Thursday, June 30, 2011

Preview: X-23 v3 Issue 12!

CBR has the preview up for issue 12.

It'll be hitting shelves on July 6th.
So be sure to pick up your copy then!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Recap: X-23 v3 Issue 10

Have you ever wanted to see a grown man squee? Yeah, issue 10 with Gambit's usages caused that. His birthday remark actually made me fist pump and squee at the same time. It was so perfectly Gambit, and yet so touching and just all around awesome.

Issue 10 shows the repercussions from Collision, has some great, and I do mean GREAT light hearted moments with Gambit while walking the line of X-23's problems without being overtly cumbersome and explicit but still with weight. All around just perfection.

I've said before that v3 issue 3 was a crowning jewel, and it is, but this issue makes that jewel seem like coal in comparison to its diamond gloriousness.

Gambit is written with perfection. X-23's own problems come across clear and unfiltered. Jubilee was a welcome addition. All around just perfection. So good I can't even find a better word other than perfection.

All this is being said straight from memory though, and I promise to go more indepth when I have more time, or decide to walk the 10 steps to the comic box to pull the issue out and have it in front of me to comment on. The heartfelt moments in this issue and issue 11 were so memorable, that they stick out even without the issues in front of me. They were just that good. That's saying something about these comics too. How often can you really remember powerful heartfelt moments over just the turning point moments or story beats of most major crossovers? Most of the time for myself I know, I just remember the story beats because you have to. These were more just moments remembered not of necessity but out of just pure squee-factor. Yes, I just called it the squee-factor, something many modern comics lack as they just get caught up in the basic superhero spandex brawls with only light touches of humanity.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

X-Men: First Class

I saw it, yes I liked it.

You probably already have your own review outlets for movies, so no need to cover that. I'd like to talk about the 3 continuity issues to it, but as River Song would say "Spoilers." So I'm holding off still for those who would rather not be spoiled accidentally.

The three continuity issues do have a strong basis for a logical and story-centric usage to make them not mistakes too. So it's really unfair to actually call them mistakes.

Right off the bat I will say this, Emma Frost is not Emma Silverfox from XMO: Wolverine. So that's not a mistake at all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

James Mangold to direct The Wolverine

According to Deadline, Fox has finally decided on a director for The Wolverine.

James Mangold has got the gig. Filming is set to begin in Japan this fall.

Personally, I kind of hope Gary Shore stays on their radar for future X-franchise productions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CBR's X-Position Talks to Marjorie Liu about X-23

CBR has a regular feature called X-Position. This time around they spoke with Marjorie Liu about X-23 again.

It's quite a great read and worth checking out.

It still makes me giggle when X-23's sole mark on her body is called her soul mark. Just love that word play, I don't know why.

Overall though, she has done amazing things with X-23 and I look forward to her second year on the title! I concur whole-heartedly with the consensus that X-23's on-going is the best X-Book on the market right now.

July 2011 - September 2011 X-23 Solicits


X-23 #12
Penciled by SANA TAKEDA
X-23 has been fighting against her past for years, and now she has an opportunity to put it to rest for good. Meanwhile, Jubilee’s past as a mutant and X-Man haunts her as she struggles to find a place in the world– but if they don’t have their pasts to keep them going, what do they have? And can they figure it out before the mysterious figure behind X-23’s kill-list gets to them first? Find out as New York Times Bestselling writer MARJORIE LIU and fan favorite artist SANA TAKEDA take you to the edge!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$2.99


X-23 #13
Penciled by PHIL NOTO
As X-23 searches for the sole survivor of her kill list, a seemingly-unstoppable force descends on New York and X-23 is its target…until an unlikely cavalry shows up. But maybe for a girl who struggles with her past, maybe the Future Foundation are the only ones that can help!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$2.99

