Marvel Knights: X-Men – Haunted; by some hack.

Marvel Knights: X-Men: HauntedMarvel Knights: X-Men: Haunted by Brahm Revel
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The art here is the saving grace. Without it, I think this is a 1-star book.

At the end of the story, the author thanks Marvel for letting him into the Big Leagues so to speak, and then says he’s going back to the minors…I think if fate is kind, he’ll land on the DL and retire from baseball altogether…please.

Rachel Gray has a dream about a mutant being murdered…cue road trip to West Virginia/Kentucky Coal land. Banjos start a twanging. (West Virginia, the only state my American father ever told me to keep my head down and out of sight of the windows when we drove through..)

Wolverine, Kitty and Rogue go investigate…but if they’re running a school, why do you send the headmaster AND the #2 (Kitty)? Isn’t that a bad idea?
Also, don’t you send the person who had the vision (because it wasn’t a dream, it was real, says Beast).

Anyhoo, hillbilly central: 1 Mutant dead/murdered. Survivalists hopped up on drugs trade them for guns with a local biker gang, all deals brokered by the Sheriff. Of course, he also happens to be the uncle of one of the other mutants…who uses her powers to help him because he’s such a winner…

The powers are re-DICK-you-lose. Mutant one: is pretty much Obi Wan Kenobi, and can Jedi Mind trick you into believing whatever she wants.

The other: can manifest anyone’s memories into living breathing reality, so that your past can come back to kill you.

so somehow, out of nowhere, podunk nowhere ends up housing not 1, but 2 Omega Level crazy powerful mutants…RIGHT. And they don’t even know about each other…they’re just both hillbilly white trash chicks, who are only linked by the fact that both their moms killed themselves due to their daughters’ weirdness.

Super fun so far eh?

Well the powers get unleashed against the X peeps, yet only Rogue and Wolverine seem affected negatively. They fight their past (Brotherhood of Mutants, Carol Danvers, etc. and Logan and Rogue talk shit about how bad each other was in the past, and how they’re no good.

Meanwhile, Kitty has her past visit her, and of course, it’s Prof X. He’s manifested as real, and leads his students to victory.

What do we learn? 1 – The X-Men are stupid.
2 – Wolverine is one dimensional and angry…and stupid.
3- Rogue is powerful…and stupid.
4 – apparently Kitty has not a single negative memory at all.
5- each of them takes a long time to realize they can just remember other X-Men to help them fight…and so Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus show up manifested from the past and fight the baddies (who are the Bikers and Cult members of course).

Then the young muties must befriend and trust each other to stop the madness…

Something something something…my brain hurts more than if I drank a whole bottle of Bourbon last night.

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Review: Ultimate Comics X-Men, by Brian Wood

Ultimate Comics X-Men by Brian Wood Volume 2Ultimate Comics X-Men by Brian Wood Volume 2 by Brian Wood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

***I’m way behind, I only read the first Volume by Nick Spencer, so I’m behind about 18 issues or so, and I have no idea where most of this is coming from***

Kitty Pryde is the pacifist leader of the X-Men, living in Utopia (this time a reservation, terraformed, as opposed to an island). She has 2 factions, those that follow her, and those that follow Mach 2, a teen Morlock Mutant.

Those that follow Kitty include Storm (very much the same as Marvel 616 version), James “Jimmy” Hudson (son of Wolverine, very similar); Rogue (very different, sort of Earth Mother type here), and some others.

Mach 2 (Magneto type power over metal) has Warpath (same as 616), Psylocke (a very different version), and some others. Mach 2 is about retribution against human crimes (again similar to Magneto).

Throw into the mix that Jean Gray (who is Karen Grant here) is the mistress of Tian (the land of Zorn and Xorn) is at odds with Kitty, and wants all the mutants to live under her in Tian.

Clear yet?

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Ya.

So meanwhile, the humans don’t like things, so bad humans send General Ross (yes, that one) to kick them off the reservation…except, he’s actually a pretty decent guy here, not the same 616 maniac.

