Loki: Agent of Asgard #3

This issue takes a break from the view of the new young (still kind of the old) Loki and follows the older (but possibly younger?) Loki. Loki is doing laps around the space/time continuum. We follow the aged trickster back in time to him greeting a young (and still prince) Odin. Loki gets the future king (and his adoptive father) into a heap of trouble after he takes out a shape changing man from a nearby town.

Side note: Odin’s all “That large beaver meant us no harm” but the both of them a clearly wearing leathers and eat meat. Both of these things involve killing animals that more than likely meant no one any harm. Loki just happened to kill a man in the form of a man-sized otter.

 

Jenny Frison cover = Old Man Loki +reflective riches Loki front and center conveying his self centeredness.

Jenny Frison cover = Old Man Loki +reflective riches Loki front and center conveying his self centeredness.

Anyway, they stop in to a pub and order some mead, but Odin picks up on that another patron is waiting for his son who was hunting supper. Dun dun… his son was the otter. One brother demands blood, the other demands retribution in the form of gold. Loki (the hardened old man Loki) shoots a fish with a bazooka to collect a treasure. Well, not exactly, he shoots a dwarf who can turn into a fish (his name is Andvari and this is a Norse folktale that is weaved in) The gold is cursed. And the character Regin behaves about the way he was written to traditionally. Andvari’ gold exemplifies the traits of each man who keeps it, Regin turns vengeful and Fafnir turns greedy (and into a dragon, he refused to leave the treasure and his body became deprived of food and water and survived off of spells and magic in the air and it transformed him… which is a very interesting idea). Sigurd, the first hero of Asgard, some years later, comes into the same tavern, he is served by Regin who has forged a mighty sword (Gram, the sword young Loki gets in Point NOW) to exact revenge, he gives it to Sigurd. IF Sigurd will slay (the now dragon) Fafnir and bring him his heart.

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Sigurd, being a legendary hero, does this mightily and then returns to Regin (who tries to stab him in the back. Literally). Sigurd keeps Gram. And some years later discards it. King Bor dies later still, and the still prince Odin finds it. Old Loki arrives and tells Odin to hide the sword in a box with 5 keys and save it… for this young Loki…

What does that mean?!

And if that wasn’t crazy enough, Sigurd in the PRESENT goes in search of his sword, finds that Loki already got there and vows to steal it back.

This series is so utterly and consistently good. I can’t begin to imagine why the haggard old man Loki has set this all into motion, but when he looks in on his other self (with Verity!) and says, “What a precious little girl child I am.” it poked fun at the taunts that Loki looked like “he’s from Twilight” or whatever crazy crap my friends thought about this. It’s a great story, about wanting redeption but knowing that you don’t really deserve it, and that you won’t really get it. But striving on anyway. The older Loki still considers himself the God of Evil… so why has he lead this Loki that seeks redemption to the ultimate weapon? What’s the end game?!

Well, I’m unsure… but I am exorbitantly intrigued.

Lee Garbett’s drawing and Nolan Woodard’s art suit this tale perfectly shadowy but still crisp, undertones of red, gold and green illuminate the pages. The toothy dragon is larger than life, his heart is larger than a man. The fight scenes are detailed. Loki is hardened and wrinkled, a stark contrast next to the goofy young Odin.

And Sigurd: the first hero of Asgard is Black. I love Marvel.

Sigurd +(young appearing) Loki in #4!

Sigurd +(young appearing) Loki in #4!

All-New X-Men #23

In which everyone’s favorite Omega-Level Ginger has an intergalactic existential crisis. 

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Jean Grey is one of the most important X-Men characters. IGN voted her #13 in Top 100 Superheros. She’s brought back from the dead a few times, plotlines of decades worth of books and many of the films have revolved around other character’s relationships with her. She’s been Marvel Girl, the Phoenix and the Dark Phoenix- which of course is when she went “planet eater” and genocidal. She’s was copied. She was cloned. Her child from an alternate timeline came to Earth. And recently she was brought back from the past in her younger form where she faced her future self (who appeared as Xorna) from an alternate timeline.

But even with all this revolving around her… she’s just one being… and in the scheme of the universe… How important is Jean Grey? 

To the Shi’ar she is very important. But they don’t care about her relationships, they don’t care what a special snowflake she is. They only care about one thing: that she murdered a planet. Anything else that she accomplishes is overshadowed by the acts committed by the Dark Phoenix.

The Shi’ar want her to answer for her crimes. 

But it’s complicated: technically she hasn’t committed them. She’s aware of what will happen. If she goes back to her time, Xavier will wipe her mind and it will all re-happen. 