Surrounded by tragedy on all sides, Speedball can either succumb to despair...or find the antidote to fear amid the horrors of war. But even if he finds it, one question remains: can the means used to sow fear throughout the world also be used to spread hope? The teen analogues of your favorite Avengers -- X-23, Spider-Girl, Power Man and Thunderstrike -- find themselves stranded on a weird island in the middle of the Pacific. Is it their greatest fears come to life ... or the birth of a powerful new super team? PLUS: Trouble is brewing out West as the effects of Fear Itself have neighbors at each others’ throats…and American Eagle is caught in the crosshairs!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


X-23 #14
Written by Marjorie Liu
Penciled by Phil Noto
Cover by Kalman Andrasofszky
A cosmic force is tearing apart New York, and targeting X-23, Sue Richards, and Spider-Man along the way. What strange connection do these three heroes share, and is it the key to saving the city and the world -- or will it get them killed?
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$2.99

With the forces of the Serpent spreading terror throughout the world, mankind has only one hope...themselves. Speedball must find a way to unite the people he's inspired to face their own fear...but is he leading them to victory, or death? An all-new team of heroes -- X-23, POWER MAN, AMADEUS CHO, THUNDERSTRIKE and SPIDER-GIRL find themselves trapped on a Hell-Carrier on a collision course with Honolulu to one-up Pearl Harbor! PLUS: Milwaukee's citizens have turned against the Great Lakes Avengers, even as the GLA faces its most lethal threat to date: The “hammer-wielding” Asbestos Man!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

May 2011 Sales

X-23 v3 #10
Cover - Review
Cover Price: $2.99
This issue was ranked 61 out of 300 according to ICv2 which is based on Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores. The issue has sold an estimated 26,157 copies to them.

You can see how previous issues did in their month of release over in the Sales Rank section.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

X-23's Mark in the Palm of her Hand

I'd said awhile back I'd cover exactly why I personally like this mark on X-23. That was ages back, but yup I said I'd do it, so here it is.

There was a Paper Cuts strip I had done, that mirrored my thoughts on this. The funny thing being it was written long before I was aware they were even going to do this with X-23, but it still holds true in comparison. Besides the obvious why I like snowflakes used in relation to X-23, it does have a lot of potential.

Snowflakes are things of individuality. No two are the same is what we're told from childhood on. This is something that works magnificently with X-23. Her opinion of herself when she's down on herself being just that, she's a carbon copy of Wolverine. Whereas other times she's defiant about this. She is herself. That moment of clarity in issue 3 where this appeared was just that. Her defiance in the face of those that would tell her she's simply a copy of a killer. Her refusal, and the mark's usage screams to the high heavens in a whisper "I choose me, I'm different." This mark being tied to her inside soul is interesting considering the circumstances that created it. It's a mark that's ripe with potential and exploration, but for now will just act as a reinforcement to her about that moment. Even reinforcements though can't often keep one from backsliding. How the mark will react to her backsliding I don't know, but that's the interesting aspect to snowflakes. They melt, reform, and come back again.

It's simplistic and effective, but also deep. In real life, the simplest things often hold the most weight, the most meaning. Overtly complex metaphors can be lost on an audience, mostly because in the end it becomes a writer just reaching for the stars but instead falling flat by becoming snide or 'bitchy' about something they don't grasp. This wasn't that. This was beauty in simplicity and a message that can carry itself. It doesn't need the arrogance of a creator taking swipes at fans because they think the fans didn't understand. Often enough we do, we just see the pure arrogance in what was said and done, and how lackluster it truly is without being blinded by being too close. This on the other hand was the exact opposite. Perfection. Something X-23's comic continues with as the series progresses. Perfect characterization, stories, and usages that make a reader think, but also doesn't come across as pretentious and arrogant. Simplicity being the thing a true master wordsmith is capable of. It's so subtle and simple, yet symbolic and capable of saying much more than any loaded symbolic miniseries or monologue ever could.

Then again, maybe I just have a bias towards snowflakes to begin with.

