Friday, December 30, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #4 Preview, Plus A Guide to Recent Phalanx History

Looks like 2012 is certain to be a good year, as we're getting two new issues of Uncanny X-Men in two consecutive weeks. I'll be completely honest, and admit I'm leaning the Logan/Westchester way these days, but Kieron Gillen is still a pretty fun X-writer and honestly, two straight weeks with a new premiere X-book on the stands? It's starting to become a blissfully common occurrence.

Uncanny #4 brings us what is apparently just a one-shot, featuring the return of the dread Phalanx. The Phalanx, obviously, are the accidental byproduct of the feeding process of alien race the Technarchy, who are giant, living techno-organic organisms who possess a unique transmode virus. Their Marvel history is predominantly with the X-Men, used as a weapon by mutant haters as well as the direct connections to Warlock of the New Mutants, who is a mutant among the Technarchy, bearing a non-aggressive strain of the transmode virus.

What some people don't know, however, is what the Phalanx have been up to lately. Hit the jump for the Uncanny preview as well as some fun pictures from the Phalanx' latest adventures.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This Week's Comics - 12/28/11

So it's the last Pull List of the year, and despite last week's impressive haul, there are some gems in the stack that should end 2011 in style.

Considering that the fantastic and difficult-to-wait-for penultimate issue of Avengers: Children's Crusade is out, it seems it would be a shoe-in for any "Pick of the Week" spotlights. But in truth it didn't even affect the easy decision of honoring Mike Carey's final issue of X-Men Legacy after 5 years.

X-Men Legacy #260

This reader will miss you, Mr. Carey. Thanks for the great comics.

Read on for the list.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Preview: Avengers Children's Crusade #8

Today CBR brings us a preview of the penultimate chapter of this year's best comic series, Avengers: Children's Crusade. In light of next year's Avengers vs. X-Men epic, all the prophesies of this series having major ramifications for the entire Marvel Universe seem to be true.

The return of the Scarlet Witch continues, with a healed and all-powerful Victor von Doom taking center stage. Merry Christmas folks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Quicksilver Reviews This Week's Comics

I, Pietro Maximoff, have returned. Once again I find myself owing the odious Captain Elias a favor. The details of our debt are not to be divulged to his plebeian readers, save for the method of my repayment. That is, the reviewing of the silly "comic books", chronicling the adventures of my fellow super compatriots, which the Captain purchased yesterday with his limited funds. I believe he has a job of some kind to pay for such banal frivolities, but it's hardly worth mentioning.

The point is, I am here and he is not. I shall now take approximately 20 seconds to read his entire "Pull List" and write down my reactions. Whether you agree with my opinions, or are tempted to buy certain issues after hearing them, is no concern of mine. So long as you do not actively pursue the destruction of the mutant race, I could not care less.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This Week's Comics - 12/21/11

I guess the Big Two decided to release most of their best titles the week before Christmas, because my Pull List is seriously enlarged this week. But if there's one thing the birth of Jesus Christ has taught me, it's that the balance in my checking account does not matter as much as giving and receiving items of value.

And what's more valuable than the brand new adventures of my favorite superheroes? Absolutely nothing that's what.

Daredevil #7 is one of this week's top picks.
 Hit the jump for a week of franchise heroes, fairy tale holidays, dark knights with grudge matches, and dead mutants resurrecting all over the place.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, One Last Time

My biggest problem with DC's New 52, followed closely by the misuse of Tim Drake in the abominable Teen Titans, was the disappearance of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl.

The new Batgirl title, featuring an ambulatory Barbara Gordon, has been decent but not nearly as fantastic as Bryan Q. Miller's pre-52 Batgirl. There were conflicting reports about Stephanie's role in the new universe--did she exist? was she another Batgirl working for Batman, Inc.? was she back to being the Spoiler? how much of her history was still canon? etc. etc.

