Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Brief RvB Interlude for Redefining Epic Female Characters

Marvel, seriously. C'mon. You know you want to hire them.
If the previous Red vs Blue clip posted here wasn't enough to prove how well Monty Oum can handle action, this should do it. Still not convinced? Look up Dead Fantasy.

You can watch new episodes of Red vs Blue every Monday night on Roosterteeth's site.

Monty Oum. Redefining epic since 2007!
Hollywood. Catch up or you'll go extinct.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hasbro's Marvel Universe X-23 Figure Nearly Released

X-23 is starting to show up on ebay from sellers in China. This usually means the figure is roughly a month and a half or less ready to start hitting store shelves.

Here's the auction. Don't worry, it's nearly time it'll hit store shelves where you'll only have to pay 7.99 if you're in the states, or whatever your normal local stores' prices are.

Special thanks goes out to AndyCR75 of Toyark for the heads up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Superhero Of the Month: X-23 Edition

Back in May, Superhero of the Month ran a contest on redesigning X-23.  Check out the results at the above link.

Should KP Make A More Thorough X-23 Character Dossier?

Should KP throw together a more thorough character dossier about X-23's growth through these storylines to her current presentation or do you feel this is just something better left forgotten solely to focus on Marjorie Liu's comic run? Personally I feel there shouldn't be a distinction. It should all factor into who X-23 is and her past. From Innocence Lost, Target X, NYX, Academy X, the ongoing, and every other comic story she's used in. Including her initial 'feral' behaviour towards the X-Men until Logan calls her on it.

In fact, that's the one thing Alt-Tab and I can agree on now. Marjorie Liu is taking all the stories and using them to emphasize the character growth. She even includes random nods to these stories throughout. Including nods to Target X with Wolverine and X-23 at the same San Francisco amusement park Laura visited with Megan before she met Logan.

The client's back scars from X-23.

I do feel there are some outlying aspects of X-23's appearance in NYX that leave many questions with how it's depicted. They leave much story potential open with how the art depicts what X-23 has been doing while under Zebra Daddy. That being the writer mostly refers to her being a prostitute for weirdos who like pain, never strictly mention if she's sleeping with these Johns, and showing with the art the spots she's marked one up in relative locations that would suggest it was impossible that she slept with the one John we are shown. All the claw marks are on his back, a nod to how fingernails can leave marks during passionate embraces, but X-23's claws aren't fingers. They don't bend, and wrists don't bend that far for her claws to have done it while the client is facing her. Ergo he couldn't have had actual intercourse with her when the marks were made. It's physically and anatomically impossible. If you still aren't sure, hug someone and see for yourself in relation to where the marks are and how your own wrist and elbow bends. You don't need to have sex to prove or disprove this as some fans may use as an excuse to belittle others. Though if that's the case and they are pro-penetration while trying to insult you in this debate, they are revealing their own lack of experience in what they are saying. This doesn't deny other forms of sex though, just the act of penetration itself during when he was marked up. Typically speakng, a person who gets off on pain, would need the cutting to be before and during the act itself. There are also those of fetishes that solely get off on the pain without any form of penetration. The normal position for such a fetish would be for him to lie down on his stomach with the person to do the harm stradling his rear or legs. Yeah that was fun to look up, I'm going to have to set my internet history on fire now as well as my eyes because there's not enough bleach in the world. Either way though, this adds a layer of sexual abuse on top of the already there emotional, physical, and verbal abuse Laura has been through(and why I think any form of moving visual medium she stars in besides motion comics should donate to similiar victim charities).

X-23's not a clone?
Ms. Liu has picked up on these nuances before. Most notably mentioned in the third issue where she states that Dr. Kinney used a part of herself to help give birth to X-23 as well as being a live birth. An idea that most audiences overlook, but it is there in the dialogue of the origin issues as well as the inventory practices of high-financed labs. Something every wiki tends to ignore, even Marvel themselves. The story itself in Innocence Lost outright says X-23 is a genetic twin of Wolverine, not really a clone, but Xander Rice continually calls Laura a clone to demean her and make her think she's subhuman since a clone was the original intended target creation. Something Marjorie Liu picked up and ran with in issue 3 of the ongoing. Laura doesn't know the distinction, only what she was called when they raised her. Also made note of in this issue, is that thanks to the files, and letter from her mother, and her own high IQ, that she is aware of how she was created, just not of that subtle difference. Essentially it's a self-image issue. She knows how she was created, but she's also been called a clone all her life and treated as less than human. ("All intents and purposes" suggests there are more DNA differences from how X-23 was created besides even just the genetic twin remark.  Which would explain the hair similiarity and eye similiarity to Dr. Sarah Kinney.)

