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The ’90s Revisited: Uncanny X-Men #303

90s_revisited

uncanny_xmen_0303Going Through the Motions

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Special Guest Artist: Richard Bennett
Inks Pgs. 8, 14-18: Dan Green
Editor: Bob Harras
Cover Date: August 1993
Cover Price: $1.25

My first issue of Uncanny X-Men that I got off the shelf was #300…partly BECAUSE it was #300. Big, round number…shiny, foil sparkly cover…a group shot of a bunch of characters I recognized from the animated series…it was a great attention-grabber. (Even if right now, I wouldn’t be able to tell you 27 years later what that issue was ABOUT/what its plot was).

I then missed several issues, picking back up with #304 (Fatal Attractions) and found a newsstand copy of #303 (at least as I recall offhand).

And it was #303 that really stuck with me. I always remembered that it was an issue that actually moved me to tears…it hit hard. And it was a character death that then informed several key things going forward for a few years into 1999’s The Twelve and onward.

When I decided to re-read it as a random "grab an issue from a stack of recent quarter-bin hauls" I recalled the emotional impact…but figured since I knew what was coming, knew where things had gone, character arcs and returns…SURELY this time through would be a clinical thing for me to analyze and consider the issue in terms of reading as an almost-40-year-old versus having read at age 12 or so.

But wow, was I wrong on that front!

The issue opens on Jean Grey entering Professor X’s ready room to check on Jubilee, to see how she’s doing after what just happened. Jubilee puts on a tough front, but as she and Jean talk–and we as readers see the flashbacks–that front cracks, as we see Jubilee open up and begin to accept the enormity of what she’s just seen unfold. Namely, that despite the Professor and Moira doing everything they could…they were unable to SAVE Illyana. Meanwhile a squad of X-Men including Colossus–Illyana’s older brother–was on their way back. Jubilee had bonded a bit with the visiting Kitty Pryde, and through Kitty’s translating, found out that she–Jubilee–had actually been having a positive impact on the dying young girl. But then things ‘blew up’ as Illyana went into respiratory failure, and though they eventually were able to stabilize her physically…she was left comatose, unlikely to regain consciousness. Leaving consideration to be had of what the young girl would (have) want(ed). We get this from Jubilee’s self-deprecating point of view as she considers herself and how dumb it was to say, place Illyana’s Bamf doll in her arms, while "the adults" argued over what to do going forward.

And then she recounts Peter’s arrival after–his getting off the X-jet and asking why no one was looking after his sister and if they couldn’t be trusted to look after her, should he ever leave. Only for Xavier to break down, having to tell Peter that his sister was gone, that they did everything they could. She was alive when he left, and alive when the group had last communicated, but now, arriving home, his beloved little sister was gone (and he hadn’t gotten to say goodbye…he wasn’t there in time, he wasn’t able to save her, etc.)

Which is–there–some of my projecting. And I actually laid the comic down and pushed it away, failing to hold my own tears in check.

Because this one hit close to home. Really close to my heart. Easy to project, easy to put myself into the situation. To see from Jubilee’s side, her coping mechanism. To see the anguish in the others–in Xavier and Moira. To imagine being in Peter’s position, being told of the passing of a loved one when–even if it was expected as a chance coming up, wasn’t prepared for FOR THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT.

The writing is quite good. It carried a strong authenticity to it–from Jean going after Jubilee and just being there for her, to Jubilee and her reactions to events as they’d unfolded (in flashback) as well as her after-it-all tough front and eventually breaking down. While I don’t relish the death of a child or anyone…this left an impact on me 27 years ago and it ripped into my heart again this time. This is the sort of issue that made me a fan of the franchise. Not some big globetrotting adventure or 6-issue battle with or for Magneto, not some culmination of years of subplots and rumors of a legendary group destined to rise up and defeat a villain, nor the identity revealed of some secret traitor.

Just a (relatively) "quiet" issue involving the characters just being PEOPLE, being a family, being…"normal." Being RELATABLE.

