May 15, 2013 Leave a comment
You can become awesome, that’s what. But you’d know that if you were reading Young Avengers.
By comic nerds for comic nerds.
May 5, 2013 Leave a comment
With the release of Iron Man 3, so begins Marvel Studios’ Phase 2. Well, that’s just a fancy way of saying that you’re going to get three sequels and one original movie in Guardians of the Galaxy. But it does have some significance with the stories. No longer will the filmmakers have to be primarily occupied with introducing the main characters and setting them up for The Avengers. Combined with this new freedom, was also a new Iron Man director in Shane Black. Gone, but not very far was Jon Favereau.
Directed by Shane Black
Written by Drew Pearce & Shane Black
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron ManGwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes/Iron Patriot
Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian
Rebecca Hall as Maya Hensen
Jon Favereau as Happy Hogan
Sir Ben Kingsly as The Mandarin
See, Iron Man 1 and 2 director Jon Favereau didn’t go far. He just didn’t direct. But anyways, the movie begins in Berm, Switzerland on New Year’s Eve 1999. There, Tony Stark is hitting on “botanist” Maya Hensen, all while ignoring Aldrich Killian, from Advanced Idea Mechanics. In Hall’s room, she shows her ferns (yes, the actual plants) that are part of her experiments. Despite being told to leave it alone, Happy breaks off a small branch. Shortly after, it’s shown growing back, but there is then an explosion in that room. But this doesn’t keep Tony from spending the night with her, and not saying good-bye in the morning. He also told Aldrich that he’d meet him on the roof, but never did. Read more of this post
April 5, 2013 3 Comments
I started my X-Men fandom back in 1991 when my brother picked up Uncanny X-Men #275 (featuring my all-time favorite cover), and then had me buying them just three issues later. 1991 was a big year for the X-Men franchise, as the three big titles – Uncanny, New Mutants and X-Factor all went through major changes. With the release of the cartoon shortly after, the X-Men became an even bigger sensation for young fans, even for a line that had for some time been THE book of the comic scene.
A lot of my time in late-91 and most of 1992 hanging out a small local comic shop about three blocks away from my house hanging out with the local solicitor, a guy I only knew as Steve. Steve had opened a comic and card shop along with a small art gallery in a building next to Louisville’s Clifton Pizza, which is why to this day I associate the smell of a sit-down pizzeria with comics. Steve was an amazing contributor to my fledgling comic fandom, one of the three people that _ my love of comics (along with my older brother and my friend’s Aunt Jane – who was my comic mentor).
I spent many a dollar in Steve’s shop, and he gave me numerous deals that helped me build my collection of both comics and cards. For the entire summer of 1992, I spent dollar after dollar on packs of the first-ever X-Men trading card set. This 100-card set (not counting the bonuses) was drawn completely by Jim Lee, and reflected all of the X-Teams, even Excalibur. This card set let me learn about all the X-Men characters, in a time when Al Gore had yet to develop the Internet. Back then, you had to read the issues yourself or find some kind of resource to get your knowledge. And this one was mine.
At a dollar a pack, I spent most of the summer of ’92 piecing together this set. Steve was nice enough to buy back my doubles as I slowly but surely worked on the entire set. In fact, two weeks was spent looking for two cards to finish the set – Shatterstar and Danger Room Gambit – until one fateful day I bought one pack that had BOTH cards in it. I was one happy camper.
In fact, my biggest regret of the numerous lost pieces of my youthful comic collection is that I managed to lose this set somewhere along the line. It was probably pitched or given away by my mom, but I can’t really blame her as it likely took place during my down period of comic fandom in the early 00′s. I could actually buy the whole set now for not that much, but I can’t say I have the money for it right now. (If any reader would like to…just saying, ha!)
But I occasionally go back and look through the set, via a site of scans at comiccovers.com, and reminisce about the fun I had collecting them.