Turns out, someone in Utopia is manipulating events to get Utopia to fall apart…

shock. If you don’t like teams fighting themselves, then this isn’t the book for you.

By the time the end of the volume rolls around, Jean Grey has infiltrated Utopia, they’ve fought off the military (thanks to Rogue and the environment – utopia is like Krakoa, an intelligent ecosystem), and Kitty and Jean have a head to head…which puts things thru to the next volume.

Meanwhile, Hudson has managed to get both factions in Utopia to work together (but only to fight invaders..)

Ya…so that’s what happens.

I don’t think I missed much.

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Review: X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont

X-Men: The Dark Phoenix SagaX-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Flashback:

To be honest, I actually first heard of the famous “The Dark Phoenix Saga” through an episode of the 90s “X-Men” cartoon series and that was probably my favorite episode of the entire series! Now, I had the opportunity to read this story in its original comic form and I was totally blown away! Chris Claremont had a huge reputation of being the best “X-Men” writer in history and after reading this saga, I am starting to believe that and John Byrne’s illustrations clearly define the true art of this exciting saga that defined “X-Men” history!


What is the story?

After the X-Men defeated Proteus, they head back to New York to their secret headquarters and they are surprised to see Professor Xavier back at the headquarters. However, the X-Men will soon realize that a secret and powerful organization known as the Hellfire Club is watching their every move and they have plans for Jean Grey and her phoenix powers! Can the X-Men defeat this powerful organization of mutants? Read this comic to find out!


What I liked about this book:


Chris Claremont’s writing:
Oh my goodness! After I heard that Chris Claremont was known as the author who started the popularity of the X-Men, I just had to check out the “Dark Phoenix Saga” for myself and I was astonished at what I read! I loved the way that Chris Claremont provided a detailed plot about how Jean Grey has to cope with a terrible power inside of her and how the X-Men have to come to terms of possibly destroying her to save the universe. I also loved how much emotion Chris Claremont put into this volume as the other X-Men obviously did not want to kill her and it was great seeing the close relationship that Cyclops and Jean Grey share with each other. I also loved how Chris Claremont gives the audience enough information regarding the last few issues to help us understand the story much better and I will admit that the first time I have read this comic; I was a bit frustrated with all the words on one page. But then I realized that the deep and detailed plot of the story on each page actually became more interesting as the comic goes on and it really helped me understand the characters even better. I also loved the new roster of the X-Men which included Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Beast and it was even more exciting seeing the introduction of a young Kitty Pryde and Dazzler!


John Byrne’s illustrations:
I just loved John Byrne’s illustrations in this comic book! John Byrne gives us an old school styled look to the original X-Men (Wolverine’s signature yellow and blue outfit, Nightcrawler’s black and white outfit and Colossus’ red and yellow outfit) and it just reverts me back to the good old days when most comic books were illustrated in that old school way! There were so many memorable images in this comic such as Jean Grey reverting to the Dark Phoenix and you can see that she is truly beauty, but always has a frightening expression on her face as she destroys everything in her path. The image that truly stood out the most for me was the image of Wolverine being stuck in the sewers and he states:


“Okay, suckers—you’ve taken yer best shot! NOW IT’S MY TURN!!”

This image was so memorable and brilliantly done to me because it truly showed Wolverine looking so menacing when the Hellfire Club tried to kill him and this image was a inspiration for Joss Whedon’s run of “Astonishing X-Men” when the same thing was done to Kitty Pryde. John Byrne does an excellent job at making the characters extremely detailed from making the rivers have ripples to presenting shocked looks on the characters’ faces especially the X-Men’s shock at discovering the Dark Phoenix.