And there was certainly some impact from the bulk of the issue being flashbacks. There’s a sense of trepidation as the issue opens, and as Jean and Jubilee begin to talk and it becomes obvious that something really important has happened. To become increasingly aware of what it was, and that it has already happened–there’s not that "will they or won’t they" wondering, and not even that "hope" of some last-second save. Just the details unfolding and dealing with the loss this family–immediate and extended–has suffered.

The art is good, but in a way, it’s almost forgettable. Not in a bad way, mind you–but in that it has no particular problems or such to distract from the story itself, and so the story is just experienced. For me, it’s also that the dialogue and the fact of what’s happened that drives the issue…the artwork is there because it’s a comic book, a visual medium. But it’s the characters’ interactions, what they have to say to each other about stuff that matters more. And there’s nothing for some big double-paged splash scenes missing dialogue. That the art "disappears" into the "story" makes it a strong positive to me.

The events of this issue come out of then-recent plot elements in the X-titles, particularly out of the crossover event The X-Cutioner’s Song. If I’m recalling correctly, Illyana’s death was the first from the Legacy Virus…before the virus had even been named. It heavily influenced immediate changes such as Colossus first defecting to Magneto for a time and then eventually spending some time overseas with Excalibur before ultimately returning to the X-Men and then dying himself to activate a cure for the Legacy virus…and later both brother and sister resurrected and so on to where-ever the X-books and all the characters are in 2020 preset-day.

The issue stands along pretty well the way it’s written. And as the cover proclaims–"If you read only ONE X-Title this month–this issue MUST be it!" If you find this issue in a bargain-bin: 25-cent, 50-cent, even $1 or so…it’s well worth the read, and without even really NEEDING much context. But having read it will lend contextual value to most anything else X-related to be read that was published from 1993-2000/2001 or so in particular…including the (in?)famous Age of Apocalypse.

uncanny_xmen_0303_blogtrailer

The ’90s Revisited: X-Men Series 1, Cards 19-27

Well, it’s been a couple weeks longer than intended since revisiting these X-Men cards…but here we are, with the next "page" of 9 cards!

xmen_series1_full_019-027

With the exception of Kylun, I’m "familiar" with all of these characters, though some a bit more than others.

Let’s get into these and see what thoughts the cards bring up for me!

019a

This is definitely Cable as I remember him. Huge arms and muscles, giant guns, the scars and glowy-eye thing going on…and for this image, look! Even a random chain thrown in! Totally "the ’90s" visually–or at least, a PART of the ’90s.

019b

Well…this card is certainly "dated." Nathan Summers. Son of Cyclops. But back in ’92, he was just some new-ish unknown, not yet tied tightly into the X-Men mythos and all that. And since this card was published, we’ve learned a whole lot about his origins, the "bionic limbs," etc. Though there was a recent-ish run of Cable and X-Force or such, I’d say by and large his time with X-Force or the New Mutants is more a footnote in the character’s history these days.

020a

This image of Archangel is rather iconic. It’s typical Jim Lee for sure, and I’m pretty sure it was used as the cover for at least one comic, if only one that was highlighting card art in much large scale! Though I was aware of Archangel, this particular version of the character was a bit before my time…this (to me) still carries clear shades of the ’80s; it wasn’t terribly long into my time following these characters that the metal wings disappeared and Warren had actual wings again.

020b

To a certain degree, I don’t think I originally associated Archangel with Angel, as an "original X-Man." It’s sorta interesting to see the changes the character has gone through…as well as the "diluting" of his status as "Death," with seemingly so many other characters having held the role as well.

I’d forgotten the notion of the wings exerting any control over him…probably because that was largely done away with by the time I got into things.

021a

I definitely like this costume, or at least this rendition of it. Yet I’m not certain if I’ve actually read any "new" issues with this version of the character. Offhand I primarily know the character from the cartoon in the ’90s, and for his role with Generation X.

021b

I also did not recall the character being an X-villain, though I do vaguely recall the character’s appearance in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Also seems like a "given" to me his relation to Black Tom Cassidy.

022a

I’ve never been overly keen on any of Kitty’s codenames…to me, the "default" name to the character is her name–Kitty Pryde. I first "met" the character from the animated Pryde of the X-Men, which was itself my first/earliest exposure to the X-Men, several years before my conscious getting into the characters.

