Comicbook catch up #3

Featuring: Uncanny X-Men #20, X-Men #13, Harley Quinn #5

Uncanny X-Men #20- Maria Hill is still attempting to interrogate Hijack. Then Maria’s brain gets hijacked. By telepath mutants and present day Cyclops, AKA Scott Summers: face of a group of deviants, devil in disguise, killer of Charles Xavier, egomaniac… etc. Maria Hill has been compromised. Continuity is a major issue. She is “a lesser character” but has been playing important roles in comics I read. As far is this series is concerned, style and dialogue are on point. 

Maria Hill crushes on Cyclops. By the way.

But out of the exchange all that Cyclops learns is that the enemy is using Cerebro to find them. Eva encourages Emma to yank cerebro. And then suddenly Scott jets to talk to “old blue buddy” Beast. Emma is left behind. …polite students pretend not to notice. Outside of the Jean Grey School: Scott is stopped by big leagues Storm, Rachel Grey +Iceman and then attacks AS SHIELD finds what’s happening.

X-Men #13 Vampire Jubes on the cover =so promising… Image

Mann’s art gets front and center instead of being the last 5 pages. Psylocke and Storm have a woman to woman about who is really leading this X-Men team. Psylocke say that Storm should throwDOWN (and I agree.. Rachel is a latecomer in this crew. She’s not the leader.) Water color backgrounds are gorgeous (but there is less care taken when Mann’s art was 5 pages- still it looks AWESOME) Jubes is there while Beast does Shogo’s check up; but he also wants to know more about the side effects of vampirism on Jubilee’s end…  Rachel Grey is bumming. And I don’t blame her, progeny of the Phoenix and whatnot. but her drama vs. Storm’s?! Ororo any day. 

Then one of the kids get hit: Primal. Quentin Quire couldn’t trace it. (and he can’t take that; he’s young no one can tell him he’s wrong) Turns out… this shot was made with surgical precision. Literally. Surgeons had that gunshot was intentionally made not to hit his heart. 

So Shogo tries to be …ummm… claimed by “The Future” Jubes didn’t do vampire stuff…

#THEFUTURE

Harley Quinn #5 THE DOCTOR IS IN

still bored. the art is the same. atmosphere is the same.

Agents of SHIELD- episode 18

Brett Dalton goes to see the Girl In The Flower Dress in prison (and brings her a flower dress, from the Clairvoyant) she didn’t know he was a double agent. Garrett is officially the Clairvoyant, but he is not clairvoyant. A con artist, but an artist all the same. Ward looks more handsome beat to shit. Raina AKA Flowers is not amused to find that she’s been mislead. 

Our (former?) SHIELD team still thinks that Fury is dead. Skye sets to work scrubbing their identities while Fitz and Triplett fix the bus. Triplett says that Garrett had him fooled, but Coulson doesn’t trust him. Simmons whose life he saved goes to bat for him and says he’s on the level. Coulson is leery, but lets him aboard the plane with Gemma in charge of him. Fitz is so sad to see Gemma stick up for Trip who easily shows him up at everything from fixing the plane to classic lit. I have no tears for Fitz. I am so glad that brainy chick Simmons is getting a love triangle I give no fucks.

Skye calls Ward to see what’s taking him but she thinks that nothing is amiss while Garrett has Raina trying to crack the hard drive and Ward just got done explaining how he was able to fool everyone. He used Agent May but he really fell for Skye. Now… what?! now that he’s the bad guy and it’s revealed that everything was a lie what could he really have in common with Skye? People need things that they can appreciate about each other to fall for each other. Not just that they like looking at each other. That’s not enough. He conned Coulson with his attitude, Fitz and Simmons were easy, blah blah woof woof. And Agent Garrett says, “Even Romanoff couldn’t have pulled that off.” SHUT UP. 

