Battles, Hope Summers Battles, Jean Grey Battles, Tribute Battles

Hope Summers vs Jean Grey



This is a tribute to Dark Phoenix. Hope Summers is definitely a very powerful fighter and one of the best modern Marvel characters. At this point it may be a stretch to say that she is all that new, but I would still consider her to be recent. She is incredibly powerful and has had the Phoenix Force as well, but I wouldn’t say that any host has ever reached Jean’s level of abilities. She is still the most powerful TK user in Marvel and while Hope would give her a great fight, ultimately she would be defeated. Jean Grey wins.

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Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

X-Men Inferno Volume 2 Review


It’s been a long time since I reviewed the first Inferno comic, but it’s finally time to wrap up the saga. It definitely feels like one of the grandest X-Men story arcs in scope even if it never seems to be brought up nowadays. Pretty much all of the big players are here and there’s definitely a lot of action. You probably will wonder where the Avengers and FF are at times, but they are referenced and I believe they were on a mission somewhere at the time. It’s a pretty enjoyable story arc, some parts can get a little dark and others not as exciting, but on the whole it’s definitely an intense arc.

There are a lot of plots going on at once here. For the main plot, the Goblin Queen has decided to embrace her dark powers and take control of the planet. To that end she has teamed up with demons to transform the entire city. Some of them have plans of their own as well though. Cyclops, Jean Grey, and the rest of the X Factor head out to stop her, but their team isn’t as united as usual. Cyclops blames himself for the Goblin Queen’s transformation since he did rebound after marrying her pretty quick.

Another plot is that the X-Men are doing battle against an anti mutant faction and in the process they are becoming demons as well. As they lose more and more of their minds they start to barely even resemble heroes anymore. This leads them to start attacking all of the sides. Then you’ve got the Power Pack who are being forced to deal with the fact that their parents now know who they are thanks to the events with the Orphan Maker from volume 1. The parents are having a real hard time coping.

Then the New Mutants are also flying around trying to save Magik. Magik took control of Limbo but now the villains are starting to wrestle control back from her. Magik can destroy them, but doing so will eliminate the last of her light so she has a tough choice to make. Meanwhile Colossus is also trying to find her, but going from world to world is tricky and the villains are content to mock rather than help him. Finally, Sinister is also in the mix and naturally he also wants to mess things up for the heroes.

Those are just the main plots and there are even more subplots running around. I imagine that this was definitely the ultimate X faction arc back in the day. Pretty much every X group was here and I forgot to mention that this even includes Excalibur. If the heroes were all in one place this would probably be an easy win for them, but naturally the demons won’t let that be an option. Even as this trade ends there are already a lot of plotlines set up for the next arc.

I think one of the best aspects of this saga is the subtle craziness of the situation. In the background you’ll see the animated objects making a lot of jokes at the humans as they crush them. For example one mail box reminds one guy that he should have used a stamp before eating him. There are a lot of fatalities here as by the time the heroes arrive the humans are long gone or no longer human. The villainous appliances all have a pretty good sense of humor though. It’s definitely pretty grim humor, but it works well.

As for the characters, this is definitely gonna be a rough showing for Havok fans. Regardless of all his justifications, he seems to be going for the Goblin Queen to one up Cyclops. He had no problem with cheating with her even while she was with Cyclops so you doubt his motivations from the start. I usually like Havok, but definitely not in this comic.

Another character who looks really bad here is Rachel Summers. Keep in mind that during this saga she is a host of the Phoenix Force and yet she can’t win a single fight here. There’s gotta be some reason why her Phoenix Form was so weak, but I definitely would have liked that to have been elaborated here. She gets mind controlled and one shotted early on and as such has nothing to do for the whole volume. I couldn’t believe it when she was taken out so easy.

Cyclops naturally gets a big role here as well. It’s not his best appearance, but he is doing his best to handle the situation. It’s just gotten past the point of merely being “personal” since his kid is being hostage and his ex-wife is trying to murder everyone. Cyclops did have a pretty fishy set of decisions that led to this moment like ditching his wife and getting back with Jean, but that’s all events that happened before this volume. In this one he is trying to pick up the pieces, but it’s been awfully difficult. So I wouldn’t say that he looked bad per say, but I’ll be glad for him to have this drama past the bend.

Ice Man and Psylocke don’t do a whole lot in comparison to the other characters, but they are around for the full saga. They look really good as they focus on an objective and support the team the whole time. Ice Man’s powers are definitely at the point in the series where they are steadily becoming a top tier threat. Psylocke still seems to be quite a bit weaker than the other main telepaths, but at the same time she does contribute. I don’t think she’ll ever be seen as one of the strongest telepaths, but as long as she is strong enough to help out that’s good enough.

The Goblin Queen naturally gets a really big role here as well. Her emotions are all over the place as she constantly switches between acting as the victim and embracing her role as the evil empress. I can’t really say that she’s my kind of villain, but her motivations for revenge are definitely pretty reasonable considering what a bad hand she’s been dealt. She has to live with the fact that everyone considers her to be a fake and she’s being manipulated by quite a few parties. At times it can be a bit iffy to see her being led around so much though. She’s a villain who was thrown into the role and as such isn’t prepared for it. You kind of want her to have a happy ending even though from the start you don’t really think this will be possible. She simply went too far down the rabbit hole into darkness.

We get cameos from some characters like Magneto, but sadly he doesn’t get to do much. It was nice to see him, but there was almost no point to be honest. I’m sure his scene probably continued in a spinoff though. The Power Pack’s plot is probably the most annoying in some ways as the parents just do a terrible job of handling the situation. The plot was going for realism, but I dare say that their reactions were so poor that it wasn’t realistic at that point. They basically fell into depression instantly which was a bit iffy. Surely they could find some silver lining to the kids being superheroes right?

As for the X-Men basically turning into demons, it was unfortunate that their will power was not all that good. Most of them fell into the evil instincts very quickly and so the X-Factor definitely ended up doing a much better job. One thing the X-Men comics like doing a lot that I could definitely do without is all the “Surprise!” kisses that occur. The villains seem to love doing that to the heroes which is definitely a dicey power move. There are way better ways to make the villains a threat than by doing that. There aren’t any quality romances to be found here, that’s for sure. Throw in the Cyclops drama and you’ve got a real complicated situation for the heroes.

I would have liked to have seen more of Magik’s plot since hers was probably the most interesting. Limbo seems to have quite a lot of power struggles over there and with her abilities continuing to grow it would be interesting to see how she fares against the bigger X-Men villains. I’m thinking that’s why they always keep her out of Earth. Even the Sinister threat probably would have been a whole lot smaller if she was around since one or two hits would probably take him down for the count.

The art is definitely real solid. It’s pretty consistent across the various titles. The character designs are definitely on point although of course a lot of them look pretty evil most of the time since they slowly start to lose their sanity. The battle scenes are definitely really good and it’s definitely an easy page turner. The pages are never too busy where you have to slow down. This trade also brings a lot of issues so it’s definitely a comic where you get your money’s worth.

Overall, There’s a lot happening in Inferno. It’s definitely very dramatic and the characters get a lot of development here. It’s not quite my favorite X-Men arc, but on the whole it was definitely pretty solid. I could definitely roll with seeing the town go crazy a little longer. I do think the epilogue parts are a bit hard to swallow though as there were too many witnesses for this to be swept under the rug. I mean, the humans in these comics usually aren’t too smart, but I dare say that this is almost pushing it a bit. It’s easy to see why Earth would crumble without the superheroes in these things. If you haven’t read Inferno volume 1 yet then you’ll probably want to do that before jumping into volume 2. It’ll definitely flow a lot better for you that way.

