Monday, May 04, 2015

The four films I want to see after Age of Ultron (but won't happen) *SPOILERS!*

Like the title says, these are four films I would love to see  in the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Since we know what's really coming and I'm sure the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in fantastic hands, it's a guarantee we won't see these.  But there's nothing wrong with mindless speculation!


Loosely based on the award winning run by Matt Fraction, an old enemy (maybe Taskmaster) uncovers Hawkeye’s secret farm and attacks it.  Hawkeye gains the upper hand – but the farm is a total loss.  So, until they can rebuild, he moves the family to New York City (partially to be closer to Avengers Tower in case trouble comes around again).  After Barton learns that the landlord of his new apartment home is a scumbag, he buys the building, angering the local Russian mob (bro).  Hilarity ensues.  Co-starring Aubrey Plaza as Kate Bishop, troubled college student turned amazing archer.

Hulk: The Hunted
Hulk/Banner is on the run, hunted this time not by the military, but by super-heroes and super-villains.  The Black Panther is after him for devastating Wakanda; Black Widow is tracking him for closure and security; and the Hulk is being secretly manipulated by the Leader.  Also, Hulk spends most of the movie as the Hulk.  It’s rare that we see Banner.  Bring Liv Tyler back in as Betty and add in Adrianne Palicki as Mockingbird (from Agents of SHIELD) because more = better?

New Avengers
Cap leads a new team of Avengers (seen at the end of the AOU: Falcon, War Machine, Vision, Scarlet Witch) along with Ant-Man, in a mission against a revived A.I.M.   We get to see MODOK, Scientist Supreme, and (shockingly) the Red Skull!

Black Widow
Finally in her own film, we not only get more backstory on Natasha's past, but we watch her kick ass against desperate Hydra forces, AIM, and the Hand.  It would follow-up on the events of New Avengers and Hulk: The Hunted, seeing her go head to head with the one, true Mandarin!  With Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Uncanny X-Periment # 175: Breaking Point

The X-Men have a PR problem and its name is Magneto.   Magneto’s being on the island is a disaster waiting to happen.  So Kate Kildare, PR extraordinaire, comes to the rescue.  She has a great talk with Magneto, trying to get him from wanting the humans to fear and hate him to just fearing and not hating him.  Which is a problem, considering everything he has done.  Meanwhile, the X-Men are going after som former AIM agents who are able to predict in-coming earthquakes, but pretend to the ones causing it.  When an earthquake threatens to destroy San Francisco, Magneto rises to the occasion and saves the city.

Shortly after this, SWORD calls the X-Men in to help them when a warship full of Breakworlders arrive.  In turns out, after the X-Men’s last adventure there, the whole world went into chaos.  Kuurn is back with refugees seeking asylum  on Earth.  The X-Men let them stay on Utopia with SWORD’s blessing.  However, Kuurn is after revenge and proceeds to attack certain X-Men, including Kitty.  He evens uses “Hope” on them (though the effects don’t last?  Not explained).   Eventually, Kuurn’s girlfriend uses magic to turn Kitty solid again and Kuurn is eventually defeated and learns a lesson.  The Breakworlders migrate to a rough part of San Francisco (?!) and live there.

After this adventure, Hope is captured by the Crimson Commando.  Wolverine goes after and saves her.  He reveals that the reason he’s kept her arm slength is that everyone is convinced she could go Phoenix and Wolverine is the only that can stop her.  She makes him promise he’ll be quick if he has to. 

Overall, I liked this.  Kieron Gillan has a great voice for these characters and knows how to write an entertaining yarn.  The Magneto and Hope/Wolverine stories are far better than the Breaking Point story.  Breaking Point felt very messy and convulted.  So how did the X-Men get their powers back?  There’s a population of aggressive aliens living in San Francisco, along with a fallen, bloodthirsty ruler?  What now?

