Saturday, November 19, 2011

Update: X-23 to End with Issue 21

Commentor Healed1337 brought up a valid point about maybe Ghost Rider and X-23 were taking a hiatus in February for the Venom Event. This panned out to be true as we are to get one more issue in March. Sadly, Axel Alonso had come out and said X-23 was still canceled along with Daken, suggesting the books just didn't earn their keep monetarily. (Which is extremely odd looking at the numbers for X-23 with the start of an upswing, might be true for Daken though.)

X-23 has been given one more issue before being canceled. It will end with issue 21 in March, skipping February for the Venom Event. This news comes courtesy of commentor Arvelous finding it on Marjorie Liu's twitter feed.

You can find her responses both here and here. Where she says:

Not news anymore, but I can finally confirm, personally, that X-23 has been cancelled. It's bittersweet. I truly loved writing that book.

Oh, and it won't just be 20 issues, but instead *21* issues of X-23 (we're not shipping in February). @philnoto will be penciling both.

Again, from the bottom of my heart and those here from KP, we'd like to thank Marjorie Liu, Phil Noto, and Sana Takeda, for their time, dedication, and phenominal work. The care they put into the issues truly shows and the book will be greatly missed.

Come March, KP will be doing a follow up entry to commemorate this as well as what'll mark Marjorie Liu's second year as writing X-23, as the one shot released in March 2010 was her very first full issue of writing the character. The timing of this final issue brings us full circle in a fitting manner rather than just abruptly after January as it seemed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Marvel Cancels Daken

Okay, I can't say I blame them on this one. The title has been pretty directionless since Liu and Way have left. It's even ignoring the main story fans want. That being the story of Bucky and Daken facing off finally over Daken's mother's death. You know, the real person Daken hates more than even Wolverine.

This news comes via CBR again.

Marvels new EIC has said:

It's always disappointing when a title comes to an end. I'll bet everyone reading this column still mourns the death of a title or two they loved -- and wonder why the book didn't stick. And I guarantee you that as frustrated as a fan might be, there's a writer, artist and an editor who are even more disappointed. That's just the way things go sometimes. The market won't support it.

That said, I'm proud of X-23's run. Two successful limited series and an ongoing series ain't bad. Ditto for Daken [who is also ending his series.] From a supporting role in "Wolverine: Origins” to the lead of ongoing series that included him slicing Frank Castle to bits -- enter Franken-Castle. Both were characters that gained traction in a market that, well, doesn't really have a great track record of supporting new stuff. And both characters anchored legitimate monthly titles. We don't do R&D at Marvel. We'll stick by a title for a while -- like we did with "Spider-Girl" -- but there comes a point where that title has to earn, usually sooner than later.

There's also a lot of other double speak and market speak in there that's hiding some facts like why keep books that are underperforming compared to the ones axed. Shouldn't those be axed first? Or how about why introduce a new ongoing for a character that's literally just Spider-man who isn't afraid to kill that the scarlet spider/Kaine is at a time that readership is low? That is formulaic right there. Hmm Uncanny X-Force sells, let's try it with Spider-man! One of our cornerstone franchises! (To be fair, Uncanny X-Force turned out amazing, so maybe it is worth a shot.)

Another question not asked, why cancel a title that's starting to earn when numbers are rebounding back upwards? That seems to have been avoided. The numbers show X-23's title was just starting an upswing while other titles continually sell lower and still stick around. Something smells fishy with these responses. It reads like a publicity piece on saying "hey we tried at least" when really the numbers reflect that's not the case. It's another bit of bait and switch or scapegoats to avoid the real questions and genuine answers.

He continues on bemoaning formulas, yet that's also exactly what Marvel is doing with the events that are causing event fatigue to the fans and derailing many books to keep them from getting traction. These answers just don't add up compared to what they are doing. It's a big instance of look at what I'm saying not what I'm doing. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marvel Cancels Ghost Rider

After the news broke earlier this week that X-23 was canceled after issue 20 leaving Ghost Rider as the only female solo title(though not really since Johnny Blaze is still co-starring in it), news is breaking today that Ghost Rider is canceled.

CBR is reporting that Marvel has just axed what was the last female solo title they had.

At the rate titles are getting cut, one can only wonder how much longer Daken, Avengers Academy, and any other title that was selling below X-23 and Ghost Rider's numbers may last. This leaves Marvel with officially no female solo titles at all.

