X-Men #7

Brian Wood’s book is back! post-Battle of the Atom, post-some weird scandal/accusations against Brian Wood, post-Kitty Pryde leaving the “team”

We begin in Bogota, Colombia. The just-eighteen Ana Cortez inherited a fortune from her father, a tycoon with diversifications in oil, real estate and weapons. Travelling with Reiko, she takes an injection and Reiko calls her Yuriko… then she leaves. Ana says that an Angel of Vengeance is inside of her. 

My name is Ana Cortes/My name is Yuriko Oyama

Ana is purchasing The Yuriko Consciousness and providing her with what she needs to resume life as Lady Deathstrike. It involves nanites. 

At the Jean Grey School: Jubes gets great news (which she kind of already knew from the time travel fiasco) her adoption of Shogo is being processed! She’s going to be his legal mom! Monet (who?) busts in on Jubilee getting this great news from Storm. Which is rude, granted. But Jubilee snarkingly calls her “Princess Perfect” in overwhelmingly immature and jealous and out of character fashion. 

Karima is getting back into shape after her coma (that she was in until the Arkea incident where she was almost killed by Psylocke under Storm’s orders, after being overtaken by an alien bacteria hellbent on conquering Earth that could control anything mechanical). Beast is monitoring her on a treadmill and tracking her vitals. Monet pops in and then invites Karima for a run. A real run. Outside.

Lady Deathstrike (in day of the dead make-up) is headed for the Jean Grey School, and specifically… she’s looking for comatose Karima. Upon seeing Karima Shapandar, Lady Deathstrike calls the convoy to a halt and Monet and Karima know they are in trouble. Karima takes a bullet to the shoulder. Monet makes some shock waves. Lady Deathstrike tries to lie to the telepathic mutant. But she knows. And so she makes an escape.

Storm asks for Monet’s help figuring out how Lady Deathstrike has returned. Monet says that she’s supposed to be taking some down time and that she’s not looking to be the team bruiser. And Jubilee replies, “No one asked you to. God.” (ummm.. Storm asked for her help… why are there more juvenile quips here?) Rachel makes some snide comments to Storm about the state of their “team.”

Then the issue rounds itself out with Ana getting decent intel on the X-Men, she decides the target is Arkea and team up with Typhoid Mary to steal it.

(Also this very Degrassi tidbit where Bling! confesses to Jubilee that she had a crush on Mercury and asked her out on a date, Mercury punched her in front of everyone and she was mortified. Jubilee rightly says that no one has a right to treat her that way! Yay, LGBT characters… but also… incredibly random, this has been on the sidelines since the first issue and we just now get the ‘why’)

While I was glad to see Ana Cortes, Karima Shapandar and… sort of Yuriko Oyama adding more diversity to the cast… why are my girls suddenly acting like tweens? Jubilee has been playing momma and getting more mature and clear headed, so why is she quabbling with “Princess Perfect”? especially with the team all up ended after the recent disagreements and the departure of Kitty Pryde. WHICH NO ONE BRINGS UP.

KP gets no respect. In the books or the movies. In this completely silly statement, writer of X-Men: Days of Future Past Simon Kinberg says that Wolverine is sent back in the movie version, even though it was Kitty Pryde in the comics because, “…when we started thinking about the logistical realities of Kitty’s consciousness being sent back in time, to her younger self, as opposed to her physical body being sent back..it was impossible. Obviously in the book it’s Kitty..but you’re talking about an actress (Ellen Page) who, in the age of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, would have been negative 20 years old.” I’m just going to say it: So write it different. Wolverine has had his movies. Origins was terrible and The Wolverine was sub-par. Move on. Read more here.

Ummm.. And Jubes can go back to acting like a grown woman. Rachel, too. And Storm can stop ignoring valid issues any-time-now.

Underburbs Vol. 2

This collection includes issues 4, 5, 6 and 7. Winifred’s quest to turn the people holed up in Mall-Mart into monsters has not been dampened, for the first time ever the door between worlds has stayed open past Halloween night. Angela enrolls in monster school and infiltrates the Underburbs and tries to recover the scroll that can turn humans into monsters and is responsible for keeping the door between world’s open. Winifred spends her time plotting and scheming …and later digging. The girls also start to form a genuine friendship, Angela goes from being a “frenemy” or a man on the inside to being Winifred’s real friend. She’s torn, knowing that she must thwart the “Duchess” 

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Angela also makes friends with Bel a devil girl who hates Winifred but is probably vastly more evil and Shelley… she’s a Frankenstein’s monster who’s always getting chased by angry villagers. Shelley is gawky and awkward and also a good person who keeps an eye out for Angela. The two are supposed to hang out, but Angela gets stuck with Winifred as they face their greatest obstacle yet …BUREAUCRACY. A paper pusher from above ground who ended up with “people fingers” becomes our pale protagonist’s worst foe yet!

