Friday, December 21, 2007

Intermission: Technical Difficulties

Unfortunately, we've run into some problems here. My laptop has decided it hated it's adapter and thus, made it go "BOOM!" Er, kinda. More like "SPARK!"

Anyways, up-dates won't resume until after the new year. Get ready, though, because I am going ape-shit crazy with "Civil War." Just you wait!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 142: "Bride of the Panther"

Black Panther # 14-17

So, T’Challa needs a queen. Who does he want? His first love, Storm. He proposes, she’s uncertain, they fight the Arabian Knight, she talks to T’Challa’s Mom, and then says yes. Then they track down Ororo’s grandparents and T’Challa goes to a Luke Cage thrown bachelor party.

And that’s pretty much that.

(Yes, I know I’m not including the actual wedding, but just wait; it’ll be here next week)

I’m a little uncertain about this. I’m a huge fan of Priest’s run on Black Panther and while Hudlin is a full competent writer, he just doesn’t bring into the story as much as Priest did back it the day. The whole wedding idea seems forced, despite the winks and nods we’ve had over the years (okay, like, twice). It’s not the world’s worst idea, I suppose, but it just doesn’t . . . I dunno . . . sit right. It’s too fast, too soon.

In addition to this, his Storm just isn’t clicking with me. She just doesn’t seem like herself. Storm is a complex character. She’s hard and tough, stern – yet calm and gentle when she needs to be. She takes her responsibilities with the X-Men seriously. You just can’t go up to her and say “Hey, let’s be girlfriend and boyfriend!” or “Hey, let’s get married!” Hudlin writes Storm as being far more passive and emotional than she has been. I’m not impressed by his Storm.

Now don’t get me wrong, because I do like the idea of T’Challa and Storm getting together. I rooted for them back during Priest’s run. I just feel as though it all has gone too fast. And maybe I’m wrong on Storm. We’ve seen – over the past couple of years – a growing schism between her and the others. It started with the X-Treme X-Men and even after they moved back in with the X-Men, she decided to stay in Africa. Maybe she feels as though the X-Men have limited themselves. Maybe she feels that it’s time she sought after her own lot in life and being with T’Challa (her first love) can help her make a difference.

See? It’s not hard to justify her being with T’Challa, it’s just hard to justify her marrying him right off the bat.

Well, anyways, they’re getting married. Whether or not I disagree, it still happened.

And let’s face facts, other than Storm’s characterization, this is a pretty good book. The reactions from the X-Men, the Avengers, SHIELD (oh yeah, Dugan’s alive), the Fantastic Four, and even the citizens of Wakanda are all very well handled. There are a lot of fun moments in this book. Seeing Ross again is a treat and was that a cameo appearance of Queen Divine Justice? Man-Ape, Zandra, and the Arabian Knight are all worth smirks.

It is a smart book. It was during Priest’s run and is now. It’s just a different kind of smart, I suppose.

If Hudlin can nail down Storm and maybe play off the whole “rushing into things” aspect, he could really pull this off. And he kinda does.


Next up: the big "Civil War" special! One experiment, eight entires. Stay tuned later today for details.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 141: "Children of the Sun"

X-Men # 188-193

The X-Men manage rescue Lady Mastermind and Omega Sentinel (remember her? From Excalibur?) from an “evil clinic” where they were being experimented on. Rogue excels during this mission, so Cyclops (against the suggestion of Professor X) puts her in charge of a new rapid response team which includes Mystique, Iceman, and Cannonball. Before they can continue their investigation, Sabretooth arrives demanding sanctuary. On his tail are the Children of the Vault, who turn out to be the product of humans placed in a temporal acceleration chamber and are so advanced in terms of genetics and technology, they have to be classified as something other than human and Mutant. Bent on protecting themselves, they go after Creed because he discovered them on board their ship, the Conquistador; and they use Northstar and Arura to attack the school. Cable intervenes and the X-Men win the day. With the help of Cable, they track down the Conquistador (which can fly now) and go off to confront the Children of the Vault. The battle leads them back to the mansion, where the Children see that Mutants must be destroyed so that they can live on. The X-Men work together to stop them and Rogue decides to take the Conquistador and head on out on their way.

It’s the kick-off of a new run on X-Men, this one by Mike Carey. I kinda like his “bad-ass” team of X-Men, with all its variables and unknowns. It’s makes for pretty cool dynamic and I really enjoy seeing these characters grow and evolve and bounce off each other. From Logan’s comments to Rogue regarding Creed’s presence, to the friendship between Sam and Bobby, the characters really are the best part of this book.