Recap: X-23 v3 Issue 17

This issue, just wow. It left me speechless. It made me fist pump with how awesome it was. Okay that's a lie. My arm shot up and did the rock on hand gesture. Which was really awkward to do with how I was sitting when reading this, but it happened pure instinctually with how awesome the issue was. That was before hitting the halfway point of the issue. For the record, no Marvel comic has ever made me do that before. The only other thing that has was the tv show Supernatural during Castiel's rampage as God against what was an allusion to the Westboro Baptist Church. Yes, this issue was just that epic but done in a more subtle and thought provoking way.

It was everything an X-23 comic should be. It had plenty of action, fantastic artwork, and a story that uses human nature to a degree other comics only dream of.

It started off with Julian, aka Hellion, being the focus. He was written in such a manner that it pushes the boundaries of sympathy or just self-centered prick. He was written entirely true to the character but diving into truths a male writer would fear to tread. He evoked the arrogance, the pain, and the entire lost nature of a boy dealing with emotions alongside accidental transference that reveals elements of his deeper rooted nature. Most male writers would hate to admit this in any fashion, but Julian is being used in a way that perfectly symbolizes how many guys act towards women and symbolizes perfectly what the problems to acting like that are. It's something that I'm sure a female writer and reader alike can identify with from putting up with it themselves from guys. Hell, I see it all the time in just how the boyfriends of girls I know act and it sickens me, especially how they then turn around and act like they did nothing and convince them it's perfectly acceptable behaviour for what she did? WTF!?! No it's NOT! A man DOES NOT act that way period! It's something I never thought any writer ever would tread towards but am extremely glad this issue did. This is something that deserves its own entry to go on a tangent about because it's such a common issue among how men act and why they drive away those they claim to care about with these borderline obsessive, stalkerish, emotionally unstable, clingy, and threatening behaviours followed by being apologetic when it's just bound to happen again. (Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to dedicate an entire blog entry to this at some point! Mucho gracias Ms. Liu for the soap box excuse! This includes a side tangent about verbal abuse and how it more often than not leads to physical abuse. Something Hellion has symbolized for god knows how long with how he treats others and yet tries to play the "I'm a good guy" card to hide behind.) If Hellion's not careful, he just might push Laura away for good to the point she'll need to leave Logan's school.

Gambit came across as the completely badass father figure, to the point I'm not sure it can be quantified on the awesome scale. Marjorie Liu sets a new bar for how awesome Gambit can be with every story.

The rest of the issue is exactly what's missing in comics these days. It's fun, witty, and all around the perfect balance of relatable children cliches to original commentary without getting the overtones or purpose lost within the story it's trying to tell.

Valeria and Franklin provide the perfect elements. Sue Richards provides a completely perfect yet subtle nuance to what Laura experienced a few issues ago as a woman in the city herself. All around this issue is just brimming with subtext, commentary, and more sublime story telling than one would expect from even the best of Marvel these days.

The artwork by Sana Takeda really helps elevate this story to a new standard. The fluid dynamic action, angle usage within the panels, and more all speak to just utter perfection and all around are beyond awesome. The artwork really shows why this title gives artists a chance to try something new and different without a reliance on old tired panel standards. It gives them a means to elevate their artform, and this issue in particular does that perfectly under Sana Takeda's hand. The combination of an overused standard, the ages old fantasy dragon, and the application of these techniques really mesh well to create a sense of wonderment, awe, and what's old is made new again. I know there's a better more succinct term for it in the art world, but it escapes me at the moment. The end result is a fully engrossing page turner that you just want to read over and over, never wanting it to end.

It makes me feel ashamed of liking Marvel knowing that this title is getting the axe. This issue alone symbolizes everything that makes comics great while most of their other comics cause event fatigue and boredom lately. It has a writer that cares and makes sure every issue is the best it can be. A writer who learned from mistakes and pushed on while other comics from Marvel are riddled with errors galore and keep making the same mistakes over and over. The team behind this comic wants to put out the best product they can, to represent Marvel with the kind of dignity the brand deserves, and it shows in work like this issue. This is why it really disheartens me to hear of it being canceled compared to other titles that don't take that kind of initiative or care.

Outright this issue is a must read. If the rest of this arc stays as awesome as this, this might just become my new #1 favorite X-23 story. An issue and story I highly recommend for all to go out and buy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

X-23 v3 Issue 17 - A Must Read!

Just wow.  Okay, I think I've just said "Oh snap," and other more colorful phrases in utter glee and rapid succession too much while reading this.

