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Uncanny X-Men: Revolution

The X-Men regroup after the devastating Phoenix event in Avengers vs X-Men, with Cyclops taking the lead of his outlaw band of mutants and establishes the New Charles Xavier School. He, Emma Frost, Magik and Magneto collect new students from around the world, as new cases of teens gaining abilities out of nowhere are popping up all over.

The Avengers hear of Cyclops’ mission and try to stop him. Being partial to the X-Men, I feel that the Avengers came off as pricks with a holier than thou vibe. They got shown up when one of the new mutants used her powers to trap them, and the X-Men made their escape. The team head to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning where they meet up with Kitty Pride, Wolverine and Havok who are leading a second school for mutants. Their differences are established, and it is sad to see such divisions among the former teammates, but a few students there switch over to Cyclops’ new school.

In the midst of this, we learn of a mole in the Uncanny team, and later are unsure if this team member is being truthful, or if there will be further double or triple crosses. Cyclops is torn about what he did to Professor X, and his culpability level as his, Emma’s and Magneto’s powers were compromised by the Phoenix. They need the new mutants as much as the new students need their guidance. The last chapter concentrates on Magik and her connection to Darkchild and the demon world. A cliff hanger is set up and this new team have their work cut out for them.

Right off, I was at a disadvantage as surprisingly I have not read A vs X (it is now on reserve for me at my library), so I struggled with my background knowledge. Most comics, including this one, try to fill the reader in on past events through dialogue between characters but I had to search some Marvel Wiki pages for info to fill in my knowledge gaps. What I probably should have done, is set this book aside until I read the other book, but I was on a time crunch and soldiered on.

Artist Chris Bachalo illustrates chapters one through four, while Frazer Irving takes over for chapter five. As the style changes dramatically in the last chapter, and not for the better, I was not happy. I liked Frazer’s backgrounds better with his swirling colors, but Bachalo’s illustrations of the heroes was far superior. If I am to read further into the series, first I must read A vs X, and then see if the art holds up in future volumes.

-Nancy

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Bendis, Brian Michael, Chris Bacalo & Frazer Irving. Uncanny X-Men: Revolution. 2014.
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You’re Fired Ex-Men (final edition)

Pete Holmes is a wickedly funny comedian, and he had some spot-on videos about the weaknesses of the X-Men team.  For his now defunct late night show, Holmes did a series of skits on the failings of many of the X-Men heroes, and how their vulnerabilities made them a threat to the team. He portrayed Professor X in eleven hilarious but vulgar video clips. I previously spotlighted Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Jubilee, Rogue, Storm and Jean Grey. That leaves my last four to get their walking papers! (For mature audiences only)

Angel: What can Angel do besides fly? Does he truly have any other power? Nope.

Iceman: What does the song Kiss From A Rose by Seal have to do with Iceman’s firing? Watch to find out.

Cyclops: What is keeping Cyclops laser beams from killing everyone? His glasses. The glasses that could fall off his head at any time!

Magneto: Professor X insults his arch-nemesis, and their disrespectful quips back and forth are hilarious. Their insults are evenly balanced until the end, when the Professor gets one last dig in.

Thus concludes my months in the making series of these X-Men spoofs. Make sure you enjoy all eleven videos when no tender ears are nearby!

-Nancy

You’re Fired X-Men (the ladies edition)!

Pete Holmes is a wickedly funny comedian, and he had some spot-on videos about the weaknesses of the X-Men team.  For his now defunct late night show, Holmes did a series of skits on the failings of many of the X-Men heroes, and how their vulnerabilities made them a threat to the team. He portrayed Professor X in eleven hilarious but vulgar video clips. I previously featured Wolverine’s firing and then Nightcrawler, Gambit & Jubilee’s swan songs, while today we see how the esteemed leader treats the ladies.  Warning- they are for mature audiences only!

 

Rogue: Professor X is not taken in by Rogue’s southern charm and accuses her of being an energy vampire. Her need for love risks death for other team members, if she were to touch them.  Bye bye, sugah!

 

 

Storm: While he appreciates Storm’s abilities, he wants to harness them for his own benefit. A little black mailing isn’t out of the question for him, although she shows him the integrity he himself is lacking.