022b

This card seems suitably generic and basis…hardly any "contradition" to the last 25+ years, except I’m not sure she’s a teenager anymore (or if she is, she’s incredibly mature for one..!)

023a

Ok, I’d guess here’s a character that may have Once Been A Big Deal, but I wouldn’t have been able to place offhand…though given the theme of these cards and ranking my familiarity with properties, my first guess WOULD have been Excalibur for this character, had I not seen the back of the card already!

023b

Though that sounds distinctly ’90s, it fits the ’80s as well. Nothing really to say except I’m not familiar with the character, and this doesn’t exactly prompt any interest in me…though perhaps part of that is that I don’t know that the character has appeared or had any significance, period, for over two decades…

024a

Typical-ish Jean…another character that I’ve "always" known by her own name more than any codename. And appearing here both very familiar and yet looking a bit more muscled and "older" than a number of other characters. Yet perhaps still a bit on the "young side" for me at my present age.

024b

I was rather oblivious to the whole Scott (Cyclops)/Jean thing at first, their interest in each other being a bit of a "surprise" to me when it manifested in the cartoon; ditto the "triangle" aspect with Wolverine. It’s been interesting to see the various takes on the character over the years, and learn more about her past from before I got into the comics. This also reminds me how much I’d like to have this "original" Jean back, in place of the "teen Jean" taking over in contemporary Marvel comics.

025a

Colossus is a mixed sort of character for me…one I feel like I’ve known quite a bit about, and yet still a bit of a "stranger" to read about. He was largely a "side" character to me at first, with one of my earliest comics with him being Uncanny X-Men #304 when he "defected" to Magneto.

025b

Another early memory for me of Colossus is the cartoon series, coming shortly after the end of the Cold War and whatnot, early in my developing any sort of consciousness for history or world events. Though not mentioned here, one of my favorite portrayals of the character is his friendship with Wolverine and Nightcrawler. I believe he was "stuck" in his "metal form" at the time when I got into the X-stuff; though that obviously didn’t last.

026a

I’m pretty sure I first came across Warpath in X-Force, probably the crossover with Spider-Man where they fought the Juggernaut and Black Tom.

026b

Though I’ve long known Warpath’s relationship to the X-Men via Thunderbird, I often mixed the two names. Seems rather cliché in a way to realize how many active members of the team "started out" as "villains" or at least antagonists. These cards also seem to lowball weights, as it seems almost impossible for characters to be so light given muscle mass and such at least!

027a

I’m not sure when I first found this character. This particular image doesn’t strike me as overly iconic, though the costume basically screams X-Factor to me. I probably did discover the character in that title.

027b

Another "early memory" I have of Polaris is–I think–a reprint of Giant-Size X-Men, perhaps in Classic X-Men/X-Men Classic. I feel like even now, too much of my thoughts on the character center on her being/not-being the daughter of Magneto, or her relationship to Havok.


I guess while familiar with more of these characters, I don’t necessarily have a LOT to say about them…at least not the way I’d want to in a post like this.

Here’s my first post in this series, covering cards #s 1-9

And my second post, covering cards #s 10-18

Inferno (2015) #1 [Review]

secretwars_inferno001Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Javier Garron
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Javier Garro and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Assistant Editor: Xander Jarowey
Editor: Katie Kubert
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

I have yet to read the original Inferno saga. I remember and recognize its logo from comics I first saw in a friend’s collection, though now know it more personally through comics in my own collection, issues I’ve seen in passing in back issue and bargain bins, and know of it historically through prior revisitations and references as well as the “after-effects” it left on the X-Men-universe. But as a sucker for classic X-stories (with added appeal of late for lack of great X-stuff to get into), I was quite interested in this, if only to “check it out.” I wouldn’t necessarily choose Inferno–it’s hardly at the top of my list of favorite X-stories–but this issue was yet a mostly enjoyable read for me.