I'm not sure if I'm going to bother with the one week wait on the recap this time.  There's really no point with this comic allegedly being canceled, but the just holy awesome on a stick of this issue has me too hyped up to do it right now anyway.

Seriously, this is another one of those issues that's just full of amazing stuff.  The discussion with Julian, showing X-23's initial choice in the Schism decision and more all just work beautifully with Sana Takeda's artwork.  This is THE must buy and must read issue of X-23 even if you haven't been collecting it already.  It personifies perfectly why I'm not thrilled with Julian, sentiments perfectly embodied by Gambit in the issue.  The baby sitting adventure itself?  Just epicly perfect.  This issue is a shining example of what this series is capable of, and I'm glad marvel saw fit to let this story finish out.  I haven't been this hyped up and happy about an issue since Jubilee popped up in the Touching Darkness story.  This issue is beyond perfection with action, humor, human interest angles, Laura's personality, perceptions, and bundled with Julian's borderline lost/angry nature it just plays perfectly to elements of the real world without being overabundant and still carrying that note of fun and ease of relatability.  The art by Sana Takeda really shines and pops in this issue alongside amazing angles and action scenes.

Seriously, go buy this issue, tell your friends to as well.  It's more than worth the price and I promise you, you won't regret it!  Even if you're a casual X-Men fan, or only following Wolverine's school, this is an issue you will need and appreciate!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reminder: X-23 v3 Issue 17 Hits Stores Tomorrow!

Laura takes on her most difficult mission to date... Babysitting Valeria and Franklin Richards.  Be sure to pick up your copy tomorrow for what looks to be a fantasticly fun adventure from Marjorie Liu with art by Sana Takeda.  Looking for a good jumping on point for this comic?  This would be the issue for you as it starts X-23's new Misadventures in Babysitting arc!  So be sure to pick up your copy, and if you like it, get your friends to buy copies too!  Help send a message to Marvel that this comic is loved and wanted! 

At the very least they could let the final story arc that's been building run its course to reflect the action and complexity to the story!  It'd be a nice bone to throw the fans that stuck with the comic from the beginning, and those new fans jumping on at different points from just stellar issues like issue 7, the Touching Darkness arc, and this one looks to be.  It's been a slow build, but damn if the payout didn't look like it could have been too awesome for words.

Marvel Cancels X-23?!?

Acccording to CBR, Marvel has canceled the X-23 ongoing.  This leaves them with zero female solo ongoing titles( I don't count Ghost Rider as a solo title, even though a woman is wielding the power right now. It does still co-star Johnny Blaze.), and will leave the building story thread of her series hanging.  Another brilliant move from the house of ideas.  They are citing budgetary reasons, but are keeping titles that have underperformed far worse in comparison to her title.

X-23 will carry on in Avengers Academy and the upcoming Venom arc, but this is a blow to readers everywhere as the upcoming issue 17 in stores tomorrow is a perfect jumping on point for those curious about the title.  You'd think Marvel would have at least waited until issue 23 to give the title a chance to wrap up properly, but what do you expect from the people that bat the character around repeatedly and change the personality of the character on whims without ever including storycentric reasoning until Marjorie Liu was writing her.  Sadly I had anticipated this happening with how they shuffled the character off to a team book that seemed rather like a shoe-horned in addition with how they said they were going to do it.  An odd choice for her considering she had already 'graduated' from a school once, but I had thought they might hold out to let X-23 end on issue 23.  Instead, according to CBR it looks like issue 20 will be her last, which is the same number on her Marvel Universe figure's stand.  Issue 20 being potentially where she deals with Surge's hypocrisy(seriously, they kick her off the New X-Men for killing and then side with those wanting to kill people?  Hypocrite much?), sees Jubilee again, and has to endure further mistreatment by Cyclops who was using her just as the Facility did.  That's not to say Wolverine's school would have been any better of a fit with Hellion there, and the fact she had already graduated once.  Plus there's the fact the character has been better trained and taught than any other character in the Marvel Universe anyway already.  Which will hopefully lead to some fun scenes in Avengers Academy if they've bothered to read up on the history of the character they are about to use.

Here's hoping Avengers Academy uses X-23 well, because other than the Venom arc it will be the only regular fix her fans will be able to get.  As for the dangling plot threads of who the mystery woman was, and what'll happen with the soul mark/uni-power mark?  They will forever remain a mystery.