The Children of the Vault, on the other hand, are a little generic. I can’t say that I really care about them too much. They’re a little gimmicky and beyond that, bland. Better than the Neo, I suppose. The art by Bachelo is cleaner than a lot of his previous offerings. He draws a good mess.

So far, not so bad.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 140: "Origins and Endings"

Two fer one day!

Wolverine # 36-40, Wolverine: Origins # 1-15, Wolverine: Origins Annual # 1

It’s kinda funny. As we move closer and closer to present day, I’m reading books that I read on an individual basis just a few short months ago. It’s interesting to see how my opinion has changed and how they read differently after I’ve learned and seen the outcome – as well as how well some issues are when placed in the context of a larger story. The previous entry was a good example of that. So is Wolverine: Origins.

Now, we’re going to be doing this a little different this time. I’m not doing an overall, huge uber-overview. Instead, I’m just going to touch on the basics of the story thus far. Which would be . . .

Wolverine, having his memories back, is after a conspiracy that has haunted him his entire life. “They” and “Them,” basically. Which makes sense. How long have we known that someone is behind his Memory Implants and Weapon X? During this quest, Logan comes into conflict with agents of this conspiracy such as Nuke and his own son, Daken. People such as Black Widow, Captain America (kinda), Winter Soldier, Maverick, and the X-Men come in and lend Logan a hand. Cyber, Silver Samurai, and Omega Red get dragged into this as well. Also, Dum-Dum Dugan and SHIELD is all over his ass.

Now, tracking all this down, Wolverine gains a mystical sword called Muramasa, which is the only thing that can kill him and negate his healing factor – his gives this to Cyclops in case Logan goes too far. As he continues on this path, Wolverine learns that Sabretooth has also been a part of this conspiracy and that the death of women in his life has been used to either control or unleash him. Finally, on Madripoor, Logan has a name for the one that is pulling the strings: Romulus.

Let’s talk about all this.

I have to give Marvel kudos for taking such a dangerous step to reveal Wolverine’s entire history. Indeed, I like it. As an overall, I like this book and this story. I like the flashbacks. They don’t exactly connect all the dots, but you can see connections between each one. They do a good job of fleshing out the mysterious places in Logan’s past.

And I have to say that it’s about damn time we learn who is behind the curtain. There have been too many people in shadows in Logan’s past. There has always seemed to be someone pulling the strings. It’s nice to have a name. And yet, there are a few problems involved in this that call upon the reader to take a leap of faith that’s just too far.

We are basically asked to believe that Romulus has made sure that every woman Logan has cared for is dead . . . which kinda cheapens things. I mean, it’s asking a lot. Was Rose the first? Did Romulus point Dog to Canada and tell him to make sure Logan accidentally kills Rose? Or was he supposed to kill Rose and Logan accidentally killed her first? See, problems like that arise.

Another thing is, okay, I understand that Romulus is all about burning away the human part of Logan and Creed and unleashing the animal . . . but to what end? Why? To be bastards? The only reasons we’ve seen is to “protect the project” . . . the project being the aforementioned stripping of humanity.

Plus, why haven’t we seen this conspiracy in action when Logan was with the X-Men? Was it because Logan was just too busy? What was Romulus thinking when the X-Men were believed to be dead and were hanging out in Australia? Did the other threats to the X-Men (Sinister, Apocalypse, Magneto, Sentinels, etc.) scare Romulus away?

And what about the Weapon Plus Program? And John Sublime? And the Director? How about the whole “Weapon X” series that Frank Teri had going? How do elements from that tie into the whole Romulus conspiracy? What about X-23? I’m sure Romulus would find her to be a curious little thing. There’s also the group that created her. What about those guys?

These are questions that demand answers. I understand, of course, that the story is only 1/3 of the way through . . . but we need answers here or the whole Romulus concept falls completely apart. Seriously. It’s tittering.

Now, as for Daken . . . give this guy an issue or two, pull back that second-hand, Euro-trash Wolverine image and let’s understand him. Let’s get inside his head. So far, it’s been “I’m Wolverine Junior, Official Bad-Ass. Look at my Punk-Ass Hair and Awesome Tattoos. Please take me Seriously.”