Overall 7/10

Battles, Gohan Battles, Jean Grey Battles

Gohan vs Jean Grey


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Jean Grey has the Phoenix Force within her and one of the coolest costumes in all of Marvel. That being said, she isn’t quite ready to take on someone like Gohan. Gohan has his Mystic Form and at his peak he is almost as strong as Goku. Jean Grey will get completely overwhelmed by Gohan and his fierce attacks like the Masenko. He can take the strongest flames that Jean can throw out and that’s only if he wants to get burned. Gohan has the speed to dodge all of her attacks with ease anyway so he has the massive edge here. Gohan wins.

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Inhumans vs X-Men Review


It feels like such a long time since I’ve reviewed a Marvel or DC comic right? Well, what better way to get back into it than by reviewing a big Hero vs Hero event? This time the Inhumans and X-Men are going at it. With both sides having morally dubious leaders at the helm you really have to decide which team to root for. The battle will decide the fate of the mutants as well as the Inhumans. As a result, the Avengers and Fantastic Four don’t really care either way so they have decided to stay out of the fray. I’ve always been a big fan of the X-Men and never cared much for the Inhumans so you can imagine which team I am on in this comic.

A lot happened prior to this volume, but the recap on the front page does its best to bring you up to speed. There are 2 big Terrigen Clouds that have come to Earth. These clouds are turning a large part of the human population into Inhumans. The good news is that this cloud doesn’t destroy the humans who aren’t Inhuman deep down unlike the Agents of SHIELD show. The bad news is that it is murdering every mutant who comes into contact with it. Cyclops led a team to destroy the first cloud, but then Black Bolt murdered him. There is now one more cloud left and Beast was tasked with finding a way to save the mutants without destroying the cloud. He was unsuccessful and now they have 2 weeks before total anhiilation. Storm, Emma Frost, and Magneto have to come up with a plan as the 3 main leaders of the X-Men factions. Ultimately, they decide that they have to destroy the Cloud and to do that they will have to temporarily incapacitate the Inhumans. Will their plan be successful or are the Inhumans prepared for this?

Right away you may wonder why the X-Men don’t just negotiate. Honestly, I’m fine with them just attacking. The Inhumans never negotiate and with how evil stubborn and arrogant they are, they’d never agree to remove the cloud. They want all of the extra Inhumans they can get because it’ll give them more fighting power in the future. Maybe they could have given it an attempt, but then it may just tip their hand. Furthermore, the Inhumans already know (or should know) about the cloud’s affects for the Mutants. They act a little shocked towards the end when they learn how close the deadline is, but that’s just the book trying to make them look at least a little redeemable. It’s a last second character switch to try and not make them look like the villains, but it certainly didn’t work on me. Attacking is the best option.

Now, which team should win such a fight? Well, I’d definitely side with the X-Men yet again. They just have too many powerful fighters to lose. Magik, X-23, Emma Frost, Magneto, Old Man Logan, etc. The Inhumans have some strong fighters like Black Bolt and Karnak, but that’s really about it. The others would lose to the more middle of the pack X fighters like classic Cyclops. Then we’ve also got the lesser known X members like Psylocke waiting in the back. This should be a complete blowout and even more so since the X-Men have the element of surprise on their side. The first 2-3 issues are basically them putting the Inhumans on the defensive and kidnapping all of their critical members. Unfortunately since the 1st cloud did a lot of damage, there are a ton of new Inhumans who start to turn the tides. Mostly it’s only because the X-Men are nerfed just in time. Old Man Logan looks particularly bad as one of the new recruits takes him down rather quickly. The excuse is really that he let his guard down and you could argue that even though this version of Wolverine is particularly brutal, he still didn’t really want to hurt a kid too badly. X-23 has no such qualms, but she also doesn’t do very well in the fight.

Don’t even get me started on Psylocke vs Medusa. She should destroy the Inhuman in a snap. Honestly, I feel like most of the comic authors don’t give her the credit she deserves. Psylocke is a very talented ninja who knows how to fight at close range and doesn’t need to rely on her psychic abilities. Yet, she seems rather helpless in many of the battles I see her in. She’s not a 1 trick pony and I’m still waiting for a big Marvel comic to realize that. So, I’ve explained why the X-Men should absolutely dominate and I’m happy to say that they did effectively win. They accomplished their task of destroying the cloud and now no more Inhumans will be born while the mutants are safe.

Granted, they certainly had help. A few Inhumans decided to destroy the cloud as well once they found out that it was destroying the mutants. The X-Men were also in prime position to finish off the Inhumans as well, but naturally that wasn’t their plan. It was Emma’s and she did attempt to finish them off, but one person against 2 armies? That wasn’t going to end well no matter how powerful she is. She did escape and will stick around as a villain though so the Inhumans should definitely be worried. She made for a great character here though and I dare say that it’s easily her best portrayal. She’s on a mission for revenge and even though she ends up tricking basically everyone, you can never truly trust a telepath.

One more reason to root for the X-Men is how uneven the stakes are. If the X-Men lost then all mutants would die. If the Inhumans lost…then they simply couldn’t get anymore new recruits for a while, but those humans that have the potential to turn into Inhumans may still make the change once someone finds more Terrigen. Plus, this way they get a choice on if they want to transform or not. Medusa gets over the whole thing within a single page at the end of the volume so you can tell that the Inhumans were never too invested in this. Yet another reason why I never like these guys.

As always, I didn’t like the Inhumans here. Medusa appears to be two timing Black Bolt with Human Torch and I’m not sure if he ever even notices. She then ditches the Torch to go with Black Bolt again in the end as she explains that she’s happy about not being a queen anymore. Definitely a weird plot if you ask me. Black Bolt seemed like the same stuck up king that he always was and he’s basically in rage mode for the whole arc but doesn’t actually do anything. From the original members, Karnak and Medusa definitely do the most. It was also interesting to see Human Torch as an Inhuman supporter and not neutral. he was definitely useful for their cause as well. On the X-Men side, Beast was more of a traitor who wanted to help the Inhumans so luckily the X-Men locked him up. Beast has always been a really annoying character and this volume definitely did not help his case in that regard. He really can never see the bigger picture and does his best to cement himself as a character you simply cannot count on in any situation.

The art was really good although I’d expect nothing less. It’s not quite as smooth as some of the last events like AVX, but it’s still the high quality that Marvel has been consistent with. The fight scenes really look good and every page is busy with a lot of action without being cluttered. The artwork has a mild grainy element to it that doesn’t take much away from the colors. Good artwork certainly helps to push a comic into the next level. While many are tired of the Hero vs Hero action, I’m always up for it. As long as the fights aren’t cop outs or off screen, it at least helps to finally decide which characters are actually the strongest.

Overall, This was a fun comic. There were a lot of battles and since the X-Men and Inhumans have been rivals for such a long time it makes sense that they would go at it. The comic also got the victor right. While there definitely was quite a bit of plot hax to try and keep the Inhumans in the ring, I suppose the writers felt that a full blowout wouldn’t have been as interesting. They have a point there to be sure although I really wouldn’t have minded all that much. I’d definitely recommend reading this graphic novel. It really takes advantage of all the friends and enemies that each team has made and it helps both sides grab a lot of members. Both sides never appear reasonable since they are spearheaded by the most evil member in the team, but that makes the fight more believable as well. This was never going to end peacefully.

