X-Men 207

First off, let’s get that cover gallery out of the way! What cover gallery you ask? Why a recap of all 13 Messiah Complex covers of course! Yes, some (all?) had variants, but except for a few cases I couldn’t find all the variants within the time frame I’ve allotted myself, so one is good enough for now!

This space for rent.

OF COURSE THERE ARE SPOILERS

Soooo…from my forthcoming complaints it may sound like I disliked the series, or the finale, but that would be far from the truth. It was a fun ride, even if it didn’t make sense. I’m going to assume the reader has read this, since I’m not up for a giant recap. Check over at ComiX-Fan if you want that, they’ve been doing weekly recaps as an excuse for an article for the last 12, they should do one for the current issue soon.

Where are we left?

  • Professor X is crippled again, except worse – he’s got a hole in his brain! We know he’s not dead – the solicitations for X-Men Legacy at the end of the ish tell you this. So he’s just royally screwed again. How many times is this now? I think I’ve lost count. Pretty sure it’s at least three. He’s been shot/in a coma at least once before – that was enough to start off a whole crossover (EXecutioner’s Song, one of the last good ones) before, but now it’s just an endnote…or a new beginning! Du na na!
  • Bishop is bad. A lot of X-Men have found redemption over the years, like I’m sure Gambit is about to, but I don’t think there is any coming back from shooting Professor X in the head on accident. Mmm kay. This is really the worst/weakest part of the whole thing. Sure, they made it make sense with a modified version of his future – which I guess makes sense, the future he’s from (and hence his past) could have re-aligned itself to current events, while still allowing him to be born – that might bake sense in some crazy sci-fi logic. But still, it’s annoying. And seeing as how various folks (I think Tom Brevort may be one of them) have been re-iterating lately how much X-Men is about prejudice, I find it interesting that they have just reduced their minority population by what, 25%? But hey, who knows where this is going really. I was never that big on the whole guy-with-guns thing when Cable did it either. I liked the writers that had Bishop intelligently use his powers, but that wasn’t many.
  • I think Bishop is also short an arm now too.
  • Cyclops is a dick again, sort of. I’m guessing this badass-whatever characterization he’s currently running falls out of the Astonishing arc – which still has yet to finish. It does sort of make sense, following that at least. He’s also kind of stupid, because I don’t care how well trained against the X-Men the Marauders are – they are no match for 3 full teams, plus some kids. Instead he decides that the kids can get the job done? Sure, they did, but that was stupid. What about the random X-Factor members, and whoever else is hanging around. The future solicits look like he’s going into super-dick-overdrive. He’s got Wolvy’s team out killing people, THEN he enlists 3 of the x-babiekids to kill people??? MMMMM KAY.
  • Man, Storm did jack shit this crossover, she really should have just sat it out.
  • Actually, lots of people did jack shit. They probably should have just trimmed the teams down more before they started, so it wouldn’t look as haphazard and silly. So many people were AWOL…or maybe just background, when they would have probably had a bigger effect on things.
  • Cable took the baby to the future? OK…sure…whatever. Makes for an interesting new Cable series I guess.
  • Would MaliceSentinel really have monologued over Pixie or just snapped her neck? I vote #2.
  • Is Mystique dead too? Probably not, but that would be amusing. Rogue tried to kill her, I guess. Whatever, that made no sense either. The Mystique-Rogue arc did wrap up Claremont’s Destiny’s Diaries arc though…wow…when was the last time someone ELSE wrapped up one of his in a way that actually kind of made sense in the original context? OK. She’s not dead, she’s on the cover to next month’s Wolverine 62. Be nice to see that title in continuity again, at least for a little while. Not that I buy it anymore. Shelling out $$ for one Wolverine title (Origins) is enough.

OK, all that out of the way, the xover has done what it was intended to do I think – galvanize the audience and set-up the next set up to the new status-quo (post-Uncanny 500). Please, please, please do not restart the numbering after 500. That would be really annoying.

The battle scene felt like it actually needed a whole issue – this should have been a double sizer. Seriously, I’d pay money for an annual that just fleshed out this battle and made it more believable in the sense of how it would actually be with that many players on the field.

OK, so that’s done, what else was this week?