What made me feel uncomfortable about this comic:

Probably the only problem with this comic is that since it was written around the late 70s to early 80s, there tends to be too much dialogue and explanations of the previous issues filling up the page and many readers who are new to the X-Men franchise might be frustrated with reading all this extra information about the situation, just like I was the first time. Sometimes it slows the story down than necessary, but at the same time, it gives the audience enough information about the situation at hand.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “The Dark Phoenix Saga” is the saga that truly defined the true storytelling of the “X-Men” franchise and is currently on my top favorite “X-Men” storylines list along with Joss Whedon’s “Astonishing X-Men” run and hopefully, the current “X-Men” would have the same drama and wonderful storytelling that “The Dark Phoenix Saga” had.

My Rating?

5 pows

X-Men: Battle of the Atom; by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron & Brian Wood

X-Men: Battle of the AtomX-Men: Battle of the Atom by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK All-New X-Men makes a LOT more sense now.

I read all of that and all of Wolverine & the X-Men before this.

Now that I’ve read it, it makes a bit more sense.

But still, as a whole, meh plus?

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Yes that’s me straining to enjoy a bowel movement, much like RDJ.

There’s stuff to like here, as many friends have already mentioned:

It flows very well, you hardly know when you’ve changed books, because it flows man. Like the river. Whoa.

Aaron and Bendis are what’s missing from Wood’s X-Men…ie HUMOUR. Wood’s X-(wo)Men would be a perfect DCU book.

Iceman is awesome. Seeing not 1, not, 2, not 3…oh ya.

Also explains why Kitty leaves the Jean Grey School (and Iceman), and why the All New (PAST) X-Men end up where they are.

Explains why Jean has some serious confusion about things.

There’s also a lot to not like:

SOOO MUCH ANGER!!! INFIGHTING! GARRRGH!

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This is from a documentary of my high school…I actually saw some kid flip a whole cafeteria table over during a MAGIC card game…it was awesome. I was hoping to see some spellcasting or at least a magic wand shoved somewhere dark, but no such luck…

If Hank McCoy is so smart, why has he continually fuct this up? Bringing people forward in time worked so well, why not bring more back in time? That oughta be cool right?

We get 3 versions of Beast, 2 Cyclops, 2 Jean (I mean…no…maybe we don’t? ummm…ya.) 4 Iceman…but only 1 Angel??? I mean seriously, he’s the only one who says “DUDES, WE DON’T BELONG HERE! LET US GO HOME TO THE LAND OF TV DINNERS AND HOTPANTS!”

Shockingly, there’s only 1 Wolverine, and that’s kinda telling, knowing what we know now.

There’s too many monologues and fighting, not enough questioning why, and then Kitty gets mad at the present X-Men (Wolverine’s gang) for trying to get Cyclops and Jean back when they run away (the past ones) and don’t want to go back…umm…isn’t that what you all knew you had to do to start with??? I mean I know letting people decide things for themselves was a good idea, but you can’t seriously think letting the teen X-Originals decide to run off and stay hiding in the present was a good idea?? Ugh. No.

There’s some cool characters we get to see:

Future Icem(e)n; Future Colossus, Magik gets to really let loose, we see how some of the X-kids do in the future (Quentin Quire) and we see what shit goes down (to a certain degree).

I love that Wolverine and Magneto come across as the voices of reason here…that’s too funny.

Iceman from the Future is great. Needs his own series, pronto. If it weren’t for Bobby Drake, I don’t think I’d have laughed once…”So If we’re going to the future, shouldn’t we pick up a sports almanac or something?”

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Yup. THAT is how you do time travel and funny.

This book really hovers into nearly DCU levels of seriousness…not loving it.
I can see how this isn’t really meant to be funny, but see the Iceman? Make-a-the-funny words? MORE OF THIS!

So, it’s OK, there’s a few nifty moments, but it also causes more problems than it solves.

It is what it is, and if you’re not an X-person, stay away. FAR AWAY!

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Review: X-Men – Primer; by Brian Wood

X-Men, Vol. 1: PrimerX-Men, Vol. 1: Primer by Brian Wood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What a HUGE disappointment.

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Brian Wood! YAY! (DMZ, Northlanders!) with an all-ladies X-(wo)Men team!

So excited by the all ladies all the time, they forgot about plot, or good writing, or character interactions that make sense.

