Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fan X-23 Movie Tips - Potential Script Revisions

Forewarning.  This is long winded.  Like moreso than what's normal for me.  So much so to the point I'm not sure I'll be seeing straight for a few days now with the headaches this gave me.  Anyway, as promised here's my views on what revisions to the origin minis would be needed and how an origin theatrical feature should be handled.  Remember, you were warned, because Jiminy Cricket did this turn out long.

I've always maintained the same view on this.  If a movie was to be done based around X-23, it should start with her origin.  This is the perfect place to appeal to the comic fanbase as well as audiences at large.  X-23's origin tale is a masterfully woven story from Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, but not all of it is applicable to the big screen or for general audience appeal.  There are also a handful of mild plot points that need to be more robust for audiences and some mild plot holes that need paving over.

So the starting point is simple.  Use the basis from Innocence Lost to tie this into X-Men Origins: Wolverine to maintain film continuity.  The opening bit wouldn't be that hard as it's marginally the same to what happened in that movie with Wolverine's escape, but with the addition of Dr. Dale Rice's  act of espionage and death as he attempts to get out before anyone finds out what he's stealing or the escaping Wolverine kills him by accident.  The film could open with this pre-title and help establish the first half's narration by Dr. Sarah Kinney, X-23's mother.  This would help set the tone for what follows in the first half which should strongly feature more heavily on Dr. Kinney.  The Wolverine origin feature never does show what happens on the inside of the door Logan escapes from which is where this death would have to occur anyway for Dr. Sutter to recover the sample as the Weapon X project is frantic in trying to recapture Logan.  Role title, and then slap a so and so years later banner on as the post-title starts with Dr. Kinney and Dr. Sutter hiring her.

The rest of that mini-series is pretty easy to follow for film accuracy and audience appeal.  There are a few spots where things need to be stronger emphasized like how Dr. Kinney made a viable embryo without the lab inventory taking noticeable losses.  This would be best emphasized with elaborating Dr. Zander Rice's belittlement and rhetoric aimed at Dr. Kinney.  Most poignantly emphasized similar to how the mini does it when he confronts her to be the surrogate because of her genetic compatibility to the viable embryo.

Another spot from this miniseries that would need to be changed is the addition of Kimura to earlier into the story.  She doesn't make her appearance in the origin until Target X retcons her in, which this film would have to rectify.   This does help the viewers in many ways though.  By implementing Kimura sooner into the story, it allows for an easy way around the self-mutilation that could be a ratings issue though may need to be kept due to the psychology of the issues involved. 

While the rating is a concern, it can be pointed out that X-23 herself isn't human and therefore isn't subject to the same rating as a normal human child under this treatment would give a movie.  It's sad to say, but the treatment of anthromorphic characters, robots, aliens, clones, and similar genetic creations aren't subject to the same stipulations of treatment that "normal" human characters have even though to an audience the impact is the same once they are attached to the character on screen.  It's a huge oversight the MPAA has, but it's one that can be exploited here.  This film will be dancing between the PG-13 and R ratings pretty easily.  Some cuts will have to be made to potentially keep this in the PG-13 range for best audience appeal, though an outright R director's cut could work on the dvd/bluray release and could very well be feasible for theaters.  With how an R rating could hinder the box office, playing it safe might be best.

There are bits that need to be added from the Liu ongoing series though too.  Items such as Alex Cimini's parents who were killed that helps establish a pattern of X-23 saving children against orders.  This would be perfect to help top off the mission montage used in the mini.  The puppy Laura was given as a child is another that should probably be added as it helps display why Triggerscent was created.  Further diving into Triggerscent, the job she was hired to do by Kingpin would need to be added.  Not problematic right now as Fox owns the Daredevil film rights for now, but that could change come October.  That would need to either be cut completely from an X-23 film, or adapted using a Mafia boss mutant of film creation or obscure comic-lore. 

Another scene that could potentially be cut centers around Dr. Zander Rice's infidelity with Dr. Sutter's wife.  While this does help add a layer of panic and reason to his killing his father figure along the lines of an Oedipus Complex, is it really needed to display his sociopathic tendencies and downward spiral?  It eats up time and becomes problematic, though it does open up doors for sequel potential with the child having been suggested to be his. which is a concern for him to lose his seat of power from his mentor.  Since this information is outside Dr. Kinney's view though as the letter is the framing point, it is probably best to cut from the origin and use as information if the untold tale about the son of Zander Rice is ever used in a sequel film(it has yet to be touched upon in the comics too).  The only problem with cutting it is it makes Zander's motives a bit more unclear as to why he uses X-23 to kill Dr. Sutter and family which is the crux of the ending buildup for act 1.

The death of Dr. Sutter and Zander Rice's usurping of the Facility does need to be kept though.  Herein lies another set of problems.  X-23 saving Megan Kinney at a young age happens right before this, which is what led to X-23 not killing the Sutter child.  By using a pattern from previously (as the ongoing suggested) to establish that X-23 would have not killed him, it helps block the plot hole created from Dr. Kinney being proud of her for that moment that she inadvertantly self-created from rewarding X-23 for saving Megan Kinney prior to that event.  The other problem from this is that the saving of Megan Kinney happens, then the Sutters are killed, which leads right into Dr. Kinney trying to help her daughter escape as she's finally hit a point of moral and ethical clarity as well as what could be argued as maturity.  This bleeds right over into X-23, once free, seeking out Megan Kinney and Debra Kinney.  All of this seemingly has no time passage inbetween.  A time overlap needs to be included that establishes years have passed inbetween these events of saving young Megan, and running to the Kinney's to protect them after escaping the Facility(as is suggested in the second origin mini about maneuvering out of the Facilities tracking reach before going to them).