Chalk this up to another misfire from Marvel, and show them your displeasure by picking up the remaining four issues.  Let X-23 go out with a bang on the top 300 chart!  You can also write to Marvel, and tell how unhappy you are about this rather arbitrary decision that can't be rationalized in comparison to what they've kept.  Like Daken that is losing readers left and right and is performing worse than X-23 did.  This is especially weird as the numbers were on the rise for X-23 while Daken's were falling. 

KP will be covering the X-23 appearances in Avengers Academy, so let us all hope they don't screw the character up.

We would like to give a special thank you to Marjorie Liu for her hard work on this title though, and her work will be missed as she was one of the first writers to take the character forward in the public eye without being vague about the character's origins.  Finally proving to the fandom at large X-23 is more akin to a daughter, and that Sarah Kinney shares some genes with Laura too.

That's not to say the series was perfect.  There were some mis-steps along the way, but also some utterly amazing issues.  The same could be said of Yost/Kyle who had done an amazing job on the minis, and Academy X until they completely unraveled the character and destroyed their own work via X-Force at times.  The solo title lacked action as a whole, but the X-Force title pushed too much glee in destroying the character at times that borderlined on painful to read.  Here's hoping Avengers Academy finds a happy middle ground between the two with their usage.

When the final issue hits, I'll do a follow up entry on this that covers the mistakes and problems from past to present from all the writers.  For now, a moment of silence for another fallen solo female title.

Thanks to afgoosett of Toyark for making me aware of some articles via Comicvine about this.
Marvel Cancels X-23
Should Marvel have Canceled X-23?

Bleeding Cool has also chimed in with their utter displeasure at Marvel for this move.

So yeah Marvel, that's 4 outlets already that are reacting with shock and pissed off about it. Care to rethink it yet?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Preview: X-23 v3 Issue 17

CBR has put up the preview for X-23 v3 issue 17 via Marvel. It will hit shelves next Wednesday the 16th of November.

Be there as X-23 tackles her hardest job yet... Babysitting? Oh but these are no ordinary kids. Their parents are none other than Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman! Good luck Laura! You'll need it dealing with Valeria and Franklin Richards!

A Light within the Darkness

In this past issue of X-23 we were given small signs of what's to come. One phrase specifically stuck out to me. The uni-power sword's "My chosen vessel" remark. It raises questions like "what seperates the sword from the others that have attempted to use X-23" and "does Laura see that fact yet or is her need to hold onto something greater than herself blinding her to this subtle manipulation?"

Personally, I'm leaning towards the fact this seems like a subtle manipulation that'll be built upon. Like others in her past, it seems like this being is attempting to use her for its own desires yet to be revealed. There is a subtle interwoven tone that the remnant within her of the uni-power was the star being that Laura may have misperceived as her own soul being full of stars. A misperception it could have easily preyed upon. There is a fact here that's still carried through to X-23 about her having a soul but done so in a manner the same as a manipulative person would use. It grants and speaks of choice, but pushes the choice it wants in doing so to lead to an outcome it desires.

This power of choice is X-23's true light within the darkness. Her choices and actions are defining who she is, but being full of stars and this true light are potentially two different things. The signs don't point to the stars as being a benevolent starlight, but rather something of a different kind of evil when not held in check. Surely this couldn't be X-23's own light within could it? The character seems to think so, but that's to be expected with the emotional struggles she has been entangled in all her life and her need to find something greater than herself to hold onto.

Of course all of this is dependant upon the mystery woman we saw before, and how she might be the personification of these "stars" in the future. That would assume that in many ways this mystery woman is X-23, or a reformed shard of this power given flesh and life. This means that for this woman to come into being she would have had to set X-23 on this course of action. She would have had to send X-23 to Alex which in turn would have sent her to that demon king for the power to fully manifest. The remnant within her and the woman outside of her are pushing for the same thing but may have different views of the outcome because of their perspectives. The mystery woman being after this potential struggle that gave her life, and the remnant pushing to use X-23 as its vessel for life. This creates an air of causality but with cosmic curveballs. It also starts to fill in why Laura was curious enough to follow the scent to the mystery woman. It was her own scent she recognized.

It shows X-23 she has a light within her, but it also hides itself behind claims of being that light. Laura does have a light within her with the power of choice as she's shown, but these stars and her true light may become at odds to one another in ways that'll bring something new to life that could have the memories of both. This would also nod back to Alice, but without the memory activation by death. It potentially unifies all the information we've been given through the comic.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Recap: X-23 v3 Issue 16

Last week I called this issue "whoa" and it really is. There's just so much here it's hard to tell really where to start.