 

 

Jean Grey: Beware my gentle readers for this last video clip. Turns out our kindly Professor X has a secret crush on Jean and lets her know in no uncertain terms. He might now need to be called Professor X-Rated.

 

If you made it this far, you will agree with me that our staid Professor X is secretly a big ole’ perv. Now we know what he was really thinking!

-Nancy

 

You’re Fired Ex-Men!

Pete Holmes is a wickedly funny comedian, and he had some spot-on videos about the weaknesses of the X-Men team.  For his now defunct late night show, Holmes did a series of skits on the failings of many of the X-Men heroes, and how their vulnerabilities made them a threat to the team. He portrayed Professor X in eleven hilarious but vulgar video clips. I previously featured Wolverine’s firing, but plan to highlight others in future posts.  Warning- they are for mature audiences only!

Nightcrawler: Our favorite blue guy gets insulted and told not only is he creepy but he smells when he teleports! Poor guy- what is he going to do now? It’s not like he can pass into society as he has a very distinct look!

Gambit: I love me some Gambit, and wouldn’t mind spending some time with this sexy Cajun, but his skills are weak, I have to admit. What if he runs out of cards? Then what????

Jubilee: What can Jubilee actually do? Although an appealing teen, with her trademark yellow jacket and sunglasses, she doesn’t seem to add much to the X-men team. I would actually have to agree- you’re fired!

There’s more gems like these for another day!

-Nancy

Guest Post on My Comic Relief

Image by Babs Tarr @ Babs Draws

Michael at My Comic Relief has been running a series on his and other blogger’s reviews and reflections on the Logan movie, so I was excited to be able to add a guest post, Logan : A Fitting End,  to his blog. Logan was a superb movie that gave a fitting end to the story of Logan’s life, but his successor Laura is more than capable of carrying the Wolverine mantel into the future.

Please check out Michael’s site to not only read the Logan series but to read Michael’s erudite posts on comics, movies, and his excellent ongoing political series about the New American Resistance. Michael has been a big supporter of our site, and we are very proud to call him a friend!

-Nancy

You’re Fired Wolverine!

In anticipation of the upcoming Wolverine movie, Logan, coming out later this week I want to share this hilarious video by comedian Pete Holmes about our favorite brooding hero.

For his now defunct late night show, Holmes did a series of skits on the failings of many of the X-Men heroes, and how their vulnerabilities made them a threat to the team. Because if you really think about it -Wolverine’s metal claws could be manipulated by Magneto, he needs to be close up to fight effectively, and he’s often off “discovering” himself.  But…he’s sexy and has good hair, so who cares!

Just a heads up- the video is for mature audiences for it has profanity and raunchy humor.

 

There are eleven of these X-Men spoof videos,  so you can look forward to more posts on this topic in the future!

-Nancy

House of M

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Bendis, Brain Michael & Oliver Coipel. House of M. 2006.

I haven’t reviewed a Marvel book in awhile, and it feels good to be back!

The book opens with Wanda, the Scarlett Witch, giving birth to her and Vision’s twins who are later retconned to Wiccan and Speed. But this touching scene is destroyed by Professor X who insists that this is not reality, and demands that Wanda put the world back to how it originally was, for it is revealed that she killed several Avengers with her reality warping abilities during a mental breakdown six months prior.

Wanda’s father, Magneto, and Professor X discuss how she is a danger to them all, as her unstable mind has the potential to destroy them all. Some of the Avengers and X-Men meet together secretly to discuss what to do about her, with Emma Frost suggesting that Wanda be killed, while Captain America counsels for other humane options. This cross-over group remains divided, and they decide to travel  to see Wanda themselves before they make a final decision. Upon arriving in her father’s kingdom of Genosha, they can not find her, for Wanda’s twin brother Quicksilver had warned his father of the incoming group. As the group explores the area, a white light surrounds them and they disappear.

