Month: February 2015

Chuck Austen’s X-Men: Heroes and Villains

X-Men 162-00fcTook Place In
 X-Men #429-431

Team Line-Up
Havok (Leader), Iceman, Gambit, Juggernaut, Rogue, Polaris, Wolverine

Others You Should Be Aware Of
Nurse Annie, Sammy the Fish Boy, Sammy the Fish Boy’s Mom the Fish Boy Mom, Carter Ghazikhanian, Xorn II, Northstar

In a Nutshell
A brand new Brotherhood of EEEEEvil Mutants (now with more elephants!) attacks the X-Men and Nurse Annie leaves the school.

We sure have been through a lot, haven’t we? We started way back in Hope with a fight against a talking tree who got an orgasm (Stacy X, we miss you so) and have been through werewolves, evil churches, bionic rednecks, and even the Draco. But here is where it all ends. Heroes and Villains is the swan song of Chuck Austen’s far too long run with the X-Men, and then he pretty much falls out of the entire mainstream comic scene.

Our story begins in Philadelphia where a tour group seeing Independence Hall is attacked by a brand new lineup of Brotherhood of Mutants. Led by Exodus, the lineup is made up of Avalanche, Black Tom Cassidy, Sabretooth, Nocturne and new character Mammomax. It is one of the most logic-defying team rosters I think I’ve ever seen. There is simply no reason for this crew to be together if one thinks about their characterizations. To illustrate this point, let’s think about some of the previous Brotherhood line-ups.

The original, led by Magneto, was governed by the thought that mutants would be the leaders of the world through violence and force to teach the ordinary humans their place in the evolutionary ladder. Mastermind and Toad wanted to be a part of the eventual leaders of the world, while Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were conflicted between owing their lives to Magneto, while not believing in his actions. The lineup made sense, and the later replacements like Blob and Unus to make up for the departure of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch leaned on their desire for power.

The second Brotherhood, brought together by Mystique, was a more level-headed basis of doing whatever they wanted to get what they wanted. Mystique and Destiny might have had loftier goals, but the likes of Blob, Pyro and Avalanche were just there because they were thugs willing to get their hands dirty to get what they wanted. When the whole organization landed in jail, they made a deal with the government liking the thought of being pardoned for doing practically the same thing. This mindset stuck with the Toad-led Brotherhood of the early 90’s.

But let’s look at this one. Exodus is the self-appointed heir to the ways of Magneto. He’s all about mutantkind and doing whatever it takes to ensure that mutants begin the dominant species of the planet, which he showed through his past (and future) leadership of the Acolytes. There is no way whatsoever that he would align himself with Sabretooth who slaughtered countless mutants for profit and enjoyment as one of Sinister’s Marauders. Black Tom Cassidy has always been about profit to himself, and was never much of a team-player outside of his friendship with Juggernaut. Nocturne is not a villain at all – she was a member of the Exiles, and though she apparently has a reason for being there, it doesn’t at all work. Avalanche and Mammomax fill out the ranks. Unlike any of the previous Brotherhoods, this group has little goal beyond “destroy the X-Men”. Oh, and attack tourists.

(more…)

Spider-Man, the MCU and movie-paced storytelling

Wow, it’s been quiet around here hasn’t it?  For me, I blame the United States Postal Service.  Not to say I’m “mailing it in” (har har).  Anyway, just because J.R. and I haven’t been keeping up with the blog (sorry!) doesn’t mean we’re not keeping up with comicdom and pop culture chunks.  Well, I’m a little behind because of work, but I’m doing my best to catch up for work here as well as on a vocal-based project coming soon from me and a comic shop owner.  Stay tuned.

But because I’m known by many of my friends as a comic book nerd (and rightfully so) whenever something happens that makes buzz, someone will likely come to me and ask my opinion on it.  Lately, it’s been the announcement that Sony and Marvel are bringing Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Um, woo hoo?

But don’t get my lack of excitement bug you.  I’m not a movie watcher, per se, as in I don’t really watch movies.  While I am up on my X-Men movies which isn’t a big surprise, as for the MCU I’m really behind.  I’ve seen the first two Iron Man movies, the second Captain America movie and the Avengers.  Now before you jump down my throat screaming HOW COULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A FAN AND NOT SEE THEM ALL?!!! let me roll my eyes and say that if a movie’s theme doesn’t interest me, I’m not going to go out of my way to give time and money to it.  So when you toss out a solo movie for Thor or Hulk (or Superman for that matter, if you’re a DC fan) I’m not going to get excited because the characters don’t appeal that much to me.  If it’s important enough to someone I like and value the opinion of, I can be swayed.  For instance, my friend Andrew finally sat me down and made me watch Winter Soldier, and I give him props for doing so.

But enough about me, let’s talk Spider-Man in the MCU.

(more…)

Amusing Ad Placement

The following is taken from Justice League United #7.  Yes, I know it came out a while ago.  Yes, I’m really, really behind in my reading.  Anyways, a little background.  Ultra is a kid alien that was created by combining the DNA of several alien races, hoping to create a supreme being, or something.  It’s the first story arc, read it.  Anyways, the villain Byth has taken Ultra, and use him to rule the universe.  The Legion has come back in time to kill Byth because of what happens in the future.  The JLU likes Ultra, and wants to save him.  Green Arrow brings up the possibility that they should at least discuss what they’re going to do if they can’t save Ultra.

JLU 8 Stargirl

Of course, no one on the team raises their hand.  However, the first thing I saw after reading this panel was this ad on the next page.

JLU 8 NBA ad

That’s right, Carmelo Anthony is in favoring of killing bio-engineered, alien kids who may or may not destroy the universe.