Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: X-Men - Battle of the Atom Part 4

Battle of the Atom isn’t exactly the most exciting comic book I’ve reviewed on this blog so far but it’s also not the worst one either. It’s sort of just there; it’s not great but it’s not bad. Having now read up to part five and I can say that things will pick up. However part four, which we are reviewing now, is very much so a transitional issue, which means even less will happen here than it did in the previous three parts. Oh joy. So this will probably be a shorter review. The last three reviews: Part 1, Part 2, part 3

For the record this is a review of Uncanny X-Men (Vol. 3) #12 which was written by Brian Michael Bendis with art from Chris Bachalo (pencils), Tim Townsend, Mark Irwin, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba and Al Vey (inks) and Marte Gracia (colors).

Full review after the jump.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Review: X-Men - Battle of the Atom Part 3

So far behind…I don’t know what it is? I just can’t seem to sit down and review this stuff. Check out the reviews of Part One and Two

Anyway we’re now at part 3 of X-Men: Battle of the Atom. Last time we got the huge reveal of the new female Xorn actually being an adult Jean Grey, who look far too young to be from the future. Oh and also she’s alive, which is only odd when you remember in the present she’s supposed to be dead.

 Actually Jean Grey is not dead in the present, despite what her fellow X-Men believe. She was indeed killed by Xorn Pretending to Be Magneto Pretending to be Xorn in the storyline Planet X however she immediately was resurrected in the following storyline, Here Comes Tomorrow, in the future (time travel again?!) where she fully merges with the Phoenix Force becoming the White Phoenix of the Crown and eventually evolving to a higher plane of existence. I think somewhere in there she came back to the present.

No, I don’t know what the f**k I just wrote either.

We’ve seen the Phoenix since then; in Avengers vs. X-Men obviously the Phoenix Force was central to the plot but never once did Jean Grey as the White Phoenix come up. Furthermore the Phoenix was destroyed at the end of the storyline which is very confusing considering what we know about Jean Grey. As of this writing I have only read up to part four of Battle of the Atom so right now I don’t know if they’ve explained exactly what’s going on with this version of Jean or her connection to the Phoenix, so any confusing aspects of all this might be expertly explained in the future. For now I don’t know what the shit is going on.

...and yet Marvel won't ever bring Gwen Stacy back to life
I will make a bold prediction: the Jean Grey posing as Xorn will turn out not to be the one who died during Planet X but instead turn out to be the time displaced teenage Marvel Girl as an adult and she’s essentially trying to keep herself from making a horrifying mistake in the present. It’s just a guess and I can, and probably will, easily be wrong here.

Full review after the jump.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review: X-Men - Battle of the Atom Part 2

[Question: What’s the best way to delay a comic book review? Answer: Accidentally leave the comic in a different state when you hastily have to leave town. Oops.]

Today we again look at the new, ongoing X-Men crossover “epic” Battle of the Atom. Before we get into the review of Part Two proper let’s talk about that title. For part one click here.

For those of you who aren’t giant dorks like me you might have missed that the title is a play on the phrase “Children of the Atom” which is also the title of a 1953 novel by Wilmar H. Shiras. The book was about a group of young people who were born as mutants due to their parents’ exposure to a nuclear explosion years prior and now are gifted with superhuman intelligence. Apparently it’s never been officially confirmed but since the X-Men were originally depicted as a group of young mutants Stan Lee may have been heavily influenced by this book when he created their original comic (plus Stan Lee is well known for taking a lot of inspiration from popular fiction when creating comics so it would make historical sense). The X-Men, and mutants in general, have been referred to as “the Children of the Atom” for decades by Marvel Comics (often in the description of the team within the comics themselves) to the point that the title is probably more associated with them than with Shiras.

1950s speculative fiction is the best speculative fiction
So anyway “Battle” of the Atom would strongly imply a conflict between the X-Men, especially since the “original” children of the atom are present and accounted for. However as of this writing I’ve made it to Part Four of this series and so far it’s not exactly been the most explosive on confrontation. I’m just saying someone needs to get punched in the face and soon.

Full review after the jump.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: X-Men - Battle of the Atom Part 1

[NOTE: While I started this review two weeks ago it’s taken me a long while to get around to finishing it. As such I’m behind on this whole thing, but hopefully I can catch up by the weekend, or at least by next Monday. No promises]

It feels like I just went through an X-Men crossover but technically it’s almost been a year since I did the last review for Avengers vs. X-Men. Still it seems like X-Men: Battle of the Atom sort of sneaked up on me, even though I was well aware of it. But I am interested in it so I’m going to tackle it, thus spamming you non-comic book fans for several weeks (months?) with unwanted comic book rambling. You’re welcome. Anyway X-Men: Battle for the Atom is a new ten part X-Over (as the cool kids call them) that is moving through X-Men, Uncanny-X-Men, All-New X-Men, and Wolverine and the X-Men in addition to its own self-title two-parter. It features the present day X-Men and the time-displaced teenage X-Men from the past facing off with against team of time-displaced X-Men from the future.

Have I mentioned that superhero comics often don’t make a lot of sense?

Normally I like to have pre-blogs that set up these big events but, as I said, this all kind of sneaked up on me and I didn’t have time. There’s not a heck of a lot of stuff you’d need to understand, really only two things, but I do feel we should talk a bit. So let’s do so right now VERY briefly.