The collection has rad extras like early sketches and creature concept development, there’s also “commentary” with characters after each issue. 

Our girls get a little deeper as we get a peek past Winnie’s diva persona and see her homelife is not perfect and see how evil monsters in the Underburbs can be. Angela’s brother (calling himself Death Lantern) and his posse, Demonica and Goth Mummy make mischief but generally being just a clueless goon in the eyes of either Angela or Winifred. Angela has a moment where it’s all too much and she doesn’t know why or how she is trying to stop Winifred. But she makes the best of it while she goes along, trying and succeeding to fit in, leaving us to wonder if she will want to door between worlds closed after all. 

You can purchase Vol. 2 here. And you should. While the concept of a monster high school may not be unique, the human aspect of Underburbs’ main monsters are what really get attention. These issues were awesome and really created depth for our girls. Bonus features add insight into Joe Haley and TJ Dort’s creative process and call themselves out on mistakes along the way. A fun read for sure.

5 out of 5 pumpkins.

Wonder Woman Villains! (Cheetah and First Born)

Villains month is over. I figured I should catch up before I hit the comic shop today.

DC Comics Unleashes CHEETAH in The HUNT 

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Dr. Barbara Minerva came to ARGUS, and while she was the curator, came into contact with an artifact called “the God-Slayer knife” which made her faster than the flash and gave her an insatiable blood lust. With Wonder Woman MIA there is no one formidable enough to stop her. 

In a flashback we see an altercation between Dr. Minerva and Diana, in which the still human doctor stabs Wonder Woman with the God-Slayer knife because she wasn’t presenting herself as “Amazon enough” for Dr. Minerva. 

Turns out Barbara Minerva’s Aunt raised them “amazon style” and pit her and her brother against each other Battle Royale/Hunger Games style. Lyta also commands Barbara to find the God-Slayer knife and stab herself with it. …I’m not really sure how Barbara got away from Wonder Woman with Cheetah powers: LOOOK

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I know you love when I take pictures of my comics with my iPhone.

In the end, Cheetah declares Barbara Minerva dead. TBC in FOREVER EVIL (maybe that will help me like that particular series).

The second villain is FIRST BORN

I know less than nothing about this character.

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Ohhhh… he was the son of Zeus, like Wonder Woman is now. Zzzzzzz

He was supposed to take over Olympus and rule alone so Zeus had him killed, only the woman charged with killing him couldn’t bring herself to do it. So she dumped the infant in the desert where he was raised by hyenas. And fathered Hyena/Human hybrids…

He became a hateful monster to impress the Gods.

Apollo and his hoodrat oracles narrate the story. It’s fun.

The winner?

Story: Even with the glaring unanswered questions… Cheetah

Art: Fist Born Aco nails it, and the colors are on point. Bright colors in LA and stark silhouettes for the ancient flashbacks. 

Who would will in a Battle Royale Hunger Games style? Cheetah. First Born is fueled by hate (and wanting to impress his “family”) Cheetah has cut all ties and is trained for the hunt. She has the God-Slayer knife, too. Take that demi-god.

 

Battle of the Atom Chapter 4

Jean and Scott are with present day Cyclops (and co) on his island/bunker/secret lair. SHEILD is picking up strange readings because of the X-Men. Agent Blaire rightfully attributes the fluctuations in X-Men activity to Dr. Henry McCoy, who just does whatever he wants whenever he wants. She sends out orders to see WHAT Beast is doing to the time-space continuum and send everyone back to their own era. And make sure the X-Men don’t accidently blow up the moon. 

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Back at Utopia, Cyclops explains what’ s going on with their visitors (Angel says “Hey”). They “Hive Mind” to see what Jean saw (who the X-Men from the future are). Magik says she’s met them before, this confuses… uh, everyone and then she zaps out of there in a fiery explosion of dragons and skeletons.

In chapter 2 they threw the topic out there, the future X-Men shielded themselves from the other psychics. and they keep saying “You don’t block someone like that unless you are hiding something” and it keeps reminding me of the NSA “scandal” where the US government basically said, “Well, if you aren’t hiding anything, what difference does it make if we’re snooping” this seems to be Jean’s stance.

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Back on the PCH where the majority of the X-Men we’ve been following left off. Kitty starts arguing with Storm… then she starts arguing with herself (well, herself from the future), then she argues with Logan and points out how hypocritical everyone is being. 

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Back at Utopia, Cyclops is trying to decide whether he wants to help his younger self and the teenage version of the love of his life. He decides to help them (shocker!) Emma calls him out on being an egomaniac. Jean (from the future) shows up to take control of the situation and everyones cognitive functions, her younger self is no match …will she be stopped?

Jokes about cosplay and bloggers and message boards. 

