It’s not a secret to long time followers that I’m a big fan of Wolverine. Just look back at my comic comments tag and you’ll find a lot of Wolverine. While the movies have been fun up to now I’ve not felt he has gotten the movie he deserved for being one the strongest franchise characters for Marvel. That ended this March. Sadly the last movie with Hugh Jackman as Logan did them both justice. Continue reading
The required US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique The required US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique
Since I gave up comic books for other things, like space in my home, I get my fix in comic book movies. I didn’t see Avengers 2, aka Ultron, in theaters because of all the moaning about how badly it dissed Hawkeye. I did see it in February on the cruise. Deadpool I was anxious to see but came out in a busy time in my life so saw it via DVD. This summer with little to do when camping in an apartment and waiting on a house to move into we went to movies regularly – saw Civil War and Apocalypse in a theater. Now I know those are two studios but for a comic book lover like me it’s one publisher Marvel. Thus I’ll give my short thoughts on each in one post about Marvel’s Movies. Warning SPOILERS ahead if you don’t want them for a particular movie skip to the next. I feel comfortable doing spoilers because it has been sometime since the movies were released and they were successes. Thus I feel those who care passionately about the story lines have already been exposed to the plots. Continue reading
I know I am WAY behind on my Comic Comments but I’m making effort to catch up with the list. I am seriously considering doing by issue once I get the backlog diminished significantly. Mostly because it would be easier to keep up with what I’ve reviewed and what I haven’t.
Okay my mea culpa and plans revealed let’s talk zombies! This is a one-shot that fits into the Marvel Zombie line but not into any continuity. Just think of this as a fun story, part of the fun is figuring out who is who in this post zombie apocalypse world. It’s an excellent Marvel superhero tale for Halloween.
First give credit where credit is due for this one-shot: Fred Van Lente, Writer – Alessandro Vitti, Artist – Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Cover – Jon Moisan, Asst. Editor – Bill Roseman, Editor – Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Executive Producer.
Next the legal disclaimer – All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
The art is perfect for the issue. I like the ‘dirty’ line look and really suits Old Man Scratch in his appearances. It also does well with the zombies by giving suggestion without being too explicit on the details of decay. I thought it was excellent and made the tale even better.
As for the story it starts out with a definite Walking Dead (tv show) vibe but quickly becomes a Marvel tale. The premise is that a mother and son have established a safe camp in an old Victorian mansion complete with a greenhouse for safe gardening. The boy is going over the calendar and discovers it’s Halloween. After them mom explains what the holiday was and the boy wants to celebrate.
Here the tale takes the Marvel turn – they find the boy a Wolverine costume in the basement. When they head out to get candy – they encounter superhero zombies. I’ll leave it to you to discover just who these are! It’s fun to see them in that form, LOL!
Then Old Man Scratch makes his appearance accompanied by the Rolling Stone song that introduces him. The question becomes – do you want to be in debt to the devil or eaten by zombies? I’ll leave you with that only to say that in the end a black kitten makes it all worth it.
Just who are the mother and child? That’s part of the twist too! Let’s just say there is a clue in the fact Mom likes Wolverine (no he’s not the father of the boy THIS time). In the end I enjoyed the tale of Halloween during a Zombie Apocalypse, well done Marvel, well done! If you didn’t pick this one last Halloween get it in time for this one.
The Dreaming Maiden was the final arc of Wolverine Volume #4 taking #314 through 317. There is much here that I liked about volume #4 – Melita and Jean Grey School. It also includes some things I don’t like – magic crap, Seraph’s Angels, and yet another group Logan was a member.
First off let’s give the usual disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
Credit to the creators of this arc: Cullen Bunn, Writer – Paul Pelletier, Penciler #314-316 – Cam Smith, Penciler #316 -317 – Dave Meikis, Inker – Cam Smith, Drew Hennessy, Mark Pennington, Inkers #317 – Rain Beredo, Colorist #314-316 – Wil Quintana, Colorist #316-317 – VC’s Cory Petit, Letterer – Mike DelMundo, Covers – Jared K Fletcher, Designer – Jennifer M. Smith, Asst. Editor – Jeannie Schafer, Editor – Nick Lowe, Group Editor – Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Ex. Producer.