The Order 7

Yes, sadly this series is done on issue 10. 10!? They couldn’t even let it finish a year-arc? Lame! It’s incredibly well written, cohesive, and entertaining – and manages to be so while squarely in the middle of the post-CW Marvel U with a cast of 95% new characters. That’s crazy talk!

So yeah, another great issue here, not much action, but good dialog. I’m not sure the characterization here is square with Namor as of the end of his limited series (which is evidently where it is picking up), but that could just be because this is from an outside perspective, where the limited was clearly from his.

Pick the book up…hey maybe if numbers go up like crazy they won’t cancel it. Or they could do a volume 2 type thing who knows. This series would actually work quite well in a volume format (due to the year-long nature of their powers).

Young Avengers Presents #1: Patriot

I miss this series. It looks like this limited will be a nice stopgap though. I can’t quite square where in the world in falls in Cap continuity (maybe right between the last and next issue??), but it seems like it might squeak in. Not much to spoil here, just talking heads, but it’s a good read. Always nice to see the “other” Captain America mentioned too.

What else?

Stuff is picking up in Countdown. I guess it would be too much to ask for SuperTool & Monarch to kill each other, but I’ll request it anyway. I’m curious to see where the Red Robin bit goes.

She-Hulk 25 was pretty good, I just can’t get into the character. I feel horribly sad for that couple Peter David used for dramatic effect in this issue though.

Marvel Zombies 4 continues to march (or slog) onwards. I love Kirkman in general, but I’ve not been a big fan of this series at all so far. I mean, it’s well written and funny, but I just have LESS THAN ZERO desire to see Spider-Man kill his wife and aunt. And eat them. Really, who was asking for that? Foul. That being said, the ending of this issue brings up lots of interesting possibilities.

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Cable & Deadpool 49

I used such a large image because not only is it another cool Skottie Young cover, but it’s the penultimate issue. Da da duh. You sure wouldn’t know it from the issue though, it’s business as usual in Deadpool Team-Up!

It was a pretty enjoyable arc all-around, and happened to feature a character I was wondering about lately – Lorelei. Talk about very little panel time – she rarely if ever shows up. Which is fine, because she seems utterly one trick and completely lacking in character – I don’t think she said a single word in either of the appearances I have seen her in (Defenders v1 15 & this ish). Why was I wondering about said throwaway character you ask? Because I just recently read Defenders 15 (see previous post) and thought “Huh, I’ve never seen that lady before.”

It’s DP & Bob & Penetraitor & Kazar vs. the ever-ready-for-a-beating Savage Land Mutates, or some of them at least. They took a beating. And possibly died when Deadpool shot their ride.

Good clean fun, but I guess, I won’t really miss the title – especially without Cable. DP alone can rarely pull my $2.99 for long. I will miss Fabian on an X or Avengers book though.

New Exiles 01

I haven’t found a cover image for this yet, which is a shame because it’s an interesting cover. In a good way. The issue itself is pretty likeable too. If you dig Claremont, you’ll dig this. If you were an old Exiles fan, I’d say it’s up in the air, because CC’s style is so different from the previous writers. Luckily I like both. I’m going to miss Blink & Nocturne & Warpath like a bitch though! Marvel has got some stupid restriction on him where he can only use characters he created (??) for team members. Talk about strange. Maybe protecting future movie properties from “damage”? Whatever.

In addition to lots and lots of text, NE 1 includes another old Claremont staple – the team building outdoor sports game! Usually he goes with baseball, I think I remember at least one basketball game, but I think it’s mainly baseball. This time around theres a few twists though – it’s not so much a team building exercise as it is a spotlight on the fact that these guys are not a team. At least not yet. This Kitty Pryde is petulant and petty, much more “Sprite”-like if you will. Sage is no longer the paragon of self control. Morph and Sabretooth are somehow at odds. This Rogue seems like a crazy bitch who throws in occasional Japanese words. And the male “Mystiq” – no freaking clue what his deal is. I’m guessing it hearkens back to CC’s original dangling plot thread which had Destiny & Mystique as a couple, and Mystique possibly being someone’s father (??), I forget who. Anyway, he’s a blank slate for now, assuming it’s even a he.