That's within the confines of the first hour also.  The first act should focus on Dr. Kinney's letter as the narrative, but also help establish the key players in this tragedy and end on Laura having been named and escaping the Facility grounds through the skills they taught her.  Much could still need to be cut or accelerated in details to help fit within the time constraints of that but the action piece transition could be cathartic to viewers.  So it needs to stay.  Plus it helps establish how Laura thinks outside the box to incapacitate Kimura to escape.  The second act though could follow more closely to Target X.  With having removed the elements of flashbacks from Target X, we've freed up ample amounts of time now for this second and third act to fit within an hour or so.

The narrative should change at this point to the question style that Target X uses.  Again Daredevil/Matt Murdock is open game currently to use with Fox, but with that possibly changing in October, it might be best to use Douglas Ramsay as an adult who counsels in mutant affairs(depending upon his usage and era within the much talked about potential New Mutants movie).  His ability of reading body language could play as the same factor Matt Murdock's skills of a human lie-detector does.  The other problem here is in Steve Rogers aka Captain America.  Fox does not have the rights for him, and as much as it'd be awesome for this feature to be the connecting piece into Marvel Studios cinematic universe, it's not likely.  With that change away from SHIELD though, it allows an earlier introduction of a different agent.  Again they could approach obscure comic-lore, but it might be best to use Agent Morales from the X-Force story Not Forgotten.  If she's not available for rights usage, they might have to research for someone else that's open to use and fits.  Without SHIELD, they could also implement the MRD(Mutant Response Division) into the film continuity.  Post the events of X3: The Last Stand, this seems highly likely as a government response anyway.

With the narration change as the letter ends being read by aloud by Ramsey/Murdock, the next part should open with revealing X-23 is captured again, but by these two who have questions that need answers.  With the Cap/Morales/whoever usage earlier as part of the politician protection detail, it gives us an opening into those motives for this as they ask her questions that leads to the audience seeing how she was captured.  This allows the rest of Target X minus the Facility flashbacks to be told, barring potentially the Triggerscent elaboration maybe.  Again that one borderline hits time constraints and since the narrative at this point is being voiced by Laura, it may not be needed, but could help establish the point for audiences.  Possibly something for a Director's cut again.

Everything else from Target X can stay barring one minor changes and one major change.  One minor change is in the tv store front that allows X-23 to see where Logan is staying.  This needs to be changed to something simpler and easier to digest like a pawn shop store front, or a tv by a cashier at the end of their night on the town montage.  This change also needs to feed into film continuity and relfect news events of the Phoenix/Alcatraz Island incident instead of Xavier's press conference that announces what his school has always been.  This could feed into the notes Dr. Kinney had on Logan staying at the Xavier institute too, which explains how Laura finds him for act 3.   This places act 3, the Wolverine and X-23 fight, a few weeks after the third X-Men film.

As for the major change.  The major change is in how X-23 deals with Kimura.  More directly when Laura handcuffs Kimura to the basement wall.  Laura pulling the chain that causes the explosion at the Kinney house puts her at the epicenter of the blast.  This works symbolically but also contains a minor logic flaw as it means she couldn't have escaped.  This needs to stay even though it could be seen as a plot hole initially.  By using this scene to suggest that Laura did indeed kill the Kinneys while trying to stop Kimura, it helps end the narrative of that point for now and moves us along into her facing Logan near the school to end this all before she gets captured by the MRD and taken to Murdock/Ramsey for questioning by Cap/Morales/whoever.   With those scenes still ending the same as seen in the miniseries, the followup scene of her bus ride to New York can be used to suggest she did manage to lie to Murdock/Ramsey and trick Cap/Morales into letting her go free.  Here as she's thinking of all that's transpired, a scene can be inserted that she did let the Kinney's escape first, and had attached a string to the light switch or chain that reaches to a window so she can pull it from outside instead of pulling the basement light bulb chain while being at the center of the blast.  This maintains the initial shock of the scene earlier but also allows her family to escape as 'ghosts' that go from one safe house to the next following Laura's advice and explains how Laura went from their household to getting her locket to then finding Logan.  This keeps her family safe from both the Facility and the aforementioned MRD so that they can't be used to get to her.  It also allows for the time constraints to be played with as these are parts that can be done right before credits to during credits.

The final scene should still be the same as the mini-series, with the last lines of Dr. Kinney's letter being read about how much she loves her daughter.  Lines that should be cut from Murdock/Ramsey's reading earlier since it doesn't pertain to the case they are dealing with in establishing facts, but is a more emotional note to end on that allows Laura to reflect on her mother as the final closing credits are rolling.

For an extra bonus, the after credits scene should show Laura disembarking from the bus in New York and then have Deadpool in full comic-accurate movie-stylized costume run past her with him screaming "The Bee-men are coming! The Bee-men are coming!"

Phew.  Okay that was long.  Some of this still needs to be better rounded out and of course as mentioned many times there are time constraints to play within too.  Thankfully, as mentioned, a director's cut could alleviate many issues in that regard.  These are the revisions I would do to the script though for the most part.  Initially I made the mistake of keeping it majorily entirely intact minus the self-mutilation points and the Rice-Sutter affair.  It worked out well within the timeframe marginally, but didn't really seem to have the same impact it needed.  The lack of the Rice-Sutter affair also made Zander Rice's motives a bit unclear and made him seem only power mad without rhyme or reason.