There’s actually another insult to Natasha later in the ep when Patton Oswalt tells the team that fury is dead, but privately says that Fury is alive but was limiting this knowledge to Coulson, Maria Hill, Cap “And a couple of others” yeah, Natasha and Falcon are “a couple of others” Admittedly, Coulson didn’t know about Falcon, but he sure as shit knows Black Widow. “A couple of others” GO HOME.

Oh yeah, and they meet Patton Oswalt after Coulson’s badge lights up with coordinates that Coulson believes to be from Fury, May tries to take his weapon because he’s being irrational, and they fly until the jet is out of fuel (unbeknownst to the team) to the middle of Canada (somewhere. Hollywood acts like Canada is all snowy wilderness) and upon finding nothing Coulson has a total breakdown. But then tada, secret SHIELD facility. So Coulson’s impulsiveness is validated while the rift between Coulson and May gets greater.

Garrett and Ward let some soon to be villains out of “the Fridge” but Raina can’t crack the hard drive, so Ward has to go back and meet up with Skye. Which no one has any reason to be suspicious about apparently, even though they knew Ward was at the Fridge and said facility was compromised. He shows up beat up and Skye rushes to his side. 

It looks as if next episode she will find out the truth about him. 

BJ Britt as Agent Triplett got some great lines and Raina got more morally ambiguous, I think eventually she’ll be on the same side as Coulson and crew. So that’s undoing a lot of the race fail that was earlier eps. 

This one was good. Not as good as the last two, but I’ll take it. At the very end Ian Quinn comes out of the fridge and gets the case full of gravitonium. That’s from wayy back. Graviton. Time for more villains. But Deathlok was notably absent this episode!

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All-New X-Men #25

“Monumental 25th issue featuring the greatest artist roster ever assembled.”

At the Jean Grey School we see present day Beast lying awake, riddled with anxiety, his head heavy while he thinks of what a mess he has made bringing back the original X-Men. There’s a man standing over him. He tells Beast that the consequences of his actions are infinite. And through interpretations of different artists we see these possibilities that have been destroyed. The first being Bruce Timm drawing Jean Grey. Jean Grey, who has been heaped with tragedy and catastrophe has recently gotten a bad ass powerset in Guardians of the Galaxy #13, and we see that, but on the next page we have another version of Jean Grey the Jean that this Jean will become, the one in the Brotherhood who bends men to her will. Arthur Adams/Justin Ponsor’s hard a desolate interpretation with crumbling cities and a throne of bent and twisted men directly contrasts with Bruce Timm/Laura Martin’s peppy and fresh bright and uncluttered view of young Jean. While not necessarily my favorite art of the issue the juxtaposition was in my opinion the most well done.  

David Mack’s Cyclops page was also masterful. On this page we see Cyclops displayed like Jesus on the cross (but it’s an X) in front of protesting masses while words describe how he is abandoned and mocked. It’s all water colors and is amazing.

Scottie Young/Jason Keith’s Iceman turns into ice-monsters rampaging out of control. There was a touch of this in BotA where Iceman confronts his future self as a soul less snow monster (who turns out to be future Jean Grey’s puppet) and then as a snow wizard. While the narration says that Iceman will be destroyed from within, this seems to be a fully outside interpretation. Iceman doesn’t seem that perturbed in the series currently.

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It kind of goes on from there showing how monstrous they’re all becoming. That Beast will lose more of his humanity (something about dinosaurs, admittedly, I didn’t get it. I don’t know who was on Kent Williams’s page. The Colossus page was unremarkable). Beast sits up in bed with his head in his hands and pleads to be shown “the good.”  

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JG Jones gives us an image of the whole X-Men line up being treated as celebrities. Beast looks like Ghandi, while light reflects off of them instead of shadows, it’s really unique. The X-Men are photographed by fans with signs that say THANX Everyone is happy and playful. Magneto even looks pleased. 

Ronnie Del Carmen’s image looks like a cross between a vintage Charlie’s Angel’s themed pinup catalogue and a children’s picture book about summer vacation. Which makes sense, since he’s been a storyboard artist on Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up. He draws some X-Ladies having summer fun and beheading monsters on motorcycles. I really don’t get it, but it looks GREAT.