Well it turns out that tomorrow we will be getting our last look at Stephanie Brown in her trademark purple-y Batgirl costume. The comic is Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes! by Grant Morrison, the long awaited (though not by me) finale to his hugely delayed Batman, Inc.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things to Come: X-Men

CBR has a feature called Axel-in-Charge in which they interview Marvel's editor in chief about current and future plans in the Marvel U. I never really enjoy the interview itself; he doesn't really reveal anything newsworthy and just talks about the business and how they come up with ideas for big events, such as the recently announced Avengers vs. X-Men.

However, the feature does always include some advance art pages from upcoming comics, and while they may be unlettered previews, they do give us some hints about things to come.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: Uncanny X-Force #18, The Dark Angel Saga Conclusion

This week saw the conclusion of The Dark Angel Sage in Uncanny X-Force #18, a multi-issue arc with plot lines that can be traced all the way back to #1. (It seems Remender is a big continuity geek and fan of background hints and teasers.) This comic is one of the best, and certainly the most unique, superhero books out there, and the finale of this particularly huge story was still unexpectedly fantastic.

At the beginning, Warren Worthington III has been completely overwhelmed by the Archangel persona and, as the heir of Apocalypse, is poised to use the Life Seed to destroy the world and regrow it in a new evolutionary paradise...or something like that. Wolverine is out of the fight. Deadpool is in pieces. Only Fantomex and Psylocke remain to stand against Archangel.

(Read More for Review, quotes from Rick Remender, and preview of #19.)

X-Factor #229 Preivew

Because I don't want Madrox to die, or stop being leader of the team, or go anywhere at all in point of fact. And because Peter David is doing some fun brilliant stuff, especially with comic book cliches that remind one of '90s comics.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Angel & Faith #5 Preview

There's already a preview up for next month's Angel & Faith. So far I find this title a bit more gripping than the main Buffy flagship title, though both comics are leaving me a bit left down when it comes to hearing the true voices of these beloved characters. Some of the thigns they say and do just aren' character. (Example: Faith wearing a Peace necklace.)

That being said, Angel is the one I can hear most clearly, and while I struggle with this reformed, dress-wearing, pep-talky Faith, I highly enjoy their adventures. The next arc seems to have Harmony in it, as well as Clem, both classic comedy relief periphery guys but not nearly as engrossing as the prospect of Angel somehow turning into or being possessed by the deceased Giles. A clever and unexpected turn from Christos Gage who is really all over the place in the comics world. It's very impressive.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Avengers Vs. X-Men #0 Cover Revealed!

The more I think about it, the more excited I am for Avengers vs. X-Men. I know some people are saying it's unoriginal, or been done before, or is easy entertainment plot fluff. But y'know what? That's what I read comics for! I love these characters and their powers and their goals and their families, and seeing them split down the middle, going head to head over the fate of their loved ones and the safety of the world? That's just good clean fun.

Plus it occurred to me that never in Avengers or X-Men history have their respective teams been so large. Even when the world had millions of mutants, there were never this many united and on the team and living and fighting together. Likewise, the Avengers have had multiple teams before, and reserve members, but never three active at once on top of a school run by veteran faculty. Besides, if you read a Bendis Avengers reboot, you'll see a double spread page with all the heroes Steve Rogers picks to join the franchise. And it turns out that man is not very picky. So the potential conflict is bigger and more widespread than I thought at first.

Anyway, the point is Marvel released the cover for next years Avengers Vs. X-Men prologue focusing on Hope Summers and Wanda Maximoff! Pretty cool, right? Hit the jump for the official press release.

This Week's Comics - 12/14/11

As the wise elder of my village used to say, a drought in one plain means rain in another. It is thus for comics as well. A slim pull list one week means more money for beer.

So read, drink and be merry. And, if at all possible, spend most of your time thinking about superheroes. It just makes life better, in my experience.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Character of the Day: Thanoseid

In my excitement and anticipation for the return of Nova (is it really him? how's he coming back? if he survived the Cancerverse, what about Star-Lord and Thanos?) I recently reread The Thanos Imperative, the great mini-event that, at the time, seemed to be the final chapter in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's cosmic stories.