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

X-Men Inferno Volume 1 Review

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Time for a fairly large comic collection. This bundle brings together a lot of the Inferno arc related comics, but ultimately ends up being more of a prelude than anything else. Most of the X-Men don’t even appear for very long or get any real fights. This one focuses on the New Mutants and the Power Pack. Unfortunately they cannot hold their own this time which makes for a rather lackluster collection. It has its good moments, but ultimately never gets all that exciting.

Where to even start with this plot. It’s a huge collection so a lot happens…and yet there aren’t a lot of stories. It’s all fairly connected in one way or another. The basic premise is that a demonic invasion is approaching. The demons from Limbo want to take over Earth once and for all. Fear feeds them and with all of the fearful humans running around, it makes the army very potent. To ensure that the invasion goes well, they also lure Magik and her New Warriors back to Limbo. We can call this Plot A. In Plot B, the Power Pack are dealing with the effects of the Demons in the human world. It’s tough because they also have to evade Nanny, a robot who kidnaps kids. The villain actually comes in handy and saved some of the kids at one point, but it’s only a temporary reprieve. The X-Men get in on the investigation, but then they get distracted by the Morlock troubles and a bunch of other random circumstances. In Plot C, Sinister is making a move and things are all seemingly going according to plan for him. His Jean Grey clone is starting to head to the dark side and it is revealed in a plot twist that she is actually commanding all of the Demons. It’s all been a part of her plan from the start to get revenge on Cyclops for ditching her. (A truly out of character moment that still boggles my mind)

There are a lot of other things happening in the meantime, like the government being shady again, but you get the gist of it. Most of the horror moments are in the human world, but you can probably imagine that Magik’s plot deals with this as well. It was interesting to see a continuation of her story because it wasn’t all that long ago that I read her original saga. It was very dark, but also interesting. As a small child, she fell into Limbo and so the X-Men attempted a rescue mission. It didn’t go well and they all died. Magik was forced to learn Dark Magic and then she escaped to a parallel universe where the X-Men once again tried to save her. They succeeded…except that she fell back in. At least Magik became Queen and joined up with the X-Men again, but she left Limbo in a state of chaos with her old enemy S’ym in charge. Well, this comic shows how he’s controlled the place with an iron grip and has turned the tables on Magik. She is no longer strong enough to beat him and if the X-Men were powerless last time, you can imagine how outclassed the New Mutants are. They are completely out of their depth here. It’s definitely the most interesting part of the comic.

Lets launch right into why this comic was not a success. The big problem here is that the actual X-Men don’t get to appear almost at all. They show up very briefly to help the Morlocks face off against the Mutant Killers and manage to send the group packing, but then they vanish again. Inferno is one of those large graphic novels that manages to collect all of the tie-ins. Usually this is a good thing, but I believe it is ultimately what weakened it this time around. There were so many tie ins with the Power Pack that they took priority. I’m assuming that volume 2 would probably feature the X-Men more, but it’s hard to say for sure. They can’t appear any less I suppose. Now, that wouldn’t be a problem if the Power Pack and the New Mutants were interesting…but they usually weren’t. It took quite a few issues to get to one that would be fun.

Also, a “fun” comic was hard to find since most of the issues were just very dark. It was going for a Poltergeist kind of feel as there is a sinister chill in the air the whole time and the villains can be behind any nook and cranny. The humans could see the demons sometimes and sometimes they couldn’t. It was just like a horror film and I’ll give the comic some credit for actually creating that atmosphere. In a world of superheroes, it can be very hard to create a menacing horror backdrop since a hero can just show up and save the day at any time. It works though because they are all busy dealing with the main alien threat. The Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Defenders (If they’re around) and all of the loners won’t be coming to help. This means that the ordinary humans are left to fend for themselves. This comic probably has more horror undertones than any other comic that I’ve read with the possible exception of some Swamp Thing comics. Those put up a pretty good fight.

However, it’s also a bad thing as the humans have no shot. We have many issues where the demons just show up and start ripping the humans to shreds. It’s never all that violent although some people are literally crushed, but it’s just all so hopeless and sad. There’s no way that the humans can even land any damage on these creatures and for every death that you actually see, there are dozens of others off screen. Most of them go in rather grim circumstances. The whole thing was just so dark and gritty and it went on for far too long if you ask me. We even had some cheating going on as Angel decided to go for a quick one night fling with someone who was technically still married and then decides to continue with this. I never cared all that much for Angel, but this certainly won’t be doing him any favors. In the end, it just didn’t feel like an X-Men comic at all and that was a problem.

One subplot that was handled well was when the Power Pack was finally forced to reveal their true identities to their parents. The parents didn’t overreact, run away, yell, or panic. They took it in stride and said that they wanted to talk about it, but weren’t upset or anything like that. They realized that a demon was still around and that they should finish the fight instead of bickering. Even after that, the parents were okay with the whole thing. This is really how this kind of plot should always play out. Having powers shouldn’t suddenly make the parents back out of a bond that they’ve shared with their kids their whole lives. This also means that the villains can’t blackmail the Power Pack anymore, which is certainly a good thing. The parents even did a good job of dealing with their haunted house.

Yes, there was a haunted house here to further the notion that this was a horror comic in disguise. The demons would take control of all the equipment. They took over the water supply and would make inanimate objects turn to life. Considering that they had no actual hero experience, the parents did all right. They smashed up most of the evil objects and kept on fighting back. They also did their best to protect the kids when they didn’t know about their secret powers. More horror protagonists should be proactive like this. The parents decided to get out ASAP.

As for the rest of the characters, I’m still not much of a fan of the Power Pack or the New Mutants. I like Magik a lot and she’s definitely earned her way into the main X-Men team. Everyone else? I don’t think they’ll be getting past the B ranks anytime soon. They can’t really hold their own issues, at least not in this context. The Power Pack are good for their fun little adventures, but they feel out of place in issues where the whole planet is at stake. The villains aren’t all that interesting either although I’ve always thought S’ym makes for a very intense villain. His super strength and durability are pretty unbelievable. Dark Beast shows up as well, but he’s just annoying and certainly not cool.

Also, the art was solid as expected. The style makes it look a lot older than it actually is, but helps to add that retro effect. Everything is very clear to read and understand. All of the character designs are on point although they aren’t as colorful as the 90’s. I wouldn’t say that the writing is bad either. It works well enough for what the comic is going for. It just should have taken another direction. The comic isn’t quite as engaging as most though. You won’t be on the edge of your seat here and some of the comics actually do drag on quite a bit.

I do think that the next volume will probably be an improvement though. This whole saga was basically the prelude as the fake Jean Grey essentially announces that the Inferno is coming. The X-Men aren’t even at the scene yet. I guess they’ll end up missing most of the demon invasion although I hope it is at least referenced. It was a rather huge deal so the big heroes should still be aware of what happened. While this comic may not have been my favorite, it did do a great job of adding a lot of context to what’s happening. Reading it weekly, I probably would have been more upset about the slow pace, but it does make this saga feel more like an event. Some of the modern day events feel a lot shorter because they’re over so quickly. That’s definitely not an issue that this event will have…for better or worse.

Overall, This is probably the strangest X-Men comic that I’ve ever read. The concept of a demon invasion is definitely interesting and these guys are more menacing than aliens. Demons almost feel a little out of place in Marvel, especially such realistic ones, but they have technically always been around. It just so happens that it’s in an X-Men comic instead of Ghost Rider. Honestly, the comic just needed more action and some bigger heroes to help things out. That would have done wonders since they could have actually saved some of the humans instead of just watching them all die. If not, they could have gone for a total horror angle although that may have been even more risky. If the idea of a horror/action comic sounds good to you than this could be up your alley. It’s probably the closest merge of the two genres that I’ve seen so far. If not, then you should check out the other X-Men comic that I just reviewed. This isn’t a bad comic, it’s just different. You’ll just have to check out for yourself whether it’s different in a good or bad way.