It's these things that make X-23's history and mentalities quite complex moreso than most fans can understand. It's also what leaves X-23 with so much introspective story potential. This is why I feel KP should do a character dossier and go over all these appearances and usages. Even the smallest details all factor into the character and seem to contribute to the ongoing's characterization whether we like the story or not.

Academy X - A fan debate.

Previouly here, Alt-Tab has said that Academy X seems like Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost are using it to indulge in nerd high school revenge fantasies.

Personally, I like Academy X.  I thought it was a great comic run.  At times it does get a bit heavy handed.  The same could be said to spots of their X-Force run, but both seem to have story-centric reasonings behind it.

Academy X is relatable in many ways because of this heavy handedness.  It uses elements of school shootings within the confines of the Xavier institute.  Yes it uses a wide array of school character cliches like the guitar playing spiritual Guthrie kid, and has many others scattered about, but they aren't there as cliches because of lackluster writing, or forms of revenge fantasies.  They are there because of how universal these characters are to all schools.  What makes them stereotypes or cliches, is exactly what works in their favor by being universal to a wide range of people who experienced the same.  You know, that's how stereotypes and cliches start.  Traits being widely common among a set group of experiences for many even if they may not remain true forever.

I could do a character by character break down to show what I mean, but this entire debate just leaves me too drained to put that much energy into it as yet.

On one side you have people like me, who see the whys they were used as they were, and how the events unfolded similiarly to how many people can relate whether in highschool or graduated thanks to these tried and true student stereotypes.

On the other you have people like Alt-Tab who feel something more original was needed with less crutches and that writers shouldn't take the lazy way out to create that relatability.  (Paraprhased, but her words, not mine.)

While I did enjoy their run on X-Force with X-23, I can see her point too on how often it feels like they make X-23 'talk back to her elders' and repeatedly be 'put in her place' for doing so.  Both of which typically support her argument that they aren't exactly the best towards female characters.  I really don't have a defense against that argument other than X-23 was becoming more assertive through killing people, which is the opposite of what Logan had wanted which is why he lashes out at her so much within the comic trying to teach her how to channel the monster Cyclops is forcing him to create. This comes across in the issues where he emphasizes it's the innocent like Rahne Sinclair that they are fighting to protect. They get their hands dirty so that the innocent can remain so and have freedom. Something that may start arising in Schism it seems too as it doesn't seem like Cyclops graspes that concept at all. Well Summers does, but it's more complex than that, and typically most consider it naive to try and preserve innocence. Though honestly it could be considered more naive of Cyclops to think this, as he's yet to experience the considerably large experiences of war that Logan has. Logan is of the mentality that this is what a warrior does to preserve the freedoms and innocence of those that should remain untainted from taking lives themselves. Cyclops feels in an hour of need, they should all step up no matter what to be a soldier drafted to protect all of their kind. ( Small tanget: I'm saying warrior for Logan and soldier for Scott because of many reasons. Though to be fair, there isn't much of a distinction other than the fact a warrior may not follow orders but will protect those they need to protect, and a soldier must follow orders unquestioningly in a time of war. With both, there can be a sense of honor they follow, and there may not. It's a person to person thing. There are many more distinctions between warriors, soldiers, assassins, and spies, but that'd be getting off point for this entry.  It is a distinction that I am glad is made in the Captain America movie though.  "Not just a soldier, but a good man."  Being a soldier doesn't and never will automaticly make you a good person that deserves respect.  The reasons why you are one, and what you're doing while one is what determines that.  Those that are good people don't proclaim it, and don't demand respect for doing what they feel is right.  Something modern arrogance, and global statements don't want you to realize.  For the record, I applaud our true unsung heroes within the troops, but never ask me to make a global statement to praise them all.  Just as I won't praise or condemn all Priests either.  Some are great benefits to their communities, and some are monsters. Praise the good, condemn the bad.  Global statements create false bravado, hides the hypocrites, and is outright dangerous.)

