Sunday, March 31, 2013

Uncanny X-Periment # 160: Sisterhood

Uncanny X-Men # 506-512

The story kicks off with the Red Queen and the Sisterhood stealing Kwannon’s body.  They take the time/space displaced Pyslocke and put her into the rejuvenated body of Kwannon and hence, under the Red Queen’s control.

The Sisterhood attack the X-Men’s base in Marin and Maddie gets a lock of Jean’s hair to use to . . . uh . . . rejuvenate Jean’s body (right?  Does this make sense?).  Emma also gets a little visit from Jean whilst she is under psychic lock-down.  No real reason given.

Anyways, they over to the school to get Jean’s body from the grave.  Scott, Logan, and some other X-Men follow, but luckily, Domino happened to be in the area and she puts another body in Jean’s grave for Maddie.  Maddie is able to take over and rejuvenate Jean’s body and dies.

Meanwhile, the X-Men battle the Sisterhood in San Francisco.  Eventually, thanks to Dazzler, Psylocke returns to her normal body.  Uh, her original body.  Uh, I mean, the body that’s Japanese and really hot.

Then, the X-Club travels back in time and battle a Steampunk Sentinel and meet Doctor Nemesis’ parents.

Sisterhood sounds like a great idea – having Maddie Pryor as the Red Queen gather some of the vilest femme fatale Muties out there and lead them against the X-Men.  Sure, outside of the Mastermind girls and Chimera, the roster was very human-heavy.  But hey, we can let Lady Deathstrike in.  She has a score or ten to settle.  And Spiral, what the heck, she was in Freedom Force.  Even bringing Psylocke in?  Sure.

But it lost itself.  It was all wrapped to tightly.  It suffered from an over-abundance of dues ex machinas, like Elixir and Domino.  The story just didn’t do anything for me.  I didn’t care about anyone I was reading about.  Moments that should have been elaborated on are cut sadly short, such as Scott’s obvious feelings about Logan having a lock of Jean’s hair.   And the Red Queen, a very legitimate villain that seems to have been waiting in the wings for a while, was dismissed far too easily.

Worst of all?  The art.  Greg Land is terrible.  All of his characters look plastic and silly.  No one seems to fit into the scene.  He grabs random X-Men and shoves them in the background, while at the same time, making the main characters look excessively glamorous.  And at least three-fourths of each issue has at least one person inappropriately smiling per page.   At least.

Ultimately, I’m disappointed.  Story potential lost.  Characters muddled.   Shitty art. 

Oh yeah, the Steampunk issue . . . it was okay.  Nothing fantastic, despite my interest in Steampunk.  It was okay, but nothing to write home about.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Uncanny X-Periment # 159: War of Kings

Secret Invasion: War of Kings, X-Men: Kingbreaker # 1-4, War of Kings # 1-6

The Inhumans, fed up with being confronted by Skrull and Earth forces, head out into space to finally deal with deal with their enemies and embrace their destiny with the Kree.  They wipe out the retreating Skrull forces, then head to Hala, intercepting some Shi’ar ships on their way.  They arrive on Hala and Ronan the Accuser hands over the empire to Black Bolt and they all arrange a marriage of power between Ronan and Crystal.

Meanwhile, Marvel Girl, Korvus and Lilandria finally locate the Starjammers.  They go to rescue the Starjammers just as they themselves break free.  A battle ensues, of course, during which Deathbird is gravely injured and Phoenix Force leaves both Korvus and Rachel.  The Starjammers flee and head to Kree space.  The Inhumans allow them to take refuge on Hala – however, the Imperial Guard strikes Hala during the wedding, injuring Ronan and taking Lilandria back to Shi’ar space.  Open war breaks out between the Kree and Shi’ar.

Vulcan is talked out of killing Lilandria by Gladiator and Admiral Ka’Ardum, as she would serve a martyr for those that still supported her.  Vulcan stays his hand and focuses on both the expansion of the empire and the war.  Soon after, the Starjammers and the Guardians of the Galaxy rescue Lilandria.  Gladiator eventually turns his back on the throne and pledges himself to her.  With Vulcan on the frontlines, Lilandria, the Starjammers, and Gladiator return to the Shi’ar homeworld to reclaim the throne.

However, her arrival is met with a riot between supporters for her and Vulcan.  Akkari and the Death Commandos arrive and the conflict grows.  Darkhawk, one of the last members of a warrior clan that was created to serve the empire and now backs Vulcan, manages to kill Lilandria.  Riots overtake the homeworld.  Gladiator is soon seen as the true source of power on the planet and the Shi’ar declare him emperor.

Meanwhile the Inhumans create the ultimate weapon – a sonic-powered version of the Terragin Mists.  It would give all the Shi’ar powers and make them equals, thus making the war moot.  Vulcan learns of this and intercepts Black Bolt and the weapon.  Black Bolt manages to defeat Vulcan just as Crystal and Lockjaw arrive.  Crystal, angry that the weapon is being used this way instead of helping the evolutionary-impared Kree, comes to Black Bolt’s rescue.  Unfortunately, just as they are teleporting away, Vulcan returns and attacks Black Bolt.   The weapon overloads and the power inside rips a hole in time and space, called the Rift – and it also takes out most of the Shi’ar military.  The Inhumans and Kree declare a very costly victory . . .