Overall 5/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

X-Men Mutant Genesis 2.0 Review


This X-Men review may have come out before a certain other one that I am reviewing soon, but I read it afterwards. I only mention this because I was really impressed with this comic for feeling like an X-Men title while the other did not. You’ll see that review soon, but this is exactly how I’d picture an X-Men comic to be. It definitely has a very 90’s feel to it and all of the characters are in their iconic designs. It’s the perfect jumping on point for new readers and it is also a very fun comic for experienced fans. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for the X-Men, but filled with a lot of familiar faces and action scenes.

The first arc deals with the return of Magneto. He had tried to retire from being a participant between mutants and humans, but trouble never seems to leave him alone. A group of mutants ask him for sanctuary and then they also want him to protect other mutants. Magneto decides to build an asteroid where mutants can live in peace. The rebels continue to cause mischief on the Earth and even though Magneto stops them, it puts him in a bad position. He’s seen as harboring criminals now and Magneto also has a nuclear deterrent, which worries people. The X-Men are sent in to put a stop to this before the government is forced to play their hand. Cyclops and Wolverine are among the members who are thrilled to take Magneto down. While Magneto had previously been a part of their team, you can tell that things had always been strained between them. Meanwhile, Rogue believes that there’s still a chance for Magneto to be a good guy.

It’s a fun story and I definitely remember Asteroid M quite well after watching the animated episode so many times. You do feel bad for Magneto to an extent as he is right that Wolverine went for the kill shot right away. You’d think that being comrades would mean something to him, but Wolverine was clearly quick to put Magneto on the side of evil once again. He does have to be stopped and the X-Men are in the right here, but they certainly weren’t very negotiable. Magneto being used by the people he was supposed to be protecting certainly did not help either. He was a little gullible here, but I’m sure that this will help him be more distant in the future.

Another issue is that Moira decided to mess around with Magneto’s DNA while he was a baby. It was an unfortunate move that also got the X-Men into even more trouble as it made Magneto very upset. He did trust the heroes as he was defenseless and had no choice. It was quite the betrayal and this plot will likely continue on in the future. It was a very long and tough week for Magneto so he wasn’t completely in his right mind by the end.

The other arc deals with Omega Red. He has been sent to eliminate Wolverine because Weapon X is never done with the poor guy. It’s personal for Wolverine so he wants to deal with this on his own, but the X-Men never back away from helping out a friend. The problem is that Omega Red is incredibly powerful and the only members who can really hurt him are typically taken down before they can do anything. This is going to require a team effort. There’s also a flashback which unfolds during the issue where we see Wolverine from back in his Weapon X days alongside Sabretooth and Maverick. It shows that Sabretooth is as corrupt as ever as he destroys the hostage to save himself. The whole mission was to save her, but Sabretooth blew it in an instant. Wolverine always wanted revenge for that, but he never got the chance. Well, Sabretooth’s here now so we’ll see if Wolverine does better in the rematch.

It’s a fun adventure and Wolverine has always been able to hold his own issue pretty well. He definitely spent most of the saga getting beaten up left and right though. He could probably beat Sabretooth in a one on one fight, but he was in a weakened state for most of it and Omega Red’s energy drain would cancel out the healing factor. If the full X-Men team hadn’t come along, it definitely would have been curtains for him. Still, I can see why the older members would be skeptical about Jubilee coming along. She nearly died quite a few times and I don’t thinks he’s quite ready for missions like this. Of course, having Psylocke as her guardian helps quite a bit with that since there are few warriors who are as skilled as she is.

Maverick was actually a highlight of this story and I liked him a lot more than I had expected. He was full of confidence and bravado the whole time. Even right before he is knocked out, Maverick has cool one liners like “Fine, this ought to take all of 2 seconds.” when asked to help out against Omega Red. The fight was over that quickly, but it was because he lost the fight. You have to admire the confidence though, not many “heroes” could pull that off convincingly. He’s no hero though as he is basically the Punisher and murders a bunch of people, but he’s a useful ally to have around.

Omega Red was a solid villain and he certainly was portrayed as a powerful opponent here. The Wolverine anime made him crazy strong while this one feels a little more accurate. He’s a deadly hunter who has been amped up with a lot of tech and energy draining equipment. It makes sense that he could give the whole team a run for their money. He’s an X-Men villain who is under explored and I’d like to see him appear more and get some more fights. He’s got a cool design and a nice power set to boot.

Sabretooth makes for a good opponent, but he’s not really my kind of villain. He is written better here than in a lot of his other appearances though, but it also reminds you why nobody should take him seriously when he tries to be a hero. Seriously, he’s way too far gone. As for the heroes, Jubilee and Storm are all right. They don’t get much of a role, but they are around the whole time. For most of the graphic novel, the X-Men team is split up into 3 mini groups. It just so happens that Storm’s gets a rather small role.

Cyclops is the solid leader that you would expect. He’s enthusiastic and a solid commander. I remember these days, when he was treated like Captain America. Now, he’s always either evil or extreme. I do like the modern take on the character, but I can also see why some people root for the reboots. It feels like we’ll never get back to these classic depictions otherwise. Wolverine is also great as always. He’s still my 2nd favorite X-Men member behind Cyclops. His eagerness to fight and solid overall skills make him a great fighter.

Gambit gets a lot of hype, but is still a very annoying character. His flirting will grate on you after a while and I feel like his hype never actually goes anywhere. Sure, he can beat the grunts, but he’s a little full of himself considering that he doesn’t do nearly as well against the big shots. You can tell that the writer does like him though as it is always hinted that Gambit has a shot. Psylocke is a cool member to have on the team and she’s always been like Elektra, but cooler. Her psychic abilities mixed in with her hand to hand mastery makes Psylocke a doubly threatening individual. Her illusions come in handy quite a few times.

If there’s any negative that I have with the comic, it’s the fact that the villains always go for the surprise kiss. It’s a rather annoying trope that luckily died out back in the day, but this comic was old enough to still have it. It’s when a villain shows up by kissing one of the heroines and then attacking. It happens twice here and was enough for me to dock a star off the score. Let’s face it, it’s a little annoying for fans of Jean Grey and Psylocke as they don’t even get to lose in a dignified way as a result. Psylocke gets her revenge, but it’s still a rather wince worthy moment.

Back to the positives. The art is very good and it makes for some crisp fight scenes. Even the generic ninjas look cool this time around. You’re not liable to forget much of the comic after reading because of how nice it looks visually and you can tell that a lot of effort went into this. I have to say that it looks far superior to any of the Marvel comics going on right now. It’s sad how art has dipped for the most part over there although there still are some nice looking comics. They just aren’t as widespread as they were in the 90’s.

Overall, This was a fun comic. Both of the sagas were good although the second one definitely wins. It was just more exciting and kept you at the edge of your seat. I speak comparatively though as both were quite engaging. This is a really fun start to the X-Men run and I can see why it is held with such acclaim. It just needs to watch the shock kisses and should also consider giving Gambit a smaller role. If it can do that, then I can only see this comic going up from here. I definitely recommend checking this out if you’re an X-Men fan and have not yet. If you simply like action comics, then this will certainly work for you as well.