Several years after the demons took over the city, we find the Colossus willingly submits to doing Cyclops’ bidding in exchange for being allowed to–one day per year–take a squad of X-Men into the Inferno to attempt to free his sister from the demons’ grasp. After a particularly costly such encounter, the losses are driven home all the more, and Colossus finds himself nearly cut off, faced with one final rescue attempt that does not go nearly as he had hoped.

The story itself is good, taking the core concept of the classic story and giving it a different ending, pulling a “present” timeline out of that change. I’m not consciously familiar with the art team, but there’s a definite air of familiarity to me with the visuals, reminding me (I think) of Chris Bachalo‘s work…though that’s not entirely a positive. The art is not horrible or anything but it’s not exactly to my liking. Stylistically, it fits the story pretty well, and much of its simplicity works for getting across what’s going on. It could certainly be a lot worse, a lot more jarring, so I’m good with it as-is.

Where The Infinity Gauntlet had originally been its own title, and the 2099 line was basically a bunch of books with the 2099 tacked onto something (Spider-Man, Punisher, X-Men, etc) and so works with the current Secret Wars as Secret Wars 2099, Inferno works a little less so as a standalone to me. The logo is familiar and simple but on the cover seems to just be floating. Perhaps it’s the lack of a Secret Wars or Battleworld logo stretched across the top, but this mostly looks like a Bachalo-esque image with the logo elements pasted onto it.

In and of itself, this was a good issue and I’m definitely interested to see what happens in the next issue. I liked the stand-alone nature of this book: consciously I know it’s part of Secret Wars, one of the realms in that world, but on the whole this could just be an introductory issue of some parallel reality with the X-Men characters…and that works in a good way.

Perhaps not entirely worth $3.99, but getting an older, more classic-ish X-story back in the forefront is good enough for me. And given the seemingly arbitrary pricing model of Marvel‘s collected editions, I’m definitely ok with buying this as singles. Recommended particularly to fans of the original story, or early-’90s/pre-’90s X-stuff.

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: Generation Next #2

aoa_revisited_logo

generationnext002Hither Comes the Sugar Man!

Created by: Scott Lobdell & Chris Bachalo
Inks: Mark Buckingham
Colors: Steve Buccellato and Electric Crayon
Lettering: Starkings and Comicraft
Editor: Bob Harras
Cover: Chris Bachalo
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: April 1995
Cover Price: $1.95

Now that we know Illyana Rasputin is alive, we pick up on her, showing a newcomer the way of things in the realm of the Sugar Man. We then cut to her brother, initiating plans to get into the heavily-fortified facility with his team of young mutants. The bulk of the issue follows these young mutants as things get moved into place, despite their skepticism at the worth of one young girl simply on the word of a single individual only recently discovered. Part of this plan involves taking out Quietus, the foreman of the operation, to get in and figure out which mutant IS Illyana and where she can be located.

I’m still not much of a fan of Bachalo‘s art here…but despite that, it definitely sets a certain tone here–a bit dark, and fairly disturbing (and at some points, almost surreal). This certainly "works" for the issue, keeping this series visually distinct from the rest of the Age of Apocalypse stuff. I really can’t fault it too much there.

The story is interesting enough. Even in the "main" or "regular" X-Men/Marvel universe, I’m not nearly as familiar with these characters as I am many others…Generation X is a rather dim spot in my X-experience from the ’90s. So my emotional investment here, my interest in the characters is thus fairly limited. Things are easy enough to follow, but I find myself questioning more about Colossus and Kitty and how they met and so on, given the nature of this reality compared to the original.

It’s good to see the various characters and that they’re not just blindly on-board with stuff. There’s a certain authenticity there. It also seems quite reasonable to me for people to question stuff. As a reader, I know this isn’t the "true" reality and that OF COURSE things have to be "put right" but from the characters’ point of view, reality simply IS and anything else is what-if or "alternate reality."

This title continues to be a sort of "surprise" to me; that I’m actually enjoying it as much as I am. Despite the faults and such I point out above, and that I don’t actually enjoy seeing anyone suffer…this title in itself has been a much more enjoyable read than I’d anticipated. Even after realizing that with the first issue, I again found that I had to talk myself into NOT skipping the reading of this issue in favor of several of the other #2s.