The issue was the wrap up of the Chaos Theory story, and while solicits suggested it was the start of a new arc it seemed to most that it was really the end of the other. Within the subtext of the story it is the start of a new arc, but an arc that's been interwoven throughout since issue 3 of the ongoing. This is the turning point really where it's revealed and the pieces start to fall into place more directly. It is both the end of an arc and a new beginning to her life.

This is the issue where X-23's sword metaphor gets pushed to a literal meaning. She's the "Chosen Vessel" for the uni-power sword. Something I'm sure will come back into play much later. That little phrase will play into the much bigger picture. It may even be connected to who this "Mystery Lady" is. Though here's hoping Marvel doesn't make this as obvious in the foreword again. That should be used solely for what happened last time and maybe a few bits to fill in gaps that can't be mentioned in the issue for story reasons (like in the oneshot it would have been nice if it included something about why X-23 doesn't think about Megan and Debra Kinney directly now), not inadvertantly spoil what's to come by being overtly obvious with what it tells about the past. I skipped the foreword recap in this issue out of habit, so I can't comment on that for this issue at least.

This issue in particular has a lot that it's reaching for and setting up for the future. It speaks to reaching for the stars and what anyone is capable of if they just try as well as suggesting that X-23 has a light within her darkness. Two things that may not be related to each other that she still needs to learn. It has meta-commentary about men using X-23 for their whims. An idea that can relate to previous male writers as well as the Facility or Scott Summers. It foreshadows potentially a cosmic scale internal struggle coming that could multiply X-23's troubles. It pushes a point about how the more you try to hold someone back the more they'll push forward with a renewed strength. It helps show X-23 she is cared for and that she matters to people(an allusion to a previous instance of Elixir trying to do the same in X-Force but that fell on deaf ears). It reflects an X-23 that's growing and maturing and starting to understand more about the world than ever before. An X-23 that sees the world through human eyes, and not as a chessboard.

All around, the entire run as a whole has started pushing boundaries and freeing itself from the reigns of pre-conceptions of what to expect. It evokes a sense similiar to the greatest of books, tv, and film. It's akin to Doctor Who, Supernatural(in particular the Anna and Castiel seasons), and Misfits with its subtle build of characterization and story direction. It alludes to some of the great debates from both theologians and philosophers alike about not just spiritual matters but also life itself. The kind of comic you could sit and analyze and think about for days on end with what it contains. Mind you, even Galileo was scoffed at by his peers, but his contributions changed the way our modern world thinks and how they see the universe around them now.

It's hard to really go into detail about what I see here, but suffice it to say there's something big coming storywise. It's something that could equally divide the fans as amaze them. Such is the way of stories that challenge commonly accepted perceptions. The devil is in the details, but the devil was an angel too.

This comic deserves many more years as a solo title. Here's hoping it's not struck down by those that only glance at the surface and don't see the deeper meanings within. The potential is growing for stories years from now to resolve outlying plot threads like Kimura's vendetta or the remaining Kinney family. Something that makes me grateful those stories haven't been interconnected into this ongoing in a forced type manner as this new growth needs time to develop before those can ever be approached to give them the justice they deserve. Just as this story needs to be free of those problems to fully reach where it's going right now. (Though I still think the little telepathic pervert bothering X-23 might be connected to Kimura, but it keeps that story potential present while still out of reach for awhile with good reason.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Video Games and Marvel

I'm an occasional gamer. I love sandbox games through and through. The mod communities on PC games especially give me all I'd ever want from games whether it's GTA SA mods allowing me to fly the tardis or drive a tron legacy bike, or UT2k4 and its BubbleGum Crisis mods to let me play as the knight sabers and kick some boomer butt. Well almost everything. Even mods have their limitations.

I'm an avid Halo fan, Dead Or Alive, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, GTA SA, among many many other games. Most recently I've become enthralled with Infamous, Prototype, Crackdown and the mac daddy of all sand box games, Saints Row. Yeah I know, it's a crime against calling myself a gamer to not list Arkham Asylum and Arkham City on that list too, but I've not played them yet. (Stoning to commence in 5, 4, 3, 2...)

Marvel has dabbled in this realm with games through Activision and others. They've had some great successes with their Spider-man games this way, but sadly none of their other franchises have reached the level that Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, Ultimate Spider-man, and Web Of Shadows have. Even those were lacking aspects that could have made them better. Overall something has shifted with the games away from this growing awesomeness going more for levels and platforming or Gaunlet inspired arcade action instead of open world exploration and interaction they were once dabbling in.