For the chronology, if you place the Weapon X Logan escape at 1977(two or more years before the 3-mile island incident maybe?), this gives us 15 or so years for Zander to grow up(best to place him at about 8-12 years old with the opening scene) which places us at 1992 for Dr. Kinney to be recruited.  This can lead her into a year or two later for Laura to be born, placing us at 1993 or 1994. Laura and Megan  both growing up, puts them at about roughly the teenage years needed in 2008 or so roughly.  By playing with the birth year, it can manipulate the ages needed for these two, which is easy as it can be extended by how long it takes Dr. Kinney to create a viable sample for X-23, or the amount of failures Dr. Rice has had or even the age Dr. Rice was when his father died during the Weapon X escape.  It might be best to place Laura a year or two older than Megan too, but then use Laura's healing factor as reason for why she seems to age slower than Megan.

For me at least, that's where the bulk of the headache that comes from thinking about this.  Doing the age math is a royal pain in the...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Off-Topic: Captain Marvel

Every so often it's good to take a step back and look at what else Marvel is offering. I've both praised and grumbled about this comic in particular before.  I'm not sure if I made myself all that clear where I stand on it as a fan though.

To be honest, I have no real complaints that the comic itself hasn't already voiced. After reading a recent interview with the writer of it, Kelly Sue Deconnick, I'm not sure if I was clear about my previous aversion to marketing aspects of this title.  These were just aspects in how it was presented to the fandom prior to release.

To be clear, I'm enjoying this comic. Deconnick brings a naturalness to Carol's voice of the likes that hasn't been seen in over a decade. That right there gains immediate praise from me. I'm outright a fan of the design too, though I do wish they'd better explain where the new suit came from. I'm not thrilled with the idea of Carol taking a demotion to maintain the title, but in many ways it's also a promotion from Air Force Colonel to Galaxy level Captain(though honestly still feels like a demotion since NASA has never bothered with a rank difference for astronauts). Besides that, Colonel Marvel doesn't really have the same ring to it I guess.  The best rationale I can come up for that, besides what the comic has already mentioned, is that a self-appointed higher rank than the person she got her powers from wouldn't feel earned.  It'd seem too self-congratulatory.  Carol is the kind of character who might take a name in memory of a person she aspired to be equal to and to even help it live on, but she'd also do it in a manner to make the legacy hers by really owning it.  She's not trying to live up to it.  She's trying to exceed all expectations that the name brings.  She's trying to raise the bar that much higher as has always been her way.

Now what did bug me initially is that Marvel kind of kept Deconnick on the back burner during all this.   Editor Stephen Wacker was seemingly doing all the speaking for her which made it sound more like his baby and his to control which seemed rather counter to what her titles have always represented. Reading between the lines it felt like his push was for marketing reasons and to try and fix the thrashing Marvel has been taking in recent years about their treatment of female characters. It felt press motivated and not authentic. His domineering presence over it made it feel less genuine. Deconnick almost felt like a second string mention to support the authenticity. It came across borderline stating "It's even written by a woman too!"

That bugged me about this. Now more interviews are coming out from Deconnick herself about the title. She's very charismatic and fun. She comes across as authentic and genuine. Even the pictures she's supplied of herself for the articles show a side of letting her inner child thrive and not bothering with any kind of outside appeal or pretense other than just being herself. This is the person they should have had speaking more on this title sooner. Even reading between the lines on what she has said, the only thing that really shines through is a young talented woman who loves life, the silliness it entails, and has a passion for comics with authentic characters. Her words promote modern mythology characters who feel real even while doing the most fantastic of things and dealing with impossibilities of the cosmos. It does go to show where Wacker's enthusiasm came from though. It's easy to see why he accidentally took the lead when speaking about this title from just sheer excitement about what he had already read and even being there from the start. It definitely is a comic that any editor would be proud to have on their resume. A kind of comic you can't help but want to promote and share. Speaking from the first 2 issues at least.

This comic is a must read. It's proven itself already in 2 issues to really get the Carol Danvers character with a modern and fresh presentation. This isn't an aggressively mean Sex in the City type Carol we've read from Bendis over in Avengers nor is it the alcoholic insecure Carol we've seen post-Heroes Reborn. This is the Air Force Carol who loves to fly and dares to dream, a strong capable woman balancing super heroics with her own life, passions, and attitudes. Forget the Carol Danvers you knew, this is the Carol Danvers of Marvel NOW!

So far the only real complaint I can drum up from the recent Hero Complex interview and the 2 issues out so far was how Deconnick mentioned it could be canceled. This isn't rare for comics that star Danvers, though it would be a shame since this is the first comic that's had her in recent years that isn't assassinating her character traits. Something other comics with her over the past decade-plus have been good at doing. So good at it that it made their interpretation of Carol outright painful to read. This is especially true if, like me, you have fond memories of rummaging through back issue boxs at the local comic store for older issues of Ms. Marvel as a kid. This could be a blessing in disguise or a curse depending on how you look at it. If this amazing quality is because Deconnick is writing each issue as it could be her last arc so she wants it to be the best she could make, no wonder the two released so far are amazing. There are minor hindrances in this way of thinking, but Deconnick has displayed an aptitude within these two issues to lay groundwork for future exploration as well. That would normally be the hindrance with trying to keep things self-contained per arc, but she's managed to compensate for that in a manner that's only noticeable if you look for it or when the comic decides to draw upon it later.

Overall, for now at least, this comic gets some of the highest praise I can give a comic for both art direction and writing. I urge everyone who was once a fan of Ms. Marvel or is looking for a good solo female lead book to check this out.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Comic Appearances for X-23 on August 22, 2012

From the previews for Marvel Comics being released next week as seen on CBR, it seems that X-23 will be making a quick possibly one panel appearance in another comic.