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J Scott Campbell/Nei Ruffino have Psylocke, Storm and Nightcrawler in more modern and conventionally stylized fashion in outer space for exploration.

Maris Wicks gets a few pages to tell a story of an ill timed love story featuring Kitty Pryde and Colossus. Hyper cartoony tale of bad timing. Highlights include KP wearing a shirt that says “I’m not Daredevil” and having Nightcrawler’s baby.Jason Shiga keeps up with the cartoony and tells a tale of Scott + Logan BFFs FORVER! With a senile Cyclops and still aggro Logan eating spaghettios. And the less serious fashion continues in Dan Hipp’s pages where Jean and Logan fight like the old married couple that they are. Jean’s a couch potato who barely looks away from her laptop when he comes in bleeding. The squabble over him forgetting to pick up hot pockets. I didn’t love it, but the “I can still read your mind” jokes were funny. 

There’s more about who will bloom and find purpose and then Beast is confronted with the reality that these roads will never be taken because of his actions. Beast pleads, “Then help me. Help me put it back. Help me.”

“I am the Watcher. I do not act.”

And Beast tries to convince himself that it’s not too ay, and the page ends with him as restless as ever.

It was a really great issue, The tension that Beast is enduring is very intense and conveyed really well, angst is Brian michael Bendis’s main jam. It was really amazing to see where the artists all took their page/s along with the story. Some stood out more, which is debatable. But “Greatest Artist Roster” ever? They’re going to have to arm wrestle Harley Quinn #0 for that one. A great issue… i don’t know if the sidenote was worth it. Don’t hate me. But Scott’s in space, Jean Grey AND X-23 are missing him, the plotlines for KP and friends are all wrapped up and in need of a new adventure. And apparently that adventure will be Beast continuing to find a way to send everyone back again, even though that has turned more X-Men against each other. It doesn’t make sense it just makes angst. But… it was good, too. I’m on the fence.

Captain Marvel #2

Firstly, Kiss My Wonder Woman did a great write up of Captain Marvel’s return.

In the second part of “Higher, Further, Faster, More.” Carol Danvers is making friends with her ship’s AI. Her cat, the cat that Rhodey wouldn’t watch, is making himself comfy on the controls. This is a flash back to “Two weeks ago” and really, my main (albeit minor) issue with this series is the nonsensical time skips. Why are we doing this? 

Anyway, they’re on a medical transport to Torfa (to bring back the green female alien that Rhodey and Captain Marvel found in a vessel headed for Earth) -we already know this doesn’t happen. The route they’re on has been claimed by the Haffensye Consortium and they crack wise at Carol and tell her she can’t pass. Yeah, right. And they start launching missiles at each other with oddly teethed villains calling for her destruction. 

She busts out of the ship in costume and goes to face them head to head When the Guardians of the Galaxy (in their soon to be cinematic line up) back her up. They are victorious (but we knew THAT). And then they tried to work out why a “medical transport” was just attacked. They about get to the reason when Rocket tries to fire on Carol’s cat that he thinks is a Flerken. It’s hilarious. But the gunfire wakes up the previously unconscious alien transport.

Quill then informs carol that Torfa had been poisoned. 200 years prior all life was wiped out and then the Galactic Council relocated refugees there. The Council attempts to rectify the mistake after people start getting sick, but they don’t have enough ships to do it quickly and refugees won’t leave behind loved ones. The awoken alien watches on as this is explained, first with dismay and then with anguish. As Quill starts making light of his daddy issues, the alien grabs a gun and demands, “How could you?!” 

Gamora acts fast, but Carol stops her and tries to negotiate with Tic. Turns out the alien came in search of the Avengers but then she takes aim at Quill (presumably because he’s the Prince of Spartax) a fight breaks out and Tic makes off with Carol’s ship, Carol impulsively suits up and takes off into deep space after a vehicle that can outpace her. 