Saints Row the Third is hitting shelves soon(November 15th!), and with it comes an amazing custom character creation center. Finally an open world game where you can do the most ludicrious of things looking entirely as you want, but also has story using your custom creation. This is the type of game I'd love to see for X-23, hell, really any Marvel character.

I'd like to suggest something amazing. Let Volition Inc. make some Marvel games. Let's see what they could make with their Saints Row the Third expertise and how they could intermingle the tech accessories to power sets from Marvel characters. Stuff that could consist of Iron Man boots or a Darkhawk amulet on X-23, Falcon wings on Captain America, a carnage/venom symbiote on Juggernaut, Thor-like hammers or Asgard weapons for whoever, or whatever other mix and match types you could do from innate abilities to outward tech/organics/mystic artifacts that can enhance a power set. With the massive range of weapons and powers within Marvel, you have a full on sand box arsenal just waiting to be tapped alongside the commonly available real world weapons in games. Volition themselves show a strong aptitude with the obscure and dynamic melee combat to pull it off magnificently.

All that would be left would be to build a massive ever changing world around this concept. Destructable buildings that have interiors, in game clock reconstruction times, and more. Just imagine a game where you have to infiltrate a building for a mission, but randomly the support structures have been destroyed. Do you jump out the window and dive for safety? Do you take the stairwell and hope you can beat the collapse? Is the building falling over so you try to jump to the window of the next? Or do you take the elevator shaft like a zipline to reach the bottom? A game with choice would be key. As your personal city got destroyed and rebuilt the landscape would be ever changing from buildings to construction sites and even debris fields. More and more environment interaction would cater to your choices and play styles or power sets. The debris would add hilarity to situations as the randomest things could happen as any GTA player will tell you. (Personally, I've been killed in that game by falling airplanes, crushed by my own car after I jumped out, and so much more. My personal favorite being when I road a bike atop the Casino Pyramid, fell off it, slid down to the bottom, and stood there for a few minutes wondering where my bike went just to be crushed by it. "Oh, there it is.")

This is the kind of game I want to see. Something on the lines of Assassin's Creed, Saints Row the Third, Infamous, Prototype, Crackdown, and Arkham City all rolled into one. A game where the player has the power to choose what kind of hero they want to be, and how they want to approach every scenario in this open ended world. Whether it be X-23's stealth and strategy, the Hulk's brute force, wolverine's berserker rage, Cap's shield slinging, or spider-man's nimbleness, the power would be in your hands for how you felt like playing that day and how you applied the abilities and evironment to your advantage for whatever you wanted to do. Even if it's just to slide down a building like X-23 does in her X-Men Evolution debut or ride Hawkeye's skycycle.

This is an idea that's grand in size, probably even expensive in what all it needs coded. With the modern console era it is something possible. With a single city game like this, it could be expanded with real DLC. Things like new building blueprints, new devices in Reed Richard's lab that can interconnect worlds, dimensions, and more. So that money invested would in turn create endless profit in the long run.

Think about it for a second. With just minor transitional areas like say a space port, you can have all of cosmic Marvel realms at your disposal. Transitional places like Airports, bus stations, space shuttle launch pads, Reed's lab with dimensional gates, space stations(with of course the DPC's Bea Arthur), Shi'ar teleportation areas in the X-Mansion, Utopia and their teleporters, and more you have an ever growing and infinite amount of DLC potential.

Eventually through DLC it could create a fully organic universe that started as just one city and potentially a country-side. From the skrull planets, to kree, even the shi'ar, Nova Corps ship, the negative zone, Wakanda, Madripoor, Latveria, or GotG's Nowhere you could do anything, be anyone and go anywhere thanks to just simple transitional spots within key areas that make sense within the Marvel Universe.

The drawback? Eventually you'd have no harddisk space left for anything else. It's an idea that needs to be thought out and weighed against the options of storage space, and how to spread it across multiple hardcopy games that can expand on each area and their heroes or villians. Stuff like Marvel Universe: The Kree Skrull war, Marvel Universe: Welcome to the Nova Corps, Marvel Universe: Academy X, Marvel Universe: Utopia (which would include San Francisco), Marvel Universe: Iron Man. Sure it'd add disk swapping as a factor, but wouldn't it be worth it to have one massive cohesive playable universe for you to use the characters you like, or create your own in a world that has mechanics and enviroment interaction done as well as Saints Row the third, Infamous, Prototype, or Batman Arkham City?