The preview for Venom issue 23 has a brief reference to Circle of Four in it.  This of course includes X-23 and the other two compatriots of that arc.

Really dig the stylistic approach used to depict them.  Also rather convenient numbering for this reference.  The rule of 23 seems to always crop back up whenever it can.  This will probably be only a single panel one-off reference, but for those wanting to know everywhere she shows up no matter how miniscule, it's worth noting.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fan Casting an X-23 Feature Film - The Age Issue

Outdated:  The opinions expressed herein have become outdated.  All casting ideas has been pushed up a degree.  The same casting for an origin feature would be best suited for an X-Force feature as well now and carries all the essences required for both currently still.

For the next few weeks in August, KP will be covering some outlying aspects to a potential X-23 feature film.  Why now of all times?  Well to put it bluntly, this month and next month mark the cut-off point to make an October 23, 2013 release.  This is a day that falls on a Wednesday which could coincide with her ten year anniversary for a special comic release too.  All the factors just lined up too perfect for marketing on this day.  From the date being 10-23, to the year being an anagram for 10-23, down to it even being her 10th anniversary.  It's still possible for a 2014 release, but not likely in this current climate.  If anything, the earliest we could expect is potentially her 15th anniversary(2018) or 20th anniversary(2023 and bingo was his name-o) which would mean even more new casting.

Now as for the age problem...
I've been very vocal on this issue in the past.  It's true though.  If you're going for an origin feature you have to display the ages needed which upheaves the entire cast into one of two directions.

Summer Glau in Dollhouse.
You have one side that wants Summer Glau as X-23 with the clear typecasting of female badass characters she has in her filmography.  Then you have another side that wants to see a new starlet start out the role for the origin aspects and set a new standard.  Both sides have equal footing.  Summer Glau does present an amazing actress for the role of an older Laura Kinney, but she doesn't quite have the same impact that a younger Laura Kinney would need for an origin piece.  There are film tricks one could use to do this, but it'd also skew the entire cast to older which hinders the origin's themes about science and the naivity of youth with ethics and morals.  Something that could prove scarier with an older cast, but would come across as more cliche in doing so. A younger scientist cast presents an easier audience empathy route.  A route of youthful ambition to change and shape the world through intelligence and reason without as much of an emphasis on maturity and the treatment of others.  An older casting on that end creates far too many questions and immediately depicts them as evil, whereas a younger casting helps push this is the learning experience for them and illicits far more sympathy and growth to their story.  It allows these side characters to mature and make their final moments have more impact.  Make no mistake, X-23's origin is just as much the story of Dr. Sarah Kinney as it is Laura.  That moment of clarity that takes hold which leads her to set her daughter free.  This is why we need more youthful scientists on screen for the story.  It makes them as the villains more rounded, and less predictable.  It makes them conveyed more human, more naive about reason and logic.  It makes their redemption, their change of heart that much more believable.  Of course this is besides the sociopathic Dr. Xander Rice.  That being said, there are two distinct directions an X-23 feature could take.

Summer Glau in Dollhouse.
Pure original story that's nothing like the comics and changing everything to accomodate audiences at large with minor fan nods like the usage of characters only in name outside of the core two the story needs.  That of Laura Kinney as played by Summer Glau, and Kimura as played by Mila Kunis.  This pairing works best for the older X-23 in my personal opinion, even plays well with aspects of the Yost/Kyle X-Force run between those two.  It pairs up two women who have proven themselves as badasses on screen, but are also starting to broaden their ranges to better capture their talents.  While these two for the lead roles would indeed be movie badasses, they evoke ages right outside the range an origin piece needs.  So the story would have to be altered to accomodate that.  In the end, the entire story would be different and portray a questionable spectrum of themes completely alien to X-23's concept and birth.  Would it look awesome on screen?  Oh definitely. Would it be faithful to the material in a manner to still convey the same emotion?  Probably not.   It would carry different themes, completely alter the impact of Laura's mother in the story, and would feel off to the presented concepts X-23's origin embodies.  It'd be stereotypical cliche pandering that appeals to a lower demographic and baser needs even while being an old school female badass character throwback.  It'd appeal to smaller audience sizes and possibly create extreme comparisons to the first Wolverine movie.  It'd be another Ultraviolet, or similar type oneshot films that while having amazing action choreography, just couldn't quite find their audience.  This would force it to be relegated to a questionable at best cult-hit status when what we need is a box office success.  We need a film that people grab their friends and drag them to go see because it is a must-see hypnotic action film, not a must see turn-your-brain-off action movie.

Selena Gomez in Getaway
The other direction is more low key tied to the origin with minimal changes outside of the handful of comic cliches it uses and potentially tweak small aspects of the psychological torture and self-harm infliction in the story.  For this I've personally narrowed my choices down to two again.  Laura Kinney as portrayed by Selena Gomez (though Bunheads star Julia Goldani Telles also presents strong possibilities), and Kimura as portrayed by Naya Rivera.  This pairing to me works well for the younger X-23 and Kimura that an origin feature would need.  It yields familiarity still with Naya Rivera reprising a role that's similar to her character Santana on Glee.  An aspect that yields an interesting counterpoint in her career as it displays a symbolic what if that character was never redeemed.  It also gives more emphasis on the Innocence Lost of X-23 herself with that casting and both give equal footing to aspects of child starlets that this story parallels in many ways.  It'll allow a more shock factor to settle into audiences at large and possibly draws even more into theaters as it uses two actresses that have followings outside of just geek circles.  It gives a form of subterfuge that X-23's origin story is known for, but also gives an eeriness that could play very well on the big screen from these two as they have no known precedent for roles like this.  It'd create a different kind of suspense that could really grab audiences and make them beg for more.  This of course leaves the door open for Summer Glau to reprise a role similar to that she played on Dollhouse.  Having Summer Glau for the role of Dr. Sarah Kinney, X-23's mother, allows a symbolic passing of the torch for girls to look to for powerful inspirational young women.  This side also has high potential for social media as those suggested have a mastery of social media promotion.  All of these factors help generate a moderate success even before audiences see and feel the full impact of the story that will bring them back to see it again and again with these potentially hypnotizing performances.

