Category Archives: x-men
X-Men Gold #30
Welcome once again to the home office here in snowy Cobourg, Ontario as I bring you another edition of Heroes and Villains! This week I’m going to take a long look at the first two volumes of Marvel’s X-Men: Blue series. Ready? Let’s talk comics!
X-Men: Blue, Volume 1 & 2
Writer: Cullen Bunn; Artists: Jorge Molina, Julian Lopez, Cory Smith and several others
If I am a Marvel guy first, then I am an X-Men guy second. I’ve dabbled with Avengers, the FF and Spidey, but I enrolled at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters back during the Chris Claremont days and although I have a skipped a few semesters, my attendance record is pretty good. Until lately that is.
After the “San-Francisco era” of the X-Men came to a close and the Schism event divided the team into two camps, my interest in the world of X slowly faded. Combined with some concepts that I wasn’t that into like the rise of the Inhumans, the death of Wolverine and the launch of All New X-Men by Brian Bendis it just didn’t seem like my bag. To be fair, I never gave the all-new concept a chance. I didn’t want to see past versions of the original five X-Men running around in the modern Marvel universe. Why would I? Jean was dead (again), Cyclops was a much more interesting character leading his mutant revolution, Angel was coming off a resurrection/rebirth thing and Beast and Iceman had both gone through enough character growth that they were compelling characters. What did I want with teenage versions of these characters?
So I didn’t read it. I did know roughly what was going on by reading some other core X-titles, but I still didn’t dig it. How much time travel and alternate future/history stuff can a series take before it becomes a parody of itself? In the case of the X-Men it seemed like there was no end in sight, so I quit altogether.
With another round of relaunched, all new, all different, Marvel Now, etc. series on the way, I was excited to see the Blue and Gold concepts back out there. The Gold team would be the Claremont lineup of Kitty Pryde, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine (Old Man Logan) and Rachel Summers. The Blue squad was the original five, with the twist being that Jean Grey is now team leader. Also, Angel has fire wings for some reason. My intention was to pick up the Gold trades, as I like that team and my daughter is a huge Kitty Pryde fan. However, when I went trade hunting at BMV, there was no Gold to be had, just the first two editions of Blue. And, since I wasn’t leaving with no X-Men comics I decided to give them a chance.
Volume 1: Strangest
I was into this book at the get-go. The costume designs have a throw back to the original X-Factor uniforms and the first artist, Jorge Molina, has a nice style that captured the youthful look of these young X-Men. I was willing to overlook the battle with Black Tom and Juggernaut, even though it was pretty played out and Black Tom was dead last time I checked, because it was done well and the first issue payed off with the reveal that it was Magneto that had brought this team together.
It was here, however, that the parallel universe shenanigans kicked into gear with the introduction of Ultimate Wolverine to the team. Ultimate Wolverine in this case being James Hudson, the blonde son of the original ultimate Wolverine. This brings the marvel universe “Wolverine” total to 4, with Dark Wolverine, All-New Wolverine (X-23) and Old Man Logan already in circulation.
That wouldn’t have been that bad, but from there we also got the all new Marauders, who were, of course, parallel universe versions of Quicksilver and some D-List x-characters brought together by a sexy, lady Mr. Sinister named, sigh, Mrs. Sinister. If it sounds like to much to read in my review, imagine how it felt in the book.
All that said, I wasn’t as turned off by the above as I expected to be. Molina’s art is excellent, the script is good and I do like the X-Men, so I rolled with it. Not my favorite X-Men title to be sure, but I’ve read much worse.
Unfortunately, Jorge Molina left after issue 3 and Volume 2 had to take a detour into that most dark and all-encompassing of Marvel destinations: the company-wide cross-over event.
Volume 2: Toil and Trouble
So I gather there was this Secret Empire thing with an evil Captain America that some folks out there didn’t really cotton to. I haven’t read it, so I don’t know if the concept itself worked out, but holy smokes is it a pain being tossed into one of these things while reading one book and not all the books. Emma Frost, Havok and a very dapper suit-wearing Xorn (???) are bad guys with their own mutant island that evil Steve Rogers gave them. They have a bunch of X-People on their side, all with fancy new powers, and Magneto has a truce with Rogers to protect his young X-team. Okay, sure, but… huh? Hey, there’s Polaris! And the X-Jet was really Danger the living danger room lady all along because of course. The art through this story was pretty rough, as was having no earthly idea what was going on. Why is Wolfsbane a bad guy that can split herself into tiny wolves? Why is Xorn wearing a suit and cape? Why does Emma want to reprogram young Cyclops to think he is old Cyclops? He’s 17; isn’t that kinda creepy? Weak stuff all around. Especially if you are a fan of Emma Frost or someone who liked the Xorn reveal left as it was back in New X-Men by Grant Morrison and never got into the Danger character in the first place.
From here, we go full tilt parallel universe shenanigans as Madeline Pryor (really???) does magic things to Beast and makes an evil team of alternate Colossus, Storm, Pixie and Nightcrawler battle the X-Men. Ugh.