Thanos was an integral part of the story; the Avatar of Death, Star-Lord's ace-in-the-hole, he was the only being capable of halting the Cancerverse version of Mar-Vell and his unkillable masters the Many-Angled Ones. In the end he destroyed this enemy universe, yet was not given what he wanted; death, both in the sense of being dead and finally getting to be with his true love, lady Death. This enraged him, and as the cancerverse blinked out of existence, Nova and Star-Lord remained behind to keep Thanos from returning to our reality.

In the neural pathways of my brain reserved for comic book thoughts (which make up abotu 85% of my cranium) I free associated with regards to Thanos; I thought of his history in the Marvel Universe (every Infinity miniseries, including Infinity Abyss which I want to find since I've never read a comic where Genis-Vell, son of Mar-Vell and brother of Phyla-Vell, was in the role of Captain Marvel) his several deaths and returns (Annihilation War, Imperative) and his long discussed similarity to DC's Darkseid.

Researching which all powerful, mostly-malevolent and destructive cosmic character came first, I came upon the being known as Thanoseid, a synthesis of the DC and Marvel characters that appeared in the '90s, during the big event of DC vs. Marvel. That unprecedented event was also on my mind lately, recalled by the news of Avengers vs. X-Men, and those teams' history of conflict. I remember being ridiculously excited as a boy for the Marvel vs DC match-ups, though the subsequent Amalgam Comics that they released, with several titles focusing on the synthesized characters, was a little more difficult to get into.

Regardless, I had no memory of the Thanos/Darkseid amalgamation, but I found the idea appealing. Being generally a Marvel man, I prefer the stories I've read featuring Thanos, but I have to admit the substantial villainy of Darkseid despite hating such stories as Final Crisis.

So watching Rocket Raccoon's tail stiffen when faced with a berserker Thanos, I could only imagine his reaction when confronted with Thanoseid and his Anti-Life Nullifier (contradiction?)

Oh who am I kidding. Rocket would do what he always does when faced with a conflict. Grab a really big gun. (They should write a Rocket Raccoon/Cable crossover...I think they'd get along great.)

Wolverine and the X-Men #4 Preview

It's unlettered, which hurts, and is not my favorite art, but hey, Jason Aaron hasn't let me down yet, so I'm keeping the faith. Plus: Kitty Pryde. Not really sure why he'd put Deathlok on the faculty (a character I've never enjoyed, except maybe when he was in the wonderful Silver Sable series decades ago) but I'm hoping we get some X-Force drama soon and figure out how Betsy's pulling off the double-team-duty across the great divide.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Comic Book Movie Teasers

It seems this weekend saw some new teasers released for upcoming comic movies. Unfortunately no Avengers fun; instead we get an interesting visual for the new Spider-Man reboot, as well as a taste of what's to come in the final Nolan/Bale Batman film.

The image of Bane walking away from Batman's discarded mask evokes a classic event in comics history, despite avoiding a direct iconic copy.

I should admit that I wasn't as crazy-in-love with The Dark Knight as everyone else, and am subsequently most looking forward to a Batman movie sans Joker, but the images I've seen of Bane's mask are truly disturbing, and it seems Anne Hathaway still insists upon being an actress and is given roles like Catwoman so that it's impossible to avoid her career entirely.

As for Spider-Man, I had my doubts about a limey taking on the role of Peter Parker, but his nerd-effusion at Comic Con convinced me to give him a shot, and Emma Stone has proven to be a pretty cool chick, so despite a nauseating first trailer, I'm looking forward to it.