Terry Dodson, Carlos Pacheco and Ibraim Roberson knock the art outta the park, though.  Each style features each story well.  Honestly, I would have been happier if Gillian had done some shorter story stuff; single issues, done-in-one stories.  Oh well.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Uncanny X-Periment # 174: Five Miles South of the Universe

X-Men Legacy # 250 – 258

Reality maybe restored, but not everything is status quo for the X-Men.  First, there’s Revenant, who turns out to be a psychic projection of Rachel Summers, and was trying to reach out the X-Men for help.  She fades back into her body after a few days.  But there’s also trouble in the form of Legion’s missing personalities, four of which have gone to Europe.  Professor X, Magneto, Frenzy, Rogue, Gambit, and Legion go after them.  Three are absorbed back into Legion, but the final and most deadly – Styx – resists.  Rogue eventually helps David by absorbing his powers and they reabsorb Styx.  Rogue, armed with these new powers, uses them to teleport the group (except for David and his father) to Rachel and the others.

Deep in Shi’ar space, the X-Men find themselves caught at the top of a massive space station that is slowly being pulled into the sun.  Here, Havok, Polaris, and Korvus are being mind-controlled by a former slave named ‘Friendless.’  He is leading his fellow slaves into a revolt against the Shi’ar as punishment for both of them ruining his life.  The X-Men and the Shi’ar salvage crew from before get stuck in the middle. Friendless is eventually defeated and Rogue (using knowledge absorbed earlier) is able to form a wormhole, taking the station to Earth and eventually getting her fellow X-Men and former Starjammers home.

I thought both of these stories were okay, but man, they dragged on and on.  I liked that they wrapped things up, but there was a lot of unnecessary padding.  We didn’t need all of those other personalities to fight Legion.  We didn’t need the salvage crew on board that station (what happened with that station anyways?)

But hey, the wayward X-Men are home and Charles and David are closer than ever.  Not bad.  Just not good.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Uncanny X-Periment # 173: Age of X

Age of X: Alpha, X-Men: Legacy # 245, New Mutants # 22, X-Men: Legacy # 246, New Mutants # 23, X-Men: Legacy # 246, New Mutants # 24

All of sudden, everything is different.   The last remaining Mutants have taken refuge in a huge tower built on Alcatraz.  They are led by Magneto and every day, they are assaulted by human forces.  Cannonball seems to be the field leader.  Legion, Hellion, Unuscione, Psylocke and a Phoenix-lite character named Reveanant are in charge of keeping a force field up around the tower.  Rogue (now called Legacy) has the quite grim job of absorbing the powers of everyone who is dying.  Logan runs a bar, since popping his claws and entering into a high-stress situation will kill him.  Scott is married to Frenzy.

In the aftermath of one of the daily battles with the humans, Legacy finds Kitty Pryde.  Kitty leaves behind a camera, but she is swiftly taken away by Magneto.  Magneto keeps her – and other Mutants that could endanger the tower – locked up in the basement.  Legacy takes a look at the camera, but finds nothing.  She uses Box’s powers to get down into the basement and she finds Kitty – and Danger.  She makes a run for it and finds herself in a cell with Professor X, who is in a coma.  She touches him, absorbs his powers, alerting Danger.  She manages to escape, but Magneto sends a New Mutants hit squad after her.  Legacy hangs out in Logan’s bar.  Magneto joins the hunt.  Gambit soon joins her, but they are soon discovered and squished by Magneto.

In the aftermath, Scott realizes something is wrong.  He and Logan conspire to work together to find out what’s going on.  Meanwhile, Gambit and Legacy are actually alive and well.  Magneto tucked them away.  He reveals that he sent Kitty out to take pictures of a room deep in the fortress that Magneto has no knowledge about.  The room  shouldn’t exist and it serves no purpose.  He sends Legacy and Gambit to break into it while he and Kitty go find the Professor, who may hold the answers they’re looking for.  In the room, Legacy and Gambit discover a frozen-in-time still image of Doctor Nemesis running to a computer, as well as brain scans, and a small box.  Legacy opens the box – and it has a universe inside. 

Outside, Cannonball preps his forces to fight the humans again.  Inside, Magneto and Kitty have managed to convince the New Mutant hit squad to not kill them, but Legion and his gang show up, branding them as traitors.  Professor X, now awake, tries to talk some sense into everyone. 