As with a lot of the other issues so far and presumably to come, I recall the broad strokes and basic end results or strong key moments from these minis (perhaps blended/crossed with X-Men: Omega) but not much in the way of the nuanced details…which makes re-reading these similar to getting to read them for the first time.

Though it interrupts the "flow" of just flying through for the reading experience as a whole, there’s something to pausing between each issue to write up these thoughts on them, taking the time TO reflect before moving on to the next.

I’m sure the reading experience would also be different if I were to read these as individual series, but I’m also enjoying seeing the world unfold as it did originally, learning stuff in the "order of publication" and all that.

Age of Apocalypse Revisited: Generation Next #1

aoa_revisited_logo

generationnext001From the Top

Created by: Bachalo & Lobdell
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Colors: Steve Buccellato/Electric Crayon
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Cover: Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham
Editor: Bob Harras
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 1995
Cover Price: $1.95

On a more pronounced scale than X-Man #1, I remember disliking this series and so kinda "dreaded" "having to" read it to progress through the Age of Apocalypse saga. I know present-day I tend to not care for Bachalo‘s visual style, finding it cluttered and often hard to follow in the flow of just reading the story. But I actually rather enjoyed this issue.

The bulk of the issue follows a "training exercise" in which the younger mutants fight–Danger Room style–as training in use of their powers. First against each other, and then against their teachers–Colossus and Shadowcat, who prove to be quite ruthless and deadly, and encourage the same in their students. "Training" gets cut short with the appearance of Magneto, who (in his first "live" appearance to the kids) has Bishop in tow and seeks discovery of a possible time traveler…who, as it turns out may well be the sister Colossus thought killed. It will be up to this team of mutants to retrieve her.

As said, I haven’t really cared for Bachalo‘s work in more contemporary comics, and as such really was not looking forward to this issue. But I actually forgot as I read that this was a Bachalo-drawn issue, as the problems I’ve had with more recent stuff he’s done does not seem to be apparent here. I don’t know if that’s the inks, colors, pencil styles, or what. Whatever it is, I’m thankful, as this issue thusly has a distinct grittier, darker tone than the other issues I’ve read so far of the Age of Apocalypse #1s…setting it apart but not distractingly so.

The story isn’t bad…it doesn’t blow me away and is actually fairly cliché in its own way…but it works here, setting tone and showing the harshness of things these kids are facing (though we don’t get much explanation for Kitty’s behavior/personality compared to her non-AoA self).

While I have YET to read the Phalanx Covenant in full and really much with all the Generation X characters, I always found the timing of this interesting: by the end of the Age of Apocalypse stuff, there’d been equal time spent with Generation X as a title as this Generation Next…4 issues and 4 issues.

Not a bad read, certainly much more enjoyable than I remembered or expected…we’ll see what the later issues do for me.

X-Men Series 1 Revisited, Part 3

019_027

It’s amazing the changes these characters have been through in the past 20 years. Outside of Kylun who at first glance I didn’t even recognize, I’m familiar with the others…and they’ve all been through plenty. Cable’s evolved from some mercenary to a full-realized character tied deeply into the history of the X-men universe and has been through a number of significant events–from X-Cutioner’s Song to Messiah Complex/Messiah War/Second Coming to the more recent Marvel Now Cable & X-Force stuff to the upcoming All-New Marvel Now X-Force series..

Archangel’s since gone back to Angel, to Dark Angel to whatever he is at present. Banshee co-led the school in Generation X and has since died and–for all I know–come back. Shadowcat has grown up big-time. Jean Grey’s died and actually stayed dead. Colossus has joined the Acolytes, then Excalibur, back to the X-Men, died, come back, been the host of Cyttorak, a part of the Phoenix Five, etc. Warpath’s been part of Wolverine’s X-Force, Polaris was “lost in space” with Havok and others after Rise & Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire and since come back…

While I don’t care for the aesthetics of the multi-colored X symbols on the cards, I think I’ve recognized that rather than being simply an amateurish inconsistency, these are actually color-coded by “team” or “group” with a gold X for the Gold Team X-men, etc.