Still moving too slowly. Poised to have factions moving in different directions, different alliances made. 

This was my least favorite so far. On top of the fact that it was a ton of arguing… Kitty seemed to lose some of the self assured assertiveness she showed in the last issue to just arguing and picking fights (and her older self saying “sorry I was ever like this”) maybe she is being naive, but she also trusts Jean and Scott to make the right choice rather than making their decision for them, like any good teacher.

And what happened to those Sentinels? Chapter 1 they were “hounding” the X-Men. no they are all fighting each other in the middle of the PCH and none can be found. Huh?

More SHIELD please!

Jubilee! Where are you? Do vampire stuff!

Battle of the Atom- Chapter 3

(Or Brian Wood’s X-Men #5)

This is the only X-Men series I was reading pre-Battle of the Atom and I had high expectations for this one. The 3 issue starter story arc was amazing, then the last issue was sort of mellowed out, hinting at rifts between the girls but showing them working through their differences and Jubilee shopping with Wolverine. 

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Where we left off in Battle of the Atom: 3 Sentence recap: Jean and Scott (from the past) are on the run. Beast, Kitty, Xavier’s grandson, Iceman, Deadpool and… Jean are back from the future to help set things right. Wolverine does not approve. 

Jean, from the future says that she can’t be without the Xorn mask for more than a few minutes. 

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Beasts joke about how many jets they made (and how smart they are). Storm tells present day Kitty, Young Bobby and Hank to stay behind. Kitty is annoyed, deservedly so, she’s been kicking ass lately against Arkea in this series and showed her stuff against Animax and asserted herself, trading quips with Cyclops, but she is frequently stuck “babysitting.”

Speaking of babysitting, Jubilee is present, hanging with Shogo and I want her to do vampire stuff!!

Young Jean & Scott are stealing someones laundry (and Scott accidently gets an eye full), they stash their superhero get ups and take a motorcycle. 

With all the psychics and telekinetics, Wolverine sniffs out the young fugitives. 

Kitty and Rachel have girl talk over Chinese food (superheros: they’re just like us!), neither want to send Rachel and Scott back to the past, they know that means their memories will get wiped (and Jean will become the Phoenix and yada yada). Rachel, coming from the future herself, has a different perspective on wrecking the timeline. SHe thinks that they probably should go back, but it should be their call. 

Jean and Scott on the PCH are discussing what they should do. Jean suggests reaching out to the Avengers, Scott says that they are putting reality in danger. (But remember, Jean in present day is DEAD, she doesn’t know it was her under the Xorn mask and NOT going back is her only chance to live and escape her fate, and seriously, Beast, how did you not see that coming.) 

Some of the X-kids notice that Kitty and Rachel are gone and comment that they probably died of boredom. Jubes passes them Shogo. One of the bys, his jaw dropped says “I don’t know how to watch a baby!” And Jubilee quips, “Homo superior, dude. Figure it out. Adapt. I did.” I thought this is a great line since women are frequently presented as having some innate baby caregiving knowledge. We don’t. It’s trial and error and advice from people and figuring things out and common sense. Given the need: you will figure it out. 

Scott and Jean heart to heart about dying twice, the fact that present day cyclops is going insane when Storm and well, everybody, show up. They try to flee, Deadpool (from the future) shoots out their tires and Beast (prime) tackles the lovebirds. The pair are fighting to get away to no avail… until Kitty and Rachel show up. The rift between Ororo and Rachel grows as they jump in to intervene, but it is Kitty who confronts Ororo. 

Arguing between the MANY MANY X-Men ensues (my favorite is Kitty telling off Wolverine, who pulls this “Me… what?”) And then under the confusion… Scott and Jean have escaped (with help from Rachel) and fled to Utopia to get help from present day Cyclops and company).

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What I didn’t like: when Jubilee passed off Shogo I thought for sure she was fixing to do some vampire stuff! I want it! I need to know what’s up with the Xorn mask on Jean from the future. 

I LOVED Kitty asserting herself. She’s been stepping up a lot lately and Storm “ordering” her to stay behind was crummy. This is sure to ramp up the conflict between Storm and Rachel, rightly so, but they didn’t give Rachel a chance to be okay with this. HOW WAS SHE SUPPOSED TO BE OKAY WITH IT? AND HOW WAS JEAN SUPPOSED TO BE OKAY WITH IT? Beast: for a genius, you’re a real dumb dumb.

Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash #2

This was the only comic I was supposed to be picking up today. If you follow me on twitter you know that is not remotely what happened. But it’s  the first one I read.