Oh and they also decided to include a bunch of characters no one knows/remembers, which is the fastest way to get new reader and others (ie. ME) to stop caring.

John Sublime (some uber-badass, now seemingly in need of the X-(wo)Men to help him, says that his twin sister’s…spirit? Aura? Being? Hard Drive? USB Stick? Or some shit is alive and has tricked it’s way into the Jean Grey School.

All thanks to:

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Yes that’s right, all thanks to: MALLRAT GIRL! (her given name is Jubilee, and she’s a vampire too apparently, but only needs sunglasses…at night…so she could be called Corey Hart)

Anyhow, Jubes (as someone decided to call her, which makes sense, as she’s about as substantial as a Ju-Jube) randomly takes a baby from the ruins of a Bulgarian hospital; because ya. But do any of these normally rational women make a single mention of baby napping a foreign child who may have parents waiting for it? (actually, no. Jubes is about the only one who feels bad about it, and when Mallrat feels bad about something it usually involves Orange Julius being out of slurpees)

So, cue up evil sister “entity” which possesses some chiquita banana who’s been in a coma while Beast tries to figure out how to save her…

In the midst of it, Storm is ready to make the decision to take her out in order to stop the entity. Apparently Mz. Rachel Grey doesn’t care for this. Funny enough, they decide to make this into a high school popularity bitch fest contest. Instead of saying um…I was Queen of Wakanda, I have been to the future, I survived getting busy with Wolverine, and I’ve had the Black Panther inside of me (No euphemism actually), oh and I’ve been an X-Man since before you were a dirty thought in your dad’s brain; they go to a full out leadership debate.

Hint: if you want a cool new team of ladies, then don’t try and make them just like the men (we DO NOT need you fighting like X and Magneto, Cyclops and Wolvie or anyone else. Just show you’re better than that by getting along). It just feels awkward and forced, like someone said “better have a leadership crisis”. Not “OK Storm is OBV. the boss, since she’s the boss of everything else too. Oh and MOHAWK. Shiver me timbers that’s hot. White hair and everything…mmmmmm.

OK so blah blah, more shit; I think we’ve got Storm; Grey not Jean; Rogue; Betsy Braddock mmm nice new costume fit for the modesty era; Jubes, and I think Kitty was in there too.

Oh and by the way; wouldn’t Kitty be a natural choice for leader behind Storm anyhow? Seriously. I guess they just tried to make Rachel less appealing? Also, it looks like she was on a month long bender….the artwork makes her look exhausted and sorta manga styles.

Evil thingy is defeated; baby is kept; Rogue saves people on a plane by absorbing more powers but somehow this drains her, and she can’t even fly anymore? Also, where the FUCK did she go for the next installments??? She’s not even in Battle of the Atom FFS.

There’s a side story with Jubes taking the baby on a road trip around Cali with Logan, who ends up buying the house she grew up in for her, just cause. Right. Everyone loves Logan, he’s always had a soft spot for vampires mallrats idiotic children who pretend to be X-Men.

You might also have noticed, this is only 4 issues…

So we get Jubes’ “CLASSIC” first appearance, when she is saved by the X-Girls circa 1989 when Storm was still hot, Rogue was Carol Danvers, Dazzler was…really? Dazzler? Isn’t she just Jubilee without the soft Asian vampiric overtones? The one who used her fireworks for making money and disco dancing, not just walking around the mall all day?, oh, and Psylocke who looks like she’s straight outta 1896.

They save her from a…MALL. Yup.

So in all, this is a big disappointment, like forced on me somehow, and I didn’t like it. I really WANTED to like this, truly, I did, but really.

Malls, babynapping, possessed evil entities, and someone thinking they can talk shit about the Goddess of Thunder? Fuck that noise. She’s like Thor without the hammer…(double entendre here…see what I did?).

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Review: Savage Wolverine, Vol. 1: Kill Island

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Words and pictures:  Frank Cho

Four stars

“BABES!! BRAWLS!!! BRACHIOSAURUSES!!!”