Time travel is a very common plot device in X-Men comics, to the point that no less than three X-Men are actually from varying alternate futures. One of the most famous X-Men stories, Days of Future Past, set the stage for the team to have many, many time travel epics…a lot of which were dumb. It’s such a cliché at this point that certain X-Men can just build time machines casually and the team can pretty much go into the future or past anytime they want. It’s really important to note that Marvel Comics' official policy when it comes to time travel in their stories is that when you travel into the past you cannot change history, instead you merely create an alternate timeline (hence why Bishop, Cable and Rachel Summers can all exist in the present). However this is a rule that is broken ALL THE F**KING TIME! It gets broken so many times that in every instance I hear a writer or editor cite this rulewhen justifying something I kind of want to deck them. Bottom line: Battle of the Atom is by far not the first time this plot device will be used and it won’t be the last.

"Stay tuned for 33 years of Marvel recycling this story over and over again"
As we saw in AvX #12 and Uncanny X-Men #1 Cyclops, now a fugitive, has become the face of the mutant revolution which has freaked out his former teammates. Beast somehow gets the moronic brilliant idea to kidnap the original X-Men (teenage versions of Cyclops, Beat, Iceman, Angel and Marvel Girl) and bringing them to the present in order to somehow guilt trip Cyclops into surrendering to authorities…or something; it was not a good plan. When this doesn’t work (OH REALLY?!) everyone apparently decides that it’s okay for the teens to just hang out in the present for a while, despite the fact that they’re risking the fabric of reality by doing so. In fact the teens have already have experienced game changing alterations as the team now greatly distrust Teen Cyclops for shit he hasn’t done yet, Marvel Girl dumped him in favor of Teen Beast (Marvel Girl is Teenage Jean Grey so this is very bad) and Teen Angel has abandoned his friends to join the mutant revolution. Good job breaking time and space, modern day Beast.

A review of Battle of the Atom Part One after the jump.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Kick-Ass 2 (Film)

I really enjoyed the original Kick-Ass despite its various flaws. Based on a comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. they, as I understood, were banking on getting the book turned into a film from the day they started planning it. However it wasn’t a seamless translation. Actually the movie took major liberties with key characters and moments that, at the end of the day, made the film way more lighthearted and, in my opinion, a far easier to enjoy story (Big Daddy in the comic was significantly more crazy and pathetic in the comic and the main character does not win the girl at all).

A sequel wasn’t completely guaranteed following the first one but as it was something of a sleeper hit it was only a matter of time. Kick-Ass 2 is based on two sequel comics to the original story: the Hit-Girl miniseries and, unsurprisingly, Kick-Ass 2. But since the film still follows the continuity of the original movie it by default can only adapt so much from the comic it’s named after. However my main concern with the film was that Mathew Vaughn, who directed the original AND X-Men: First Class which was my favorite X-Men movie, would not be returning to direct this film (also he would not be directing a sequel to X-Men: First Class either, presumably because he hates us all).

But Hit-Girl is here and Hit-Girl was the reason we all loved the first one. So there’s hope.

Full review after the jump.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Kickstarter Weekends Special Report: MALICE - Metamorphosis

There’s been a reason for the lack of updates the last few weeks and I may share them with you soon but today I am compelled to do a special Kickstarter Weekend. I’m going to talk about MALICE: Metamorphosis, which is a sequel to MALICE: The Webseries which was the first KS project I talked about on this blog which led me to starting my Kickstarter Weekend posts. I’ve decided to dedicate an entire post to this one project because I have a lot to say about it [EDIT: And I had to cut a lot of it out because it was rambling, but that’s kind of an indication of my feelings on it].

However just because I’m dedicating a lot of time to MALICE doesn’t mean we can ignore what we talked about last time. So before we discuss the new project let’s revisit some older ones.

Geek Bar Chicago: Funding Successful!

Final Earnings: $44,538 ($9,750 Goal)

As it reached its goal in a day there should be little surprise to see that Geek Bar’s campaign succeeded. It will still be a while before it’s done but once building is complete I plan on spending a decent amount of my time there.

Final Fantasy VII - The Web Series: Funding Suspended!

Final Earnings: $0 ($400,000 Goal)

Whether or not this project would have reached its particularly large goal isn’t certain but sadly it never got a chance: Square Enix got KS to take the whole page down due to “Copyright Violation”. I get it: you own a copyright and you need to protect it. But man, that just seemed harsh. I mean how many fan films based on copyrighted material have been produced in history? And lately how many of them have been funded through Kickstarter? (Answer: A lot) Maybe it was the scope of the project that freaked someone out or maybe it was the fact they actually called it “Final Fantasy” rather than something more original (Inspector Spacetime learned that the hard way) but it still kind of sucks that fans were not allowed to recreate their favorite video game as a live action experience. Shit like this makes you appreciate how gracious George Lucas was when it came to Star Wars fan films.

Anyway as I understand it was the KS page that got taken down, not the whole production but without the funding there’s no way it could work out. The people behind the web series had been attempting to contact Square Enix about the situation but they gave today (September 1st) as a deadline for themselves for when they give up the whole thing and as far as I’ve heard they’ve received no response. This web series will likely never happen. In related news Final Fantasy games have kind of sucked for the last twelve years.

Chroma Squad: Funding Successful!

Final Earnings: $97,148 ($55,000 Goal)

Lately I have become suspicious of indie video game companies using crowd funding for a list of reasons (for instance, the number of companies that had to go back to ask for more money and the large amount of creators who went bankrupt even after getting more than their original goal). That said Chroma Squad is a video game about managing a Super Sentai TV show…so there was no way I wasn’t going to go crazy over it! It managed to do very well for itself, going more than forty grand over the goal, and I hope it ends up working well. Time will tell and I have to say I’m a bit more cynical about this sort of thing than I was a year ago.

Okay, enough of the flashback. A whole blog dedicated to MALICE after the jump.
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