I try to be punctual and stuff, but I’m still unpacking and I have 8,327,737,390 things to do. Reviews are coming. Don’t panic. I’ll be back on the radio this week. HOORAY

So, anyway…

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Killer cover, amirite? Cassie Hack, kicking deadite ass while Ash grabs hers. Eh, maybe. It’s funny? Whatever. anyway…

On the inside, the story begins with Ash being attacked by 2 large naked men in a prison shower. No kidding. Local do gooder, Banerjee all of a sudden turns psycho killer. Ash accurately suspects the Necronomicon/demonic possession/dopplegangers. Banerjee is in prison and is the last person to come into contact with whoever is selling pages of the book. Cassie devises a plan, Ash infiltrates the prison using what she terms, the “reverse Shawshank” (it’s crawling through a sewer pipe), Ash is not amused. Cassie gets in using her… uhhh… sexiness. Ash makes some effed up comment about her ex-partner, Vlad. Cassie is not amused. Not one to settle matters with snide remarks: she cracks him across the jaw.

After a really gross amount of violence, electrocution and decapitation. They set off in the right direction to find The real Banerjee.

“When Hack and I are working we’re like those old married couples you see at a restaurant. Nothing needs to be said. No thought, just action. Except instead of shoveling salisbury steak and green beans into our faces while staring out at the scenic Wal-Mart parking… we’re serving up evil dead destruction with a side of looking damn good.”

It’s true. Chainsaw through a dog’s head, and Banerjee is rescued and kicked off to the ER… after spilling his guts about where he got the page. A CULT WITH A SELF PROCLAIMED MESSIAH whose followers wear dead men’s faces. Classic tactic.

I’m enjoying the play between Cassie and Ash. Him lusting after her and her “knee high athletic sock things” while admiring her handiwork.

Cassie Hack is completely a manifestation pandering to male audiences. She’s wearing little more than fishnet and knee socks, she’s all T&A and using her vagina to get what she wants from people she can’t kill.

But that bat, though:

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Bitchin’.

Looking forward to seeing what they do with a female villain.

Best comic to read in Bruce Campbell’s voice.

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Speaking of female villains. Check back later for the Poison Ivy #1/Batman Detective Comics #23.1 Villains Month special! Yeahhh Yo

X-Men #4

Issue 4 opens… in glamorous Santa Monica. Jubilee, the vampire is limiting her UV exposure with a super cute purple animal umbrella. Just Logan, Jubilee and Shogo having a beach day.

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However, back in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range a plane is making and emergency landing with the help of Storm, Rachel and Psylocke.

Stockton, Fresno and Sacramento are all reporting delayed landings due to fire.

Rachel and Storm are a little tense since the last issue where Storm was willing to destroy Karima to destroy Arkea. Rachel challenges Storm saying “Who died and made you leader of the X-Men?” Storm is unamused, she adds that she considered making a tactical call and Rachel couldn’t stop her if she tried.

While I am disappointed to see a rift between my babes so early on, this is a likely scenario. Storm and Rachel are both powerful and headstrong, but Storm’s more selfassured. Psylocke and Rachel gossip telepathically. Kitty and Rogue mind their necks… oh yeah, and the plane that’s crashing:

Flight 177 is chockful and has an engine blown. Kitty, Psylocke and Rogue hatch a plan involving brute force and grappling hooks. Psylocke admits she’s crushing on the virtual medieval quartermaster sim and wrangles in a jet with a psionic crossbow, Rogue absorbs Psylocke’s powers to finish the job… and she loves it, who wouldn’t want to be Psylocke? But she over does the telekinesis and starts sucking up all of Psylocke’s energy.

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The tension between the ladies stopping the crash lading is juxtaposed with cute vacation scenes with Logan, Jubilee and Baby Shogo as they pal around the because, Jubilee’s old house and the mall (where Jubilee made her first ever appearance).

The argument between Rachel and Storm is well done. Storm, rightfully, asserts that she never was willing to sacrifice Karima (rather the call was that if Karima wasn’t in there, they should shut her down to stop Arkea). Karima is the one who fought back against Arkea. Rachel didn’t save her. But under pressure things are perceived differently. But they talk it out. And Storm gets to end the issue with some class A heroics. (And I’m glad they worked it out now, because I dislike when heroes are off fighting a bad guy and dealing with their personal issues at the same time.)

After eavesdropping on the inner workings of the X-men (and stalking Jubilee and Logan on their day off). I’m stoked for BATTLE OF THE ATOM.

The art. Is different. David Lopez takes over here from Olivier Coipel. It’s more “serious looking” the lines on Rachel’s face are more pronounced, everyone looks more human than cartoon, the colors are more subtle and less bubble gum. I liked it better before. But that’s a matter of preference.

Also…

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Wolverine showed up on the cover (and Storm’s variant was way more awesome) and I bet you thought some claw ripping, hairy chest having, manly stuff was going down, huh? HAHA he goes to the mall with Jubes and babysits while she takes a nap.

PS- I want to see Jubilee doing really brutal vampire stuff! Gimme Gimme!