has battles that involve Sinister, Captain Marvel, and the Goblin Queen. To hell with elves and wizards. They don't look half a sexy as Madelyne Pryor.

Even without that epic scale, there are a few twist that will give Doom an even holier headache. Sinister decides he no longer has a boner for redheads and obscenely revealing outfits. He's now into blonds and with Captain Marvel's help, he turns on the Goblin Queen. I can't fault a guy for changing tastes. Goblin Queen might give you a good boner, but Captain Marvel will kick more ass. It's a hard choice for any man's penis, but in the heat of a battle, you go with the woman who kicks more ass.

But once again, a man who makes hard choices with his penis tends to get fucked over in the end. Sinister's betrayal doesn't go unnoticed. In fact, the end result is him getting his fucking head chopped off by one of Apocalypse's buddies. Now for Sinister, this is more of an inconvenience than a defeat. Granted, it's going to be a lot harder for him to have fun with Captain Marvel, but it still helps add to the visceral chaos of the battle.

That's really the point of this unfolding shit storm. This unholy order that Doom created in Battleworld is starting to fuck itself. His barons are betraying one another. Now, they're decapitating one another. That's not a formula for a stable order, no matter how holy you are. Doom may or may not realize that, but I imagine his ass is getting more sore by the nanosecond.

But Doom still has the edge, right? I mean it's not just that he has god-like power in a world that HE created. This guy snapped the next of a Phoenix-powered Cyclops. He also happens to have an army of Thors at his disposal. Surely ending an uprising like this should be as simple as ordering a pizza.

There's just one problem. Even the pizza boys are turning against him. Thor (the Jane Foster one) has been channeling her inner Christopher Hitchens as well. She's like Sam Harris giving a lecture at the Vatican, turning the Thor Corp against Doom. And if you read Thors #4, you know she succeeded and didn't even need to flash her boobs. Now, she's got the Thors going up against Doom as well. Surely, he can't snap all their necks.

The Thors add more chaos to the battle. There's hammers, explosions, firepower, and Sinister's head. It's definitely starting to escalate. It still doesn't feel quite as epic as it ought to. There are games of Starcraft that feel more epic, but not by much.

However, the arrival of the Thors does effectively nullify any edge Doom has with his barons. Apocalypse might have been able to end Sinister's treacherous ass before he fucked Doom's world up more than it already was, but can he do that against an army of Thors? Maybe the Thors are also mistaking him for Ivan Ooze because they think they can take his ass down. Sinister is still a useless head, but I get the sense he felt he made the right decision by not siding with Doom.

So now the Thors have turned against Doom. And his barons are cutting each other's heads off. He's still not completely fucked, right? He's still got godly power, a smoking hot blonde by his side, and armies of loyal minions. He basically has what the Vatican wishes it had back in the day before all this annoying enlightenment shit took hold. He's still got the edge, right?

Well if an army of Thors turning against him wasn't bad enough, how about an army of Hulks? That's right, the events of Contest of Champions did not come out in Doom's favor. Now, like a compulsive gambler in debt to Tony Soprano, they're coming to fuck him up and they're not just going to stop at breaking his legs. Any battle that has both Hulks and Thors in it is inherently epic. And at this point, no amount of godly power is going to keep Doom from shitting himself.

It's a hell of a battle that's unfolding. It has all the potential to be the most epic clash outside the new Star Wars movie. And it doesn't even involve Tony Stark shooting shit with giant guns...yet. But there are still elements of this battle unfolding behind the scenes that still don't think this is enough. Hulks and Thors are all well and good, but it's not going to kick Doom's ass in the way he deserves.

Enter Reed Richards...not one, but two of them. One is evil as fuck. One is pissed off to no end because Doom stole his wife and family. They're both working together with Starlord to cut off Doom's power and let all the people he's pissed off do the rest. It's not as brilliant as I would expect from Reed Richards, but I can't say I blame him for wanting to see Doom suffer.

And if all this isn't enough, because I guess there's just no such thing as overkill when it comes to a god-powered Doom, Reed is also coordinating with Namor and Black Panther. Sure, Namor laid waste to Wakanda while drunk on Phoenix power, but when they're facing a god-powered Doom, that's water under the bridge. They decide to take another piss on the foundation of Battleworld by blowing up one of the many barriers separating each domain. Why would they do that? Well it's going to piss Doom off even more so why not?

There's another reason why they do it. On the other side of this particular wall is a horde of zombies and dead heroes. Apparently, Doom is a Walking Dead fan and lets them roam in their own domain of Battleworld. They still don't like that though. There just aren't enough brains to enjoy in a domain like this. So when Black Panther and Namor show up offering them a chance to attack Doom and feast on his divinely delicious brain matter, they jump at the chance. Because he's already got Thors and Hulks opposing him. Why not throw zombies into the mix for good measure? it awesome?

That depends. Is it awesome for Dr. Doom? Well he's got Maximus leading an army against him. He's got the Thor corps turning on him. He's got his Barons back-stabbing one another. He's got not one, but two Reed Richards looking to fuck him over. And he's got a zombie army going after him as well. So for Doom, fuck no. This is shaping up to be as bad a day as any prostate exam or parole hearing. For everyone else, it's double shot of awesome that this overly-delayed event badly needed.

Given the size and scope of this event, it's hard to cover all the meaningful details. A lot of shit that happened in this issue unfolded in the tie-ins. So reading this issue without reading those is like watching only the second half of Full Metal Jacket. You're not going to get the bulk of the awesome. But it doesn't make the growing shit storm around Doom any less epic. So unless the delays have completely hindered your ability to give more than half a fuck, you'll enjoy this.

Final Score: 7 out of 10