Overall 7/10

Battles, Jean Grey Battles, Joker Battles

Jean Grey vs Joker


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Suggested by iKnowledge Jean Grey is a very skilled telepath whose experience with the Phoenix also gave her some real combat abilities. While she probably couldn’t do much to Joker’s mind, she won’t even need too. Joker won’t really be able to defend himself from her physical attacks. He is completely helpless against the Phoenix Force and its unrelenting fire strikes. His best hope would be to trick Jean Grey into looking at his mind, but she is too smart for that. Jean Grey wins.

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

X-Men Apocalypse Review

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Given the track record of this series, I was not surprised to see it fall below expectations once again. Granted, I even tried to limit my hopes despite the trailers being rather great, but it wasn’t to be. Singer simply needs to retire from this series so we can get someone else in charge. All the pieces were in place for a solid movie experience, but the film really ends up falling flat on just about every angle. What should have been a fun action packed movie ends up being a rather lackluster experience.

Apocalypse has revived himself after a long slumber and he intends to destroy the majority of the humans so that the rest can worship him and his mutant empire. To do this, he recruits Psylocke, Angel, Storm, and Magneto as his four horsemen. Finally he kidnaps Professor Xavier and intends to use him as his final vessel so his telepathic abilities will allow him to rule for a very long time. Can the X-Men, led by Mystique, stop this villain? That’s essentially the premise of this film although it takes a very long time for this plot to actually start up.

There are numerous negatives with this film so it’s hard to know where to even start with the review. I just got back from seeing it as of the first half of this review so it may seem a little “all over the place” but I trust that you will be able to keep up. For starters, this film is very light on action. That was a complaint that I had with Days of Future Past and unfortunately it has reared its head once more. The first real fight scene isn’t until near the end of the film as the Horsemen fight the X-Men. Before that we have a brief scuffle with Angel and Nightcrawler although it isn’t really a fight as they spend the entire segment running around a lot. The guest star (Who’s in the trailer, but in case you haven’t seen it yet I’ll keep the individual unidentified) destroys a bunch of guys, but it can’t be called a fight.
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Once we do get to the fights, they barely even count. Psylocke vs Beast is very short at around a minute or less and while it could have been good, it is over too fast. Not to mention that Beast shouldn’t have stood a chance at winning that round. Storm vs Cyclops was also disappointing as it was incredibly short as well and Cyclops just did a lot of running as well. Apocalypse vs Everyone wasn’t much of a fight either although at least it wasn’t over in the blink of an eye. Quicksilver’s speed barrage against him was cool and the visuals around Apocalypse’s energy blast were solid. Unfortunately, the visuals were really all there was too it since Apocalypse just kept on walking, but not actually fighting back which was rather odd.

For the entire film, the X-Men fought as a bunch of individuals rather than as a team. When Apocalypse was breaking Quicksilver’s bones or choking Mystique, nobody came to their aid. I had expected Magneto to jump in by that point, but he waits way too long for it to be effective. It was rather similar to Vegeta in Resurrection F. Some X-Men members talked about going over to help, but didn’t reach a decision for quite some time. Professor Xavier finally had an idea at one point, but it took him a while and even then it only bought him a little time. It was another cool scene, but one that also didn’t help him all that much in the camaraderie department. Storm’s big moment happened too late as well.

See, there’s definitely a trend there as well as a half dozen missed opportunities. Every time that a cool scene should have occurred, it didn’t. 5 minutes later the scene would happen, but by then it simply didn’t make sense anymore. That’s the big problem with this film. Every time something cool is supposed to happen, it simply doesn’t. Granted, there was a lot of applause and laughter from the audience throughout, but every time I would simply be groaning on the inside.

All of the humor scenes that were supposed to be funny simply weren’t. Professor Xavier flirting with Moira? Those scenes were terrible. Beast and Mystique scenes? Equally terrible. Also, while we’re on the subject, Xavier erasing Moira’s memories without her consent and basically doing it for himself was also rather bad. The whole point of being a telepath is that you’re supposed to respect boundaries. Xavier showed none of that. Plus, what’s the point of being such a famed telepath when everyone can mentally overpower you? Jean Grey surpasses him very early on in the film and Apocalypse easily defeats him mentally as well. Xavier looks horrible in this adventure and his fans certainly won’t be thrilled.

All right, let’s take a break from the negatives for a second. The soundtrack was very good. The theme that plays during Quicksilver’s speed montage is quite great and the rest of the themes are rather epic as well. The visuals can be fun as well like when Apocalypse’s tomb starts to light up. It was handled well and had an epic flair to it. They definitely should have kept Apocalypse’s original robotic voice though, it was a lot more intimidating. I know that his appearance got a lot of controversy at first, but it’s fine for the most part. Due to the fact that he has to appear blue, there was no way to keep him from looking like a Power Rangers villain. They certainly could have done a better job with his armor though. It looks rather low budget and making it more metallic and epic would have done him wonders. The 90’s animated show did a great job on that front. His followers mostly all have generic metal suits although Psylocke’s is straight from the comics so hers stands out. It’s definitely not a practical combat costume compared to the rest, but it’s good to have some more comic accurate costumes out there. Once again, the X-Men don’t get any of that.

Another annoying thing about the film is its insistence on using the f word once for each film. It’s very forced and something that really has no point being in the film. There is language in other scenes as well so it’s not even just for that one moment. It simply decides to jump to the next level in that scene. It’s supposed to be funny and the whole audience roared which is just a sign of how our culture has deteriorated so rapidly. It’s come to the point where you often hear the f word in daily life and some people use it casually in conversation, often quite frequently. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before it starts popping up in films more regularly, but hopefully this isn’t the case. It can really take the energy out of a scene.

As briefly mentioned before, Quicksilver’s original speed scene is great and it’s easily the best part of the film. Unfortunately, it also highlights some big plot holes for the rest of it. Specifically, Quicksilver was made to be way too fast in that scene. Considering how many actions he undertakes in the span of 1-3 seconds, there’s no way that he couldn’t react to someone pointing a gun at him from several feet away. It’s the problem that all speedsters have, but this film didn’t even have the decency to wait 10 minutes. I hope that everyone in the audience noticed how implausible the whole thing was. There’s just no way that Quicksilver is fast enough to pull the earlier scene off.

The after credits scene is also rather laughable. I felt like chuckling when it ended because nothing really happened. Lately, the after credit scenes haven’t been all that good so maybe I got spoiled from the earlier ones like Iron Man 2 and the Avengers. Since then, they’ve mostly been rather lackluster. A proper after credits scene should show a villain making threats, a fight scene, or a big plot twist. It should be something that actually matters and not something that is only a little tribute to the fans who stayed to watch it. That really defeats the whole purpose if you ask me.

The fact that this film is supposed to take place 10 years after Days of Future Past and 10 more years after First Class is another big plot hole that makes no sense when you consider everyone’s ages. The film doesn’t even try to explain this either and just tells you to roll with it. I suppose that this is the only thing that you really can’t do. I don’t really care about plot holes, but it does come across as rather lazy.
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X-Men Apocalypse also reuses old plot lines once again, which makes them rather redundant. Once again, Magneto’s family is murdered so he turns evil. You can probably guess how his character arc will end from there as well. At first I was leaning towards a 4-5 for this film and after going through all of the negatives and the positives, it’s clear that the former wins out. This film’s just incredibly irritating and spends way too much time on build up with no actual climax to save it. It definitely doesn’t deserve a positive score in the end. I mean, the soundtrack is really the only thing that I can praise in this film along with some good visuals and a fun Quicksilver scene. Beyond that, it feels like nothing happened and we didn’t get the action that I had been waiting for the entire time. That being said, it did manage to avoid some issues like animal violence and there is a decent amount of replay value to be found here. It’s not quite Avengers and I probably wouldn’t rewatch it anytime soon, but at least it’s not over the top grim.

