Review: X-Women No. 1 by Chris Claremont, Milo Manara (artist)

X-Women No. 1 (One Shot)X-Women No. 1 by Chris Claremont

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Who let this shit slide through?!

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Go on a high-flying, death-defying, globetrotting adventure with your favorite X-Ladies. Storm, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Marvel Girl and Rogue save the world and look great doing it.

When I read the ‘and look great doing it’ part of the blurb, I thought this might be a little campy, but I never thought it would be downright insulting. After all, this was written in 2010. How bad could it be?

Well, bad enough that by the end of this, I looked a bit green…

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I’m not sure I can adequately explain the rage monster, so I’ll let the pictures help me tell the story.

The X-Gals go on vacation together for a little Girl Time.
Poor Kitty didn’t have a bathing suit, so she just used dental floss to cover her ass.

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After a night of drinking, Rachel gets kidnapped. As per usual.
But the X-Babes roll in to save her in the sexiest way possible.
Except she can’t leave, because they’ve got Emma Frost locked up, too!

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Oh no! They’ve lost their powers!
But Storm still has the power to get her ass in Rachel’s face.
Tee-Hee!

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Well at least something good came out of them losing their powers.
I mean, at least now Rogue can…touch the other women.

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Oh, and they can all lounge around in their panties making pouty lips.
Bonus!

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More unrealistic things happen, and all the ladies end up as extras in a soft-core cable porn movie.
Hapless Prisoners on the Island!
Isn’t the bamboo gag a nice touch?
My Rage Monster thought so, too!

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The smarmy guy with the goggles on his head is the leader of this island, and he take a shine to our fair Storm. He’s married to an equally over-sexualized woman who makes lots of angry/jealous faces while her husband paws at Ororo.

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She resists him at first, but eventually offers to stop struggling if he will free her friends.
But, no. He says he likes the struggle…

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Don’t worry! With the help of their new island buddy, Mr. McRapey, they take out the bad guys and rescue their friends.
Oh, look! That darn McRapey just can’t seem to leave Storm alone, can he?
*giggle*

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I’m so angry. So, so angry.
Even though I’ve always thought his dialogue was dry, crunchy, and stuck in the 80’s, I still used to have a modicum of respect of Chris Claremont.
He’s Mr. X-man, and his stories were responsible for changing things in the mutant universe. And he’s The Guy who changed a lot of things about the way comics were made, as well.
But you know what?
That shit will only carry you so far in my book. He pretty much has one more chance to redeem himself, before I totally write him off as an author. I get that he wasn’t responsible for the artwork, but that whole storyline with Storm was unacceptable.
Unacceptable! Do you hear me?!

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As for the artist, Milo Manara?
Well, this isn’t the first time he’s managed to Porn-up a female superhero.
He may have talent, but he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a mainstream comic book. His artwork is laughably erotic. And to be honest, I was laughing while I was reading this shit.
Well, right up till my daughter asked me what was so funny.
Shockingly, I didn’t find it nearly as funny anymore.
The thought that my daughters could read this, and perhaps even think that this degrading, offensive, and hypersexualized version of women was something to aspire to?

I. Don’t. Think. So.

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Young Gotham Sampler

cover61717-mediumYoung Gotham Sampler

Four out of five stars

(Received from Netgalley for review.)

This is going to be a little different from my normal reviews of comic collections, because this isn’t a normal collection. Young Gotham Sampler is, as far as I can tell, a Netgalley-only sampling of three new/relaunched Gotham-based books, Grayson, Batgirl, and Gotham Academy. The collection includes only the #1 issue for each series, which is just enough for a teaser. I’m sure the point was to raise interest in these books. And for me, it worked.

Grayson is kind of the sequel series to Nightwing, and follows Dick Grayson in his new life as spy. It’s a very different take on the character, and on paper, I wasn’t entirely convinced it was a great idea. It’s actually kind of an amazing idea. Dick’s skill set and experience make him a talented spy. As far as I can tell, the story in this issue is essentially a stand alone mission, which I appreciated. The action is good, and the ending wasn’t something that I expected. Plus, Helena Bertinelli (Huntress) shows up at the end, and that’s always exciting for me.