(but we know she’ll catch it. This is why I hate time skips)

Another great light hearted but not frivolous issue. 

David Lopez’s art is perfect again and Louthridge sticks to the bold red, blue and gold overtones. So much of Carol, Quill, Tic and Chewie the cat’s personality comes through the facial expressions and body language. It’s remarkable and suits the tone of DeConnick’s writing perfectly. The emotions are really palpable and once again this issue runs the gamut from silly to a little sad to action packed and witty. 

Male Objectification Monday- Jensen Ackles

“Grrl, are you posting Man Candy Monday on a Tuesday?!”

Who cares, Jensen Ackles’s abs are here. 

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I know, Jensen, I am so clever and funny. 

Anyway, Jensen has been keeping fans entertained as Dean Winchester on the CW’s Supernatural for the past 9 years. The demon hunting Winchester brothers fall under the category of whiny white misunderstood male protagonists and the plot is accelerated by the fridging of female after female for more angst and has gotten more and more predictable (come on, which one is ending up in which version of the afterlife this time? Probably Dean, Dean’s gotta save Sam, something about Castiel’s wonky powers. Something something King of Hell. Time travel. Our dad lied to us. Blah) and dialogue is laden with homophobic gay jokes. 

But you don’t care what they’re saying, do you?

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Nope.

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His TV brother is pretty good, too.

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Sadly, this show has too many shirts

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and towels

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But he looks pretty good in clothes, too.

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Other roles include voice acting role of the Red Hood in 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood. 2009’s My Bloody Valentine and way back in 2001, he played Jessica Alba’s bio engineered brother on Dark Angel (which was a very clever show and should have had the longevity that Supernatural has).

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Fantastic Female Friday- Codex + Tinkerballa (The Guild)

The Guild was a webseries about a group of gamers who are members of the same Guild in an MMORPG who meet up in real life to help each other deal with their real life problems. The jobless, friendless, greasy haired Codex (Felicia Day) gets a drop in from Guildmate Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh) that she’s been in game flirting with and suggests that the whole team meets up. Including teenaged Bladezz (Vincent Caso), bald pennypinching Vork (Jeff Lewis), 

The uber tech obsessed and glittery girly Tinkerballa (Amy Okuda)

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who uses the hot nerd girl/loser nerd boy stereotypes to her advantage. She hates work and questions about her real life. She sees most men as marks and plays Nintendo DS between turns. She’s a flirt but she is actually a prude. “He only got to second base, and my second base is everyone else’s first.”

And Clara (Robin Thorsen)- 

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wearing her +20 intelligence thinking cap. Her avatar is called Clara, the mother of 2 has to use her real name since she previously used the pseudonym “Mominatrix” and her kids started calling her that. Her husband was not amused. Basically, gaming and drinking is her thing, she’s a breeder and her husband picks up the tab. She always has a ponzi scheme and her kids are usually covered in shaving cream and oatmeal. She ditched out on her sister’s wedding to get some “me time.” She’s an I Love Lucy-esque housewife cliche, but she’s funny, cheerful and she’s the only one who gets any play from the hot stunt guy.

 Notably, Bladezz’s little sister, (played by real life sister Tara Caso) Dena is always antagonizing him and kicking his ass and being cooler than him

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Codex, our main protag (played by series writer Felicia Day) is neurotic and weak stomached, she often relies on her avatar for her confidence. 

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After she ditches Zaboo, Zaboo falls for BDSM, bi-sexual, FPS obsessed Riley. Riley is tall, confident model hot but her personality is very demanding and ‘masculine” 

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Riley (Michelle Boyd) is a little much, she keeps Zaboo tied up in a closet and thinks The Game is stupid, but she was a confident and awesome addition to the gamer-girl fold. As was Venom (Teal Sherer), hot goth chick in a wheelchair from the rival Guild.