The Storm in question, Bloodstorm (who first appeared in the oh-so 1990s Mutant X series) is a vampire Storm that kinda doesn’t want to be bad and ends up helping. So, of course, they put her on the team.
Okay, so I pride myself in not being that comic book guy that complains about stuff. We all get to have our favourite era and we have the right to like or not like others as we choose, but this series just feels like the well has run dry. It’s like X-Men comics are the air on a non-stop flight to Australia and back, recycled to the point where it’s just not good anymore. I mean, yeah, I’m breathing, but that’s about it.
If you are to believe the internets, there was, prior to the FOX deal, an official edict at Marvel stating that X-Men writers could not create any new characters as they would be rolled into the FOX cinematic canon and that made Mickey the Mouse sad. Is this comic a victim of that? Is this what happens when you aren’t allowed to have new ideas? It kinda feels that way.
There are things to like here and I absolutely think that Cullen Bunn has done well with what he has on hand, but between inconsistent art (seven different artists over 12 issues), getting sucked into the Secret Empire event and non-stop parallel universe shenanigans X-Men: Blue left me feeling just that, blue.
Til next semester, cheers.
Today sees the release of Logan on Blu-ray. The film marks the final stand of Hugh Jackman as the character he first brought to life some 17 years ago, and who he portrayed over the course of nine films (including starring roles and cameos).
It will be hard for FOX to replace Jackman as Wolverine, and the studio is well aware of the good fortune they had of casting the actor in what will remain his seminal role. In tribute, the studio has started up the #ThankHugh Initivative, encouraging fans to share their favourite image of Jackman in character. We wanted to participate, and hope you to do, because no matter what you thought of all the X-Men films, there’s no doubt that Hugh Jackman always delivered the goods as our favourite Canucklehead.
It was a huge weekend for the major new release to hit theatres, bringing to a close one actor’s career-making role. Here’s what went down:
Early Sunday morning estimates are putting Logan at number one with an incredible $85.2 million debut weekend. That puts it in the top five best openings for an R-rated film. It will also puts it $00.2 million ahead of X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s $85 million debut back in 2009. Clearly, audiences were excited to see Hugh Jackman unleash his claws one last time, in his ninth and final outing as Wolverine. Also of note is the film’s standing with critics; the film has a 93% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, making it clear that this is a movie that has exceeded expectations all around.
I had the chance to see Logan on Friday afternoon with Untold Horror’s Dave Alexander, and we both enjoyed this western-style take on the character who, in theory, has always been a loner. With director James Mangold focusing on story and character rather than explosions and end of the world scenarios, the movie transcends the typical comic book movie tropes and expectations. Logan is a movie that rewards observations – not everything is obvious and spelled out. There are subtleties you may miss if you’re not careful. Jackman and Patrick Stewart are phenomenal in their roles, and Logan is a memorable way for both men to leave their characters behind. Read the rest of this entry
That’s the sound of one movie slicing through all the competition this weekend at the box office. How much will this final franchise film make? Here’s our prediction:
Comic book fans have been eager to see Hugh Jackman cut loose as the Wolverine since he first unsheathed his claws back in 2000. 17 years later, Jackman’s final film as Logan, has been generating rave reviews and huge buzz (it must be noted that this will also be Patrick Stewart’s final appearance as Charles Xavier). With director James Mangold at the helm, who was also behind 2013’s The Wolverine, this take on an Old Man Logan story and the introduction of fan favourite character X-23 is sure to light up the box office, even with its R-rating. Look for Logan to debut in first place with $75 million.
New York, NY – March 1st, 2017 – The RessurXion begins here! In the wake of Inhumans vs. X-Men, the Children of the Atom pick up the pieces and charge headlong into tomorrow! And it’s all kicking off in March’s can’t-miss X-MEN PRIME #1! Featuring a collection of blockbuster creators, the next chapter of the X-Men’s saga begins in this oversized one-shot!
The final trailer for Logan is here.
It is outstanding.
The film opens March 3rd.
Two super-powered races clash as Mutantkind and Inhumanity collide with the fates of their species at stake! Announced this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel is pleased to bring you INHUMANS VS. X-MEN, a six-issue event series coming to you this December!
Read the rest of this entry
I tend to use the phrase “greater than the sum of its parts” a lot. It’s a perfect way to describe a baseball team that finds a way to beat a superior unit, or a novel that just doesn’t seem to catch fire but you find yourself thinking about it days or even years later, or a movie that is full of faults, but somehow pulls together disparate pieces so that, by the end, you’re overjoyed and thrumming with excitement. Bryan Singer has made a career out of such movies, and in X-Men:Apocalypse, he may have found his masterpiece. Spoilers Ahead!
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Canadian actress Carolina Bartczak, known for her work in Smurfs 2 and Brick Mansions. In X-Men: Apocalypse, opening this week in North America, Carolina plays the small, yet pivotal role of Magda, Magneto’s (Michael Fassbender) wife. Meet me after the jump for the interview.