Summer Glau in Dollhouse.
Both sets have merits and choices that could be made.  One side, the older usage, leans closer to Fox's tendency to completely change the comics and start from scratch. This is something fans are growing leary of but it could quiet them with the casting.  In the end, creating mixed reactions and reviews for the movie itself.  The other is a chance to show that Fox is capable of handling comic integrity while still appealing to audiences at large.  This younger casting side allows Fox to use a capable writer that could start to intertwine their X-Universe into one large cohesive world as has been proven successful repeatedly. The older side might give us more plot holes and questionable material that caused the same outcry X-Men Origins: Wolverine had.  An outcry about how it shreds the soul of the property in the process of these changes that attempt to appeal to an audience that's already here and waiting for a well handled comic story that has heart, soul, and integrity.

Selena Gomez in Spring Breakers
Personally, I fall into a catergory where I kind of want to see both.  I think the usage of the aforementioned younger cast works for an origin feature.  While having Dr. Sarah Kinney as played by Summer Glau, it leaves the door open for a sequel feature where X-23 is older and Glau fits the role for Laura Kinney moreso because of the age shift.  An age shift that could also show she grew into her mother's shoes so to speak.  This keeps both sides happy and lets Fox test the waters.  If the older X-23 doesn't play well with audiences in a sequel, it'd be easy to go back to the younger X-23 actress in a feature that pre-dates her future self story.  This would be similar to how the Fast and the Furious franchise salvaged itself from Tokyo Drift by using the rest of the sequels to build to that moment.  It'd be a "here's how we started" to "here is her future" diverting into a "let's see how she got there."  If the first origin piece proves a money maker, it'd allow for experimentation with sequels to go anywhere imaginable, maybe even a future styled X-Force feature that pays homage to the story arc Not Forgotten.  For that reason, the casting needs to lean on the side that would generate the best revenue return to make sure there would be a sequel or sequels.  That means moving outside of geek typecasting initially, but also still capable of reaching out to them when needed as casting the mother as Glau would also yield.

Next time on the potential of an X-23 Feature Film: Dissecting the Origins for what's needed, what can be changed, and what outright needs to be cut to maintain the soul of the property and the essence of the story while still appealing to audiences at large and fitting within time constraints.  As masterfully woven as her origin is by Chris Yost and Craig Kyle, it does include many comic cliches that can't work on the big screen and need to be tweaked or rationalized better to work.  It also contains one epic memorable scene that could be hit or miss outright.  That's right, I'm speaking of the infamous light bulb click and just one example of the comic cliches is the shopping strip TV store news report.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Other X-23 Appearances This Week

So far this week, besides of course her team book Avengers Academy, X-23 has also appeared in another comic.

Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe issue 3 includes her and Daken into the fray.  Sadly it's only a couple panels of her that really don't give us any insight into how that battle would have gone. It does give us a mild throwback to similar moments when she was captured and how those who did it maintained her captivity until interfered with though.  So while it's not much, it still keeps itself within confines of the character history with small visual nods.

Sadly, we probably won't get a full issue of her taking on Deadpool as this is a limited series and that is a battle that could wage on for multiple issues.  This is probably why both her and Daken were handled off panel instead.

As the old saying goes though, the outcome of comic character battles is dictated by writer needs.  So as fictional versus would go, this speaks nothing to who would actually win based on the training and histories of each.  For that, we may never see as it's counter-intuitive to how Marvel works these days.

A Few Thoughts on Avengers Academy Issue 35

This issue started off with a bang.  Picking up from the cliffhanger last issue, it gave us insights into how these characters work as a team without their powers.  Part 2 of Final Exam really hits home with much of the story with maintaining human moments in what's an otherwise caped adventure.

A few things caught my attention that really stood out.

Clean Slate's Dispersal
This gets a passing mention as the issue opens.  It explains away the initial problematic spot of last issue suggesting that X-23 did notice the dispersal and popped her claws once aware of what it was.  While it still hindered her healing factor, by her popping all her claws she still has access to them and lessened the exposure to adamantium poison from inside her body.  The airborne dispersal seems to have a slower effect than the aerosol Hazmat dosed herself with.

Heat of the Moment Planning
Immediately as the issue unfolds, the seperated students have to put a plan into action to stop the Clean Slate dispersal to the world.  Finesse seems to really take the lead here with nods to their lessons from Giant-man on how to take down a size shifter.  Of note is X-23's role in this as she handles the blow that hinders Big Zero and allows Finesse to knock Big Zero down for the rest of the team to handle.  It seems much of the training Finesse has done with X-23 comes forward here overall.  Finesse has a strong emphasis on infiltration and deception without any knowledge on the mystic arts to put into practice.  This is something similar to X-23's training and mirrors it quite well.  This immediately explains why X-23 seems more quiet during the planning and explaining.  With Finesse taking point and how much they've trained together, X-23 is well aware of her capabilities and has nothing to add as Finesse pretty much explains it all for those who wouldn't know, the audience included.  All that would be left for X-23 is to nod, agree, and plan ahead for what she's going to do to this madman.  If anything, this relates a form of trust from X-23 towards Finesse that was seemingly foreshadowed previously with their travels together as mentioned last issue.