One thing that hurts the film quite a bit is the fact that it is never fun. The film tries to be humorous at times, but it never quite works. Professor Xavier claims that he believes in the humans and that they can all coexist for peace, but it comes across as a crazy thought in this film. There is never even a shred of evidence or potential for Xavier to see and reaffirm his beliefs on that. I’m glad that he is finally training the team a little, but he sure took his time. It’s heavily implied that he knew about how mutants were still being persecuted, hunted, and used for sport around the world, but he decided to do nothing about it. When good people do nothing in the face of evil, evil wins. That’s a common saying that it used and it certainly fits this mentality that Xavier has. He has done nothing to help the mutants and is content to simply stay at his school. He makes threats about what will happen if humans attack him, but he needs to see the bigger picture.

I was glad to see that the film kept in Nightcrawler’s Christianity. I was worried that they would cut that out, but it is emphasized in a scene or two which was great. I also like how Havok pointed out that the Apocalypse myths stole the 4 Horsemen angle from the Bible. Moira tries to deny this, but it’s easy to see that she was grasping at straws from that point. Considering that Apocalypse’s whole angle is that he wants to be the god of the world, it’s good to see the film acknowledging the true God and putting Apocalypse down as a false one.

Naturally, Cyclops has been changed to make him more of a rebellious character this time. Gone are the days when he was the responsible member like in the 90’s show or Evolution. He’s the one who decides to break the rules and head to the mall even when he knows that he could be putting them all in a lot of danger. Nightcrawler stands out quite a bit after all and Cyclops can’t control his powers at all. Seems like a recipe for disaster if you ask me. Mystique is the heroic leader this time, but I guess she may not be a main character in the next film. It’s time to see if the next generation can hold their own title. She did well here though and is one of the more likable characters. She may actually be the best X-Men member. After all, Mystique is actually going around the world and helping out the other mutants. That’s something that none of the others are doing.

Jean Grey’s a decently good character. The accent is a little odd and overall she doesn’t feel as much like Jean Grey as the older version, but give it time and we’ll get used to her I suppose. It is a little sad that her powers were so easily blocked by an EMP barrier though. Given that she is finally starting to realize her true powers, this luckily shouldn’t be a problem in the next film. Nightcrawler was all right, but did they really have to make him look so bad in his true form? It can still look solid while still showing that he grew up in a tough situation. Beast is rather terrible and spends all his time flirting instead of doing anything productive with himself.

Quicksilver’s a solid character and as mentioned before, he did have some of the best scenes. At least he was ready to fight. Havok was also a great member and was the only one to stand up to Apocalypse. It’s a shame that we knew he would lose from the start, but he had guts. Magneto makes for a good antagonist although the cheering during one of his first scenes was rather unsettling. He massacres a group of cops after they murder his wife and child, but let’s look at the context for this. As far as these guys know, Magneto is a wanted criminal who tried to assassinate the President of the United States before going into hiding. Sure, Magneto has been working for the country for a while undercover, but he is still a fugitive who escaped justice. Are the cops supposed to simply turn a blind eye to this?

Furthermore, it looked like the cop in question who fired the arrow simply slipped due to being distracted by the birds. That was inexcusable and it’s understandable that Magneto exacted revenge, but to cheer as the other cops are killed is also very bad. They really hadn’t done anything and they were fully prepared to just arrest Magneto. Knowing how the films work, I’m sure that they would have turned out to be corrupt or something because films always like to make the government evil. That being said, it was still a rather sad scene and it’s too bad that these things always happen to Magneto’s family. Either way, he is a sympathetic villain and easily the most interesting one in this film. I have enjoyed his character quite a lot in this trilogy and more so than in the original films. That being said, this character arc does seem as if it has been repeated so it’s not very original this time around.

Angel’s your average drunk fighter. Granted, he was forced into the arena, but it certainly hardened him. Considering that Apocalypse has no mind control over his followers, you do have to question how Angel follows him so obediently after his rather painful transformation. I guess that’s how much he likes the feeling of being strong. There’s nothing particularly cool about him and he’s just there to have another villain around. Storm is cool and has more personality than the other two horsemen. (So, not counting Magneto) In the end, she didn’t have the guts to make her move before the classic 5 minute delay which lost some points with me, but she made for a decent villain. Her powers seemed very weak though and that’s considering that Apocalypse had augmented them. Hopefully she will look more impressive next time.

Psylocke’s always been one of my favorite X-Men characters, but unfortunately she has gotten the shaft in every one of her appearances. In the 90’s show she appeared briefly to fight Magneto, Wolverine, Sabertooth, and some of the other fighters only to vanish after that multiparter was over. In Wolverine and the X-Men she only appeared very briefly. Considering that she is a great hand to hand fighter and that she has telepathic abilities, I always thought that she was underrated. I’m glad that she finally got to be a main villain in this film, but her role here was rather small. The series seems like it has big plans for her, but she didn’t look quite as impressive as she should have. She is brave and isn’t afraid to fight so those are always good qualities. Hopefully she’ll get more action scenes next time to give us some more feats for the character.

As for Apocalypse, he’s not a cool villain. I like him a lot in the 90’s show and most of his comic iterations are solid as well although it’s been a while since he has done anything of importance in the comics. That being said, I like Apocalypse because he is a fighter. He is above mutants and can typically handle a dozen or more heroes at once. This version only seems to have transmutation abilities and maybe some TK abilities. That’s not enough to make him look impressive and he can barely fight. He completely relies on his barriers and followers all the time. The film really messed up with him. At the very least, I did like the chants that he got during the beginning of the film. I thought that the chanting song was surprisingly good.

There really wasn’t much of a point to Moira being around though. Unfortunately, she doesn’t add anything to the film and didn’t really need to be there. Meanwhile, I didn’t care for how the government reacted after all of the nukes were fired. They looked mildly surprised and then they never appeared again until the very end. Considering the tensions in the 80’s, you’d think that there would be more alarm and distress after having lost all of their nukes. I would have liked to have seen the government do something rather than simply have a shadow cabinet kidnap the gullible X-Men. (“We’re here to help…we’re just carrying guns for fun” The X-Men should have instantly known that something was up instead of just standing around with a confused expression on their faces)

If the next film wants to succeed, it’s going to have to start with more super powered fights. 90% of the “battles” in this film were just mutants slaughtering humans who can’t fight back. Magneto against construction workers and cops, _________ against various armed soldiers, etc. I don’t go watch an X-Men film to see uneven battles. I want mutants against mutants just like I go to a Man of Steel film to watch Superman do battle with other super powered beings. It just makes sense.