But today when I did so it dawned on me that there are some characters that were highlighted back in this boom period of X-Men that have been lost into character limbo over the years. After all, it’s been over 2 decades since this set came out. So let’s look at some of the featured characters from this period that have been largely forgotten over time.
April 4, 2013 Leave a comment
My roommate managed to destroy the apartment’s supply of HDMI cables, so I found myself searching for other means of video game boredom relief. I fired up the ZSNES emulator and took a nostalgic trip back through the adventures of the 90′s favorite band of merry mutants, the X-Men. I gave both X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse and Wolverine: Adamantium Rage a playthrough…well, as much as I could in the latter’s case before I simply wanted to rip my controller from my laptop and hurl it across the room.
The X-Men’s tenure in the 16-bit era was interesting in that with one exception (Spider-Man and X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge), there were no direct ports between the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. All games that came out for either system were exclusive, and different developers were usually responsible for the titles. You might think that since Wolverine: Adamantium Rage was released on both systems, it would buck the trend, but you’d be wrong. The Super Nintendo version was developed by LJN, the same that put out Wolverine for the regular Nintendo, and it’s the inferior of the two, to be blunt.
But that’s the one I played, so that’s what we’ll be looking at today.
March 28, 2013 3 Comments
This time we’re not looking at what actually did happen, but rather what Chris Claremont wanted to happen with his merry mutants.
You might have heard this before, but once upon a time Jean Grey went and died. It might have even been a big deal.
The Dark Phoenix Saga was a huge event at the time (and even remains so today) because it featured the death of a beloved X-Man. Sure, Changeling and Thunderbird died before, but this was Jean Frickin’ Grey! The beloved Marvel Girl who had been around from day one of the X-Men. And not only was the event huge because she bit the big one, but it was such a tragic tale that had been built up for so long with her fall to darkness and her eventual suicide.
And Chris Claremont made sure readers remembered how important her death was. Thunderbird only got one mention the issue after he died, but Jean was mentioned in nearly every issue for some time to come. Villains inquired about her. Members of the team became sullen whenever her name came up.
Of course, all this was for moot with the launch of X-Factor in which it was revealed that the Phoenix that had died was not actually Jean, but rather a clone of her created by a cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force, which had answered her mental cry for help and placed her in a healing cocoon under Jamaica Bay that was later discovered by the Avengers. Jean’s revival was done because an editorial edict that wanted the original five X-Men back together in the new book.
But Claremont himself was not at all amused. In his mind, having the revelation that Jean was not actually Phoenix damaged the original story’s depth, and having Jean back created all kinds of new issues, most notably for Cyclops and his new bride Madelyne Pryor, whom Claremont had created specifically to give Cyke his “happy ending” for at least the time being. There was no way that Jean’s return could do anything but confuse the marriage and damage Cyclops’s character, making him a royal ass for abandoning his wife and son just to hook back up with his lost love.
So what was Claremont’s idea instead? He suggested using Jean’s sister Sarah, who had been introduced in the Dark Phoenix Saga, in her place amongst the original X-Men, giving them a red-headed Grey, but having her uncomfortable and even hateful of her role as a mutant. Rather than simply going with the original team, it would give them a new foil, and one that kept the tragedy of Jean’s death right in front of the original members. Also, what would Sarah’s reaction to Madelyne be? In fact, the Grey family were kept quite distant from Cyclops’s wife – it was an encounter that just never happened.
Claremont pitched the idea to Marvel, but they were sold on the return of Jean, and thus back she came, complete with wrecking Cyke’s marriage and creating a new spin on the Phoenix Force that took Marvel decades to finally straighten out.
What could have been…in my opinion is one more reason Chris Claremont is awesome.
March 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Preview posted by joblomovienetwork
Well, first impressions are that it looks better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Of course, you wouldn’t think it’d be difficult to make one better, but if they made one that bad, then they can make another. Not much else to say about it. It’s just a preview after all. You all have any thoughts?
March 27, 2013 Leave a comment
So there was this one time that Professor X turned into a giant space bug and kind of died. Funny thing, really.