In this arc a good deed Logan did back in his days as a free-lance muscle guy comes back to haunt him. It turns out years ago he was hired by a group called The Covenant to kill a maiden that dreams the future. As he’s trying to recover his relationship with and memories of Melita after his second encounter with Dr. Rot he’s interrupted by his past. He leaves Melita to ensure his good deed still saved a life.
As the story progresses we learn magic is involved, possibly aliens, and there’s yet another shadow group of super powers with their agenda operating in the world. I get that Logan is getting near 200 years old and that he might have involvements we haven’t heard about. Yet I find that Marvel universe is getting crammed full of superpowered groups (magical, alien, mutant, mutated like Spidy, etc.) that I have to wonder are there any normal every day humans left? Also how can one of these groups turn around without bumping into another one – be they good or evil groups? It’s getting too far fetched that was supposed to be fixed with the M-Day arc but no it’s getting bloated again.
As Logan goes about protecting the Dreaming Maiden again Seraph’s Angels get involved to help him. If you aren’t familar with Seraph’s Angels it’s a group of Logan’s bitter exs that now are a super-team themselves. Melita is the newest member. I have issues about this on several levels. First I find it insulting to women that they all unite having been in a relationship with the same man. Is that all that defines them now – ex-girl of Wolverine. I find that very demeaning of women. Especially these women that were portrayed as very strong women in their own arcs and now they are mewling jilted lovers that can’t get over it so banded together to kick ass. Not a concept I enjoy. Not something I enjoy seeing as a role for a strong female character. Next Cassie the BTF Agent wasn’t really a girl friend – she chased him and eventually he screwed her to feel human after placing a dead drug dealing woman’s baby in her nice sister’s care. As far as she goes it seems to be a one-night stand she never got over. Next issue is there was this big arc where Logan dug up Seraph’s body to find out about the Romulus crap. So she’s supposed to be dead – but if it gets rid of all that stupid line about Romulus and Remus I’d love to have Seraph back. Though I do wonder how she’s not a little person any more and how this effects her dying wish he marry Viper to keep peace in Madapoori. That all said there were some funny panels that come from exs working together.
Once again during the climatic scene that addresses the major issue of the arc – Wolverine/us black out to learn how it resolved itself without us. This has a rushed feel and looking at the number of inkers, change of colorists, and such add to that impression. We are left with the hanging questions that won’t be answered since the title is off to relaunch as part of the Marvel NOW initiative. The sad thing is that when the arc started it was pitched as a jumping on point but then we are left wondering – “What will the reunited Covenant do now?” “Are the Dreaming Maiden’s people coming for her?” “What’s the status between Logan and Melita?” So far in the new volume these are just dropped threads that may never be picked up in service of the trend of bit events and relaunches of titles after them.
Over all I lie the concept – Logan spared a life back in his for hire days. The group that hired him for hit find out their target is still alive and come after Logan to finish this supposedly “finished” contract. In the course of saving the target again he has to work with a bitter ex or two. Is a great pitch, a great set up and a story that I wanted to read. However to have him black out during the resolution, the group that hired the hit slip away, and magic/aliens be involved destroyed it for me.
As for the art, it was good until #316 then it develops what I consider a rushed feel. Suddenly we change pencilers, we have a team of inkers, and the colorist split the job. Not only does the story feel rushed to the conclusion but so does the art. Not keeping the at least same penciler through out the whole arc or changing artists to make say flashbacks differ from story today is fine but this like the jump in artists in the Warbird arc at X-Men gives the story a rushed to finish patchwork feeling.