The issue leaves us with lots of questions – hopefully all intentional:

  • Why is Cat such a bitch?
  • Why is Rogue such a bitch?
  • Why is Morph bitching at Sabretooth?
  • Do we really need a love triangle (Sabretooth-Psylocke-Mystiq – although that has some interesting potential, given the 3rd party may not be bound by gender 😛 ) and a couple (Cat & Morph) right off the bat? I’d prefer to only have one to start off, or have both on slow burn, but here they are, in full bloom as it were.
  • Can Psylocke fly now? Or was she just gliding on air currents. I suppose she is telekinetic again (right?) so flying is completely on the table, I just can’t recall her flying with it in quite a while (did she maybe in CC’s X-Men reboot that originally gave her the TK?).
  • Does Mystiq have any powers other than Psylocke seduction?
  • Could Sabretooth look any more retarded on the cover (the variant I got at least)?
  • Will anyone else bitch about something, become a bitch, or receive a richly deserved bitch slap?

Anyway, off to a promising start. Let’s rock.
New Warriors v4 08

I need to re-read the old volumes, because I cannot remember who the other guy on the cover is. Evidently he took Silhouette away from Thrasher, only to have her taken back? Or something? By his brother? I could just wiki it, but in this case I really don’t want to, I want to read it myself.

Anyway, onto the issue. Good stuff. There’s a very interesting dichotomy here in that most of the team doesn’t know where they are going and they even get semi-3rd wall and actually address the fact that they don’t know where they’re going, but at least know that this is the trip they want to be on. It’s more talking and less action than you get in most books, which works well in this case. I’m still annoyed that they color Angel so pale & changed her body shape so noticeably though. Whatever, I’m sure the next artist will change everyone up anyway. I’m thinking she’s going to be the next Monet of the variable-skin-shades. I liked her hair better curly too, but that’s just a preference of mine. Minor things to pick at really.

Oh yeah, back to my thread – Night Thrasher, unlike everyone else, seems to have a very direct plan at least. And I have no idea what it is! This is a good thing. It sounds like he really has some kind of idea about what to do about the registration act & Initiative. I’m sure it won’t matter, because the Secret Invasion will render that all moot, but it will be a fun ride until then.

We also get an interesting aside with Justice & Rage with loads of potential.

Wolverine Origins 21

This entire issue is a near-pointless comedy issue. At least pointless in the sense that Origins is supposed to be all about plot advancement, and there isn’t much (any?) here on the “main” plotline. Or even the periphery ones. This is just DP trying to kill Wolverine. Which doesn’t make much sense, because didn’t they team up not too long ago?? Would he really take out a hit on Wolverine in his current incarnation?

All that aside, the issue is actually fairly entertaining. But it should have been an issue in Wolverine, not in Origins. Origins is supposed to be an “all plot”, finite (~60 ish) series. I’m sure the arc itself will work its way back into the main plotline, but taken on its own it’s an annoying diversion. And I don’t have the patience to wait until an arc ends to write a review like The X-Axis usually does.

The cover is really well drawn.

New X-Men 46 (final issue)

We’re almost to the CompleX money shot! Err, bad visual, but you know what I mean.

SHIT BOILS in this issue. Boils like X hasn’t boiled in a book in a long time – probably because we haven’t had an x-verse crossover (well, a good one) in a long, long time.

Pretty much everything comes to a head, and yes, it is looking like Sinister is “actually” dead (for now). Been there before, so I know he’ll be back, but it was a nice way for him to go, I won’t spoil it other than to say it works perfectly with the story.

Lots of violence, Scott actually orders Wolverine to kill people…not sure what to think of this yet, we’ll just have to see where it goes. It could be the case of modernism killing the interest quotient of a book, or it might actually bring something to it (re: the new X-Force book), who can say yet. Oh, and X-23 guts Scrambler.

The one complaint I have about this issue – no Madrox & Layla! Yarrr!! But, he is knocked out, so I guess that makes sense…I suspect getting Layla back will be picked up afterwards in X-Factor anyway. I don’t think anyone from X-Factor said a word (Rahne doesn’t count because she’s in X-Force now :P) – Madrox is unconscious, Layla is gone, Richter is probably playing XBox or something since he’s night useless in a fight like this, Guido & Monet are in the background, and I lost track of Siryn.

I still think the Predator X bit is stupid in general, but it’s contribution to the plot is visible in this issue (it “gets” the X-Kids to the fight), and hopefully it will be put down like a bad horse next week.