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Who touted a snarky dark and stormy attitude, took advantage of people’s preconceptions about her disability and her good looks and played them to her advantage, whether it was to get in line first at GameStop or to distract “helpful” people. Bonus points that the actress is actually in a wheelchair after a car accident when she was a teenager. 

This series plays up the nerd stereotypes and archetypes to infinite degrees. Teenage pervert, middle-aged loser, hot tease, attention starved, flaky mom, tough chick, neurotic social-phobe… they’re everywhere. The best part about it is that women show up as all sorts of side characters as well, from sassy waitresses to quirky bloggers to Masterchief bodyguards that beat up Kevin Sorbo.

Totally Badass. 

I had such a hard time picking ONE girl to single out as the greatest female character. I was immediately tempted to go with Tinkerballa (the former pre-med major turned costume designer is my kind of nerd) but with previous Fantastic Female Bernadette Rostenkowski I figured we had recently had a “Yeah, nerds can be hot-chicks, too!” fist bump. The same would go for Riley or Venom. And Clara. With the turnaround in later seasons with Codex coming out of her shell, admitting she loves the Guild as people not avatars, she saves the game at Mega-Game-O-Rama and gets a job working for the neurotic Game creator. She really gets her shit together and confronts social situations head on problem solving and sticking up for her friends. Tinkerballa gets a similar closure when she stops keeping her persona separated from her real-life self, tells her parents that she’s into gaming and fashion design and finds a guy she likes enough to buy dinner for. 

Meanwhile Clara still shuns parental responsibility in her quest to never stop gaming, Vork gets a sci-fi icon girlfriend but is still hugely out of touch and Bladezz is still a perverted teen looking to get internet famous. 

But ultimately I could decide between Codex and Tinkerballa

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If you haven’t watched you completely should, there’s a rainbow of personalities and nerd cookies everywhere!

Secret Avengers #2

Best Buddies Coulson and Fury are drifting through space. Widow, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye are on their way to save their butts. There’s a lot of bickering. Spider-Woman is not ready for space. “But we’re in a car and we’re flying to space and cars don’t fly in space unless they are miracle cars and is this a miracle car we clearly need a –” “No. we don’t need a miracle. All we need is will… imagination.. …a dependable team of scientists. ..and a big red button.”

Back on Helicarrier Iliad, where Maria Hill has taken a bullet to the hand and is being held hostage by the Latverian assassin who has just told her that his parents died because of SHIELD’s actions. Collateral murder. She’s defenseless. Meanwhile, MODOK is watching SHIELD satellites fall from the sky. Another scientist (with an exposed brain) asks MODOK what they should do about the more pressing and nearby issue with Director Hill. MODOK decides to save her, because he’s an ego maniac.

Coulson + Fury = bro time in outerspace/drifting toward the sun. MODOK = watching satellites. Black Widow, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman make it the the smash up space station that Coulson and Fury fell out of and assess the situation. And fix things, and it turns out they needed Hawkeye after all! The satellites stop falling and MODOK saves Maria Hill by taking down the assassin with a trained lab rat and a syringe. It’s super cute and silly. “CLAP FOR MODOK!” 

Maria’s not impressed.

Then Coulson and Fury, who are resigned to death but still cracking jokes are scooped up by Widow, Spider Woman and Hawkeye (of all people) in a nanobot blanket that MODOK designed. MODOK is genuinely surprised that Maria spied on him and copied his work.

“This is the secret Avengers, there are no rules.” -Maria Hill

This series kicks so much ass. It’s witty and zany. Ales Kot arms everyone with witty but distinct dialogue, I get to read Coulson lines in Clark Gregg’s voice, Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson do and excellent job of keeping the art clear, crisp, colorful and expressive. The bright colors and Hawkeye’s dopey facial expressions really emphasize the fun feel of this one. Everyone has really expressive eyes, a feat since it’s very cartoony. 

Black Widow is a total bad ass, I like her as a mentor for the new Secret Avenger: Spider-Woman. I like the 50-50 female/male split. Ummm… + MODOK.