It'd break new ground, give multiplayer a whole new draw as every player's universe would be different to each other, and finally bring new meaning to Marvel's catch phrase "Your Universe." You could share what's happened in your world with other players, or share in what happened in theirs. The aspects of interaction would give all new ways to how you handle the different play types. Do you have a shoot out in an office building all Matrix style having Punisher guns ablazing or mutant power based attacks with your team, or do you hulk up or strategicly plant bombs and just trash the building foundation while everyone's inside? In a street chase do you free run across rooftops? Do you hop car roof to car roof? Do you steal a car or bike and have a giant epic car chase? Do you fire up the the Rescue or IronMan armor and fly after? Do you use a skycycle or Shield flying car? The transitions and competitive or co-op nuances are numerous for something always new and cool happening every time you play. It'd create an infinite amount of replay that's all dependant on how you wanted to play, from Iron Man's tech, to Surge's emp, everything would always be constantly in flux and balancing each other out dynamicly with your choices and actions at your disposal.

Everytime I play games like Infamous, Prototype, Crackdown, and Saints Row the 3rd, I can't help but dream of this game line that'll never come to pass. If you see someone online that looks like a Marvel character in Saints Row the Third, that just might be people attempting to live the dream in what's available too.

Monday, November 7, 2011

October 2011 Sales Rank

X-23 v3 #15
Cover - Review
Cover Price: $2.99
This issue was ranked 104 out of 300 according to ICv2 which is based on Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores. The issue has sold an estimated 24,043 copies to them.

X-23: Killing Dream TPB
Price: $15.99
This tradepaperback ranked 15 out of 300 according to ICv2 which is based on Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores. This number does not reflect total volume sales through bookstores.

The estimated sales rose in October compared to September, and another bit of awesome was how well the Killing Dream TPB did. It ranked one place higher than the X-23: Innocence Lost origin TPB did, but still short 7 places from overtaking the Target X TPB's 8th place rank. Still a magnificent feat to accomplish being within the top 20 list! As always you can check out how other issues and TPBs did during their month of release over in the Sales Rank section.

Regenesis: Are The Two New X-Team Titles Worth Reading?

I wasn't kind to the Regenesis one-shot. It just struck me as too raw and attempting to emulate the modern world for my tastes, while also in many ways feeling rushed and shot from the hip. Yeah, that last bit is something I'm pretty familiar with as most of my entries here are all done that way too. It muddied the waters too much on what the debate was for my tastes. It had elements I liked though including how the voice of truth and reason was drowned out in favor of chants, simple one liners, and twisting self-caused statistics.(All those people that died on the bus that Prodigy refers to? That happened because Scott and Emma tried to force segregation, attempting to kick Prodigy out at the time too. Quite the subtle use of irony and selective memory there.)

That being said, both of the new #1s pleasantly surprised me. Wolverine and The X-Men #1 brought X-Men back to being fun to read, and reminded me why I enjoyed Jason Aaron's work after Beezle-Bub/Hellverine made me forget. Uncanny X-Men v2 #1, while still carrying the heavy political overtones, brought more to the table in why they have this side. I have some qualms towards Uncanny X-Men with the totalitarian approach over a fluid comparison to slightly younger nations like Israel, but for now it carries the point and is interesting to see how Scott Summers is losing himself to what he's becoming. Something that might be the reason to why he leaned on the fascist end and rogue state remarks over the more ally-like yet persecuted comparison that Israel would have given. It was an interesting read, including how it's starting to show the subtle cracking under pressure and hypocrisy Cyclops has.

For me, neither title is worth dropping as yet. Wolverine and The X-Men has brought the fun back to the title, and gives genuine hope for the future as they fight against intolerance using tolerance. Uncanny may be on the edge, but until it tips over I'll keep reading for now to see the self-destruction of Scott Summers that seems to be building from his over-indulgence in self-righteousness. These issues didn't reflect any of the problems I had towards Regenesis and felt closer to a coherent plan and characterization that's been building over the past few years. Overall I agree whole-heartedly with the sentiment that Scott Summers abandoned the dream the second it got hard in the face of adversity. Something Rick Remender put rather eloquently into Archangel's diatribe to Betsy about Xavier in Uncanny X-Force(truly a must read title).