All of this of course is assuming it is a snowflake. It could very well be a star of guidance, like the stars seen in what we were led to believe was her soul. Like the stars she wept under over her mother's body in the origin mini as she knelt in the snow. It could also be akin to a compass star. Though those typically have eight points. Any of these would be strong metaphors. I just obviously personally lean on the snowflake preference.

What does it mean to you?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Paper Cuts Finale

Okay, I'm rushing things I know. I don't know when Tabby is going to start running MCAT(Misadventures of Callie and Tabby)
finally, but I had wanted to do one last Paper Cuts before then.
Considering the last one I ran made by me purely I used MSPaint, and I'm lacking the time now even for that within the forseeable future. I may as well just wrap it up on a pure text note. It's not like Paper Cuts had really been all that good to begin with. Why I have time to post but not work on this? Well if you hadn't noticed, I tend to just use a stream of conciousness unfiltered to how I do things here. Structure? We don't need no stinkin structure. Besides, to do anything else and play PR games, or be fake and posturing just defeats the purpose of what I want KP to stand for. Whether wrong or right, this place was built for free expression. Before this comes up, an interview with CBR made me realize I should clarify one point. This does not in any way shape or form have any commentary or connection to Marjorie Liu's current or previous X-23 run. Any meanings you draw out of it, are your own. So on with the (text albeit) finale.

"Of Ivory and Obsidian"
Written by Snowflakian

Some sit in their ivory towers in their arrogance looking down upon others.

Forgetting how the stones were chiseled, and the sweat on those that came before's brow.

Some toil in day to day hardships, looking upon the ivory shining brightly.

A beacon of relief, of escape, of rest.

Servants of the ivory follow their orders,

They swing their hammers at the base to prove how sturdy the tower will remain.

Others delight as the ivory splinters and cracks, awaiting the impending fall.

All the while one lone soul sits atop an obsidian tower hidden in the night.

Shaking their head while they watch on,

as the ivory masters proclaim sovereignty even when the tower falls under their own will,

under their callous words, orders, and actions.

While the obsidian, hidden in the night,

builds upon sweat from the lone master's brow.

Each block higher chiseled with care.

Each stone engraved with spirit.

The Spirit of those that built the ivory.

The builders' will the ivory masters had long forgotten.

A will though they tried, they could not steal or understand.

A will that is born within from humility without greed or vanity.

So closes the final door on Paper Cuts. May MCAT actually (please!) be good this time around. Only a handful more posts to go to catch up on all that I had promised. I've been assured once I do, I can actually continue on with the reviews (Daken's parts in Collision being the hang up right now, since somebody needs to have reviews of those done for inbetween the X-23 reviewed parts). Well, assuming I ever get around to putting the final part of the music entries up too at least. I'm also behind on solicits, and covers to add here. My apologies for that.

CBR Interview with Liu

CBR has an amazing interview with Marjorie Liu about what's to come with X-23. Be sure to check it out!

I'm still not sure about the comments of the same people that made Wolverine made X-23. Weapon X was a more military like organization with dog tags, and the Facility was a more business like entity. The only dog tags being that of Xander's father who stole the samples for the Facility who were trying to recreate the Weapon X project for their own gain.

Then again though, there are higher ups alluded to in the origin minis that were never revealed, as well as other small plotholes to the original mini that leave many aspects and questions open. This was just never a notion that was clearly stated in any issue that I'm aware of. I'm digressing a shade here, but I also simply love the idea presented in the Ms. Sinister arc that a certain Dr. Nathaniel Essex may have been working under Xander and the facility unbeknownst to all. This could explain so much about Kimura's origins and why Xander's experiments were failures, yet Kimura wasn't. Since Mr. Sinister was there in a covert type fashion, it potentially explains a lot about the big conflicting aspects to the origin minis. It was also never stated who created Kimura, simply that she was created for X-23. Never a direct mention of if it was through the Facility, or an outside contractor, or even what division of the Facility inner workings.