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We are then introduced to a new reality for all the heros, in which Wanda supposedly changed everyone’s reality to reflect their secret desires. I have a problem with this. A few I can deal with: Cyclops and Emma are married, Spidey is married to Gwen instead of MJ and has a toddler son, Dazzler is a talk show host, and many of the mutants are celebrities. But there were some glaring mistakes: there should be no Cloak without Dagger and no Luke without Jessica. Kitty Pryde should not be a put upon teacher, Captain America shouldn’t be an old man living in a rundown building in the Bronx (what?!) and downgrading Gambit to a criminal were all bad changes. Plus, why wouldn’t Vision be brought back to life, for he was the Scarlett Witch’s husband and father to the twins?? And where is Professor X? There are too many inconsistencies for me to deal with here.

Wolverine is the first to sense that something is off and investigates. He meets with Luke Cage and crew and meets a mysterious teen named Layla who has abilities to see between different realities and get inside people’s heads. After Layla helps Emma Frost see the truth, Wolverine assembles the group again trying to deal with this problem. They head to crash the party Magnus/Magneto is having, and all hell breaks loose. Doctor Strange tries to reach Wanda and have her restore the old reality, but a semi-incestuous talk she had with Quicksilver is shown as confusing her further.

We end with possibly yet another reality-  and the mutants deal with the fallout from Wanda’s last utterance, “No more mutants!”. What was real? What has changed? Is one reality better than the other? The fade out sets up a new incoming problem- for now that many mutants have lost their powers, Sir Isaac Newton’s law is quoted, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. What will be the reaction going forth?  But ultimately, if the Marvel universe doesn’t make sense, or there are inconsistencies to the characters and timelines in this book or others- don’t worry- everything will be scrambled in the Secret Wars,  where basically anything goes on the planet of Battleworld in an alternate universe. (Sigh)

The artwork, was usual Marvel type, with the women drawn better than the weirdly necked men. At times the narrative was hard to follow, for the flow of panels was confusing. Should I read left to right, or start up and then track downwards? It was inconsistent, and at times I had to backtrack because I was following the oddly broken up panels in the wrong order. The front cover was misleading, with some heroes shown prominently that played little to no part in the story. I have noticed this on other Marvel covers, and I don’t like it.

Despite my criticisms, this was a great Marvel novel and sets up issues and plots that can be addressed in future House of M issues or other Marvel spinoff stories.  When you read it, look for the big themes, don’t get bogged down with little details, as I am apt to do 😉

-Nancy

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Love this House of Magnus look, but why aren’t the twins dressed in finery also, instead of like little Damien’s from The Omen?

 

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

Graphic Novelty²  would like to introduce our first guest to post on our blog, Nancy’s husband, Cliff!

So, final exams week for Nancy. I volunteered to do a guest post to give her a break, then remembered I really haven’t kept up with the comics world for many years (besides ElfQuest). Nancy’s already done a review of the elves, so I figured we’d go back to school; the Old School, that is…

I read The Uncanny X-Men for awhile in the mid 80’s, and this is the book that drew me in (I picked it up several years after it had originally been published). I’ve read that it wasn’t considered part of the overall X-Men canon for many years, but the story is a doozy nonetheless. Religious extremism bordering on fascism, an unlikely alliance between the X-men and Magneto, innocent mutant children being hunted and killed, torture and deception, a lot of suspense wondering about the fates of several key characters, and a final showdown at a Madison Square Garden crusade. The artwork has a dark and rough around the edges quality that fits the mood of the tale.

Looking back, I remember thinking that Wolverine was the coolest thing ever (I was in my early teens when I read this, ’nuff said) and wishing that he’d had a more prominent role (although he did play a significant part in the story); nonetheless, this graphic novel has a good overall balance. The character development is spread pretty evenly (with the notable exception of Storm), and two things in particular stood out when I re-read it: at the end, Cyclops/Scott confronts the evil William Stryker on the podium and makes an eloquent plea for acceptance and tolerance. I also was impressed with the way Kitty Pryde’s character was written. I remember her not being very well developed in the monthly comics; here, she shows a lot of backbone, standing up for herself and her fellow mutants, and she isn’t afraid to get angry. She also shows of some pretty cool survival skills that help her to outwit her opponents.