Special Guest Star: The Incredible Hulk! Shallow reader squee!!

Spectacular! Fantastic! Beyond belief!

See: Wolverine go berserk and slice and dice his way through the Savage Land natives.

Thrill: As Hulk pounds giant gorillas into jelly

Marvel: At how many times Wolverine gets his butt handed to him by dinosaurs. Kids, it’s a good thing he has a healing factor!

Swoon: At Sheena, the She-Devil and pages of scantily clad native women

Laugh: At Amadeus Cho, as he sets himself up as a god to the natives. Oh, that Amadeus!

Chuckle: At the banter between Wolverine and Sheena, the scantily clad She-Devil. You tell him, Sheena!

Mourn: For Jeff’s brain, as it turns to mush from reading too many comics.

Sheena, the She-Devil

Hey!  You there in Duluth!  Buckle your pants up!!

Wolverine: Killable by Paul Cornell (art by Alan Davis)

Wolverine, Vol. 2: KillableWolverine, Vol. 2: Killable by Paul Cornell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I feel very wishy-washy on this one…the concept I like; Wolverine having to reassess how he does things due to losing his healing factor.

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What? I’m as surprised as you were Cary…though I already knew about this, and read Vol. 1 of this title, I didn’t recall that taking place…shows how well it was written that a major thing like that happens and I don’t remember.

Cornell is hit and miss, but mostly miss. This is 2.5 Stars

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Yup. So Beast gets all sad that Logan is now Human, and boohoohoo. Everyone thinks he’s going off, and he does, so Kitty follows him.

There’s one decent passage where Thor comes down to drink with Logan and tells him that he loves Midgarders so much because they’re mortal, and that with time, Logan will realize what a great gift it is. Frankly, I think Logan as written by most GOOD writers would have him make a few snide remarks, but file that away as decent advice. Cornell has him start a fight with Thor…while NOT able to heal…ya. Good idea.

There’s some stuff about SHIELD and a virus from the microverse (how Wolvie lost the healing in the first place) taking over Earth, and that leaves Nick Fury Jr. to look like a dolt and have TERRIBLE dialogue.

“We’re Facing Impossible Odds!”
“There’s Just Too Many of Them!”

So in a Mall in Alberta (because of course, they’ve built a mall over the site where James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine grew up) Kitty and Logan fight off Hand ninjas (did you know that Sabretooth is the head of the Hand now?) and spend way too much time in stupid arguments with mall cops about how “Muties” are so bad news…Muties? is it 1987?

Anyhow, Alongside Victor Creed we’ve got Mystique, Silver Samurai, and Lord Deathstrike (not Lady, but Lord..he’s kinda…dumb). All fighting and way too much talking from Kitty’s inner monologue…

Sabretooth shows up, and to prove he’s REALLY EVIL he tells Logan he won’t kill him even though he’s totally defeated, because he wants to let it sink in that he’s much better than Wolverine, and he wants Logan to get old and fall apart and then he’ll maybe put him out of his misery in a nursing home…

So the title is apt: Wolverine IS Killable. But not in this volume.

Missed opportunity here…could have been GREAT in a better writer’s hands.

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Review: Wolverine and the X-Men Vol. 8, by Jason Aaron

Wolverine and the X-Men, Vol. 8Wolverine and the X-Men, Vol. 8 by Jason Aaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well…the time had to come…nothing lasts forever, and one of the brightest, fun-loving, yet still important titles of the last few years has come to a close.

Jason Aaron’s run on Wolverine and the X-Men should serve as a how-to guide for DC to reinvent themselves, and re-embrace the idea that you can have fun and still kick ass, laugh and still be taken seriously, and not have to be grey, dark, and gritty to be a great series.

Wolverine leaves the X-Men of Utopia after a philosophical disagreement with Cyclops, and founds a school on the grounds of the old Xavier School. Wolverine as a headmaster and administrator just wrote it’s own jokes.

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