Really, those two are my biggest complaints of this series. The flashbacks are good, as I said. Wolverine himself is well-realized and it’s enjoyable to see him developing nicely.

(Continuity note: You gotta love how he says he’s wanted by a frillion people, but he’s perfectly accepted at Stamford – whoops!)

Ultimately, this series is going somewhere. It’s moving along, sometimes at a snail’s pace, but when read together, it works about 100 times better than as a single issue. Despite the good things going for it, it’s tittering. It’s right on the edge of “going too far” and “being awesome.” Daniel Way has to keep things moving together to maintain my enjoyment of this series – and he has a lot of logical questions to answer to make this Romulus concept work.


Uncanny X-Periment # 139: "Decimation Aftermath"

Decimation Aftermath

X-Factor # 7, New Avengers # 16-20, New Excalibur # 9, Onslaught Reborn # 1-5, Uncanny X-Men # 472-474, New X-Men # 20-31

We’re going to do the run-down pretty fast as this is a freakin’ lot of comics.


Scott arrives at X-Factor investigations to deliver the bad news to Terry about Sean. She (like any X-Fan) immediately slips into denial mood – even after watching his video will and getting his pipe.

New Avengers

SHIELD tracks a being created by the orbiting energy field as it smashes its way through Alpha Flight. Eventually, it head-butts the Avengers and Ms. Marvel in Cleveland (yay!). Then Sentry comes and takes it into space. Meanwhile, Spider-Man and the Vision are taken into SHIELD custody, who figure out the cause of Decimation. The being returns and rushes down to Genosha, where it grabs Magneto, maybe gives him his powers back, and . . . yeah . . . it turns out its Xorn. The Avengers intercept. Ms. Marvel abosorbs and releases the energy away and Xorn is tossed into the sun. The host for Xorn and the power was a guy named Michael. Magneto – maybe brain-dead – shipped away on a helicopter that conveniently blows up. Gasp! Mystery!

New Excalibur

Ozymadias and the Clan Akkaba snag Chamber, use Poccy’s blood to restore him completely, and then Chamber runs away from both the clan and Excalibur.

Onslaught Reborn

The energy field combines and releases Onslaught for reasons that don’t make a whole lot of sense. Onslaught goes after Franklin, who escapes into the Heroes Reborn (2.0) universe. Do me a favor? Come back to this entry in a few weeks and we’ll have it all nice and up-dated for you cuz the last issue isn’t out yet.

Uncanny X-Men

Turns out Jamie Braddock brought Psylocke back so that she could fight the Foursaken. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

New X-Men

Stryker is back and has encountered Nimrod. Nimrod gave him visions of the future. Using these, Stryker has eliminated some X-Kids. Jay, Laurie, and a bunch non-Mutant students are all wiped out pretty cleanly. He then attacks the school, only to be killed by Josh, who goes black. The Nimrod then wakes up and heads down to Forge’s house to get some repairs done. He blackmails Forge and the New X-Men show up and whip his ass. Josh saves X-23 and goes black/gold.

X-Factor is a particularly enjoyable comic. I love Terry’s reactions. It’s an issue I certainly appreciated because it brought a lot of meaning to Sean’s death.

New Avengers was pretty good. Very old school. The SHIELD issue was weak, but I thought the rest of the story was strong. Great use of the character dynamics. Art was good too.

Nice to see Chamber and nice to see the fate Weapon X. But . . . meh. What was the point other than to make Chamber look like Apocalypse Jr.?

Onslaught Reborn

See comment above.

I thought Uncanny X-Men was both boring and confusing. Maybe it was because the build-up was gone. Maybe it was because Claremont was in bad health when he co-wrote this. Maybe it was just . . . bad. I don’t know. I didn’t care for it.

New X-Men is . . . complicated. When I first read this story when the issues came out, I was so appalled I ended up dropping the book. However, in hindsight, I may have acted too quickly. Yes, the slaughter fest is too much. Yes, the time travel portions are insane. Yes, Emma Frost is the biggest bitch in the universe, and Scott is pretty boring. But let me be honest here – it’s really not that bad. There are some things to like here. At the characters are reacting in a realistic manner as to what’s happening to them. And it made the death of Stryker and the destruction of Nimrod all the better. But ultimately, the characters are what make the story interesting. I won’t lie. As much as I respect and enjoyed the previous writers run, this one is far more exciting and entertaining. An endless, needless slaughter fest, but still . . .