There are many ways you can look at these issues with the character building and commentary it makes on becoming a killer, as well as Wolverine's agitation about X-23 even being on that X-Force team entirely.  He was adamantly against it, but Cyclops made him keep Laura on the team.  In many ways this is the source of his anger towards Laura in the title's run.  He brought her to the school to protect the kids, and for her to learn to be a kid herself, and now Cyclops has turned and made her back into the weapon she once was like the Facility had intended.  The exact thing Logan has been trying to not do and prevent as stated in both Target X and Academy X, but Cyclops isn't giving him a choice in the matter since X-23 is willing to do this.  Logan takes his frustrations out on X-23 for choosing this as she's supposed to choose her own path and just say no.  At this point it's something the character still hasn't learned.  As Logan says in his heated argument with Cyclops about it, she can't say no to a mission.  Something Marjorie Liu shows Laura growing out of in her issues, as this being the reason Logan kicked her off the team.  Liu takes the character and has her grow and gain her own voice.  Logan in the X-23 ongoing while talking to Gambit doesn't know how to defend this choice of having her on the kill squad either, as it really wasn't his choice but he's not the kind of man to put the blame on others.  In many ways he knows he should have kicked her off the team sooner so he would blame himself for this as much as her, and Cyclops.  He'd rather keep it to himself, and take the blame for it than at the time add another person to the list of those questioning Cyclops' judgement.

Then stuff like Hellion losing his hands happens.  The boy X-23 is crushing on can't touch her.  According to Alt-Tab, a symbolic gesture that shows they don't want anyone to touch X-23.  Whereas I see it as taking an arrogant spoiled borderline womanizing character and giving him something new to deal with in how he copes.  It's not just X-23 he can't touch, it's all tactile sensations he may have enjoyed.  Sadly, it's not an argument that works, as they weren't the ones who wrote the issues of him coping.  It is a point that does come up briefly in the first issues of X-23's ongoing though.  This includes his lack of trust in X-23, a woman who has time and again put her life on the line for him and yet he doesn't believe or trust her.  Something that rings true to the character and outright shows Laura needs to get away from him for awhile for her own sake.
You could go on and on about how well done the first 3 issues are in this regard towards how the characters treat Laura and her lack of not taking responsibility for her choices until issue 3 of the ongoing.  Something that's not her fault and yet is at the same time.  She had yet to grow out of her conditioning and life experiences, but she's also still got that edge of defiance she shows in X-Force and previous appearances too.

In the end, it's up to the fans to decide how they want to view it and what they take away from it.
So with this left to the fans, how do you feel about these story runs(X-23's time in Academy X and X-Force)?
What's your opinion of them?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

X-23 Re-inforcements article on Marvel.com

Again, thanks to commentor arvelous for the heads up.

Marvel has given a brief article on X-23's upcoming Future Foundation arcs over on Marvel.com.

This article just further brings the point across that Marjorie Liu has fully hit her stride on the title and the understanding of the character and psychology associated.  It even brings up a point that I'm surprised never even crossed my mind.  That being X-23's exposure to Susan Richards.  One of Marvel's most powerful and longstanding women in their character library.  An independant woman turned wife, mother, leader, and an amazing scientist in her own right that's experienced so much in life herself. Someone that might remind Laura of her own mother in many ways.

This just makes me all the more impatient for future issues as this title just keeps getting better and better.  The world commentary, the universal truths of being a woman(or so I've been told at least on that one), and all around just the sublte usage of psychology without being overabundant yet being relatable and conveyed in terms anyone can understand.  All of it is just perfection in these past couple of issues.  There might be a few questionable spots, but with a major arc expanding throughout these stories, what's to say there wasn't a reason for that to be revealed later?

Now with this past issue and future issues she's going into fear itself... Sorry couldn't resist the pun, but in all seriousness Ms. Liu has a firm grasp of the controlling nature of fear and how it can weigh on someone's soul and actions no matter their status in life.  Something again more subtle, but carries far more weight than a comic war or invasion ever could in how easily relatable it is for everyone.  Even if it's as simple as being afraid of how a person from your past might react to what you have to say or ask.

