X-Men 10.NOW or X-Men GHOSTS #1

Marvel, srsly why are we numbering things like this? STOP.That small gripe aside, I was so pumped for this issue! 

Art by both Kris Anka and Clay Mann.

A mobbed up rich girl from Columbia and a deadly assassin from Osaka are Lady Deathstrike. She’s teamed up with the re-empowered Amora the Enchantress and Typhoid Mary to wage war as the New Sisterhood against the X-Men. They need recruits, they need powerhouses, they need to resurrect the dead.

But so do the X-Men. Monet, who got thrashed by Amora last issue quips about another take and then joins Psylocke and Storm. 

Ana Cortes is fighting herself, it’s not as fun as she thought it would be to be a super villain. 

Pixie and Rockslide are collecting the Arkea bomb that she was sent into space after the attack on the school in the earlier issues. And Rachel and Beast are running tests on Sublime, Rachel and Sublime squash their romance while Monet and Psylocke follow a bad lead and end up on an empty yacht. 

Arkea finds new recruits. Lady Deathstrike/Ana/Yuriko protests.. Arkea drops the hammer, Lady Deathstrike is an inferior specimen. Arkea is using her for resources and she threatens her. She requests even more female firepower;

Madelyne Pryor

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Genetic clone of Jean Grey created by Mister Sinister who once married Scott Summers. AKA Red Queen, AKA Goblin Queen. Mother of Cable.

Selene Gallio

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AKA Black Queen. Oldest mutant. Rachel Grey once tried to kill Selene (Wolverine stopped her by critically injuring Rachel so she wouldn’t be a murderer.. oh, jeez. I think Rachel is getting a re-match). Heavy duty telepath, sorceress and psychic vampire. 

So the S-Class Supreme mutants are coming out!

Oh yeah, and there are still Mark 1 Sentinels rising out of the ocean. Jubilee, Bling!, Hellion and Pixie are on the beach of Catalina Island to handle it while Karima, Quentin Quire and Mercury track from the plane… but the plan changes on the fly when Sentinels start repairing themselves.

Cliff hanger!

Great art, great set up. Glad to see Jubes back out in the field! But Vampires vs. Giant Robots?? hmmm… 

This book continues to fascinate and Ana’s about to realize that she bit off more than she can chew once Madelyne Pryor and Selene Gallio get up in this.

X-Men #9

Monet shows off what a powerhouse she is in this issue instead of just trading catty quips with Jubilee. Sublime is being interrogated by former fling Rachel Grey when Arkea becomes aware again. Uh-oh. Jubilee and Karima do some human style crime busting and the track Ana/Yuriko/Lady Deathstrike to Dubai. 

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Arkea, however is harder to pin down. She/they came to earth as bacteria on a meteor which broke into several pieces as it hit Earth’s atmosphere. Since alien bacteria have no care for political borders or alliances the X-Men get a little help from SHIELD to prevent this from starting WW3. 

Monet is the first on the scene in Dubai where Reiko has androids being built per Yuriko’s instructions. Amora is stunned, Typhoid Mary is impressed. Yuriko tries to tell her what John Sublime has warned but Reiko becomes possessed by Arkea. Arkea also senses that Sublime is alive (Yuriko believed she had killed him, but Psylocke made a last minute save) and with the X-Men. 

Yuriko asks Arkea for an upgrade. Odin’s curse is lifted from Amora and she gets her powers back. Monet crashes through the building at Mach 3 and messes up their Body Shoppe while Typhoid Mary makes off with Reiko/Arkea. Amora engages with Monet and Ana/Yuriko leaves her to deal with the lone X-Men. 

Reiko propagates the Arkea virus and 6 major alerts go off across the globe. Karima is at risk for repossession, Monet is left for dead AND Sentinels are rising out of the ocean. 

Well, that was quite an eventful story. Arkea was this team’s first major villain and caused a major rift between Rachel and Storm when there was a disagreement over how to handle Arkea (Storm said Psylocke should take out Karima and there has been a power struggle between Rachel and Storm since). Well, Arkea is back with a definite vengeance and now has some serious firepower in the form of these Sentinels. As if “The New Sisterhood” wasn’t enough of a threat! These villains will be along for the rest of this story arc and the next, so there is no easy resolution.