Also something major to celebrate, as it seems X-23 will continue for another year! Can't wait to read these as the story keeps building better and better. This interview itself bringing up many great points, and explanations about various aspects of the most recent issue, and the issues to come.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ReCap: X-23 v3 Issue 11

I wanted to do a quick piece on the previous comics for why they were so good, and I probably will eventually go back and do recaps on them too. For now, I wanted to focus on this issue.

If you haven't read it, I'd suggest you do so before continuing on. This entry just assumes you have already read it, so spoilers abound.

It has many aspects to it I adore. A few hit or miss spots that can easily be rationalized, but I'll get to that later.

So let's just start off with what was amazing about it.

The comparisons between Jubilee and X-23: These worked well, and their opposing natures and histories just work brilliantly. I do feel parts of it were rushed for the sake of getting it all out in a 3 issue arc, but overall it was handled very well.

Gambit: He really does help set the tone, and carries so much of the weight and humor in the issue. Gambit hasn't been so much himself in ages within comics, and it just feels so refreshing to have him in these issues. He's just pure unfiltered Gambit as we haven't been able to see him in a long time. Everything is just intact so perfectly for him, and in character in ways that have been long missing from comics it seems. I'm sorry for being vague here about Gambit, but such is the problem when you've done a commentary on an issue that comes after another issue with as rich and lush usages to praise too. The french, the attitude, the dialogue, just everything to perfection for him.

The Psychology: This is where the issue truly shines. Diving into more aspects about defining one's own voice through the attire you wear. This proves especially prominent in girls, as that young age of picking their own clothes helps define their self-esteem for years to come. Something that's pointed out that X-23 never really experienced. Self-esteem being something X-23 has always waivered on as well. This lack of self definition and pursuit of purpose is directly tied to how she was raised. She did pick her own clothes in the Target X mini-series, but the whole Megan/Debbie dynamic and story aspects are being left out for obvious reasons for now. As I've stated before, her most treasured memories, are the same ones she can't willingly reflect on that often or truly ever while she has a telepathic presence always pestering her, or Kimura hunting her. This became highly apparent with how Emma Frost mistreated Laura early on at the Academy by using Laura's memory of her mother to try and force her to leave. I do commend the usage here though, as she's only had that one lone moment of picking her own clothes, and even that was just rummaging through someone else's closet. It's not really the same as shopping for your own style. Everything she has was either taken during a mission, from the facility wardrobes, from the X-Men uniforms, or from someone else's closet. That moment potentially being where she discovered she likes dark colors and has a more winter colors motif(dark colors like blue, green, black, purple, Crimson, etc). This plays amazingly well into X-23's issues of self-worth, the backsliding into being a cutter again, and her seemingly wanting to die after destroying the one purpose she had managed to hold onto. The purpose her mother gave her in never harming children, but trying to save them. Something I'm not sure if Dr. Kinney realized she instilled into Laura by being so proud of her for saving Megan, and Kimura never harming Laura for it. Ditto could be said of the Sutter child, the first child Laura willfully made the choice to save, which was right after the Megan kidnapped by a pedophile incident. This also led to Kimura not laying a hand on Laura. So in essence, Laura has done the one thing she has never done before, she went against the one sole good thing the Facility instilled in her by accident and it's eating her up inside in conjunction with the kill list reminding her of her past.

The Mixed:

Triggerscent: I can see why Kimura (yes, I'm just going to assume that's who is doing this to Laura) would weaponize triggerscent like this. I'm just not sure I see how it's possible. For now, I'll let it go as it being the one thing Kimura or the remnants of the Facility still have left to experiment with and enhance, but the whole idea behind triggerscent itself is that it was a conditioned response to create a blind berserker rage in Laura. Weaponizing it to this degree seems odd when you consider that. On the flipside though, it seems we have a usage of the old triggerscent like it was originally intended during collision, and what's starting to seem like X-23 v3 issue 1. So maybe this weaponizing has more to it to be revealed later.