Thanks again arvelous!  It's a great read, and KP probably would have missed it without your help!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Should Marvel Look Into Making an X-23 Anime?

This question keeps crossing my mind occasionally.  It is the perfect marriage considering the ample amount of similiar teen anime characters out there that have thrived in japanese media and have gone through many similiar story beats.  Granted these are universal story points to characters of these natures, so it's not like Japan has any singular claim to these character tropes.  That being said, the recent Marvel animes have hinted at the fact that these won't be the last.  That those initial 4 are simply the potential firstwave of many more to come.

Personally I'd adore an Academy X anime, as it's right up Japan's alley anyway with the characters and ages used (Japan loves their lolis and singers so Dazzler and Pixie need to find a way to reach those screens as well as the arrogant self-righteous hypocritical Surge), but more directly currently I'm curious about an X-23 solo anime.

The recent Bishoujo statue nuances just scream perfection design-wise from what we've already seen from the Marvel Anime line-up.  So it's really not that far of a stretch.  What truly sells this idea though, is the objectification of X-23 herself, and how women tend to be treated in Japan.  I'm not talking about mistreatment that's by far worse in 3rd world countries, I'm talking about the simple things.  The phantom train gropers, the love hotels, the maid cafe industry, the entire idol industry in japan, and the list can go on and on.  Every culture has a downside, and for Japan, it really is the treatment of women that by large goes unreported as it's just so commonplace no one says or does anything about it.  Heck, in many instances if you so much as talk loudly on a train car, that train car will empty as riding in silence is the norm.

X-23's current ongoing explores these aspects worldwide, most seemingly focusing on the states, but with someone so new to understanding the world at large, and seeing that things are so... wrong at times compared to the common courtesy and culture this character herself was educated to know worldwide, it does raise interesting situational ideas with traveling to Japan.

The fluid action sure doesn't hurt, though I do have to agree with Alt-Tab on prefering someone like Monty Oum on choreography and done in CG, with the right person behind the studio on writing this really couldn't go wrong in animated form of any kind.  Slight reimaginings not being an issue, but the burgeoning understanding of newly empowered woman about life, others perceptions, and how people treat each other could be a very thought provoking look inside the world at large no matter the culture it occurs in.  The slightly reimagined aspect just gives them more story leeway as what's expected from an animated series.  With the direction proposed, it would need someone highly understanding of the plight of women in many countries.  The leap from comic page to tv screen could be the perfect medium for Marjorie Liu's understanding and eye for detail to situations.  At this point after reading the last issue, I'm not sure if any writer quite gets Laura as well as she currently does(albeit still not perfect, but damn near).

X-23 is a character that can take Japan by storm.  They also don't have the same tv limitations and expectations the states do, so truly this region may be the best outlet for such a foray outside of say premium cable channels like HBO or Showtime.  So long as it got picked up for TV stateside, I'd definitely be in full support of this.  Especially if it just foregoes the overabundant origin that has no business taking place in Japan, and dives straight into subtle flashback usages for this 'slightly reimagined X-23' while she pursues her quest that led her to Japan to begin with.  A show packed with psychology, action, and makes you question everyday treatment you normally just don't even truly see because it's just so commonplace.

Besides, with the current trend of the english dubs with great stars, you know they'd try and get Summer Glau to do the dubbed voice, preferably both voices as X-23 is a character that needs to be able to slip into any native tongue naturally and at will.

Sure they could do many other high profile stars to fill the role that'd work just as well, but someone really needs to throw a bone to the Summer Glau as X-23 fans as a live portrayal at the current suggested ages just isn't practical and could harm the suspension of disbelief with the amount of Hollywood tricks needed to make it work.  Tricks such as using older side characters to make the star seem younger than she is.  So for an origin story, or even out in the world story of a character under 20, that makes every other actor or actress needing to be 10-30 years over whatever the star is.  I'm not a sure a 50-60 year old Gambit sounds all that appealing, and it also damages the 20 something naivete' of the Facility doctors themselves, like Laura's mother.  At least that's the main issue I see to casting a live action Laura Kinney. Unless you totally fubar the story up, which would harm audience expectations, and no, I do not consider X-Men First Class as fubaring the story up but that's a discussion best saved for another day (can you say XFC dvd release day?).  An animated one on the other hand does not have any of those issues associated.  It's simply how powerful the voice itself is, and that's something Summer Glau has in spades.

