professor x

Logan review

Logan claw movie posterSince Hugh Jackman started playing Wolverine, we’ve had 3 different Spider-men, 2 Batmen, Chris Evans went from being a cocky Human Torch to being  Captain America, and people are questioning if there are too many comic book movies being released on a yearly basis.  When X-Men debuted in 2000, we were a few years removed from the debacle that was Batman & Robin.  There were no cinematic universes.  It was a different environment 17 years ago.

I do not remember there being much fanfare surrounding the release of X-Men.  I remember going to see it on a whim, even though that whim did happen to be on opening day.  But there was no reason to think then that we would still be talking about those actors playing those characters.  And while some have been replaced by younger versions since they went backwards in the timeline, there has been one constant.  Hugh Jackman has been Wolverine throughout.  That all comes to an end with Logan.  Logan is expected to be the final time Hugh Jackman portrays Wolverine on film.  I say “expected” because you should really never say never.

I say all of this, because I believe Logan works better when viewed as the swan song for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, rather than as the next movie in a long line of X-Men movies.  It is easier to think of the movies in two distinct timelines.  You have the original timeline, which includes X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine.  Then there is the First Class timeline, which includes X-Men:  First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse.  Days of Future Past links the original cast with the First Class cast, but I think it is simpler to put it in the new timeline, since it retcons events in previous movies anyways.  Now, the question is where does Logan fit in.  The answer to that is a giant shrug.  They do not attempt to fit it in anywhere, and that is fine.  (more…)

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Chuck Austen’s X-Men: Of Darkest Nights

A quick note before we begin.  The remaining chapters of Chuck Austen’s X-Men have been COMPLETED.  As in written (with images) and ready to post.  That means no more delays in further updates – there will be two updates next week and then the final chapter and a wrap-up the following week.  Thanks for sticking with it – it’ll be worth it!


443cover

Took Place In

Uncanny X-Men #442-443

Team Line-Up
Juggernaut, Polaris, Wolverine

Others You Should Be Aware Of
Emma Frost, Professor X, She-Hulk, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch

In a Nutshell
Professor X takes the body of the slain Magneto back to Genosha and has a philosophical debate with Polaris while Wolverine tears down buildings.

Before we begin, I have to give a little bit of defense to our favorite writer, Chuck Austen. 2004 was a big transitional time for the X-Men. At the time, there were three X-Men books – one was considered the “flagship”, which carried the MAIN X-Men story – while the other two were basically secondary books for characters to appear who weren’t being used in the main book. And Wolverine of course, because Wolverine. The flagship book would get all the Wizard attention (remember Wizard?) while the secondary books were kind of left to their own, hoping that no one would notice. For X-Treme X-Men, it gave Chris Claremont room to do whatever he wanted, because he’s Chris Claremont and damn it, he earned it. As for Uncanny, Chuck Austen did…well, we’ve learned what Chuck Austen did.

But come 2004, suddenly the flagship hit a transitional period. Grant Morrison finished up his epic in New X-Men and headed off for the Distinguished Competition, and fanboy messiah Joss Whedon was set to come in and start his epic in the newly launched Astonishing X-Men – back when jumping on points were actually jumping on points. In the meantime, the rest of the X-Books got shuffled a bit. Both Uncanny and New had decently high numbers (back when that mattered) so X-Treme X-Men was ended and Claremont was brought back over and given Uncanny, which from a sales point made a lot of sense – Chris Claremont back in the book that he built. Glory. Chuck Austen was in turn pushed over to Morrison’s old title, given back it’s original name of simply “X-Men”. So all was good in the world. Whedon manned the flagship, and the others kept going.

Well, except that there was a two month gap between Morrison’s last issue and the big relaunch. That meant nothing for X-Treme X-Men – all it had to do was wrap up and get ready to jump. But for Uncanny and New X-Men, that meant two months of treading water, not able to start new stories because RELAUNCH. So in Marvel’s epic wisdom, they decided to give both books to Chuck Austen and said “do something for an epilogue”. But it wasn’t an epilogue to his own stories – no funeral for the Cabots to be seen. Instead, he got hampered with writing an epilogue to Grant Morrison’s finale of Planet X. (We’re going to ignore Here Comes Tomorrow). That meant Magneto and Phoenix dead, Charles Xavier leaving the school, and the school in ruins.