This was epic.  Having taken an interest in recent cosmic events, this was one was perhaps the best.  It actually has caused major change in the Marvel Universe, (hopefully) forever altering the political and geographic landscape of the cosmic world. 

Lilandria’s death was very brutal and I’m very disappointed to see a lack of follow-up.  But at the same time, it was nice to have things wrapping up in space.  Vulcan’s dead; Polaris, Havok, and Marvel Girl are headed back home; and the Shi’ar Empire is a mess.  Again. 

It definitely left me wanting more.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Uncanny X-Periment # 158: Dark Reign

Uncanny X-Men # 504-505, Secret Invasion: Dark Reign, Uncanny X-Men Annual: Emma Frost, Uncanny X-Men # 506-507, Dark Avengers # 1, Wolverine: Origins # 33-40

Norman Osborne is running the show now.  As Emma begins to understand that Scott is keeping secrets, she goes off and joins the Cabal alongside the like of Namor, Doom, Osborne, Hood, and Loki.  It’s pretty cool to see them all together and certainly makes me wishes they had just gone off and fought the Illuminati.  Oh well.

While they’re in the city, she and Namor head off and snag Shaw for crimes Shaw helped commit to Atlantis back in the day.  Shaw is then taken prisoner by Emma Frost and is held in the X-Men’s basement/brig.  Meanwhile, word breaks that Cooperstown was wiped out due to a Mutant being born there.  Former Mutants show up at the compound looking for refuge.

Colossus, to help clear his head, goes off and joins a Russian mob and eventually finds some former mutants who had been brought to America illegally as slave labor and hookers.  Colossus takes them back to the compound, and then he and Emma stomp the mob.

Meanwhile, Maddie is gathering together a Sisterhood which includes Spiral and a being-repaired Lady Deathstrike. 

As this occurs, Beast and Archangel begin to assemble the X-Club, including Doctor Nemesis, Box, and Doctor Yurkio Takiguchi.  They fight Godzilla-lit.

Back in New York City, Osborne assembles his Avengers – Sentry, Ares, Spider-Man (Venom), Marvel Boy, Ms. Marvel (Moonstone), Hawkeye (Bullseye), Wolverine (Daken), and himself, the Iron Patriot.  Nick Fury goes to Logan in a bar about this.  In exchange for information about Daken, Fury promises information about the Weapon X Project.  Logan agrees.

Fury reveals that Logan’s mother was part of the Hudson family – a name that’s been haunting him for years (honestly, it’s insanely complicated – head over to for a better and fuller review).  One of the Hudsons fathered three sons: the Weapon X Professor; Victor Hudson; and James Hudson, the Alpha Flight guy.  The Hudsons have been the pawns of Romulus for generations.  Weapon X was eventually built to control Wolverine and make him better.  Stronger.  And when Wolverine joined the X-Men, Romulus focused his attention on Daken.

Daken is looking to get a hold of the Muramasa Blade and use it become the next Weapon X.  Using his place as an Avenger, he draws Cyclops and the X-Men to New York.  Frost confronts Osborne about calling Daken off, but he claims to not know what he’s up to.  Daken fights the X-Men and (eventually) Wolverine and beats ‘em.  The swords breaks and Daken takes part of it.  Cyclops gives the sword back to Wolverine, damning his mission.

Fury tracks down the Tinkerer, who uses the sword to lace Daken’s claws ala Wolverine.  Wolverine goes after Daken, but is confronted by Victor Hudson.  They fight for a while and Wolverine tracks Hudson to a train.  This train leads him to Daken, who reveals that Romulus is on the train.  Wolverine tells Daken that he let Romulus go to save him.  Daken stabs Logan and leaves.

Wolverine tracks the train and Victor Hudson and he is eventually led to a prison in Russia, where he finds the recovered Carbonadium Synthesizer – and Omega Red.  They fight for a while before Omega Red gets taken down and Wolverine leaves.  Injured, Wild Child shows up to finish him off.   Wild Child tells Wolverine that the past few events have been a competition of sorts to find Romulus’ successor.  All that’s left are the two of them, Daken, Cyber, and Omega Red.  Wolverine, of course, gets the advantage of Wild Child and kills him.  Two days later, he gets a package from Black Widow: the Muramasa Blade.  He uses this to kill Omega Red and then finds himself face-to-face with Romulus himself.  They fight, Wolverine eventually loses, and Romulus leaves him to continue to be tested.

We’ll start with Wolverine Origins portion first.  I liked that Way has found a way to bring in the X-Men and the current state of the Marvel Universe that progresses the story.  While I’m not completely fond of the overall Origins story, I found this to be a nice step forward and it’s great to have some momentum going.  Romulus was a major disappointment overall and I’m actually wondering if he was supposed to be from the beginning.

The X-Men stuff . . . hmm . . . well, I liked the X-Club even though they’re pretty snotty.  I liked that Emma and Scott both have secrets and it’s creating tension between them.  I like that stuff.  But I’m not excited by any of the subplots.  The lack of focus and clarity on the characters harms the issues.  I’m not pleased with the way Cyclops just told Colossus to “hit something and get better.”  The scene where Nightcrawler and Colossus were going to sit down and talk was something I was anticipating – and then Cyclops walks in with Emma and they act like snobby assholes towards him.  Like I said, I’m not impressed.