X-23 Hindered by her Lack of Abilities
While this isn't new per se, as X-23 has dealt with hindrances to her powers before.  It is interesting to note that this is the first time it's to such an extent that her own body is betraying her.  She doesn't take the forefront like previously shown, but she's also conserving her strength for when needed to take down this madman who reminds her of her past.  Even in taking high amounts of damage, she's still holding on and fighting forward.  She still displays aspects of precision and her other situational awareness, but it's also tempered with the blinding pain she's in and her anger.  This is an even more emotional X-23 than we've seen before, and I'm not sure if her fellow students are prepared to see this side of her when she gets her hands on him.  It also evokes the X-23 we've seen before where she puts the safety of others above herself.  She's not fighting for revenge.  She's fighting to stop this madman from harming others and her fellow students.  She's fighting to prevent such abuse from happening to others.

Hazmat and Striker
Okay I have to admit it.  Both of these characters at one time or another were my least favorites, often competing for that slot.  They have had moments where I've wanted to cheer for them and despised them outright.  This issue really marks a turning point in that.  Both of them have displayed qualities that again make you want to cheer for them.  The creative team on this comic has really made both of them quite human in this respect with the tough choices they've had to make.  Striker it seems as if they'll be going right for his pride and vanity in the next part, but Hazmat?  Hazmat this issue really makes me feel for her.  That lingering kiss of a moment you can never share again.  A moment that's going to last a lifetime because of how things will change.  A moment that just exhudes sadness but also solidarity and hope.  It perfectly culminates into a moment of her being able to let her powers go wild.  A burning passion and anger that will not be stopped as it melts everything in her path to this madman.  A complete and utter total meltdown that will. Burn. Everything. The symbolism is rich here, and it amazes me how well handled it was to the point I'm cheering for Hazmat once again while also empathizing for the moments lost and the times remembered.  She's a character that is using what once made her insecure to stop those who hurt her friends and save their future at the risk of her own.

This issue makes me excited for what's to come.  Outright this comic has to be one of the best team books coming out of Marvel right now.  With characters like these, it makes one wonder where they may land later.  With so many stories still begging to be told, what will the future hold for these baptized-by-fire Avengers-in-training.

November 2012 Marvel Solicits

Well, the solicits for November have finally hit over on CBR.  All this talk of Marvel Now has led up to this.  We'll finally see where Avengers Academy fits into their plans for the new status quo!


• End-of-an-era Series Finale!
• In the aftermath of the grueling “Final Exam”, can friendships, romances – and the Academy itself – survive?
32 PGS./Rated T …$2.99

Well, F***!

No word on where X-23 is going after this. With her ten year anniversary followed by her 10 year comic anniversary around the corner next year and the year after, Marvel surely can't be that stupid to leave her in the background forgotten for long.  Hopefully more has yet to be revealed to save for the months to come.  They could very well be graduating to some new Avengers team or similarly the foundation for some fantastic title.  They could also be relegated to short form stories in a title that includes everyone that is or once was an Avenger.  Heck, it could just be a title change and restart.  The choices really vary out there for marketing. 

One thing is for certain though. With White Tiger on this team, and the potential here to expand in other marketing forays as we've seen with the new animated Ultimate Spider-man, the future is ultimately safe for them to land somewhere.  They could potentially even attend superhero college as taught by Spider-man, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist with the new Nova thrown into the mix too as a former military cadet graduating to the big leagues like they all are.  Really, the possibilities are open for all kinds of directions.  Personally for some reason I do lean the synergistic approach that the mirroring of Ultimate Spider-man seems to suggest.  This would also offer an interesting bridge gap to allow X-23 herself to bounce between FF and whatever this new title is.  That is assuming at least she doesn't return to the X-Men or get a new solo or team title in the post AvX world.  X-23: Agent of Shield does have an interesting ring to it (well, if it used an intermediary since Laura would probably be against joining any organization like that formally).  Just as the potential to have a title with her, Finesse, and Jubilee could prove interesting too or even the title pitched by Marjorie Liu awhile back with the addition of Jubilee to that cast.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Preview: Avengers Academy Issue 35

CBR has the preview up for next weeks issue of Avengers Academy.  Issue 35 hits comic shops August 15th.  You can check out the preview here.  It's part 2 in the four part Final Exam story arc.

Right off the bat, the preview itself explains the only minor questionable spot from issue 34.  Apparently it's a delayed reaction to the how the "Clean Slate" was released in the lab.  This preview also highlights and makes last issue highlight X-23's adaptability and situational awareness.  Proving yet again that Gage and crew know what they are doing.

I for one can't wait to read the rest of the issue.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bryan Singer Confirms Days of Future Past.

An IGN interview with Bryan Singer, the producer on the majority of the Fox X-Men movies,  has confirmed that the sequel to X-Men: First Class will indeed be called Days of Future Past.

Singer continued on and confirmed that director Matthew Vaughn will be returning for the sequel.
He also made brief mention of the potential to use this film to broaden the X-Men movie universe in ways similar to how Marvel has handled the Avengers multi-movie universe franchise.

Now what this could mean is many things.
What we do know is that Fox has several properties in the works that are connected to the X-Men.  One that's the most vocal lately about having a future film has been The New Mutants.  This alongside the Wolverine features gives them ample room for cameos and character interest building by using the future timeline.  The potential is also there for Deadpool to be included in costume as he is meant to be.