To an extent, I’ve also got to blame the trailers for why the film was so disappointing. First, let me state what I believe the point of a trailer to be. A good trailer should get you as hyped about a film as possible through any means necessary. It can be misleading and it can show spoilers. None of that matters so long as the trailer is awesome and hype. The trailers succeeded on that front as they did a good job of making the film look awesome. These were definitely the best X-Men trailers ever. Unfortunately, the problem is that by comparison, the film is rather bad as you are watching it. Most of the best scenes that showed promise in the trailers either don’t happen until the final 5 minutes of the film as set up for the next one or they are so out of context that the real context isn’t as good. (Similar to the “Do you bleed” line from Batman V Superman. The context in the trailer was so much better) This was going to be the film where the heroes finally got their costumes, but it happens after all of the fights have finished so it barely matters. It was hard not to chuckle when Beast opened the containers to take out the combat costumes for everyone because they were….black leather costumes once again. Sure, there were some cosmetic changes, but essentially it was back to the same things as in the original trilogy. So much for progress. There’s probably more things that I could mention in regards to the film, but I can’t think of any more at the moment so this is a good time to start wrapping up the review. If anything, just hit me up in the comments for more details or to explain why you liked the film. For every naysayer there is a fan and vice versa after all.
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Overall, whenever an X-Men film ends, you’re left with a sign of hope that the next one will finally be good. This one ends with that note as well, but I have a feeling that the film will manage to mess this up somehow. The visions of the future look promising and Apocalypse also seems thrilled at the prospect of what is going to occur, but I simply don’t think the film can handle it. The franchise has simply failed one too many times with this film. Despite its flaws, the original X-Men trilogy certainly felt more like X-Men films than this latest trilogy. Hopefully the series goes up from here, but what it needs is a complete reboot. The film needs to improve on every level so giving it some time away from the big screen may be in its best interest. If you were tempted to watch this film, I recommend skipping it and checking out Batman V Superman instead. It’s certainly more worth your money. Fox has a ways to go if it wants to catch up to Warner Bros, Disney, or even Sony at this point.

Overall 5/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Marvel Masterworks The X-Men Volume 3 Review

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It’s time for another visit down memory lane with some classic X-Men comics. The Marvel Masterworks series has definitely been an excellent way to look at some of Marvel’s original all stars. I don’t believe that I’ve read any that I disliked. The X-Men collection is even better than most as the comics were really interesting and about on par with those of Spiderman and Thor. It’s fun to see Cyclops and how much of noble leader he was in contrast with his current personality. This is a collection that you don’t want to miss!

The collection brings 10 comics and since each one is about 20 pages, we get around a 200 page collection. That’s a decent size and it allows the graphic novel to churn out quite a few stories. The collection starts off with an action packed two parter where Count Nefaria assembles a group of super villains to take down the X-Men. Their members are all rather weak and unknown, but they prove that teamwork can make any villain a legitimate threat. Can the X-Men put aside their differences and defeat them or will they be crushed?

This was a great way to start off the collection. I had quite a bit of fun with this two part story as it was fun to see the heroes actually losing against some of the weakest villains that I’ve seen in a while. This certainly wasn’t there day, but at least Cyclops put up a decent fight. When you think about it, the X-Men really aren’t that tough so a sneak attack can work quite well against them.

Next up was a one shot issue with the Locust. This comic was fun to read as the guy got a sucker punch in on Cyclops, which was hilarious to read. There’s not a whole lot more to say about it because the Locust is just another villain who wants to terrorize the world. His goals and motivations are essentially cardboard, but he still makes for an interesting antagonist. I never considered him to be much of a threat though.

After that, was the two part comic with El Tigre. El Tigre was just your average criminal until he found a pendant, which allowed him to gain great powers. Once he had both pieces, he claimed to be a god and the X-Men realized that this villain would be no pushover. In fact, it may take everything that the X-Men had and more to defeat this guy. Thor is mentioned as the X-Men admit that he could have beaten El Tigre, but what can mere mortals do? El Tigre was a bit of a boring villain. Decently likable, but there was nothing to him and I can see why he never became popular. His telepathic abilities were certainly good though.

The Mimic returned for the next 3 issues. He decided to join the team and help them out, but he was unwilling to alter his personality. Mimic essentially bullied his way into being the team’s leader. He is the most powerful member of the group to be sure, but he’s not a very nice guy. He helped the team against the Banshee and the Super Adaptoid though. Without him, the team would not have lasted very long against those threats. They were certainly lucky that the Mimic was in town.

It was fun to see the Super Adaptoid. He’s like a retro Ultron and made for a very imposing villain. He probably should have beaten The X-Men, but I suppose that having the Mimic along gave the team some extra muscle power. It’s sad that nobody believed Iceman when he saw the android though. The Cobalt Man still doesn’t make that much sense into how suddenly he turned evil, but he was a fun adversary as well. He’s essentially an evil Iron Man and it’s impressive that someone was able to replicate the suit. The Mimic wasn’t a very likable guy. He comes across as really arrogant, but not in a cool way. He can barely back up his tough talk and didn’t last too long when the stakes were high. He has a sad ending to his story, but it’s likely just temporary and I expect him to be in fighting shape before long.

Finally, the comic ended on a bit of a quiet note with two stand alone stories. Warlock decided to attack in one issue, but it wasn’t the cool Adam Warlock. This was Merlin and the man had merely changed his name. It was a decent issue, but nothing to write home about…just to write the blog about. In the last issue, the dreaded Cobalt Man made his debut. He used to be an all right guy, but putting on the costume turned him into a super villain. It’s interesting because there’s no reason why this should have happened to him. I suppose that it’s just like how putting on a mask makes some people turn into super heroes, it has the opposite effect on others.

There are naturally a few subplots, which continue in the background during the issues and will likely stick around for future volumes as well. There’s an evil organization that keeps being mentioned and you can bet that they are about to make their move. Jean Grey also quit the team to enter into college, but still ends up helping out in just about every issue. Professor Xavier is also keeping a big secret. There are probably even more plots going on if I really focused and that’s one of the reasons why the collection is so much fun. Being able to juggle many different plots is the sign of a good writer.

Also, the comic is a blast to read through and through. In the end, that’s why you read a comic after all and few succeed more than this one. The writing is on the dot and it’s great to hear the characters exchanging one liners. The characters even acknowledge this as it leads to a loss for the heroes several times and the villains rub it in. “While you’re posturing, I’ll take this.” is an example of something that a villain will say before stealing something or maybe even beating up on the heroes. It’s something that modern comics don’t really do anymore as the heroes don’t indulge in puns and their quick burns. I certainly miss that as it was really classic and fun to witness.

The roster is a pretty good one although the team is a little weak at this point. Cyclops is still the commanding leader who is always ready for action. He hasn’t come to terms with his optic blasts yet, but he’s certainly on the way to recovery at this point. He’s easily the strongest member of the team and the most likable one. Angel is Cyclop’s rival and the guy is decently heroic, but certainly not as likable. He puts Cyclops in a bad position when the Angel accuses him of attempted murder and the guy is constantly flirting. That’s definitely not cool. Iceman is pretty great as he gets the most burns and can fight on his own better than most of the others. He doesn’t get a very unique role compared to the others, but he’s always helping out. Professor X doesn’t act as the leader very often anymore, but he starts to act a little shady in this volume. It’ll be interesting to see what he’s hiding. He has a device that allows him to walk a little, which is interesting. I wonder why he ultimately ends up ditching it and will be interested in seeing how it is broken. You would expect him to simply rebuild it, but I suppose that there are extenuating circumstances.

Jean Grey gets a bigger role than the rest of the team since she has her own major subplot where she joins College. She’s definitely a good character and helps out the team in many circumstances. If she had more mental energy, she would easily be the power house of the team. As it stands, her powers have not developed enough to make her a big threat. The Beast is still my least favorite member of the team. He always uses big words to impress the others, but I just don’t see him as much of a fighter. Having a little extra agility isn’t very lethal. Of course, none of the characters are downright bad and they’re all written well. So, even the most unlikable members (Beast and Angel) still end up being good characters when compared to the average bad one.

