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We’re invited to the Wedding of the Century in X-Men Gold #30

Kitty Pryde.

Peter Rasputin.

X-Men Gold #30

June 2018.

‘Nuff Said.

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Heroes and Villains, January 3, 2018

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!

Marvel

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.

And There Came a Day Unlike Any Other: The Fox/Disney Merger

While it has been out there in the geek ether (geether?) for a while now, the official word came down this morning that Disney shelled out a cool 52.4 BILLION dollars for FOX studios, home of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

Having caught my breath from a solid hour of geeking out and mapping out personal fan-fic scenarios uniting the characters of the two Marvel Cinematic Universes, I am now prepared to offer a short list of what I think are the five most exciting possibilities of the expanded MCU:

1. World War 2 Captain America and Wolverine

Storming the beach at Normandy side by side? Teaming up and taking down an entire Hydra unit? Maybe just Captain America being offended by the smell of Logan’s cigar… The possibilities range from the subtle to the sensational, but its a perfect way to map out a connection between the two characters. Let’s also not forget that this opens up a potential for Wolverine vs. Winter Soldier flashbacks and even Winter Soldier vs. Deadpool.

Whether its Hugh Jackman suiting up or a new, MCU proper casting for Wolverine, the stories here have my knuckles itching and “SNIKT” ringing in my ears. Read the rest of this entry

Game of Thrones S07 E05: ‘Eastwatch’

The Lannisters and Targaryens deal with the aftermath of Daenerys’ surprise attack, we get a number of wacky plans so crazy they just might work, and I discover how hard it is to watch Game of Thrones while you’re on vacation and your internet connection sucks.  Find out if I made it through the episode without throwing the television out a window, right after the break. Spoilers ahead.

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Marvel Primer Pages add All-New Content to MARVEL LEGACY!

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New York, NY – July 7, 2017 – Marvel Legacy is changing the way you read comics – and the future of the Marvel Universe. This fall, Marvel is proud to present MARVEL PRIMER PAGES!, three all-new pages of comic content written by Robbie Thompson (Silk, Doctor Strange and the Sorcerer Supreme) with a majority of art from acclaimed superstar Mark Bagley (The Amazing Spider-Man, All New X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man). These stories will draw all readers into the Marvel Universe like never before. And at no extra cost to the reader, what better way to change the way readers jump into a series!

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#Kirby100: BBP! Celebrates The King Jack Kirby All Summer Long

Jack Kirby.

His artistry was, and remains, so innovative and influential in the comic book zeitgeist that the industry named awards after him. Heck, they even named a visual image after him: the affectionately known, “Kirby Krackle.”

How pervasive is writer and artist Jack Kirby in pop culture?

You can scan the litany of comic book characters that the man created or co-created and you’d be certain to find dozens that are your favourites. From the globally renowned Captain America, Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men series of characters, to the populace’s burgeoning awareness of Darkseid and Black Panther, to the more niche creations of Kamandi, Etrigan the Demon and Destroyer Duck. With Kirby, the list of great characters goes on and on and on.

Without him, pop culture and comic books wouldn’t be at all what we know it to be today.

This August marks the 100th birthday of Jack Kirby and we here at Biff Bam Pop! mean to celebrate that auspicious centennial with a plethora of written accolades all summer long!

This is your cordial invitation to our #Kirby100 party!

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Doctor Who S10 E09: ‘Empress of Mars’

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Traditionally Doctor Who is considered to be the protector of Earth and mankind against all manner of alien invaders, but what happens when it’s mankind who are the invaders, and the invades are former archenemies of The Doctor? That’s the conundrum when Victorian age explorers land on Mars amongst a hive of Ice Warriors – what will The Doctor do? Meet me after the small time and space jump for my thoughts on “Empress of Mars.”

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Heroes and Villains – Reviewing The Week’s Marvels 4-12-2017

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This week in Heroes and Villains our selection of new Marvel Comics include the other team of X-Men in the aftermath of the Inhumans/Mutants war, a team-up of two of my least-liked characters, the latest adventure of a future television star, and perhaps the end of the ‘good’ Captain America. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on X-Men Blue #1, Deadpool Vs. The Punisher #1, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #19, and Captain America: Sam Wilson #21… beware of spoilers…

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Heroes and Villains – Reviewing The Week’s Marvels 4-5-2017

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This week in Heroes and Villains our selection of new Marvel Comics include the continuing battle between Kang and the Avengers, the aftermath of Inhumans Vs. X-Men and another chapter in the Captain Hydra saga. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Avengers #6, Royals #1, X-Men Gold #1, and Captain America Steve Rogers #15… warning, spoilers ahead…

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Renew your love of the New Mutants with a new Epic Collection

One of my favourite comic books growing up in the 80s was The New Mutants. As a very young kid who fell in love with the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde thanks to Marvel’s Secret Wars II and Uncanny X-Men 196 (“What Was That?”), I loved seeing how the two teams interacted with one another, and reading about a team of teenagers who were older than me, but somehow still relatable. And when (SPOILER) The Beyonder killed them off in issue 37, it actually scared the hell out of me.

Co-created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Bob McLeod, the New Mutants was an easy access point for young mutant lovers, especially as the original X-Men were growing up, marrying and having children. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the original series, Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Beast, Angel and Iceman were teens themselves, while the All-New, All-Different line-up was full of older and, in some case, most battle-hardened characters.  With the New Mutants, Claremont and McLeod were able to bring being a teenage mutant into the 1980s, exploring all the angst that came along with it.

New Mutants

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