This series is just consistently awesome. Can’t wait for next month!

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.

Battle of the Atom (Chapters 1&2)

AKA X-Men Battle of the Atom #1 AND All-New X-Men #16

Oh man… do I hate crossovers. Damn you, Marvel comics. Just take my wallet. Bleed me dry, you goons. But i’m down… and now subscribed to 5 different X-Men series. If you haven’t been subscribing to the 73,863 X-Men books: here’s a primer for Battle of the Atom that the wonderful nerds and nerdistas at IGN put together. Can I also add, I also hate time travel. Crossovers involving time travel and two cyclops existing in the same place. THAT’S SO ANNOYING.

(And Beast bringing Jean Grey to the future… of course she doesn’t deal well with her own death… what’s wrong with you??)

Regardless, it’s ten issues and I’m reading it (because if I don’t the X-Men book I usually read probably won’t make sense and I’ll go batshit)

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#1 begins with cerebro alerting the X-men, (specifically Kitty Pryde, young Cyclops, young Jean Grey, young Iceman and you Beast) that there is a new mutant discovered that is creating havoc in Phoenix, AZ. Animax, she makes dragons and basilisk looking things… she’s also a career criminal with a serious grudge. Right when Jeannie is about to get the upper hand… dun dun dun Sentinels show up. Kidlet Cyclops doesn’t want to follow Kitty’s plan because showing off is clearly more important than survival. He almost gets his head blown off and then suddenly they are saved… by Cyclops… the other one (and Emma Frost, Angel and a whole bunch of others). He and Kitty have a less than friendly exchange and then join forces to beat some robot tuchas!

They do, obvi. Animax surrenders. Cyclops gets zapped by a Sentinel and the world blurs as both Cyclopses are nearly erased from existence. It’s actually really cool. And then of course, everyone wants to send them back to their own time… you know space-time ramifications. And young Cyclops says “you’re not letting us choose our own destiny, you’re damning us to our predetermined fates” which is understandable, since he ends up at odds with wolverine’s X-Men and Jean Grey ends up dead and Charles Xavier is going to erase their memories. 

So everyone is about to get thrown in the “time cube” and then it goes all purple and wonky… And then it gets really weird…

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The X-Men from the future arrive to STOP EVERYTHING and tell them they are about to make a dangerous mistake. 

Hey, where are those Sentinels coming from? Is it S.H.I.E.L.D.? Celeste thinks it is. 

Christopher, who saved Cyclops in the last chapter is incredibly freaked out. He exclaims “I think that you X-Men are so used to the space and time and life and death craziness in your lives that you don’t even notice how crazy it is anymore.”

Which is a great segue into THE X-MEN FROM THE FUTURE CONFRONTING PRESENT DAY X-MEN AS THEY ATTEMPT TO SEND THE FROM THE PAST X-MEN BACK.

“Your worst fears have been realized, you DID screw everything up.”

Wolverine: “and which of our numerous, terrible mistakes are you referring to?”

Future Iceman is huge. There are three Icemans, three The Beasts, Charles Xavier’s grandson, super old Deadpool, old Kitty Pryde and Molly Hayes… so uh, yeah. 

Wolverine is pissed, claws, drool, whole nine. A fight breaks out. Especially irrational in close quarters where someone might kill their former self and thus their present self.

…so what happened.

Oh damn it’s good. You know what? Just go buy it. 

I know, I hate crossovers, too. 

but it’s gong to be worth it.

I’m not even going to tell you anymore.

Okay I am, serious, you brought Jean Grey to the future and her powers started increasing ahead of time (the powers that she uses to eat planets… those powers?) and she knows that if her life follows the course she’s been shown SHE WILL BE DEAD… and Cyclops, who loves her obviously doesn’t want this either… DUH. Wolverine figures out what went wrong… sort of and time travel and alternate timelines kill me, the cliffhangers in this are already enraging. 

Get it!