So what does this mean for the possibilities within the sequel?
Well, we could see anyone from borderline any era in X-Men history, past and present.  They could start to make audiences at large aware of The New Mutants characters for a future spin-off feature.  They could include anyone from Academy X for the same reason.  Cable has been much rumored to potentially make an appearance.  X-23 could make an appearance, and with the entire future essence to the story, it opens up the door to let Summer Glau play her or they could opt to prep for an origin feature by casting a younger starlet to play the role. This would help prepare that character for her own film franchise and even tease for it.  They could cameo Deadpool in costume, possibly even elaborate on how easy it would be to 'correct' X-Men Origins: Wolverine's take to still become the Deadpool fans have come to expect.  This would also potentially help push along his own feature and create anticipation for it.  We could see Sentinels, maybe even Nimrod or the XSE including Shard and Bishop.  This being an alternate future also opens the door for Scott and Jean's daughter to be added to the cast.  Really, the possibilities are endless.  The only thing certain is that audiences are hungry for more expanded universe usage to wet their appetite and create anticipation for future films.  This film can be used as a proving ground to gauge that interest and see which characters audiences at large are most interested in.  I lean heavily on they should include X-23 in this as she'd also be a nod to the recent Wolverine and The X-Men animated series' take on the same idea.  On the same token though, that could be said about Bishop, Shard, and Cable too.  Cable also helps establish a potential Apocalypse story in a post X-Men 3 feature in the timeline.  This also opens the door to seeing Patrick Stewart or Ian Mckellen to reprise their roles for the future timeline.  That could also be used as a nod to the above mentioned animated series.

So far the only thing we do know story-wise is that the past side will take place in the 60s again(1963).  Still roughly a decade away from when Scott Summers and Jean Grey joined the movie franchise's team, and still outright decades away from when Iceman would be able to join the team or Warren ever visiting the school.  Though that too can be worked around thanks to the future storyline if they so tried.  I'm just personally not sure if that would be worth the effort as it'd leave minimal room for the already established past timeline characters and potential future character spin-offs for new properties.  We may also start to see potential character building for future X-Men franchise films though too.  Like establishing a villian for the film universe that'll feature after the events of X-Men 3, but has been a steady growing threat since whichever prequel film they choose.  Again, personally that's something I would save for the third prequel X-Men feature, and use the 2nd prequel instead to focus on established timeline characters and future characters to generate audience interest first.  A third prequel feature, or possibly fourth would need to establish some minor things to pave the way for a post X-Men 3 feature by expanding on a handful of concepts like where Xavier learned about telepathic transplanting.  A concept that's easy to explore by using Emma Frost of First Class to take possession of a younger diamond form, potentially that of Silverfox's sister from X-Men Origins: Wolverine sometime in the late 70s or 80s.  This would allow her usage in modern films, and help create foreshadowing to the after credits scene of the third X-Men film.  Beast is fine in the timeline now, as the serum he took in First Class has slowed his aging.

This film does have massive potential behind it though for any and all directions, and I look forward to seeing how it develops.  Here's hoping that The Wolverine will also be taking these cues about establishing side details for use in future development.  Like say someone taking a blood sample from Logan after they see his healing factor in usage against sword weilders.  A sample they could sell on the black market that could potentially be developed into a certain side feature film that could very well interconnect into one of the characters from the Days of Future Past movie future roster.

Special thanks to Bleeding Cool for the heads up.

A Few Random Thoughts on Avengers Academy Issue 34.

Well today in particular marks a special day.  Today, August 2nd of 2012 is X-23's 9 year anniversary.

So let's see what Avengers Academy's issue from yesterday had ready for us.  Being part 1 in the highly anticipated 4 part Final Exam story arc, it should be interesting.  The issue does have a heavy focus on the original core team with White Tiger and X-23, but there were still some interesting and great X-23 moments to be seen.

X-23 and Finesse, a team-up unseen.
We're given a brief glimpse into these two in the savage land, with potentially more bonding than that behind the scenes.  These are definitely stories I wish could have been explored more and it's a shame X-23's ongoing was canceled as it would have been the perfect place for that.

X-23's new costume.
As mentioned above, X-23's 9 year anniversary was the day after this issue was released.  Whether it was accidental or not, her new costume is a nice gift for that date.  It's a nice improvement, even borderline Future Foundation influenced in the design.  Something that makes me curious to see how it would look in those black and white colors.  I love the pallette choices for now though, but it's definitely a design that will work well with many different color pairings.  This costume marks her 7th distinctly different costume.  Her first being Innocence Lost Facility mission attire and the Target X variation thereof, the second was her commonly used athletic suit, her third was the variation on the Wolverine Fang costume, the 4th was her white and purple athletic attire as used in the Captain Universe oneshot, the 5th was her Academy X graduate suit, and the 6th is her X-Force costume alongside the minor X-Men variation it had.  Counting the variations on these suits, this costume marks her 9th costume change not counting the full uni-power suit.  Which is quite fitting as it has now been 9 years since the character debuted to the public through the first airing of her X-Men Evolution episode.

X-23 getting growly.
A little heavy on the animal nature which seems odd considering her history, but it also works in many ways because of the surprise and shock factor of the scenario.  I was a little taken aback by how she didn't notice the scent difference with the "Clean Slate" but that can also be attributed to the fact she didn't have a prelim scent to base the environment off of, and even so her powers were slowly being negated once in the room anyway.  This seems to create a logic issue though.  If the room was pumped with the aerosol while they were there.  She would have noticed, if the room wasn't, she wouldn't have known if Veil was lying or not.  This I'll just attribute to the speed at which "Clean Slate" works with how it was distributed in the room as opposed to the pure aerosol sample that Hazmat dosed herself with.  It could also be that X-23's training took over so she was looking for the tells of a lie and not basing it off of her abilities.  This also fits with the dialogue moreso, but as would the tells if she were using her powers to detect them.  It can go either direction.