Though largely an easily-defeated menace today, once upon a time, the Brood royally jacked the X-Men up, even infecting each one of them with a Queen embryo that would hatch and transform its host into a Brood, killing them in the process. The thing even hatched in both Wolverine and Storm, but other factors (a healing factor and death) prevented the transformation.
Charles Xavier wasn’t so lucky. His first attempt at detecting the thing knocked him into a catatonic stupor, then its influence led him to recruit the original New Mutants. Seriously – go look it up. Finally the X-Men, recently healed from their own infections, made it back to Earth and set out to cure their beloved mentor of his infection.
And they failed.
The Brood embryo hatched and Professor X’s body was irreversibly transformed. Fortunately, the X-Men managed to put the kibosh on the thing before it overtook his mind, and before you can say “space age technology”, the Starjammers had a new Xavier body cloned and ready to go and transferred his mutant brain over. The operation was a complete success, and the neat procedure had two neat little benefits. One, it allowed creators to be able to keep Xavier “ageless” as his new body could be considered any age rather than being stuck with the real-world events of his origin. The same was done with the recovery of Magneto, but that’s a story for another day.
The second and more in-story benefit was that the new body had a fully working set of legs, as the Starjammers didn’t find it necessary to smash his legs so the two would perfectly match. So, with the X-Men and New Mutants watching with bated breaths, Professor X emerged from the medical site and shocked everyone by standing up from his chair for the first time
since his Silver Age psychic braces had been abandoned because they were really stupid.
And then he screamed out in pain and crumpled into a heap. Whoops.
You see, when Xavier initially had his legs smashed by Lucifer, he used his psychic powers as a mental painkiller to block the horrific pain. As he continued over the years, he was always slightly doing such to keep himself sane and preventing his legs from having to be amputated. With the debut of his new body, he finally was able to stop blocking the pain, but his powerful mind was not exactly registering his new limbs and thus still registered the massive pain when he tried to use them.
Think phantom pains, but in reverse.
So thus, Xavier’s fix was not a simple get-’em-and-go, but forced him into months of physical therapy to train his mind to once again use his legs, much like anyone going through rehab to relearn simple tasks upon recovering from injury. It was a fantastic and unexpected move for the character, and is just one more reason why Chris Claremont is awesome.
March 22, 2013 1 Comment
When Chris Claremont took the relaunched X-Men team in issue #94, he immediately did house-cleaning. Giant-Size X-Men had ended with Angel asking what are they going to do with 13 X-Men, and in just three pages that question was answered when six members quit (Sunfire, Angel, Havok, Polaris, Iceman and Marvel Girl). By the end of the next issue, another was gone when Thunderbird got himself all blowed up.
On a tangent note, the question of having 13 X-Men is laughable for today’s fan, as Marvel would simply launch four more titles, add 13 more X-Men in, and only use five of them with any kind of regularity. But I digress.
Claremont’s lineup kept Cyclops as the veteran leader, new characters Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus as the out-of-their element rookies, Wolverine as the grizzled loner, and Banshee as the second-in-command, since he was not only a veteran in many different fields, but also a returning supporting character from the original book.
And though I rarely hear anyone praising Banshee during this period, his story was one of the more interesting subplots (of the thousands Claremont would have running). Unlike the others just beginning their careers as super-heroes, Banshee had been there and done that, not only as a hero (and villain, for that matter), but as an Interpol agent and NYPD cop. And thus, the wear and tear of full-time heroics did not completely appeal to him, though a nod of convincing from Professor X would keep him going.
Though, if you think about what’s been revealed about Professor X in the past few years, maybe it was something of a mental push as well.
But it wasn’t just Banshee’s concerns of his age and weariness that was holding him back, but also a limitation to his body. Unlike the other members of the team, Banshee found himself overtaxing his powers. This was first demonstrated during the battle for the M’Krann Crystal when he found himself being overwhelmed by Crystal guardian Jahf, who he had to use as heavy a scream as he could, leaving his throat so raw he could barely speak.