Click below for the cards themselves..

Continue reading

AvX: Consequences #4 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Fatal Attractions Revisited: Excalibur #71

Crossing Swords

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencilers: Ken Lashley, Darick Robertson, Matthew Ryan
Inkers: Cam Smith, Randy Elliot, Randy Emberlin, Mark Nelson
Letterers: Bill Oakley, Pat Brosseau, Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Cover: Joe Madureira and Joe Bennett
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November, 1993
Cover Price: 3.95

After Nightcrawler confronts one of the Acolytes and–thanks to Kitty–narrowly avoids killing him, the X-Men burst into things, “recruiting” the remanants of Excalibur’s help in a particular task: they want to “fix” Colossus. After an injury he’d suffered, he was unable to revert to human form, and they figure that’s the cause of his ‘defecting’ to Magneto’s camp. If they can heal him, surely that’ll fix him and any brain issue, and he’ll return to them.

The various characters react to stuff–some for, some against. While they do, Cable shows up for Colossus, and winds up confronting Phoenix (Rachel Grey) in a less than pleasant battle. Once Colossus arrives (thinking Kitty wants to return to Avalon with him), the “trap” is sprung and the plan revealed. Though Colossus declares he does not want the help of the X-Men, they “help” anyway, and his ability to shift back and forth between human and metal forms is restored. Though he has a touching moment with Kitty, he still opts to return to Avalon with the Acolytes.

Finally, as all of this has been going on, an idea has been building for Nightcrawler, and he decides that with the “old team” basically no more, he’ll have a “new team,” a new Excalibur, that will operate at Muir Isle with Moira.

After rereading X-Men 25 and Wolverine 75, this issue was a bit of a letdown. I’m probably least-aware of ’90s Excalibur of all the X-teams of the time, at least prior to Age of Apocalypse. Reading this, I had a vague sense of deja vu, that I’d read this before. Yet I can’t honestly say with certainty that I’d read the issue any time before reading it for this posting. I know t was at least a few years after the fact that I even acquired the issue for the first time (whether before or after college I don’t even know at this point). For quite awhile, Fatal Attractions (for me) ended with Wolverine 75.

Story-wise, this is a transition issue–we go from whatever recent stuff’s gone down with Excalibur to the end of the issue setting the stage for a whole new team. And in the middle of it we have Cyclops, Jean, and Professor X thrown in–familiar faces that made this issue seem much more an X-Men issue than it would have otherwise, which also ties it into the events of Fatal Attractions in general. It’s also kind of odd having the sense of continuity that there is here–but then, this was back when such things were important to stories and “families” of titles and not some loose option seen as detrimental to the nature of “the story.”

Visually, the issue is a bit uneven with multiple artists–though it’s not terribly detrimental to the issue. It seems like the various scenes had an artist, so there’s some internal consistency that way. I really like the look of Colossus costume in this issue–one page has a nearly full image of him, and it’s one of the best depictions of the character I can recall ever seeing.

It seems the two main things to come out of this issue are the “new” Excalibur team and Colossus is no longer confined to his metallic form. If you didn’t know he’d been injured, that’s probably not a huge plot point (before this read-through, I never would’ve been able to tell you where or when that little problem was dealt with–I’d once been aware that he was so injured, but never really thought about it much or cared to find out its resolution). That this is the beginning of a new Excalibur team has me interested in seeing that team; if this were a new issue, I’d definitely be back for the next. As-is looking at this nearly twenty years after it came out…I could simply track down the next few issues to read.

This is probably the “simplest” of the covers…it’s bright and colorful, but somehow not exactly my cup of tea, so to speak. The hologram of Nightcrawler is–like the others in this series–not bad, though at least on the copy I read, felt like I have to look at it somewhat from an angle to really get the best 3D effect.

So ended the official 30th Anniversary “event” for the X-Men. I loosely followed the X-books here and there over the next year-plus; it wasn’t until the end of 1994 with Legion Quest and then the Age of Apocalypse that I began a run of following the entire X-Universe.