That said I do enjoy Pelletier’s art. It’s not in my top loves but I like it and enjoy it. Smith does well picking up and blending in as best as two artists can. Their styles aren’t as abruptly different as those in the Warbird arc I mentioned. I think the expressiveness in the opening scene where Logan is trying to understand and recapture what he had with Melita is touching and well done. Pelletier is good at giving a strong character the looks of vulnerability, regret, and sadness without much to-do. It adds well to the experience of the comic where not everything is stated some is shown.
Once again I’m left feeling Marvel missed the mark in the rush to keep to corporate plans. Honestly, I am waiting for the day when they realize that well written stories coupled with strong supporting art will sell comics better longer term than marketing gimmicks. I know of two faithful readers that have dropped many Marvel titles because they are tired of potentially good story concepts ruined by forced cross-overs or rush to the next gimmicky event.
Next a few highlights from the issues – some laughs with ex-girlfriends and some touching scenes along with nonsense.
I’m grouping Issue 18 & 19 of Wolverine and the X-Men together for two major reasons 1) I’m very behind on my Comic Comments and 2) both deal with post AvXinterruptus. I’ll give the writers credit this time they did say school focused no roaming off with the Jr. Hellfire Club (though they make an appearance), no roaming off with one student or faculty member (though various ones move in and out of the spotlight). Humor is used well in Issue 19 to ease the serious losses in 18. In these two issues I’d say Marvel has shown it can master the ensemble cast – have them going different directions, cover them and not tell a disjointed story! CUDOS! Yes when one story gets hot focus will have to draw only onto that story & characters with a few ‘meanwhile back at the ranch…’ panels. I enjoyed both issues and think this is how I wanted to see AvX in this title – from the school’s point of view.
The ever present US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
Issue 18 entitled Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow credits – Jason Aaron, writer – Jorge Molina, Penciler – Norman Lee, Inker – Morry Hollowell & Rachel Rosenberg, Colorists – Chris Eliopoulos, Letterer – Ed McGuinness & Morry Hollowell, Cover Artists – Jordan D. White, Assistant Editor – Daniel Ketchum, Associate Editor – Nick Lowe, Editor – Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Executive Producer.
Issue 19 entitled More Pencils, More Books, More Teachers’ Dirty Looks credits – Jason Aaron, Writer – Nick Bradshaw, Penciler – Walden Wong, Inker – Laura Martin, Colorist – Chris Eliopoulos, Letterer – Nick Bradhaw & Gurur EFX, Cover Artists – Jordan D. White, Assistant Editor – Daniel Ketchum, Associate Editor – Nick Lowe, Editor – Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief, Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Executive Producer.
AvX has been over enough I don’t feel it is a spoiler to say – Phoenix is destroyed erasing M-Day (so why did we go through that just to undo all of it!) and making many new mutants. Charles Xavier is dead (AGAIN! I think this is about the 10th death maybe the 9th still lags behind Jean Grey’s 14 – 20 deaths). Oh and Scott Summer killed Xavier this time and is in jail for it (at least for now).
Issue 18 shows how the school views all these big universe. While this is going on Idie, Quentin, and Broo all have their own important events happen. Staff wise Husk is feeling the strain of her powers fracturing and being a teacher. We see more of her relationship with Toad as she makes a big life change.
Issue 19 deals with the aftermath – Broo’s injured and Henry is doing all he can to save the boy. Kitty is stressed with Husk gone and more mutants popping up and enrolling daily she needs to expand the staff. Logan is out to find Broo’s attacker. We also see the next arc setting up with Frankenstein’s Circus rolling into town…
I love how the financial issues of the school were solved with Warren gaining control of his company and Xavier leaving his estate. Yet I’d enjoy it more if a constant stressor on Logan was paying the bills. I think that would relate to the real world’s economy and give interesting story lines for the school. Can you imagine a bake sale in town with the Jean Grey Students? Or in his solo title Logan taking various jobs for pay to support his school? Oh the comic interludes, moral questions, serious situations, and interesting issues that could be raised and dealt with – but no money is no longer a worry. Phooey heck even Krakota could make diamonds if need be… pfft too easy.