So are these two titles worth reading for now? Oh hell yes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

X-23's Repetition Compulsion

Childhood trauma victims, particularly physical abuse, sexual abuse; or those subjected to constant invasive medical procedures, can have what's commonly called a repetition compulsion. The inflicted lack of self-worth creates a state of repetition along with self-destructive tendencies. These tendencies can include self-mutilation, drug abuse, and self-sabotage.

In select cases like X-23, there can be a reaction of defiance. A subconcious decision caused by stimuli to actively not become an aggressor like those that harmed them, but to remain within a victim's attitudes and perceptions unknowingly. This history tends to lead the victim into becoming an aggressor. Rare cases like X-23 can lead to a state of self-victimization, prostitution, and only becoming aggressive towards those that would victimize others. Instead of leading into a state of omnipotence to over inflate self-worth or a state of vanity, the subject would deliberately and actively remove themself from such thoughts or actions because of their perceived lack of self-worth. The lack of power in their childhood doesn't get forced into wanting to feel powerful as an adult, but rather they actively sacrifice themselves for others without thought. Not to create worth, but actively because they feel others deserve the protection and they themselves are expendable.

Kimura, in the confines of the miniseries, represents the opposite end of the spectrum. The abuse victim who becomes the aggressor. They need to be all-powerful and create another like themself. X-23 represents the side of the spectrum with empathy; the abuse victim who becomes a protector without any self-preservation instincts. The second only acts when others are involved and attempts to prevent harm from befalling them, whereas the first would put others in harm's way purely for pleasure.

The psychology is interwoven in all of X-23's actions and thoughts, including the self-deprecating humor used in Collision. All of it is within the confines of the character and her perceived self-worth. The self-deprecating humor that actively manipulated Daken also created damage to X-23's self-worth by reinforcing why she perceives herself as subhuman. The addition of the physical stimuli from X-23 killing children, an action she has never done before, further causes the reversion to her old habits of self-harm despite any physical reinforcement manifestations she may have had to the contrary. This repetition reinforces the cycle as displayed in Touching Darkness and continues into the Chaos Theory arc.

This isn't factoring in the maternal influences and other factors that have put the character where she is before the beginning of the 3rd volume comic run. Nor does it factor in the active romantic pursuit and infatuation of an aggressor that X-23 has exhibited previously by pursuing a relationship with Hellion. His aggressive persona is counterproductive to the growth X-23 needs to overcome her past and may instead cause this repetition compulsion to continue. This also hasn't included the damage done by not letting her take responsibility for her actions; those choices started to push her to the edge of becoming an abuser by allowing an excuse for these actions and lack of remorse for committing them. Her interactions with Wolverine during this time acted to create an agressor instead of healing her of the abuse. Gambit's interactions are doing the opposite. He's allowing her to heal without more abuse or condemnation. The next step would be social interaction among peers that are accepting of her for who she is now. A place where she could freely be or become herself would be required. I've refrained from any analysis pertaining to her higher cognitive functions as those were kept intact for her aptitude and adaptability as an assassin by the Facility and not directly impacted by the abuse.

X-23's comic and appearances contain heavily mature themes that may go over the average comic reader or reviewer's understanding if they haven't grown up under unorthodox means, seen it first hand, read up on it, or have any familiarity to it being possible in the modern world. It is entirely highbrow and may elicit gut reactions of aversion from others that don't grasp this, have an inclination to condemn others, or that she isn't an animal. She was raised for subterfuge, intelligence gathering, and strategic strikes; eventually she was to be sold off to the highest bidder had she not escaped. Something that's hard for many to fathom, but still happens in countries all over the world including the United States of America within some subcultures.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

X-23 v3 Issue 16 "Whoa!"

Normally I'd wait the for the one week mark before going forward with commentary or opinions, but the conclusion to the Chaos Theory story was just too awesome.

So instead I just want to say one thing. If you're not buying this book you are missing out on what's quickly becoming one of Marvel's must read titles. This issue was too amazing to put into words.

I'll do a real recap next week. In the meantime, go get this issue and the back issues to this arc if you haven't read them yet. The wait for the tpb will be long and this arc was too amazing to wait.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reminder: X-23 v3 Issue 16 hits Shelves Tomorrow!

Just a friendly reminder that you can pick up this issue tomorrow at comic shops! So be sure to grab your copy because this story looks to be a doozy and one hell of a ride!

The preview alone is already raising questions about whether X-23 is on a quest of the selfless or still feels less than human while the cosmic scales of chaos and order both push to use her for their own means. The cards have been dealt, but X-23 almost always has an ace or two up her sleeve to play.