So, I’m wondering what the Shi’ar’s plan is here.

Option 1: 

Kill her.

The Shi’ar would introduce a whole new timeline where she did not become the Dark Phoenix, but no one can really be sure what would happen. That seems unreliable. And, right now the time space continuum is so disrupted that the timeline is permanently altered and Jeannie and co. are still in the future without it having any repercussions. Well… yet, anyway. But they are tampering with things with no guarantee. 

Option 2:

Imprison her? Same deal for the Shi’ar above but with the added heat of X-Men raining fury on them for taking one of their own.

Is there an Option 3? What is the End Game here?

This issue doesn’t provide much info in that aspect. What we get is Scott Summers waking up on the Guardians of the Galaxy’s ship after having a dream where he confessed his love to Jean (even though he’s recently been getting closer to X-23, I wouldn’t mind if Young Cyclops and Wolverine’s genetic clone went the “friends forever” route). Even to a groups of mutants who, collectively, can pass through walls, shoot lasers from their eyes, are made of ice, can fly, pass through walls and heal a bullet wound in a moments notice- a talking Racoon, 2 murder girls, a (sort of) talking tree + more are still really weird. 

Jean Grey is imprisoned in a Bubble by Kallark (Gladiator), her telekinesis and telepathy doesn’t work there. This version of Jean Grey has this out of control Sookie Stackhouse thing happening and she relies heavily on reading the thoughts of others. Not being able to causes her to bug out. And they drop her into… the ocean? still in her containment bubble.

Professor Kitty Pryde blames herself for not seeing this coming. which is a duality. I don’t think she should have seen it coming, but she shouldn’t have been confused about WHY the Shi’ar showed up in Part 1. While they debate X-Men saying repeatedly that Jeannie didn’t actually DO it… and Rocket reminding them, “Yet.” Then the Shi’ar attack their ship. Angela wants to board the ship and take them down, Groot goes along as back-up. 

Jean Grey meets with Oracle who explains what’s happening here. She’s under arrest and getting ready to be brought before tribunal. Oracle sees that she has no first hand knowledge of being the Phoenix (How would she? She hasn’t been the Phoenix?) somehow she’s perplexed by this. Jean lashes out and acts threateningly towards Oracle. And… she goes back in the bubble.

After being struck by the Shi’ar, the Guardians’ ship is on fire. Gamora and X-23 make friends. Rocket says he’s going to propose to Angela. Gamora starts to head out. Suddenly, there’s another ship! They get blasted with purple lasers and it’s revealed that the pilot of THAT ship is… Summers. No, not that Summers, Major Christopher Summers, USAF.  

There are things Immonen does very well, which corresponds heavily with what Bendis does well. Bendis writes great characters, great reactions. Immonen draws great expressions and great body language. On these pages we see an off his game and defeated Scott Summers hunched over, sullen and it correspond to the voice we should hear perfectly.. Jean is questioned by another “minder” (telepath) and we see her demeanor change for outraged to regretful. But for me these fight scenes are disjointed, weird lighting and coloring obscures what’s happening to who. 

Speaking of “What is happening?!” Christopher Summers firstly is Scott’s father, the alias Corsair was supposedly dead (at the hands of his son Vulcan, who was not raised on earth and slaughtered Shi’ar’s after being incubated and sold into slavery). So… what is going on here? He’s also the leader of Starjammers, who pillage and pirate Shi’ar ships.

“I hate space” I’ve had very bad luck in space!” -KP

One of my favorites, Greg Rucka, is writer of the (SOME SPOILERS LIVE HERE–>) upcoming Cyclops series that spins off the events in Trial of Jean Grey. Honestly, the spoilers keep me more confused about what will happen to Jean Grey.

All New X-Men Special #1

The Arms of the Octopus part 1 of 3.

Attempting to force Cyclops to face his misdeeds, among them the murder of Charles Xavier, Beast traveled back in time to recruit the only people he felt could do so -the original X-Men. Transported to the present, they were forced to face the dark reality of their fates. In response, the time-displaced team decided to stay in an attempt to better the future they have found. However, discention formed among the team leading to Angel abandoning his friends. Now, stranded and separated, the original team must find their own place in this unfamiliar world.

Variant Cover

Variant Cover

Part of that unfamiliar world includes people yammering away on their cell phones, letting strangers know all their personal business. The gang are exploring the Big Apple together and Hank is narrating intellectually about how here all his stories are gone… and about how he kissed Jean and he doesn’t know if Scott knows.