That by itself wasn’t too bad, but any X-fan worth their mettle is probably aware of the shenanigans that took place just after Morrison left Marvel. The entire run of Morrison’s X-Men had been the infiltration of Magneto into the X-Men following the destruction of Genosha. Then the climax hits and everyone’s mind is blown and we’re left with the aftermath…and Marvel decides “Nope, it was not actually Magneto” and brings him back a couple months later, with Professor X seemingly having known the entire time. It was a horrendous mess, and it hampered any kind of story dealing with it, because if Professor X knew, why would he be going through these motions here?

So in Chuck’s defense, that’s not his fault. This will also come up when we get to the return of Xorn. But enough of that. We’re not here to defend – we’re here to ridicule. So let’s go!

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186 Reasons Chris Claremont is Awesome #3: Charles Xavier’s Brand New Legs

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.

X-Men in Video Games: Part 4

Let me tell you one thing, and I’m being completely honest.

X-Men, the 1992 arcade game, is incredible.  Despite what I may say in the rest of this post, the game is fucking incredible – and I try not to drop the f-bomb around here unless I’m really serious about something.  It’s my favorite X-Men game ever and I hope to one day own a copy of the 6-man cabinet.

There.  Now that we’re clear on that point – this game is a crazy hot load of mess.  But it’s the quirky kind of arcade mess that you likely never noticed in your youth, or simply didn’t care about.  Like where Shredder banished the Ninja Turtles into prehistoric times in Turtles in Time, yet still sent Foot Soldiers after them.

X-Men is an entire game of sending Foot Soldiers into the prehistoric past to defeat your enemies whom you’ve already defeated.

But let’s not dwell on the negative.  There’s a lot of positive to this game.’

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Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

There’s a great benefit the follow-up to a bad movie has before it’s even been screened for the first time.  No matter how good or bad it may be, it likely cannot be worse than the previous one.  Fans went into Batman Begins knowing that whatever they saw would surpass Batman and Robin.  And those left disappointed by X-Men: The Last Stand likely went into First Class with the thought that it simply had to be somewhat better.

I make the lofty comparison between the Batman and X-Men franchises because just like the movie from the Distinguished Competition, Marvel’s merry mutants have pulled off a miraculous turnaround from the gratuitous action nonsense that Last Stand had been into an origin story filled with likable characters, interesting dynamics, and (if you can believe it) little-to-no Wolverine.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you should probably stop right here and avoid the SPOILERS I will be getting to after the jump.  If that’s the case, I’ll leave you with this.  X-Men: First Class is, in my opinion, the best movie in the franchise, only argued by X2: X-Men United.  Instead of reading this blog, you should go see it.  Actually, click on the jump link and give us the page hit.  THEN go see it.  And then come back.

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“On the New Mutants” or “Professor X Phones It In”

Throughout their tenure as students of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the New Mutants were constantly at odds with the senior team of X-Men, wanting to earn their place but constantly being called X-Babies and pushed aside almost everywhere.  Everyone from Storm to Shadowcat to Wolverine disrespected the kids whenever convenient.

But it wasn’t just the X-Men.  The team’s founder Charles Xavier – the legendary Professor X – had seemingly brought the team together in the same spirit that he had brought the original X-Men together so long ago.  Or that’s what he’d make you think, since he is telepathic and all.  But if one looks closer into the individual recruiting of all the various members of the New Mutants, they’d learn that the team came together through a series of random events rather than through great (or any) effort on the part of Xavier.

  • Karma: Discovered by Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four, who sent word to Xavier.  After initially refusing the request to bring her to the school, Xavier is taunted into relenting by Moira MacTaggert.
  • Wolfsbane: Chased by religious fanatics led by her own father Reverend Craig, she eventually came across Moira MacTaggert who just happened to be her godmother.  Moira dispersed the crowd and brought Rahne to Xavier.
  • Mirage: Mutant abilities discovered by her grandfather, Black Eagle who is killed right after sending word to Xavier to come get her.
  • Sunspot: After manifesting his abilities on the soccer field, Xavier actually detects this one.  Sunspot is the only member of the New Mutants that Xavier himself actually finds, yet he still sends Moira to go get the boy.
  • Cannonball: Discovered working for Donald Pierce when he attacks Xavier directly.  Invited to join the team after the fight.

