Nightcrawler #1

I don’t much care about Nightcrawler. Never did. But… Chris Claremont. 

Chris Claremont has written huge X-Men storylines. The source material that inspired both The Wolverine and the upcoming Days of Future Past. He’s a ridiculously big deal in the comic book world. He co-created pretty much all my faves (most of the major players in Brian Woods “all girl” X-Men) Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Rogue, Rachel Summers, Madelyne Pryor (not my fave, but she notably recently resurfaced as a villain), and Jubilee. 

So I figured I would overlook the fact that Nightcrawler is “not my favorite” (and I know Dr. Chris is going to come over here and tell me about the time Nightcrawler fought Dracula, and how he was better at it than Wolverine because Nightcrawler is a man of faith even though he’s a weird looking dude. I know. Still not my fave.) Nightcrawler is not a Claremont creation, he’s the brainchild of Dave Cockrum who conceived the blue teleporting mutant while he was on a Navy ship in Guam.

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The start of the story really drew me in. The recently resurrected Nightcrawler is fighting Wolverine. Wolverine has recently lost his healing power and they’re testing out a new armor suit. Logan’s as fast as ever, Nightcrawler has trouble teleporting away, in fact. So Nightcrawler ramps up. And Wolverine busts out the claws. Without his healing factor this is especially painful and dangerous and Nightcrawler backs off, but Storm has to break up the fight. She then has a heart to heart with Nightcrawler about how things change and people have to decide what they are made of. Face who they are and deal with the consequences. 

Nightcrawler walks around the halls of the Jean Grey School, remembering how they lost Jean Grey and Thunderbird. And some X-kids and Professors wave “hello” (Quentin Quire, Cessily, a flirty? Rachel Grey …that might just be the art style).But then he goes to see Amanda and mini-Nightcrawler Bamfs. They are interrupted by an unknown assailant in a robot suit. Curiously, it becomes clear that he is after Amanda (who has magic powers, not mutant powers) the adorable Bamfs help save the day and Nightcrawler throws the attacker through a wall. And he vanishes. 

And Amanda decides that the creep might be after her fam. She declines calling in the X-Men and they go in pursuit at the close of the issue. 

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Amanda = Magik II/Daytripper (not art from this comic)

Regardless of the fact that the second half of the book was a random mystery to me, I enjoyed this. It was very apparent that Claremont was nostalgically writing Wolverine and it was somewhat overpowering Nightcrawler. Which I was okay with. Write what you know, and all that. But the end of the issue takes Nightcrawler out of his (and my) X-Men comfort zone. 

Todd Nauck’s art is very crisp, the fight scenes were dramatic and easy to follow, the Bamfs were adorbz, all the ladies have big eyes, long lashes and pouty lips. It’s very playful and certainly added to the somewhat surreal vision that Nightcrawler is walking around with while he’s just getting back to his life.

I will be reading.

Tuesday Nerd News-Day

Super-News Galore!! There are no spoilers on this PAGE but there are in some LINKS. 

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Cap meets the man who will be Falcon, he gets a tip on things he missed while he was frozen and adds it to “The List” well, that list changed for international markets. My personal favorite is the South Korean list with the inclusion of “Dance Dance Revolution”

Captain America 3 is officially announced for May 6, 2016. Which is the proposed date for whatever DC thinks that they are doing with Batman/Superman or the Justice League. Marvel Cinematic Universe is a steam roller at this point, even with a fresh franchise I think DC would lose out, not Marvel. 

After the shake up in the stellar sequel, Agents of (SHIELD) returns tonight! I think it is really interesting that they are lining up so much with the cinematic universe, but I think the gaps between new episodes were a real challenge in keeping fans’ attention, either way. It’s going to be a crazy return tonight, join me for the the live tweet! PS- Samuel L Jackson will be back for the season finale!

Captain America 2 shattered records, becoming the highest grossing April release of all time with $65 million domestically in the first 3 days. These numbers were boosted (slightly) by Robert Downey, Jr. He wrangled up a crew and celebrated his 49th birthday Marvel style with a trip to see Captain America 2!

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In other Marvel franchise news (although not Marvel Studios news): Jackman has previously discussed that his days as Wolverine might be numbered. Who would Jackman choose to take over the claws? Channing Tatum. Interesting. Channing Tatum has already agreed to play Gambit if Fox gets a Solo Gambit movie going. The studio has not declared this project is in the works ..yet. 