The Hooded Lady: While I'm just going to assume it's Kimura being sneaky, it feels contrary to her earlier usages. Not so much though when you consider things like how X-23 could anticipate her by the scent, and how combat adaptive X-23 has been when fighting her. Kimura may be using a more sleight of hand approach for this very reason. To toy with X-23, and essentially mess her life up even more. There's been a subtle undertone going on that at first I misconstrued as the writer misreading the character as enjoying the kill, to what now is starting to seem more like Kimura trying to make X-23 become like her. Something Kimura did attempt at the end of Target X as well. This would also explain the telepathic presence to a degree, and it wouldn't be beneath Kimura to try and mess with Laura's memories to attempt to speed that up.

Laura telling Jubilee how to kill her when the time comes: While I can see this with Laura's current mentality, she's been stopped before while under the effects of trigger scent by getting rid of the scent itself. The issue here though, is now it's on the clothes X-23 is wearing. Something the Facility has never done before, nor has been covered before. The scent has always marked targets, and once dissipated, x-23 snaps back to her senses. Even during the X-Force arc where X-23 put triggerscent in the sprinkler system, they never covered the fact her clothes were soaked in it. So while I marked this in the mixed area, it's a promising usage of the origin. If albeit, a little bit weird with Kimura's remark about how Laura lingers in this state longer than most. That has been proven before to not be true. Other usages of trigger scent though have seemingly been underinterpreted besides target X and how Megan used a shower to dissipate the scent on her mother Debbie, whereas usage in X-Force seemed almost too easy to snap her out of it and back to normal. Ditto really to Target X when you factor in the teapot that had trigger scent was still spilled downstairs and Laura never reacted to it after the initial reaction. This may also explain why Kimura or the mystery lady if it's not Kimura, has chosen to weaponize it moreso. I also wonder about this weaponizing aspect and the comparison spoken about it from X-23 to normal people. As this apparently is an all new triggerscent yet to be experimented on X-23 before(unless it was the variant used in issue 1 where the shelter inhabitants can be used as the comparison point). As mentioned, hers was a conditioned response to a scent, whereas this seems to act more on the fight or flight response, or reptile center of the brain to create violent outbursts on a mob scale. Again though, this being something only someone that either has ties to the Facility, or had ties could get their hands on. The only remaining member we know capable of this being Kimura. Though in Innocence Lost/X-23 v1, the question is raised about there being some faceless higher ups than even Dr. Rice or Dr. Sutter. Those higher ups the minis attempted to make clear that X-23 had never been aware of, let alone did her mother know of. So this recognition aspect suggests it must be Kimura. Kimura being the sabretooth to Laura's Wolverine anyway.

Overall, it's a very good issue, and an amazing arc so far. I wonder where it's going with this story, but I hope by the end of these upcoming arcs we finally start seeing X-23 whole again, or at least more like herself as depicted before in Academy X and Target X, before the X-Force caused downward spiral or this telepathic presence that twists what she thinks and remembers. I'm saying arcs plural, as these kinds of things can't be healed overnight. It will be an ongoing struggle as any such damage to a person would be. Even with a mark in the palm of her hand as a reinforcement agent, in times of high personal duress it's easy to simply forget what you've learned or experienced while more recent immediate events press harder on your conscience. A conscience being the thing showing that X-23 isn't a monster. She feels remorse, whereas Kimura doesn't. This immediately brings up the question of does Laura truly enjoy the kill, or is it the goal of the mission or purpose that drives her as a focal point to not think about her own situation. Kimura being an actual monster reveling and delighting in the pain of others. This seemed especially poignant in issue 7, where she spares people to Gambit's dismay, yet claims to enjoy killing to Jubilee and others. Is it that she truly enjoys killing or is she just saying this because of how little she thinks of herself. Something that also became apparent in the early issues of the ongoing where she found a strength within to stand up for herself. Her perception of herself seems to waiver based on that. When she's feeling strong for herself, she's defiant and knows she has value. When she's down on herself, she starts referencing herself again as less than human and of no value. Something much akin to the real world, and how one's perception of themself at the time reflects how they speak of themself during that time.