And thus the original team of New Mutants were not painstakingly gathered by Charles Xavier in the spirit of the original X-Men.  No, rather they were assembled through luck and circumstance, and mainly through the great effort of Moira MacTaggert.  And as it would later turn out, the decision was made not directly by Xavier, but rather by the Brood Queen embryo planted within his body, hoping to gather other future hosts.  That’s right – Charles Xavier assembled the kids (or had them assembled for him) to eventually turn them into Brood.

But even once cured of his infection and deciding to keep the team going, Charles Xavier kept his half-assed methods going rather than actually giving a damn about his students.  This was no more apparent than when Karma vanished during a fight against Viper and the Silver Samurai.  After a day of looking, Xavier sent the New Mutants away, letting them believe their team leader to be dead.  Knowing that to not be the case, Xavier initially was going to have the X-Men look for her but apparently found something more interesting to do and simply gave up.  His shortsightedness would cause the return of the Shadow King, which would affect everyone associated to the X-Men for quite some time.

But before Xavier would become lost in space and leave the kids under the tutelige of Magneto (good move there) he would bring in four more mutants to the team…sort of.  It was more like four more mutants stumbled into the team and he took credit for the matter.

  • Magma: The New Mutants, sent away from the Karma matter, stumbled upon the ancient plot point society of Nova Roma and brought Magma home with them after defeating Selene.
  • Magik: The young Illyana Rasputin was kidnapped by Arcade and simply never returned home to Russia.  Eventually she was kidnapped by the demon Belasco, spending half her life in Limbo and ultimately becoming master of the realm.  The New Mutants and their dance teacher Stevie Hunter stumbled upon her sorcery/mutant abilities and she was absorbed into the team.
  • Warlock: Crash landed nearby seeking shelter from his father Magus.  The New Mutants welcomed him but Professor Xavier, apparently not regarding aliens as highly as mutants, was far more hesitant before doing so.
  • Cypher: Xavier actually knew about this one since he lived so close to the school but was not willing on training a mutant with their abilities unless they could be used for a fight.  Doug was invited to Emma Frost’s Massachusetts Academy and Xavier didn’t really seem to care.  Upon Warlock’s arrival, the New Mutants revealed his power to him and recruited him to speak to the alien.  He just stuck around from that point on.

And thus the team was fully built, through little-to-no effort from Xavier.  In fact, the last mutants he actively used Cerebro to detect – formerly the primary mission of the school and its X-Men – were Shadowcat and Dazzler during the Dark Phoenix Saga.  Past that, Xavier kind of gave it up and let everyone else come to him.

Why mutants shouldn’t breed

Let’s forget for a moment the whole ‘No more mutants’ thing, as well as the Trask mission to curb mutant breeding.  Let’s also forget the ‘changing the dynamic of the story’ and ‘damaging the characters’ bit that introducing pregnancy/birth often does.

With all that gone, I’m going to use nothing more than the lessons of history to prove that mutants…and even those allied to mutants…just shouldn’t be breeding.  It just shouldn’t happen.  Don’t believe me?  Let’s ask…

Professor X
Before Charles Xavier met and fell in love with Moira MacTaggert, he worked in a middle eastern hospital alongside he who would go on to be Magneto…under the rather awkward pseudonym of ‘Magnus’.  There he met a headcase patient named Gabrielle Haller whom he helped back to sanity.  In thanks for his efforts, she did what any other headcase would do…bang him.  The two had more lust than love, and Xavier departed unaware that he had left Gabrielle pregnant with the son who would eventually go on to become Legion, multiple-personalitied mutant psychopath who eventually created the Age of Apocalypse.  But that’s not to say it was better for…

Moira MacTaggert
Like any woman from comics in the late Silver Age would do, Moira left Charles Xavier after he was drafted into military service and settled down with a downright lout of a man in Joe MacTaggert.  Though it was not plainly stated, it was implied that he had impregnated her through force, and she kept her son Kevin from him.  Kevin developed a mutant ability that burned out his own body, creating Proteus, who went on to kill a whole bunch of people before the X-Men put him down.

See?  And those were the good guys.  We’ll look at some other offsprings after jump.

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