With X-23's current bishoujo statue hitting the market in March, and her world wide appearance in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, even an ongoing comic currently, this would be something that just screams to be done giving it just 10-13 episodes like the others to test the waters and reception.  Besides, who really wants another Wolverine anime?  Not that the current one is bad, but let's give some exposure to Marvel's other rich heritage of characters.  X-23's being exposed to the full Marvel Universe in her ongoing, so Marvel needs to step up more and help expose X-23 to the world audience at large.  Plus it'd make it much easier to segue from an X-23 solo series to an Academy X: New X-Men anime to replace the previous X-Men anime.  Then that just leaves expanding Ironman's to focus on Rescue and War Machine, with Blade's slot being left open for something to focus on Marvel's occult library of characters(Dr. Strange among many others).  Of course I wouldn't be adverse to an Avengers anime, or Peter David's X-Factor, or Heroes for Hire, or Marvel Divas, or whatever else Marvel and Madhouse could agree upon.

What do you all think? Should Marvel give it the go around? Or do you think the next Marvel Animes should be something entirely different? If so, what?

Kotobukiya Bishoujo X-23 Statue

Toyark, MarvelousNews, and Kotobukiya's Facebook page are all reporting some awesome news. Remember the unpainted statue back during SDCC of X-23 in her MVC3 garb? Well it's been painted now, and given a release date.

The statue is 6 inches tall and will be available March 2012.

Is it just my imagination or does this seem less like a reinterpretation and more like a statue based on MvC3 with influences from Sana Takeda's recent artwork in the ongoing issues. Either way, me likey. This will probably be the first statue I outright want to buy of any character.

Marvel November 2011 Solicits

The Marvel November solicits are up over at CBR.

X-23 #16 & #17
Penciled by PHIL NOTO (#16) & SANA TAKEDA (#17)
AN ALL NEW STORY STARTS HERE! An offer to join Wolverine collides with an offer from the FF and X-23 is forced to decide if she wants to continue her life as an assassin or take a break and see what it’s like to be a regular teenager...
32 PGS. (each)/Parental Advisory …$2.99 (each)

Issue #16 Cover

Looks like Spider-Man won't be the only one Laura reunites with. The cover makes it look like the Uni-power may be returning to her in its full potency temporarily.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Marjorie Liu Spends Time with Fans on Twitter and Facebook

Thanks to commentor Arvelous for the heads up and follow up.

As provided by Arvelous

Ms. Liu recently gave an 30 minute Q&A (yesterday) to celebrate her book coming out today. With all the fans she had we really got a look into what may be the future of X-23.

First confirmed future arc.. " FF. Spider-Man. Hellion. Dragons. " (http://twitter.com/#!/marjoriemliu/status/98555939128487936)

Phil Noto will be doing issues 13-16.

Deconfirmed issues in X-23 is up next.
First there is no X-23 and Spider-man date.

There will be no Death Gambit bit.

Kimura as the hooded woman is deconfirmed as well.

What lies next is what may be the future of X-23.

Laura to meet other Marvel groups?

More future appearance of favorites Jubilee, Wolverine, and Gambit.

Confrontation with Surge in the future?

More Happy Fun times with Jubilee and Laura confirmed (yay).

The villian from X-23's women of marvel. Will return as well.

Appearances from Cecilia Reyes

The last part is things that she may like to see in the future.

Hope, Psylocke, and Lyra in the future?

Daken in the future? Just maybe..

Well there are more posts about her writing and more just generally fun stuff on her twitter. You may just forget that she is a novelist and just not a comic book writer. So she may get you into a novel or two you may enjoy. You can see her on
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/marjoriemliu
Website: http://www.marjoriemliu.com
blog: http://marjoriemliu.com/blog/

Thank you Marjorie Liu for taking your time with the fans. It is always very much appreciated. A big thanks goes out to Arvelous too for the heads up, and follow up report.