The handling of the title as an ensemble TV show is improving. Think of any show you followed that had an ensemble cast – there’s the lead characters (here Logan, Quentin, Bobby, Kitty, Hank) and the major characters (Idie, Broo, Husk, Toad) and the supporting regulars (Chamber, Gambit, Doop, Glob…) Rarely do you have a show (or issue in this case) where the lead character’s story isn’t addressed or moved forward. Next if the lead characters are in the valley between stories you catch us up then shine the light on the major characters to move their story forward more significantly. Finally the regulars take stage if there is time if not they support the other story lines. Think of Hillstreet Blues one of the best written longest running ensemble shows – that’s how it’s done. I applaud these issues for mastering it so well! We get the conclusion of the major multi-title event but not without losing the title’s focus of the school. We see the issues faced after the event but again through the school’s perspective. Yet while doing this we’re developing the major character story lines since the lead characters are winding up their major story arc. Cudos!
I can’t not mention my ache for Broo and hope that they do bring him back. I think he’s a good student for Henry to mentor for many reasons. They are so similar. Besides I love Broo and don’t want to lose him. Next I have to mention Kitty’s interviewing of various Marvel characters for position as teacher at Jean Grey… hilarious and the one REAL teacher’s reactions OMG! I got a case of the giggles. Great comic relief and excellent way to intro the new lead character!
Finally – the budding student romance has been hinted at in the flashes into the future finally gets a small start here. I enjoy seeing Quentin’s insecurities at the first school dance. For all his bluster and talent he’s still just a scared kid inside. So good, so good… I see Quentin and Idie being that generations Jean & Scott with Broo being that generation’s Logan carrying a torch for Idie. The more things change the more they stay the same.
As for the art – OMG they got it right! After such a hideous start to this title with tiny footed Kitty and gotta poop tie Logan with such confusing panels that the story was overwhelmed Marvel has found its footing with solid art that has style but supports the story! I actually recognize the characters. Their proportions don’t throw me out thinking they look like toddler toys with the oversized feet for easy play. Here they have comic features when needed – see the cover of 18 for the students looking almost Archie-like to Scott being rendered dramatically with hyper-realism. I think that juxtaposition sums up the story of the school trying to put on the happy face of normalcy with a dance as the final battle rages. Then the cover of 19 returns to the ensemble cover we’ve seen in other issues.
I give credit to Marvel for having rescued this title from the roller coaster of good school centric issues to WTF where’s the school issues! They pulled it together for these two issues and the following arc. **STANDING OVATION** This is why I get this title!
You know what is next…. interior scans
These might be spoilery for some…
So if you are worried…
Stop scrolling right NOW
If not then here’s the first page…
Here we see Xavier extort the promise from Logan to protect the next generation. While that is going on we see the dynamic of the next generation start to take shape. I thought the set up here was very effective
Okay this amused me on many levels – first the Bamfs at the buffet of the dance! So cute I can’t wait until we get the issue or arc that explains how they aren’t grimlins. Next I used my trusty Doop Translator I determined he says “You know my wounds have healed from last time.” I still can’t wrap my head around those two being friend with benefits. I think I really don’t want to go there.
Deadpool you crack me up! Oh Spidy I think it’s worthy of getting a picture of him actually doing it for his English Lit class. Good summary of how Kitty’s interview process is going be sure to check out the real teacher in the issue!
Remember Broo helped Tony solve the Phoenix problem and became a friend of Tony Stark’s. I find it touching Henry consults the brains of Marvel Universe in an attempt to help Broo.
I don’t know if it’s good that the headmaster dons stripper spandex and goes about sniffing floors in town… I know it is for a good cause but really if you are trying to build good relations with the community does this work? I won’t go on my rant against the return of the blue and yellow spandex uniform. Honestly I liked the black one best be it the turtleneck with shoulder holster, leathers with a shirt please, or my fav the western look with cowboy hat.
Any way that’s it until next time!