Chew Vol. #6

Chew came recommended by Kiss My Wonder Woman who has an awesome blog that you should look at when you’re done looking at mine. Anyway, I had to start with volume 6… well, no that’s not true. They had other volumes that weren’t volume 1. But this one was called “Space Cakes” and I’m having a dystopian-future-outer-space thing happening over here right now. 

CHEW: Volume 6: Space Cakes

While Tony Chu – the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats – clings to life in a hospital ICU, his twin sister Toni steps up to take center stage. Toni is cibovoyant, able to see the future of anything she eats, and, lately, she’s seeing some pretty terrible things.

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I don’t even know how to review anything as weird as this. It was really enjoyable. Dear God was it original. And hilarious. 

So this was my first time ever reading CHEW and Toni is not usually the main character, her ability is also a bit different than her brother’s. If you also have no idea what’s going on here, she goes around biting people to see their future and has been known to lick psychotropic frogs, she’s a riot at parties and a NASA special agent.

A meeting with an old friend has her hunting down a gangster that runs an illegal chicken restaurant speakeasy that’s serving up psychotropic chicken/frogs or chogs or fricken, whichever you prefer. Oh yeah, no one can eat bird meats because of bird flu.

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Then somehow NASA agents team up with the FDA and USDA to find a vampire via a victuspeciosian (a beautician who can transform people temporarily using food products). There’s another chicken involved here also, a deadly bionic rooster that is a USDA agent.

I can’t really make this make sense so I’ll just say:

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You should check out CHEW

(Volume 6 collects issues #26-30, plus the blockbuster spin-off one-shot that stole America’s heart, Chew: Secret Agent Poyo)

Check out the comic so you can get excited that this thing is going to maybe possibly be a TV show!

Book Review #6- Apple for the Creature

Up and back at it!

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Almost midway through Catching Fire (Hunger Games book 2) & I’m going to start reading a book of short stories, a compilation of “All-New Tales of Unnatural Education” called An Apple for the Creature which I’m going to update here after each tale.

Apple for the Creature

Playing Possum by Charlaine Harris– A Sookie Stackhouse story. Unfortunately, not a riveting one. And Sookie is such a twit. Somehow, some way, she has to gripe at any/nearly every woman around her. In this story, she goes to see her nephew, Hunter, at kindergarten. The secretary is having a fight with an ex-lover of sorts and Sookie immediately gripes about the woman (Sherri) being a size 2, and then regrets that she’d eaten a cupcake that morning. OMG, girl, you have to fight werewolves and vampires (and elves, maenads, weretigers, whatever) all the time, being smaller is not an advantage. And then Sookie calls her an idiot when this enraged person shows up to murder Sherri the secretary.

And this story leads me to believe that Charlaine Harris is in favor of arming teachers which makes me think she’s an asshole.

Spellcaster 2.0 by Jonathan Maberry- In the author blurb, it says Maberry is a multiple Bram Stoker award winner, Marvel Comics writer and author of a dozen novels on topics ranging from martial arts to supernatural folklore. Well, Jonathan Maberry, I have high expectations for this. And it lives up. A pack of grad students and a professor are creating a software program that tracks the commonalities between spells and religious incantations and rituals across all time and place in an attempt to prove that the spread of religion spread from religion from one source, and/or track the spread of humankind from Aftrica. A watershed moment for sociologists, anthropologists, folklorists and historians! And…. In the software demonstration, they’re going to recite an incantation to summon a demon. A bunch of nerds who say things like, “This is science, honey. The only magic here is the way you’re working that sweater and the supernatural way I’m working these jeans.”

It goes the way you’d think, but is still witty and interesting.

Academy Field Trip by Donald Harstad- Weird vampire rules, vampires cause death through an STD instead of blood sucking. And they can walk around during the day. I can accept most things, but vampires not drinking blood is stupid. No good.

Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu- A creepy little tale about a creepy little girl who is adopted by an old woman and taught how to do hoodoo. This one was very good, the tone was creepy and the details were spectacular.