Batgirl is more of a soft relaunch. While the book isn’t resetting at #1 (this is actually #35), it’s still very much a new beginning (when collected as a trade, this will be the start of a new vol. 1). In comparison to Grayson, and especially in comparison with Gail Simone’s run on the book, parts of this issue felt kind of clunky. It just isn’t as polished. And the tone is very different. It feels like Babs got at least five years younger overnight, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I will say that I’m not happy that it looks like her friendship with Alysia is going to be shoved to the sidelines. That said, the scene showing Babs literally walking back through her own photographic memory is kind of cool.

Gotham Academy is the outsider in the collection. Set at a ritzy, but creepy, boarding school, Gotham Academy stars normal teenagers. Or at least they seem normal. But this is Gotham, after all, so who knows? This book gave me a very manga vibe, because of the art style, the choice of setting and characters, and even the use of screentones for the plaid in the school uniform. For me, that’s a really good thing. I had no idea what to expect out of this book, and honestly, I’m still not sure exactly where they’re going here, but I am interested.

As a whole, this sampler did exactly what it set out to do. After reading this, I added all three of these books’ first collections to my To Be Read list. I’m excited about reading Grayson and especially Gotham Academy, and while I’m not entirely sold on the new take on Batgirl, I’m at least interested enough to give it a shot. Mission accomplished, DC.

Review: Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Vol. 1 by Gail Simone

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Vol. 1Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Vol. 1 by Gail Simone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman
.

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There were some seriously great little gems in this collection, but I just can’t bring myself to recommend this to anyone other than a HUGE Wonder Woman junkie. Or maybe as a gift for that special WW fan in your life?
I guess what I mean is, I really wouldn’t go back and read this for pleasure, but it would make a cool coffee table book.
Admittedly, I have odd taste when it comes to what I’d put on a coffee table.

There were a shit-ton of authors in this, and a few of them really tried (and succeeded) to come up with a one-shot story…plot and all!
But most of them just put a few pages down with different variations on the
Grrrrl Power
theme. Also, some of my favorite art in this went with some of my least favorite stories, which made it a real mixed bag for me.

My favorite was the mother-daughter story Brace Yourself:

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It wasn’t a long one, but it had heart. Hippolyta tells the story of how Diana won the right to be Wonder Woman, but from a mother’s point of view. I’ll be the first to admit, I kinda swallowed a lump at the end.
*sniffle*
It’s hard to let ’em grow up…

I loved the art in Bullets and Bracelets:

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But the story was shit. Diana is part of some Josie and the Pussycats kind of band, and in between gigs she dispenses justice to a sexist.
*throws up behind dumpster*
She even tells two guys that she doesn’t Dress the Way She Does to provoke (the religious nuts) or impress (the drooling guys)…but because she wants to.
Yay!
Now shut the fuck up and put on some pants, ’cause I can see your short ‘n curlies hanging out of those ridiculous short-shorts.

No Chains Can Hold Her was (to me) the worst of the bunch to look at:

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It was (I’m assuming) supposed to be a nod at the Wonder Woman tales of yore when men were still a superior gender, and the ladies in comics still desperately wanted their opinions. I’ll give the author credit for trying to be funny, but it still wasn’t all that fun for me to read. Supergirl, Mary Marvel, and Wonder Woman fight off evil aliens. Blah.

Morning Coffee had adorable artwork, but the story was just meh.

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Another Meh is Amazon Princess With 80’s Hair Fights a Dragon.
No, that’s not the real name…idiot.

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Like I said, some were really good, some were really bad, but most were just ok. I wouldn’t want to actively discourage anyone from buying this, but I would suggest that you thumb through it first.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital arc for review.
And speaking of…
I would list the authors and artists, but I noticed that some of the names were wrong on the covers I read, so I don’t want to put the wrong info down.