As expected, the art in the comics is really good. This retro style is a lot of fun and the action scenes definitely roll by smoothly. I was glad that the X-Men altered their costumes a little as Jean was right that the old ones simply had too much yellow. They were rather bland and didn’t scream “Super Hero” to those who saw them. The Avengers all had unique attire after all. If the X-Men had to share the same ones, it would need to be a good costume that you could never forget.

Overall, This was a really fun collection to read through. The X-Men never disappoint whether it is this roster, The Uncanny X-Men or one of the various mixes throughout the years. Back in the day, The X-Men were certainly a fun bunch and could hold their own against the Avengers. (In style, not power) They probably passed The Avengers for a time when Earth’s Mightiest Heroes lost Iron Man and Thor. I highly recommend checking this collection out when you have a chance and I will be reading volume 4 in the very near future so keep your eyes peeled for that. It’s going to be an epic ride and I’m nearly through my comic backlog now.

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Guardians of The Galaxy/All New X Men The Trial of Jean Grey Review

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It’s time to look at the recent crossover between these two series. It has always been a smart decision to have two series collaborate on their own mini arc. Marvel and DC have been doing this for decades at this point and the formula continues to work. You also don’t have to wait quite as long to finish an event since it is essentially getting double speed until it finishes. I recently finished a volume in the All New X Men series so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle this galactic mission!

The title is actually pretty self explanatory to the plot though. The Shiar has found out about the original X Men arriving on the present. Gladiator realizes that this is his chance to make his people look good so he decides to attack Earth and kidnap Jean Grey. Realizing that a frontal assault against the strongest planet in the multiverse would be a bad idea, he attacks during the night and kidnaps her. The X Men are dazed and confused, but luckily the Guardians of The Galaxy show up. The X Men decide to hitch a ride with them and head off to stop Gladiator before they can execute the telepath. Will they make it in time!

The X Men felt out of their depth in their own series and that is also the case here. Gone are the days where the X Men were a force to be reckoned with. Skism and AVX really changed things for them. If Wolverine and Storm were around that would help, but Shadowcat is really the only adult member at the moment. This means that the classic members have to do a lot of the heavy lifting as well and they simply aren’t cut out for this. It’s safe to say that they would have been doomed if the Guardians hadn’t shown up and I don’t even think that the Guardians are that tough. They are certainly not as imposing as they think they are.

Cyclops tries to act as the commanding leader for the team, but only once in a while. He does make threats to the villains on how he will destroy them, but considering his current level of power…I don’t really see him going very far. Still, he is still a good ally to have and he sticks by his friends. Jean Grey certainly hasn’t made it easy for him. That being said, Cyclop’s final decision isn’t the best one, how can he protect his team if he’s on another planet? At least he won’t have to worry about the Avengers messing with him anymore.

The Beast, Angel, and Iceman are really just around for levity. They certainly don’t do well during the fights and they don’t have much of a role in this arc. Angel already got his development though so we’re just waiting on the other two. Jean Grey naturally gets a large focus here and I’m glad that she made the right call in not surrendering. Just saying that she was guilty and waiting to be executed would have been a pretty lousy decision. Instead, she harnessed her powers and managed to take on Gladiator. Her new abilities will certainly come in handy for the upcoming battles and maybe she’ll get even stronger. She really needs to put a handle on her telepathy though. Constantly reading everyone’s minds is a sure way to destroy the trust between teammates.

X 23 is a part of the X Men roster this time, but her role is very small. The characters even joke about it as one of them forgot that she was on the journey. I consider her to be one of the stronger members of this X Men roster so hopefully she will get more action next time. From the Guardians Roster, Angela, Gamora, and Drax would be considered as the heavy hitters. The thing is..they simply aren’t very strong.

For Drax, he has been unimpressive ever since his latest retcon/design. Gone are the days where he could go toe to toe against powerhouses like the Hulk and Thor. I really miss those days as I also preferred his design back then. He’s all talk in the current comics. It’s hard to gauge Angela and Gamora’s strength as they mostly just fight minions. I’m inclined to say that they could probably take out most of the current X Men members,m but they’re still not ready to go up against Gladiator. Still, they’re good characters. As per usual, I’m not a fan of Groot. His gimmick gets old very quickly and he is rarely helpful in a fight. Rocket’s always cool though as he constantly insults allies and enemies alike.

As for Jean Grey’s execution, it may be obvious by now, but I would naturally say that she is innocent.
You certainly can’t be found guilty of something that your future self did. Especially considering that you now know about it and can likely avoid it happening. (Moot point here thanks to the time travel element of course) It’s always an interesting debate of whether you should arrest or destroy someone if you know that they will eventually commit a large crime. I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of an arrest, but that’s a deeper talk than this review requires. Needless to say, the Shiar would essentially be murdering an innocent person in their mistaken quest for justice and that’s why they have never been considered as heroes.

There are certainly a lot of sub plots here that hint at things to come. Thanos is missing so naturally his next plan will be coming soon. Star Lord’s dad seems to want to stir up as much trouble as possible and the Badoon are also getting ready. Meanwhile, I wonder how the Supreme Intelligence will handle the situation. He was against the trial as he seems to be the most intelligent member of the group. Since the Shiar broke the truce not to go to Earth, I expect him to hopefully retaliate in some way. The Kree don’t simply back away when there is a fight!

The art is good for the comic. It’s at about the same level as the other All New X Men graphic novel. This means that the art typically looks good and it’s certainly very clear, but there will be moments when the characters just look off model. It’s not too distracting, but it still keeps me from calling the art very good. The important thing is that it will keep you engaged in the comic though.

As this is Bendis, the writing isn’t exactly spectacular. That being said, we’re certainly not at Dan Slott level and the comic maintains a fun atmosphere throughout. The slang and comic relief can get to be a bit much at times, but we do have to accept the fact that Bendis is working with two teams who are comprised of comedy characters. Iceman, Angel, Beast, Star Lord, Rocket, etc. Put them all in the same room and things are bound to get dicey!

The collection is slightly longer than the average one, but still makes for a short and sweet read. If I had to name a negative, it would be that the All New X Men are too easily impressed. I already went into it in my earlier All New X Men review, but they seem a little too naive, young, and easily impressed. They are still X Men so I expect them to cope with these kinds of situations a little easier. Is it really strange to see a talking tree and raccoon? I don’t think that they should really be shocked about this. When the Shiar attacked with their foot soldiers, I also think that the X Men should have won. How can you lose to foot soldiers?

Also, is it just me or did the comic have a lot of fun bashing Earth? Apparently, we have geniuses like Bruce Banner, The Wizard, Tony Stark, Reed Richards, and Peter Parker, but we can’t make spaceships that can move nearly as fast as just about any other race. If not for the Guardians arriving, we apparently don’t have the tech necessary to reach their solar system in time. I find that a little hard to buy as our tech should certainly be able to stand up to theirs. Considering how many alien ships we’ve claimed after failed inventions, we could have reverse engineered all of the necessary parts to make an even better ship. Hopefully we’re just holding back!

Overall, This was a fun team up between the two teams. The heroes are lucky that Jean Grey is a powerhouse now because they definitely are lacking in strength. Ordinarily, I’d assume that Gladiator could essentially take on both teams by himself. We’ll see how long the cosmic interlopers can keep their hands off of Earth. Hopefully the Guardians can protect it, but I really don’t see how. They have sensors that warn them whenever someone attacks Earth, but it’s not like they can just outrace every space vehicle. They need better defenses or this is going to happen again. I recommend checking out this collection as it is a fun action story. There are quite a few references to Jean Grey’s original days as the Phoenix for old fans and you will get to decide if you think Jean Grey is innocent or guilty. Hint, she is innocent!

Overall 7/10