Low School by Rhys Bowen- Hell is high school for attorney and congress woman Amy Weinstein. This was one of my favorites in this collection. Creepy imagery. The names, Sally Ann Tan (S.A. Tan) and Ms. Lucy Fer. It starts off as if it might be a dream. Something vague about there being an accident. Very clever.

Callie Me Happy by Amber Benson- Wracked my brain to figure out why Amber Benson’s name sounded familiar. Tara from Buffy. One and the same. Her story is about Calliope Reaper-Jones, daughter of the Grim Reaper himself who has just inherited Death, Inc and finds herself in a class of misfits because of her difficulty opening worm holes.

Iphigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey- This one was very suspenseful. Children are kept in jail cells and have teachers that give them lessons and it takes a while to build up to why. There’s some random ancient Greek mythology and lots of swearing.

Golden Delicious by Faith Hunter- I was very interested going into this because people who read the same type of nonsense I typically read, also read Faith Hunter. What we have here is a story taking place in the world of her Skinwalker series. Umm.. it seems colorful and interesting. Obscure wereanimals, weird rules about witches, egregiously heightened senses. Umm.. weird werewolf rules, when women are werewolves if they survive they go into a constant state of heat? Ewww… That’s stupid. And one of the main characters in this story should be turning into a werepanther but he has a magic tattoo and some flute music that keeps him from shifting. And he’s angsty about losing his humanity (I hate that crap). Anyway, his name is Rick and he used to be a cop but now he’s at some training facility and his partners are a werewolf (stuck as a wolf, tamed by an angel) and a green cat thing. Oookay. Something about witches and demons. I don’t really know.

Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews- This was one of my favorites! Highschooler and magical-person Julie is being enrolled in boarding school by her adoptive mother against her will. Julie wants to work with her mother at Cutting Edge, which helps people clean up their magical hazmat issues. Julie can sense other people’s magic, but doesn’t have any “combative magic,”Seven Stars Academy is a nice school, and she doesn’t have the same privilege as the other students there, she used to live on the streets and she’s suspicious. Of the school she says, “Woo, a school of special snowflakes. Or monster children. Depending on how you look at it.” To her surprise, the principal asks her to find a missing student, Ashlyn. And Julie meets an interesting bunch of students. Bonus points for Epimeliads and other lesser used folklore nods. The characters (and their powers) were very interesting, and had a very high school hierarchy. Lots of fun to read.

An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism by Steve Hockensmith

VSI by Nancy Holder- This one is about FBI agents. FBI agents and vampires. I love both those things. And it’s set in Massachusetts. Hey! I LOVE Massachusetts! But, alas, the extent of what most people know about Mass 1) Boston accents, 2) Salem has witches and “spooky stuff”. I don’t know. Underwhelming. It reminds me of on the TV show Frnge when Walter got off at a T stop in Grafton to go to their beach house and I was like, “WTF, find a map”

Cop jokes are a favorite of mine, though: “I thought when you staked vampires they turned into dust,”

“There’s no evidence to support that,”

The Bad Hour by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost by Toni L.P. Kelner- Cuckoo crazy rules about who can become a supe. Some interesting “idea” about needing an arcane gene to be a witch, turn to a ghost or a werewolf. To become a werewolf, you would need another werewolf kin somewhere in your family history and be infected through a werewolf bite. That’s preposterous. I’m all for authors making up their own rules, but this idea is poorly developed. Genes all come from somewhere, so at one point need in the ancestral past there was… what, exactly? A separate werewolf colony? And Kelner throws in this “female werewolves have a hard time carrying children” thing which so many urban fantasy authors are attached to. And then she says that werewolves don’t have to shift at the full moon?? But, why? And then Kelner writes, “American society was still coming to terms with gays and lesbians- throwing werewolves into the mix would have been a bad idea.” This is another thing authors love to do. This comparison. No. Don’t do it. Werewolves and vampires are creatures that (unless you really stink at writing) will fucking eat and mangle you. Werewolves and vampires are dangerous. Gays and lesbians, not dangerous, human beings. The analogy must die.

Anyway, this story is about a werewolf woman, with a vampire-pirate husband who becomes BFFs with a ghost.

This story was particularly stupid.