The Rest of the Stack Catch-Up: TMNT and AvX

The Rest of the Stack logo

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted much, so this is part of my “catching up” on the past month and a half or so.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES COLOR CLASSICS #3

I’d forgotten this issue’s story. I guess it had to be somewhere, but my memories of these early issues jump from the turtles meeting April and dealing with Stockman and the Mousers right into what is probably going to be in #4. Yet, we get some pretty important stuff going on here as the turtles find Splinter missing (possibly killed by the Mousers), and actually turn to April for help. We also get the obvious inspiration for “the Turtle Van” (but less commercial). And the issue ends with the introduction of characters that inspired one of the primary characters in the classic cartoon series. The story itself is pretty basic…nothing all that deep, but still enjoyable enough in itself. I really like the art here as it’s just “classic” for me (biased though I must admit I am). The color added blends very well with the original black and white, such that it’s hard to believe this wasn’t a color series to begin with. (7/10)

RAPHAEL #1

Beyond the first issue of the TMNT Color Classics, I wasn’t sure how IDW was going to go about reprinting these issues, and sorta feared the Micro-Series issues would be merged in with the numbering, resulting in TMNT Color Classics being its own numbering that wouldn’t correspond with the issue being reprinted. However, this issue simply reprints the Raphael issue as itself, and I love that. The issue’s story is pretty basic and cliche, lacking much of the depth that we eventually get with the characters. Casey’s introduction here doesn’t work so well for me, but every character has to start somewhere. There’s also some clunky dialogue with Raph that just doesn’t seem to fit ANY version of the character I think of. The art’s classic Eastman & Laird (duh) and looks quite good in this new colored format. (7/10)

AVX #8

This issue is largely focused on Namor, as he lays waste to Wakanda, and the Avengers dogpile him, ultimately learning some useful information about the Phoenix Force and its interaction with multiple hosts. Storywise, this was one of my least-favorite issues–but then, that’s largely because Namor’s one of my least-favorite of the Phoenix Five (coming in just behind Illyana). It’s also increasingly difficult to take the scope of this story serious in the face of ongoing stories in other books seeming to have nothing to do with what’s unfolding in AvX, and that even some of the actual tie-in books are barely pulling a “red skies” level of involvement. The art’s a mixed bag for me, with some of the pages looking good and others just looking horrendous to me. (4/10)

AVX #9

Nine issues in and there’s just enough of a “completist” in me to grin ‘n bear it: I started following this series, and now I want to finish it, just on principle of finishing it–though I dropped all the tie-ins cold-turkey due to frustration at Marvel continuing its cycle of not even letting one event finish before announcing the next, and the spoiling of the end of this series, and Marvel Now… This issue’s another beat-down issue, with the Avengers piling on Colossonaut and Magik, with Spider-Man taking the worst beating of the bunch this time. The art continues to be mixed, with some panels looking excellent while others look generic and a bit rushed by comparison. This is the three-quarters mark of the series, and I’m quite ready to get to the end. (5/10)

AVX #10

Cyclops has shown up to take Hope away from the Avengers, though she makes it clear she does not wish to go with him. Fighting breaks out, and Hope even gets to ride a dragon, before turning her powers on Cyclops with an unintended effect. After the previous issue, the Phoenix Force is all the more concentrated in Cyclops, which makes Hope’s effect all the more meaningful. With the ending of this issue actually pulling me back into stuff and looking forward with interest to seeing how this story’s going to conclude. (6.5/10)

Photos From Home #13

Marvel / Fury Files 3.75″ figures
Hulk; Iron Man; Captain America; The Thing; Colossus (Wolverine & the X-Men 3.75″)

These are several of my favorites from the Marvel 3.75″ figures.  Hulk and Thing seem to me the best value for the price of these figures (though Hulk was a gift from a friend)…these two are relatively huge compared to the other figures in their line. (Ditto Colossus).  Iron Man and Cap of course are represented well here…I just wish I had a Thor to go with them.  Pikachu is left over from a keychain I had in high school…a remnant of my time as a Pokemon fan. (I couldn’t get him to sit in Hulk’s hand to wait for a poundin’).

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