Then he sees a girl reading poetry. He rambles academically and she divulges that she’s a PhD student… studying time travel no less. She’s really not feeling Hank McCoy, who is coming on way too strong and she begins to excuse herself. However a purse-snatcher stealing from women doing yoga that Bobby was ogling and Hank goes all Beast mode to stop the guy.

To his surprise… she thinks that him being a mutant is super cool.

Hank goes with her to see Dr. Jude. She says he’ll be so pumped to see a former student. So there they are with Dr. Jude, Hank says he always admired the professor’s work on Gamma radiation, which now he doesn’t work in because there’s a certain (ahem) stigma against it. And coincidentally, while he is there a massive radiation spike occurs and Oh hey, it’s OTTO OCTAVIUS.

Jean and Scott are bickering about what movie to see when a pummelled Hank gets thrown into a car. Everyone does the quick change and gets to fighting Doc Ock.

Spiderman busts in to fight the mechanically tentacled man and then Hank tackles Spidey and tells him that Ock is leaking gamma radiation all over the place.

Ock says he’s gotta find Dr. Jude because he’s not supposed to be there! (more time travel? Say whaaaat?)

Spiderman (who is still Green Goblin, amirite?) epically says, “Who are all of you? Some kind of mad cloning experiment of Xavier’s he intended to punish the world with after his death?”

I love Spiderman as an asshole, by the way. It’s hilarious. Anyway, he convinces the kids that they need to take “Otto Octavius” to Dr. Judes lab, I’m using quotation marks because Spiderman (who is an imposter) says that Ock is an imposter. Dr. Jude theorizes that maybe the X-Men’s time travel weakened the space-time continuum and maybe Ock came through. Spiderman thinks not but Ock is to radioactive to run appropriate scans on.

Then… Spiderman uses his Avengers connections to call in the one person that he thinks can help!!!

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The art is super cute. It’s fun to see the kids being kids. The writing is great, the angst, the insults, the complete and utter confusion of everyone involved. This is a 3 part series (that while taking place in the same timeline as Battle of the Atom, makes no actual sense that these things could be happening at once since Young Bobby and Young Hank were in the future future this week… anyway,)

Battle of the Atom Chapter 5

Welcome to Chapter 5! AKA Wolverine and the X-Men #36

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Back at Utopia,

Emma Frost ant the Cuckoos are helping the young Jean in her battle against Xorn/Jean Grey (from the future). 

Cyclops (from the present) lets Cyclops (from the past know that under the Xorn mask. It’s Jean Grey. No doubt. 

Young Cyclops: “No way. That’s your Jean? the dead Jean?

Cyclops: No. That’s no Jean of mine. If I was to guess, I’d say that’s your Jean all grown up. Your young Jean never went back to her own time. She grew up in the future and now she’s…. OLD young Jean. I can’t believe I just said that. 

Young Jean seems to be losing.

Wolverine (and Psylocke, Old Deadpool, 2 Beasts, 2 Icemans, Storm, Molly and Xavier’s grandson) show up to confront Cyclopses and everybody. Wolverine points out the youngins on Cyclops’ squad and Cyclops brings up the fact that Wolverine and Henry McCoy brought back Cyclops as a kid- and almost got him wiped out of existence when Kitty Pryde took him to stop Animax. 

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Young Cyclops shows off his powers. 

Storm steps in to stop the melee (which after the conflicts of 2 chapters ago… makes little sense) and says “no more x-men fighting x-men.”

Meanwhile, the X-men still fighting X-men, the cuckoos are failing and Emma along with young Jean is holding strong against Xorn Jean. With a battle cry of: “I will gouge out your eyeballs with diamond fingers, you fiendishly overrated ginger! Why won’t you ever stay dead?!”

Xorn Jean in turn takes a cheap shot at Emma, “Scott will never be yours, so long as there’s a me around.”

The art in these panels for the psychic battle are particularly cool, might I add, light blasting out of everyone’s eyes, characters bleeding while phantom figures send bright blasts at each other.

Emma falls out of the battle and leaves Jeans fighting each other.

Meanwhile- 

Young Iceman and Young Beast are researching the future (Young Beast suggests that the future X-Men aren’t who they say they are.) They are also babysitting Shogo (who Jubes dumped on them. Where’s she at?). Magik takes the pair into the future. 

Because obviously the solution is MORE TIME TRAVEL.

about this time, Young Jean reads the mind of her future self and decides that it’s time to stop fighting and go home.

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(Deadpool hints that the future isn’t what they are saying) and this issue concludes with Magik and co in the future… meeting MORE X-Men.