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For the record: I am so down for either of those things. Actually, he’s really TOO frigging boyishly good looking for Wolverine. I don’t actually care though. *sigh*

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Nerd News-day Tuesday

Daily Beast ran an article about therapists using comic books to help children through difficult times. Losing loved ones, bullying, facing fear. Notably; recommending the Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson dynamic for foster children. It’s gaining legitimacy, but actually began in 1941, right after the very first Superman comic hit stands, Dr. Lauretta Bender touted the benefits of using superhero stories to treat adolescent patients. At a time when superheros were being accused of corrupting youth and causing them to commit crimes, Bender was speaking out about the importance of these tales. Comic books are still somewhat touted as a waste of time, applying important academic/therapeutic uses stands to further legitimize this form of storytelling. Read more about the history and research here.

In the world of real life heros; Ellen Page reveals she is gay. Kitty Pryde came out and proud at an HRC event on Valentine’s Day. In other X-Men news; This one is so late to the game, but I just read it. Chris Claremont’s reaction to The Wolverine. KP is playing less of a role in the upcoming film than she did in the comic storyline. I wonder what Claremont will think of Days of Future Past?

In the DC Universe, Gail Simone’s The Movement gets axed. What a shame. I love that series, but only 3 more issues.. hopefully they can round out some of what they started up. Which is crazy. The hacktivists at Channel M are about to unmask Batgirl for crying out loud! Gail “doesn’t blame DC,” so I’ll refrain my ranting and just say that it was cool they gave something so different a shot. Coral City was to Gotham was Worcester, MA is to Boston. Only my Central Mass readers will get that, but whatevs. I hope to see Virtue, Katharsis and Vengeance Moth make appearances in the DC-U in the future! It was great to have a series that focussed on activists being their own heroes and helping each other even with meager resources. Diverse cast, awesome origin stories. I’M SO BUMMED.

But, nerd news-day comes full circle. Gail Simone is penning Savage Wolverine which we should see out in May!

ISSUE #19 –

• He’s the best there is at what he does – but what if he has a bad day?
• Logan collides head first with some bad luck on the worst possible day. Can Jubilee lend a hand?
• It’s Wolverine’s no good, very bad, extremely awful day by Gail Simone (Batgirl) and Somebody!

Hold the fucking phone! I hope Jubes does some vampire stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!1

And… a teaser trailer for the Guardians of the Galaxy

Avengers World #1

I picked this up after a lengthy “what’s good in comics” conversation with the owner of my local comic shop. The issue itself was interesting and entertaining but not super “new reader friendly” ..I definitely fall into that category. I have NEVER read Avengers, I didn’t read INFINITY (also written by Avengers World scribe Jonathan Hickman)

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This Avengers team is quite expansive 16 Avengers 

Of those I have adequate knowledge of: Bruce Banner, Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, Black Widow, Captain Marvel and Hawkeye.

I am vaguely aware of: Spider Woman

And know less than nothing about: Falcon, Hyperion, Smasher, Nightmask, Cannonball, Sunspot, Starbrand and Shang-Chi.

So as far as connection to the characters I am at a disadvantage. 

The art by Stefano Caselli is rather typical of modern comics; all the guys are super buff and the girls are all sucking it in and showing off their assets -which isn’t alway bad: the style makes sense for Black Widow who uses her looks to distract her foes… but it makes much less sense for SHIELD director Maria Hill.  Caselli’s art shines when dealing with more expressive characters like Bruce Banner or Starbrand. I also think that Hulk in a metal suit is as stupid as wolverine with a gun…

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As he has here… *sigh* Oh, Marvel.

As for the plot: the Avengers return to earth and there are threats from all around the globe. A city where all inhabitants have disappeared, the Hand, AIM island, a string of natural disasters along the eastern seaboard, Madripoor is rioting …the world is a mess. Everything is connected to one major foe…

THROWBACK ATTACK! Wolverine TPB!

Frank Miller/Chris Claremont

Wolverine #1-4 and Uncanny X-Men #172-173

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The Wolverine was (SO loosely) based on these comics. 

There’s actually far less of a segway between that stuff with the bear and Wolverine going to Japan in the source material. Also in the comics Yukio and Wolverine get close. And Wolverine doesn’t lose his regenerative powers. And the Silver Samurai is a totally different person. And there’s no nanites. And the rest of the X-Men show up. Yeah… the only thing the same is the names of people and that it is set in Japan.  

But I digress. Wolverine comes off of the mountain to see Mariko who he loves. She’s married. Her husband abuses her. Wolverine has to save her. Against her will. As the daughter of a wealthy and powerful man she is also heir to his legacy. And she is bound by tradition and honor. Stuff that the loner and berserker Wolverine wouldn’t understand. (Which his friend Osada recognizes while still saying that Wolverine is the “most Japanese Westerner he ever met” -what?!) 