I’m not sure what volume of Gambit stand alone title this is but it’s the latest one. I think it’s volume 5 according to Marvel. It’s nice to see him in his own title again. So it’s good to see Remy in the spot light. If you like magic that’s here in heaping quantities too.
What is sad is that he always seems to be treated like the ‘red headed step child’ as my grandmother put it. I think the call goes out for mediocrity when there’s a Gambit launch. No, don’t bring your A game a strong C or B- at the highest will do.
The ever present US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
Acknowledgement of the village that got this story to press. James Asmus, Writer – Clay Mann, Penciler Issues 1 & 2 with Clay Kirk on issues 3 &4 – Seth Mann, Inker Issues 1 &2 with Clay Kirk on issues 3 &4 – Rachelle Rosenberg, Colorist – VC’S Coery Petit, Letterer – Mann, Mann Rosenburg – Cover to issue 1 – Mann & Rosenberg, Covers 2-4, Chris Bachalo, Variant Cover Issue 1 – Dan Ketchum, Editor, Idette Winecoor, Production Issue 2 – Jennifer M. Smith, Assistant Editor Issues 2-4 – Nick Lowe, X-Men Group Editor – Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Executive Producer – Special thanks Issue 1 to Irene Y. Lee and Manny Mederos.
The story is that Remy hasn’t had enough excitement in his life as a Professor. Apparently the whole Phoenix AvX thing bored him as much as it did me. We he gets an invitation to a fundraiser at Borya Cich’s house he’s in to rob it for some good old time excitement. Borya Cich is one that bankrolls the uber bad guys. When the baddies are defeated Cich gets the gadgets or magical goodies they were using. Remy’s cover is to be there to get money for the Jean Grey school, his entertainment will be to break in and see what goodies Mr. Cich has accumulated. In the process of this he finds out he’s rusty and meets a mystery woman. They team up (stop me if you’ve heard this before) but she betrays him only to help him in the end. Oh and magic gets way out of hand and Cich loses his goodies and blames Remy (not the mystery woman for some convenient reason).
Now don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with a familiar story frame. There school of thought is that there are only so many story frames out there (7 to 21 seem to be the consensus) when you boil things down to their essence. So the trick is being original in how you decorate that frame. I’m sure you can name many stories where two sides team up to get a goal that sticks it to a third party. That’s the frame here but the story seem a bit too trite, too often told in the thief/spy genre. Remy deserves better. He’s a strong diverse character with a lot of emotional depth but often is short changed into the joking flirty characterization of himself. That’s what happened here. The dialogue is weak stung out over many frames. The cliches keep coming and I ache to see more.
Then there’s the whole aliens and magic crap I don’t like. I know it’s a personal thing for me so I’ll do my best to overlook it. I try hard to just shrug and go that’s for someone else. But when it is used to justify weak writing I call foul. Write yourself into a corner then edit and rewrite the story don’t rely on magic, infinity cubes, Lazarus pits, or it was just a dream to get you out of it. That’s a cop out of a writer’s lack of ability. Here I felt so many opportunities to be a better writer and tell a more complex story were tossed aside thinking “oh this is a Gambit title it won’t last long any way.” Sadly it is such thoughts that I think feed that trend.
As for the art. It relies heavily on the colorist for textures and depths. The colorist goes for the glow Photoshop tones a bit much for my tastes. After having just left Think Thank where the details are drawn in this style struck me as wholly unfinished and rushed. Even more so as the title when on, with greater sweeps to the colorist filling in the lack of penciller’s detail. The covers struck me as a nod to the Bond openings where the women are frames for the images but again the concept seemed solid (much like the start of the written story) but then seemed rushed and unfinished.
In the end it all goes back to the mediocrity I mentioned in my introduction. I felt like the writer, penciller, and colorist wanted to bring their A game but couldn’t for what ever reason be it rushed or told don’t worry just get something out it’s not going to last or be promoted. I don’t know but I saw so much potential there that was left undeveloped. If you are a Gambit fan like me, this is still a must. It’s good to see him out there on his own and I support that in hopes that some day the team can bring their A game to it. If you aren’t into him and aren’t looking to pad your pull list to get something (freebies like shipping). Then as much as it pains me and saddens my Remy lovin’ heart I’d say pass this by and hope next volume gets better treatment.