Finally, in the X-Men’s trip to Japan, Banshee used his powers past all of his limits in keeping the villain Moses Magnum from sinking the island nation into the Pacific Ocean. The move hospitalized him, and left him completely powerless. His attempts to use his sonic scream in the next fight against Alpha Flight caused him so much pain, he passed out before Vindicator, shocking the Canuck.
The loss of powers might have caused Banshee to call it a day right there, except that the team’s return to the X-Mansion after months away found it completely shut down and locked up, and he had to help the team restore it, getting caught up in a battle against Arcade in Murderworld in which he again found himself more often than not a hindrance to the rest of the team, at least in his own mind.
Just after their return home, the team was called to Muir Island to take on Proteus, and Banshee found himself again taking a backseat role, this time even spending the majority of the fight in regular clothes rather than his costume. Finally reunited with his love Moira MacTaggert and feeling his spot on the team was adequately filled by the rejoining of Phoenix, Banshee finally retired from the team to help run the Muir Island lab.
And that’s where Claremont kept him for over 100 issues.
But it’s not like he simply vanished. Moira was still an important figure to the X-Men (and later New Mutants) and usually wherever she was, Banshee would be right next to her. Though, as a point, Claremont made sure to keep him powerless, as the injuries to his throat would not be a quick fix like so many “serious” injuries found in comics. Eventually Banshee’s sonic scream would return and he’d find himself back with the X-Men, but that is a story for another day.
But in having a character actually worry about their aging body, then be not only forced to retire but staying there for a long while is just another reason why Chris Claremont is awesome.
March 21, 2013 1 Comment
I can’t say I’m that inclined to give you the normal Dear John letter we associate with dropping a title, especially since I only gave you about three issues. So let’s just say that it’s not you, it’s me.
Oh, not good enough for you? Fine.
When Marvel announced the aftermath relaunch of the Avengers and X-Men lines (again), it felt like there would be a merging of sorts between the two, and I didn’t really like that at all. After all, I’m an X-Men fan and I’m used to them being the red-headed step-children of the Marvel Universe. That’s a part of their whole deal – “the world that fears and hates” them schtick.
So the whole AvX made the Avengers realize they had no idea what the X-Men had been doing and they mistrusted mutants, even the two they had who were supposed to show how beyond that they were. And thus you were born, Uncanny Avengers, as a place to show mutants and human heroes working together – the bridge between the Avengers line and the X-Men line.
Except you aren’t really that, are you? You see, you’re not enough of an X-Men book to keep me interested. It’s basically a six-hero team, split half and half between Avengers and X-Men. Except the three X-Men heroes you’ve picked are Havok, Wolverine and Rogue. Havok hasn’t been a member of the X-Men team in years, and in fact he was off in character limbo for most of that time until Mike Carey got around to getting you back into the mainstream, only for you to head off to X-Factor (not that there was anything wrong with that). But Havok, even as so-called leader of the team, doesn’t have an X-Men connection to keep everyone happy. Which is a part of his selection – he was a government man and therefore trusted. A figure head, if you will. And that didn’t particularly interest me.
Of course, having Rogue was an interesting choice. Besides the main core of characters, she is one of the best-known members of the X-Men line and has even had her own book for the past few years. But really, I’m tired of Rogue. I’ve been reading her book and I feel like I need a break from her. Not a hooking point.
Then there was Wolverine who has largely become an Avengers character anyway, especially with him going anti-X for most of AvX. So what if he was right? He’s already stepped away from his own school now that Storm has taken over as headmistress and he follows the major heroes with the Avengers anyway.
And the Avengers part? Captain America and Thor are appearing in Avengers, which thanks to my roommate Casey I’m keeping up with. And Scarlet Witch? Meh.
So you may be perfectly fine, but you just don’t have my interest enough to warrant dropping $4 all five times a month Marvel’s schedule puts you out.
So stay well and I wish you all the best.