After fighting her father and her father leaving Wolverine for dead, Wolvie meets Yukio. Who is more wild and slightly more agile than in the film. Wolverine and Yukio get together until Wolverine finds that she was plotting against him and in cahoots with The Hand (Japanese mafia assassins). Mariko’s half brother tries to take control of the business by becoming the Silver Samurai. Viper poisons people. But in the comics it’s Rogue who- after recently inheriting Carol Danver’s powers considers herself invulnerable- saves the lot of them. While that’s going on, an out of control Ororo makes friends with Yukio and get’s her first mohawk. 

I hadn’t read these before (spare me) and I’m glad I did. The art is simple and fantastic. Without relying on backgrounds and tech much is explained through just facial expression or hands… but Wolverine’s narration is sometimes a little much.

With Yukio’s consciousness living on in Ana Cortes and Brian Wood’s X-Men- as well as Storm’s punk rock ‘do, The Wolverine based off this collection and all the nerd points I just earned this was definitely worthwhile. Only downside is the collection ends without it all wrapped up and there’s this weird stuff with reincarnated Jean Grey mixed in but there was bound to be something since these stories spanned years. 

If the movie was more closely based on the comics it would still have barely passed the Bechdel Test but it would have, because Yukio and Storm hit it off so well. Why did Kitty cry about Storm’s haircut, though? I’m baffled.

 

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 8 and 9

I’m so behind on these! Sorry comic book fans!!

But I’m back and ready to review the final chapters of these time travellers’ antics. 

Chapter 7 ended with Wolverine in peril, his regenerative ability is lost and is dying at the hands of his very blue son from the future (which I can only assume is a child with Mystique, since he’s blue and a shapeshifter).

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Battle of the Atom chapter 8 AKA Uncanny X-Men #13

By page 2 I’m already baffled, Psylocke who was kicking all their asses just last issue has joined up with the IceHulk and Xavier/Xavier’s grandson?! But wait, it was it’s really Wolverine’s son, Raze, that everyone thought was old Kitty Pryde! He takes two of the original X-Men (young Henry McCoy and Iceman) in order to send them back in time.

Epic fighting ensues between the mutant crews. Xavier calls Krakoa, the island who walks like a man, to swallow up Cyclops, future Jubilee, Magneto, etc. 

With all the original X-Men in one place they start up the time cube. Jean sheds a tear for her younger self and they prepare to send everyone back to the past. Until Magik storms in, but Jean and Raze threaten to make short work of her. Jean tries to get her to kill herself, with the quip thrown in, “Spoiler, you’re going to eventually.”

But the time cube is not working! Raze gives it a test run, but it doesn’t work for the originals. Future Beast’s idea is that their “younger selves have created such a complicated space/time paradox by coming here and staying here that the normal laws of space and time no longer apply to them.”

The best part is future Jean Grey’s look of shock and horror and utter confusion.

Not my favorite issue by a long shot, but there were great fight scenes with Ilyana. There were dozens of X-Men running around and I still don’t know what happened to Wolverine. And none of my girls from my fave X-Men book showed up! 

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This is an AMAZING cover! Look at all the action!!

Cyclops gets mindf^$ked by future Jean Grey in the Xorn mask. It’s good writing. Cyclops, Magik, future Jubilee, Emma Frost and such infiltrate the Jean Grey school and attempt to find the future X-Men who are really the future Brotherhood. But Cyclops runs into Wolverine, Jubes + Shogo, Rachel, Psylocke, Rogue, et al. Wolverine is okay somehow! I mean, I figured he would be, but how?! 

After finding out that no one is as they seem, Kitty and the others get suspicious and Jubilee says, “They’re the good guys, they have to be. I mean, look at them. One of them is me.” Beast refutes that, since he was recently betrayed by his future self. And Kitty’s future self was really a shapeshifter who attacked Wolverine. And Iceman has 2 future incarnations with 2 completely different agendas.

Wolverine’s rant settles the matter, “Wiccan there saved me. Healed me after I got gutted by …by a son I’m apparently gonna have some day… …with Mystique. I am never having sex again. And they’re right. We don’t have time for this.

SHIELD is tracking time anomalies that are centered around the Jean Grey school. Agent Dazzler (who was to be the first mutant president and the ensuing backlash drove Xorn/Jean Grey, future Beast, etc to go back to the past). But the future Brotherhood and Original X-Men attack the Cape Citadel military base!

They purposely chose this location to draw out the millions of other X-Men. After a cursory fight with human soldiers, the others show up.

Angel: “I’m so confused. Which side are we even fighting on now?”

Most of them start fighting their future selves or future children. The art here is hilarious and epic. The Brotherhood is hopelessly outnumbered and defeat is almost certain …until SHIELD Commander Maria Hill shows up with droves of agents and breaks up the party. 

SHIELD “loses control” of the weapons systems on the helicarriers and all X-Men are threatened.