**** Interior scans*** You have been warned that such scans might be considered spoilery***
Okay here the inane party chatter grated on me like a cheese grater on my bare bum. The Paris Hilton stupid shallow rich people wanting to hang out with gods, magicians, mutants, and aliens just hit all the notes of what I don’t like in my X-Men. Yeah I know others do and that’s for them, enjoy knowing it made me cringe.
Oh Remy we oldsters always wonder just when did computers take over every thing?!? Loved this scene it’s our Gambit doing what he does best and he’s pretty while doing it!
Okay here we meet the mystery woman he teams up with. She’s dumped him once and now before their team-up continues Remy evens the score. Good thing mutants don’t injure as easily as we real people eh?
As you can see she’s a tattooed Laura Croft type. I personally nominate this pose for the Hawkeye Initiative. Caw Caw boyz!
As you can see it really jumped my no magic/gods/aliens in my X-Men shark by a mile. So there you go and I hope the next arc get down to more thievery heist type stuff and less magic stuff.
When we last visted Fury Max – Nick was in Vietnam just as American were getting involved on the French side of Indochina. That mission was a good read with great historical grounding. The mission wasn’t successful except it got Fury an assignment he liked better for helping out Congressman Pug McCuskey. The bad news is – it has to do with Cuba, Cuban nationals, and the Kennedy White House.
Now for the ever present US legal disclaimer: All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
First a very satisfied nod to the creative team: Garth Ennis, Writer – Goran Parlov, Artist – Lee Loughridge, Colors – Rob Steen, Lettering – Manny Mederos, Production – Sebastian Girner & Nick Lowe, Editors on Issue #4 – Nick Lowe, editor on Issue #5 & 6 – Axel Alonso, Editor In Cheif – Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer – Dan Buckley, Publisher – Alan Fine, Executive Producer.
The bright side of the previously failed Indochina mission was Pug’s secretary Shirley. She and Fury struck up a friendship with benefits. That was early 1954, after a flash Nick today dictating his memoirs while his call girls take a rest between sessions we are taken to 1961. Fury is training Cuban Nationals in Central America. At least until the soon to be Senator Pug calls him for another off the books job.
But in this one – it appears Shirley wants more than quarterly visits. In the middle of one of Nick’s visits she announces she’s marrying Pug. She doesn’t want to go back to the South Side of Chicago she wants the good life. If Nick will stay and give it to her she’ll reconsider – but no that’s not Nick.
He and his side kick Hatherly’s reward for training the Nationals as best they can – an off the books assignment from Pug and the leaders of the Nationals – Kill Castro. They get a gung-ho radioman and set out on their mission in the middle of the Bay of Pigs event. You can guess how it turns out. What you can’t guess is just how low Pug will sink and how he’ll put his new wife in danger doing it.
I like the story except for the end. It’s not that the mission fails (sorry I don’t consider that a spoiler basic knowledge of American history tells you that) I just didn’t get what Fury did or why. I’ve always gotten Fury’s thought process. Sure it’s screwed up at times, at times I DO NOT agree with it, at times it’s so clouded by testosterone that it reeks. His final decision in this arc just didn’t make sense for the character. Maybe it’ll be a plot device we’ll see develop later but as it stands – it’s out of character to me.
Though I have to say I’m loving this title. It’s historically accurate, great writing, and the art is fantastic. It all comes together to give me a comic I want. Yes Fury is a man’s man but that’s the appeal kinda like Bond with a more rugged edge and dirtier finish. That I enjoy. We are getting to see Pug, Hatherly, and Shirley develop into full characters not just cut-outs of spy novel characters. I can’t wait for the next arc to complete. I’m hoping this team stays for many issues to come.
*********A Few Internal Scans******* May Be Considered Spoilery by SOME****************