Meanwhile, Moira shows up (Legion’s god-mother) and demands that Legacy and Gambit hand over the box.   We soon realize that Doctor Nemesis was working on a way of deleting the multiple personalities in David’s mind, but in doing so, released one who Utopia into the Age of X.  As Xavier tries to battle Moira, the humans launch another assault.  The Mutants rise to the defense, united at last.  David, who remembers now what happened, absorbed Moira and ends the Age of X.

Let me tell you.  I loved this story.  I was really not expecting to.  Y’know, just another alternate reality.  Yada yada yada.  But man, the backstory is cool, the world is unique, the characters are so radically different, and yet in some ways, the same.  There’s a great sense of mystery to it. There was no reality hopping, no time travel, none of that.  How did this world come about?  Why are things the way they are?  Once the real world starts to leak through and the cracks are visible, you can see just how it got to this.  This is really phenomenal. 

What I also liked about this world were all the new, unique designs.   There’s a great level of effort to show just how different these characters have  become in the context of this new reality.

This really feels like the culmination of everything that Mike Carey has been doing with Professor X and Rogue.  Rogue gets a great spotlight and continues to shine. Professor X finally taking responsibility as David’s father seems just so perfect for him.  And David himself is very well-written.  I haven’t read the new X-Men Legacy, but this felt a lot like David’s best story.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Uncanny X-Periment # 172: Curse of the Mutants

X-Men # 1- 6

Jubilee is having a lunch with Pixie when suddenly, a dude explodes and sprays everyone with blood, including Jubilee.  Jubilee is rushed back to Utopia and it’s soon discovered that the guy was a vampire bomb and everyone splattered is transforming into a vampire.  The X-Men investigate and discover vampire groups throughout the city and eventually encounter Blade.  Blade informs them that Dracula has been killed and his son, Xarus, has united the various vampire clans in an effort to take over San Francisco and Mutantkind.  Cyclops takes a gamble and has Dracula reassembled in an effort to usurp Xarus and take the vampires away from the city.   As vampire attacks grow, Jubilee succumbs to the call of Xarus and now, fully vampire, tricks Wolverine into going after her.  The vampires turn Wolverine and then use him to help them attack Utopia.  Cyclops is then confronted by Wolverine and he reveals that they used nano-bots to shut down Logan’s healing factor, in fear that the vampires might be after him.  He reactivates the healing factor and Logan goes back to his old self.  After dealing with the forces attacking Utopia, the X-Men head over to the vampire’s headquarters, were Dracula proceeds to kill his son.  Cyclops convinces Dracula that he did something to him while they were putting him back together.  Dracula agrees to withdraw the vampire forces, much to Blade chagrin.   He leaves them with a turned Jubilee, whom they need to lock up, hoping that part of her is still in there.

I think this one of those rare cases where, to understand the scope of this, one should include the tie-ins.  With only these six issues, it felt like it was trying to be bigger than it was really was.  Maybe those tie-ins would have added more to that.

Overall, this wasn’t too bad.   I liked the use of Blade and Dracula.  It was neat.  It was far less gimmicky than I believed it would be.  I especially liked the connections between Storm and Dracula – it was good nod to the history the X-Men have with Dracula.  But I’m not a big vampire fan.  Rather, I’m not a big fan of the X-Men mingling with supernatural forces.   It’s distracting and weird.

There’s not a lot of characterization going in this title, which is disappointing.  And Cyclops feels like he’s nearing a tipping point.  Shutting down Wolverine’s healing factor?  Why didn’t Logan yell at him about that?  That’s a big deal!  And taking such a huge risk by resurrecting Dracula felt like ‘oh crap, Scott’s gone insane.’   Not a big fan of that.  I have to wonder if we are supposed to see Scott here as starting to reach a new level of superiority and confidence.  In fact, when he called the X-Men “soldiers,” I cringed a little.

The art was okay, but every single woman was really busty.  Like, unnecessarily so.  I don’t ever remember Jubilee having breasts that size.  Ever.

Side-Note: Honestly, I can’t include every arc of this title.  I can’t afford it and most of them are not critical to the X-Men’s on-going narrative (well, Volume Two is).   Plus, it looked like this was kind of an “X-Men Team-Up” book anyways.  For a while, we’ll be sticking exclusively with Uncanny X-Men and some (but not all) of X-Men Legacy.