A few negatives: too many characters with huge thought balloons or those talking-out-loud explanations of what they’re doing that would never cut it in real time (think of those movies where James Bond has only 30 seconds to defeat an enemy and disarm a bomb, but the scene takes more than two minutes); however, this being a graphic novel that was sold in bookstores to the general public, maybe the author went in with the idea of placing a lot of character info in the story for those who were not familiar with the X-Men or their history. Also, while I’m no fan of fundamentalist religious beliefs, the bad guys felt a little too cookie cutter and one dimensional, though I did find Rev. Stryker’s background story pretty interesting.

Overall, I’d give this one a solid B. It was fun re-reading it all these years later. Maybe the costumes haven’t aged well, but the universal themes behind the story remain timeless. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone, comics fan or not.

School is now dismissed!

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Claremont, Christopher and Brent Eric Anderson. God Loves, Man Hates. 1982.

Bit of trivia: What is wrong with this picture???

 

Origin

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Jemas, Quesada, Jenkins, Kubert, & Isanove. Origin. 2001.

Back in 2001 when the first of the six comics came out, I thought Wolverine’s origin story would finally be revealed. I eagerly awaited each issue, anxious for the truth. As with any good origin story, some questions were answered, but many more were added.

We are first introduced to Rose, a twelve year old orphan who is being brought up the Howlett estate to be a companion for the younger sickly James Howlett in the early 1900’s.  We meet James’s father John and his grandfather, who are very unlike in temperament, with the older gentleman having made a fortune in copper ore in the Canadian mines. His mother, Elizabeth,  is but a ghost in the mansion, shutting herself away after the death of her older son. Rose witnesses long slash marks across her back, and is sworn to secrecy about these scars.

Rose and James strike up a tenuous friendship with Dog Logan, the son of Thomas Logan, the drunken groundskeeper who lives on the outskirts of the estate. Thomas looks strikingly like what we know the adult Wolverine looks like, and his brutality towards his son, starts to turn Dog into a cruel boy. Eventually the friendship dissolves when the class differences become too wide and Dog tries to assault Rose and kills James’s dog.

This prompts the Logan family to be kicked off the estate, with Thomas vowing revenge against the Howlett’s. Thomas sneaks up to take Elizabeth, confirming the hints of a relationship between the two.  John comes in to save her, but Thomas kills him; with James, Rose and Dog witnessing the murder. James flies into a rage, with his claws emerging for the first time, and kills Thomas. His mother becomes unhinged screaming that this has happened before, and cradles Thomas in grief instead of her dead husband John. Rose and James escape, with Elizabeth then shooting herself, leaving Dog the only one left alive at the scene.

The grandfather rejects his surviving grandson sending him and Rose away and covering up the crime. The two eventually leave Alberta and travel to British Columbia and join a logging camp where they hope for some anonymity. Rose becomes a clerk in the office, while James grows physically as he gains strength as a logger, eventually earning the nickname Wolverine for his dogged persistence at the job. They masquerade as cousins and James takes on the name Logan, and the years go by.

Rose keeps a diary of what has happened, as Logan refuses to remember or talk about the tragedy. She and the kind foreman Smitty eventually fall in love, and plan to marry and leave the camp. Rose worries about Logan, as he disappears into the woods for long periods, and worries about how he would cope without her stabilizing influence. As expected he does not take the news well, as he himself loves Rose. What happens next sets up the stage for the mysterious and continued tragic backstory of the Wolverine we know today.

This artwork in this story conveyed the darkness and foreboding of the family estate and later the rugged landscape of the logging camp and nearby wilderness. The panels were bordered by black, continuing the ominous color scheme. I did find the characters inconsistently drawn though, for the combination of pencil drawing and digital painting could take away from the precision that faces sometimes need. I particularly thought Elizabeth and Rose could veer between a realistic rendering, and a grotesque caricature of their normally beautiful faces.

Questions remain: Was Thomas Logan the father of James and his older brother? Are James and Dog brothers then? What exactly happened to the older brother?  Why did both brothers have this power? What more did the grandfather know? Who was Dog’s mother? Is Dog Sabretooth?  What happens to James/Logan/Wolverine in the intervening years after leaving the logging camp? Perhaps some of these questions are answered in Origin II (which I have not read yet) but I doubt it. Wolverine remains special for he is an enigma and his background remains murky. Kudos to the team who wrote this story for it just whetted our appetite for more.

-Nancy

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