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Review: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King

Pride & PrejudicePride & Prejudice by Stacy King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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When I heard we were doing catch-up week, I thought why not and picked the most irrelevant book I could find…

So I got this ARC of Pride and Prejudice, everybody’s favourite book, and it was less thrilling than I expected. Nevertheless, this is quite a solid adaptation and I would recommend both to first time readers and veteran fans.  Continue reading

Review: The Punisher MAX, Vol. 1: In the Beginning

The Punisher MAX, Vol. 1: In the BeginningThe Punisher MAX, Vol. 1: In the Beginning by Garth Ennis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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I HATE writing reviews for books that I love. I feel like I can’t do them a bit of justice. That said, In the Beginning set the standard for any and all Punisher stories that followed. This is Ennis at his absolute best. Garth recreated the Punisher in his own dark and violent corner of the Marvel Universe. This shit is grim. As are all of Ennis’s Punisher Max stories. No rubber bullets, light-hearted superhero stuff, or happy endings. So if hardcore noir is not your bag, best look elsewhere.

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Review: X-Men Origins: Gambit

X-Men Origins: GambitX-Men Origins: Gambit by Carey, Yardin, Roberson, Fairbairn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mystery Poo is code for Shallow Readers are overwhelmed by buddy reads, and need time to catch up.
Don’t judge us.

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Gambit.
Not my favorite. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s simply because I’m repulsed by that awful headgear he wears around on his face.
What the fuck is that thing?

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As far as I can tell, it’s only there to make his hair pouf out of the top. Or maybe he’s got a really round face, and it’s supposed to help his cheekbones looks slimmer or something?
Ugh. Take it off, Cajun! It’s ratty looking!
And then there’s those ridiculous gloves.
Can someone please explain to me why some of the fingers are cut out and some are not? Come the hell on, dude! That look is not going to catch on, so stop trying to make it work!

As far as this origin played out?
Eh. Not bad, but it wasn’t awesome, either.

When Gambit was a little boy he jumped into danger to save a little girl. Turns out her father was the head of the Assassins Guild. Gambit’s father is the head of the Thieves Guild. When the two grow up, they get married.
It’s Romeo and Juliet!
Except the fathers’ want to join the two guilds.
Anyway, as soon as they say I do, her brother jumps up and challenges Gambit to a fight to the death.
Gambit’s mutant powers kick in, and he kills the guy with an exploding knife to the chest (or something like that). Everyone freaks, because…?
I don’t know! What?! They didn’t notice that his fucking eyes had been red the entire time they knew him?!
I mean, look!
He’s saying his vows, and looking at his fiancee with these beady red rat-eyes, and nobody thinks anything about this?
You have to be a special kind of stupid to miss warning signs like that.

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As far as I’m concerned, if you die in a fight because you ignored the fact that the dude’s eyes were glowing, then all that happened was that Natural Selection won the day.

Anyway, Gambit’s wife bargains for his life and gets him banned or excommunicated or something. All it means is that he can’t return to the area.
Wait. You kill a guy and your punishment is that you can’t live in Louisiana?

Ooooookay. Well, that’s harsh?
.

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But he won’t let his new wife come with him, because…reasons.
He starts out as a thief for hire, but when his mutant abilities get out of control, he ends up working for Mr. Sinister, because he has the ability to help him.

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However, their relationship takes a sour turn when Gambit realizes that Mr. Sinister has sent the Marauders on a mission to exterminate the Morlocks.

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Gambit decides to take off on his own after saving a little Morlock girl.
Fade to Black
I guess this is supposed to be what Gambit did before meeting the X-Men?
It told the story, but I didn’t feel much heart from this one. However, it wasn’t the worst origin story I read.

PS- If you’ve never watched Gambit get fired you’re missing out on one of the funniest things EVAH.

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