Both teasers are via CBR here and here. Have a good Monday.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Uncanny X-Force #18 Preview

CBR has a preview up today for next week's Uncanny X-Force #18, the conclusion of the Dark Angel Saga. It's been a pretty exciting arc and there are reasons to expect the finale to be a game-changer. Reasons such as new members joining the team in future solicits, such as the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler and possibly Captain Britain (though he's also joining Secret Avengers), Fantomex' affection for Psylocke, and the effects of Schism on the team. Will Logan still be running X-Force from Westchester? Will Betsy, remaining on Utopia and in charge of the island's security, remain in touch and allied with Logan? Will Warren be rehabilited, remain Archangel or Angel, or even die, since he hasn't really been seen during all the Schism stuff?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Avengers vs. X-Men News

So yesterday saw Marvel's press conference about the recently announced major Marvel event Avengers vs. X-Men, coming next year. As reported on Tuesday by USA Today, the main conflict that sparks this huge conflict between the two premiere superhero teams of the Marvel Universe is the impending arrival of the Phoenix Force.

What that means for Hope Summers (who she is and how she's connected to the Phoenix, as well as the presently-returning Wanda Maximoff (who is presumably another key player in the series) is still unknown, but seems we won't have to wait until the April premiere of the event to find out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This Week's Comics - 12/7/2011

This Wednesday brings us a pretty thin Pull List, at least for yours truly, whose endeavours to edit down said List and maintain what is commonly referred to as a budget continue in earnest.

With everything I've removed and denied myself, the world of the X-Men are still front and center, and this week's most anticipated title (at least, again, for me) is X-Factor #228.

Check out the rest.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Avengers vs. X-Men

As per usual, it's USA Today that breaks a big comic story a day ahead of its release/announcement. In this case, all those Phoenix teasers we just took a look at it? This is what they're leading to:

The Phoenix Force is coming to Earth and, while no one seems entirely clear on what it's plans are, it seems the two biggest superhero franchises in the Marvel Universe have opposing ideas as to how to handle Hope Summers, the Messiah girl at the center of the storm.

Written by the best of the best writers and the most aesthetically pleasing artists available, there's little to complain about. True, I'd rather Fraction weren't involved, but Brubaker hasn't done x-epic since Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire and it's about time he came back. As for the artists, they're all my favorites; Romita Jr., Kubert, and Coipel. These guys were made for this kind of event, and instead of trading issues they will be trading four-issue "acts" which is pretty nice idea, continuity wise.

While it reminds of some really classic old school stuff... when the UN put Mags on trial and the two teams duked it out...

...this is a whole new ballgame, as the series clocks in at a staggering 12 issues. Hopefully that doesn't mean it's a monthly, since they have a different writer on each issue, but either way it doesn't start till April, and we get a 2part prologue; one issue focusing on Hope and one on the Scarlet Witch, who, naturally, is at the center of the conflict as well.

So many questions. How do the two branches of the X-Men come together on this? Where's X-Factor? Are Wanda and Hope gonna be buds? Is Storm's brief tenure as an Avenger gonna come to a close? Will the X-Men keep playing the race card? How badly did Cable fail his x-sanction agenda, which hasn't even come out yet? And most importantly, can someone please put the entire series in my hands right now? cause I don't know if I can wait.

Sure, it's kinda blatant Avengers-movie buildup, and it's like the most basic fan team-up/battle fantasy ever, but it's also completely and utterly perfect. It's next year's Young Avengers: Children's Crusade, only even more epic.

Make Mine Marvel.

The Phoenix is Coming. Tomorrow. You Busy?

Marvel has announced a live press conference of some kind tomorrow to announce the story that will see the return of the Phoenix, the cosmic force in the Marvel U that has done such damage and led to so many big stories (mostly X-Men and Shi'ar related ones.) This return has been teased since ComicCon, along with the names of basically every big writer Marvel has on staff, as well as being featured in the (very disappointing) Point One issue in a story with Nova, apparently alive, racing to warn others of Phoenix's return.

Fan reaction has been generally poor, from the small amount of comment-reading I do and groan-detecting I employed at NYCC this year. There's a small group of people, the minority for years now, who want Jean Grey to just come back already. The majority, it seems, is rather sick of the Phoenix, was sick of it even when Grant Morrison was killing Jean, and is sick of seeing the not-subtle hints for the past year or two that Hope Summers now bears the Phoenix.

And by not subtle, I mean, having her eyes go red and flame-birdy whenever she gets slightly pissed.