X-Men 95,96,100,115,128

What? These are old you say? You would be correct! There’s a 50% off back issues sale at Excalibur today & this weekend, so I picked up some olllllld school schtuff.

Only 128 is in great condition, the rest are a little scraggly, but that doesn’t bother me much, I’m not planning on making a mint of them, I just want to get a whole X-Men run before I die! I’m only 25 shy of 94-current, so I’d say I’m not doing too bad.I picked up these for under $10 each – score! 95 was only $7.50. Hey, I’m sure it’s not “worth” much more than that, but these things are hard to find at affordable prices!

Hey, why is Storm in yellow underwear on 115 while everyone else is in gear? Guess I’ll have to read it and find out. I’ve already read 95,96 & 100 – man,

throwback central! They aren’t nearly as bad as the Defenders issues I commented on in the previous post, in fact they’re relatively painless to read, but some cheese is definitely visible. Especially in the way Warpath went out…I never read this issue in Classic X-Men, or I forgot, either way I thought he died because he was trying to save people, and he did sort of, but he also died because he was stupid – evidently Banshee could have just taken the plane out, but Warpath was a hardhead and wanted to do it himself. Oh well, I’ll just keep assuming in my happy little world that he wasn’t that dumb. It is interesting to note that I doubt an explosion like that would kill the current Warpath, the way his powers are written. And they are supposed to have the same powers.

Can’t wait until next week and the CompleX wrap up! I haven’t been this excited about an X-book in a long time. Nice job Marvel.

Sometimes I read old comic books for kicks. It’s different than the way I enjoy “modern” comics in that most of the story lines (and characters!) aren’t actually interesting, so much as laugh out loud funny and silly, even by comic book standards. It’s a reality check in the way of how much even comic standards have changed for what is too wacky. Tangent: I doubt readers in the 70s would have reacted as strongly the the Mephisto/Spider-Man thing…that would have just seemed like an every day run of the mill storyline to them!

This may be a re-occurring column, I don’t know.

My current project is reading through the first volume of Defenders, because once in a while something references it, and just because I’ve always been curious. Wow, wacky indeed. So wacky that I’m spending my time so I can share some of the wackiness with the world. Onward and inward!

  • The award for “Most Reminds Me of the Idiotic Super-Man Turning Back Time Bit in the Movie” goes to Doc Strange & Silver Surfer in issue 8. The Red Ghost has got the rest of the team (Hulk, Hawkeye, Valkyrie, & Nighthawk I think) mind controlled. He does this somehow with “cosmic rays” from space. In order to break the mind control, Doc & Surfer team up to block “all” cosmic radiation from striking the planet. Just to block some localized mind control on 4 people. With that kind of power…couldn’t they have just zapped the bad guy?
  • Valkyrie really likes her sword, she’s always fecking name checking it. Like the first thing she says in any fight is something about how her magical sword ?Dragonfang? (yes, she says it so much I forgot it) can do this and that, and how it likes jelly on its toast, whatever. She probably sleeps with the damn thing! You might thing she must have had it forever to earn that kind of affection! Oh wait, Doc Strange just gave it to her last issue (issue 12).

Amazing the things he has tucked away in his closet.

Talk about an ungrateful bitch. The man just gave you some crazy old ass magic sword he had in his closet! Show some respect lady. At least wait a couple days. Decency man, it’s all about decency.

  • Worst.Hair.EVER. From issue 13. That’s the Squadron Sinister version of Hyperion of course, not the heroic one. We can tell this quite easily without doing any serious research, simply with the following fact: His face is really ugly, and his mouth is open.

I just want to again point out that this is some of the worst hair I’ve ever seen in a comic – especially in the sense that I don’t think it was intended to be massively horrific. That’s some serious comb-over power there man. Not enough to hide that cro-magnon chin, but allllllmost!

The mask was really stylish too, somehow managing to look really stupid, and really stupid. Even though plenty of other heroes/villains wore the exact same mask (maybe in a different color), somehow his just looks stupid. I suspect this is because the hair has a proximity-stupid effect.

  • It was easy to tell the bad guys – they all had really distorted faces! And they yelled like they were constipated, a lot! I could find many more examples of this, but the two on the right are indicative enough.