Arvelous is correct too. Marjorie Liu is a novelist, not just a comic writer. While this blog may only focus on the comic end since she's writing X-23 currently, she also has many novels in book stores too. She's most commonly known for her Dirk & Steele series, but she's also included in the Huntress anthology novel, and has another called the Hunter Kiss series. I rarely speak about her books as I haven't as yet read them, so I am by no means an authority on the subject at all.

Personally, count me excited for more Jubilee and Laura stories. I can't wait for those. Everything else looks about on par with what to expect from an established capable serial writer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reminder: X-23 v3 Issue 13

Just a heads up.

X-23 v3 Issue 13 hits comic shops tomorrow.

This will be the start of X-23's introduction to the Future Foundation. Sure she's met Spider-Man before, but how will Reed, Sue, Ben, Franklin, and Valeria react to her? For that matter, Dr. Doom as well.

Be there to find out! Pick up the issue tomorrow!

The New Ultimate Spider-Man

For a few minutes here I want to cover something that's not X-23, just because of how awe-inspiring this move was.

Marvel made a move today that in one regard didn't surprise me, but in another did.

Brian Michael Bendis, you sir are an amazing man.
There has been no doubt in my mind about the new direction of Ultimate Spider-man, what concerned me was if they were going to give credit to the origins of it. Ultimate Fallout itself has been an exceptionally good read so far if albeit overpriced and underpaged. (The first issue was 3.99 and had 17 pages of story. The rest was all ads.)

In a USATODAY article, Bendis was quoted as to his inspiration for this move. He gave credit to the actual source, and not made some excuse to take full credit upon himself. That speaks volumes to the type of creator he is and as to a man of integrity.

I do wonder if they had a choice in the matter. The Donald Glover campaign was so widespread that to claim credit would have been dentrimental to the integrity of Marvel, so the only option was to be honest about it. The Donald Glover campaign was the exact reason I knew to expect this too and why I wasn't surprised by it.

Right now my only concern is if they'll kill this move by using stereotypes and cliches as opposed to keeping the integrity of Spider-Man intact as an idealistic young man who simply wants to make a difference. Someone who understands that with great power comes great responsibility. The boy under the mask has always represented it could be anyone, no matter the creed so long as they just wanted to do the right thing. The right thing has never been limited to being the 'white thing.' So why should a character like Spider-Man be limited to such things? The boy under the mask has always represented someone who was an outsider, and felt like an outcast as nerdy young Parker has shown us with his growth into the man he became. Someone who went from everyday kid who was bullied to a happily married man, simply because he was a good man at heart. Someone people could look up to and know that life wouldn't always be as hard as what they deal with everyday no matter what race they were. That eventually they would grow up, and find where they belong in life so long as they always stuck to doing what was right.

Marvel, you've just gotten yourself one more reader on Ultimate Spider-Man for now. I do worry about the potential abuse of stereotypes and cliches, but if they can avoid that and just give a good story and well defined character, I look forward to this title.

While the chessboard maneuvers may seem questionable, I will commend you for taking the high road.

As for those whining about liberals, conservatives, PC bullshit etc, all I have to say is this: Really? Do you not understand the entire concept of spider-man and his fullbody suit and mask? None of those things apply at all, or ever did. A hero with moral integrity is not limited to any single creed or race. Why does it matter if a hero is white, black, orange, purple, or even plaid so long as they stand up for doing what is right and helping others? You know just being what a hero is.

Now back to your regularly scheduled X-23 entries.

Monday, August 1, 2011

MvC3: X-23 Help

If you've been playing Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, but aren't sure how to use X-23 and those brief comedic overviews didn't help, there's a youtube channel just for you.

Youtube user DevilJin01 has many visual guides and demos to help you out.

Covering all the techniques from anti-air, to even just how to get in close on certain characters. These videos can really up your game to new heights. They cover all sorts of topics for her usage including the priority moves.

Check them out, try some of his pointers. Surprise your friends with how adept you're becoming. Learn how to take out Phoenix in one combo. All this and more can be learned from these videos.

June 2011 Sales

X-23 v3 #11
Cover - Review
Cover Price: $2.99
This issue was ranked 89 out of 300 according to ICv2 which is based on Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores. The issue has sold an estimated 25,985 copies to them.

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