Magneto suffers especially from this. I’m sure 50% of this is just that I can’t stand many of the 70s pencillers, but man, those Mags mugs below are FUGLY. fug-fug-fugly! Certainly some of this was done to further demonize the villains, and hey, maybe it was intentionally to help not-so-bright readers pick out who they were supposed to root against. Either way, it detracts from my enjoyment in the sense that I do read above the 5th grade level.

Oh shit! Lightbulb. Damn. I guess that’s why one of the reasons why it was so easy to write comics off as “kid stuff”. Look at those panels. Certainly looks like kid stuff to me. Nothing personal against the artist, I’m sure this style was all the rage then, and they may have even been directed to make the baddies look extra stupid.

  • Issue 20 brings us….wait for it…a magic harmonica that would grant wishes. In what looks like it’s attempting to be a “serious” super-hero comic. Please hold your guffaws non-comic readers. We can tell the difference.

Please note that the man in the panels below destroys the planet with a harmonica, only to have it undone by the Thing moments later, by way of his awesome wailing. No word as to how much time he spent learning to play the harmonica with the awesome skill that would obviously be needed to un-fuck the planet through his lips made of stone. [click for larger image]

  • In issue 22 we get the awesome first appearance of the Headmen, some of the stupidest villains ever. Period. They all have something wrong with their heads. One has a man head on a monkey, one has all the bones inside his head powdery, or SOMETHING, and one, the new guy they recruit, apparently has a normal head. Except that he injects what I’d like to think is heroin directly into his skull. Doing so results in causing black rain to fall from the sky that makes everyone go crazy. Seriously. How’s that for a crazy villain plan? I guess, maybe it makes sense in some twisted way – getting high and projecting your bad trip outwards by way of mental powers? With all those caption boxes, they could have at least said that!
  • Oh, oh oh and don’t forget about the Super-Klan (I forget what they were really called, something to do with snakes)! A technology based group of masked, nameless villains (a-la-Hydra) whose claim to fame was standard racist rantings. I guess this is ok, because racists really are evil, so it would make sense that they are villains in all senses, but it still came off a leeeeeetle wacky. Then again, the new Punisher War Journal just did an arc with white supremacists villains too, good to remind people those nutjobs really do exist I guess.

Yeah, and Hulk wasn’t taking it. Because he’s green! Of course, he can just turn into a white man if he really wants to blend in. But whatever, I’m sure that’s not relevant. He’s green when it counts!

Oh, wait, back to the wacky, the best part is that they get their funding from….a black man! Boy were they cutting edge. Sure, he was just reinvesting his rich white employers money so he could make him more money, but that doesn’t make it less wacky.

  • If you think recap pages are annoying now…They recap everything! Hell, sometimes they’ll recap what happened on the previous page. And characters definitely describe with words whatever they are doing with their appendages. And Hulk was fucking retarded. How could that have been interesting? I much prefer the modern, refined hulk of the last 20 years or so. Well, that holds true for every comic character, but I just felt like pointing it out again.
  • Speaking of recaps, they like to “recap” that Valkyrie’s human host “mated” with a demon. That’s relatively taboo even in current mainstream books. Sure, indie books fuck demons left and right, but I’d be surprised to see this come up for a current Marvel heroine without it being central to her origin, and some kind of character defining moment. Which, if I’m in a giving mood I should admit that I guess, this technically was character defining. But it’s still wacky!

That particular issue (20), also had another really bizarre set of recap boxes, that were almost an aside to the audience or something… revealing that everything that had happened in relation to the Valkyrie character was somehow planned and triggered by this one-shot cult of random people. Manipulating major demons, Olympian semi-deities, & multiple levels of heroes all so they could sacrifice the powers of an Olympian locked into a human to bring that demon that she mated with over to our side.

Note that this all comes out in text boxes over a few pages, then is never mentioned again. I don’t even think the characters are aware of it.

  • The Marvel U was really inter-connected back then. This I miss. Almost every issue there is a little * letting you know that someone is talking about something that happened in another title. Sometimes the issues even picked up directly on plotlines from other comics, with only that * to let you know. To me, that shows that they at least knew their audience was intelligent enough. Shame that they decided for us that those little info bits were too much for our feeble minds.
  • Issue 24. Possibly one of the best team-ups ever. Daredevil + Powerman + Son of Satan. ‘Nuff said.