X-23 without her healing factor.
This was punctuated quite well with both the Adamantium poisoning remark and the blood splatter when she pops her claws.  We've also been given precedent on this with Wolverine back during Mutants vs Vampires when Cyclops used nanobots to turn off Logan's healing factor.  So it's not that surprising that it worked here.  X-23's healing factor has been the subject of many dependancy remarks going as far back as the Yost/Kyle usages of the character.  It's going to be interesting to see how Gage and crew deal with Laura without that dependancy.  Laura's always been one to step up to the plate even without it as seen in Circle of Four, but now we're given a chance for all her skill sets to truly shine without it in a more natural urban type environment she's accustomed to as opposed to magic where her training is somewhat lacking.

Overall there are also strong parallels between Final Exam and what's happening over in AvX.  It raises the question of power corruption and arrogance alongside other concepts that play hand in hand with that when one party with alleged absolute betterment of mankind purposes wants to impose their will onto the world for what they think is best.

It's a decent kick-off to the Final Exam arc, and I look forward to reading more.  With both Finesse and X-23 on the side of the angels, it should be interesting to see how this all plays out when they don't have their powers to rely on anymore.  This is something both have had a tendency to depend on more than their training, and it should prove interesting to see how they adapt to the skillsets they have without that dependancy.  All around it harkens back to some interesting classic Marvel nods, like when the Fantastic 4 temporarily lost their powers and had to adapt to a crisis without them.  The same comparison can be made towards Spider-man who had to deal with similar once.  Something X-23's costume itself somewhat alludes to with its Future Foundation Spider-man influences.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Preview: Avengers Academy Issue 34

Avengers Academy Issue 34 was released at comic shops today.  You can check out the preview for it over on CBR.  This issue starts the Final Exam story arc.

So be sure to go pick up your copy today!

MvC3 Minimates Round 3 Hitting Store Shelves Soon!

According to Art Asylum, the next wave of the MvC3 minimates will be hitting store shelves soon.
After two rounds, Diamond Select Toys has still not decided who the winner is in their Marvel vs. Capcom Minimates line. Now it’s time for the third and final round! Series 3 hits comic shops this week, and will be coming to Toys “R” Us shortly, and DST has put together a series of exhibition bouts to show off the new characters’ moves! In a new photo shoot, DST has pitted Marvel characters against Capcom characters based on Series 3’s two-pack pairings.
That card includes:
  • - Captain America vs. Ryu

  • - Doctor Doom vs. Wesker

  • - She-Hulk vs. Chun Li (specialty market exclusive)

  • - X-23 vs. Felicia (specialty market exclusive)

  • - MODOK vs. Akuma (Toys “R” Us exclusive)

  • - Thor vs. Amaterasu (Toys “R” Us exclusive)

Each Minimate stands 2 inches tall with 14 points of articulation and character-specific accessories. Check out the gallery here, and pick up your specialty sets this week!

Special thanks to Toyark for the heads up!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The X-23 Comic Marvel Won't Make

Bleeding Cool last week had a brief snippet up about a book that Marjorie Liu tried to pitch to Marvel last year.  A book that would have had X-23, Black Widow, Elektra, and Mystique. 

Marvel turned down the proposal as they naively felt it wouldn't sell.

Instead, they've brought back Ms. Marvel's comic under the deceptive title Captain Marvel with her taking a demotion in rank, and are about to change one of the Hulk books to Red She-Hulk.

Okay, I'll admit I'm outright a fan of Red She-Hulk and look forward to that book.  I also love how Captain Marvel was handled so far with the first issue and the focus on her pilot and air force nature.  That being said, I would have eaten up beyond all others the comic mentioned above.

It'd have done wonders on the dynamics X-23 presents.  Sold like no other with Black Widow and Mystique associated, especially right now as those two in particular are booming thanks to each of their associated movie franchises.  With a new Daredevil film in the works, Elektra is due for a surge in popularity too.  All of this could have helped contribute to expose X-23 to wider audience appeal as well.

Whoever handles these decisions at Marvel should really reconsider this idea.  It'd help strengthen their lineup, grant wider exposure for some, and give others a comic for just the characters they want to read about after the get hooked from going to theaters and seeing the Avengers, or even X-Men First Class on dvd and its future sequel in theaters.

One question does come to mind though.  Why does a female author trying to pitch a comic that could attract both male readers and female readers that also has a precedent in decent sales from a competitor having done the same thing years ago(Birds of Prey) get told it wouldn't sell, but a male author or editor who pitches and pushes for a female lead book get the go ahead?  Not that I disagree with the reasoning behind the two titles that are going forward, but the above mentioned book fits right into much of the same reasoning they use except has wider exposure thanks to the Avengers film. It also has more mainstays with various attributes that cover more bases, tons of potential for stories, and still allows for the same escapist power fantasies.

Sometimes Marvel really makes me scratch my head.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A few thoughts on Avengers Academy Issue 33

This issue is part 2 and the conclusion of "What the Heart Wants."  A stellar tie-in to AvX.  Not so surprising really as the Avengers Academy AvX tie-in before this is also one of the better sideline characters tie-ins too.  This creative team just keeps nailing it every go out the gate and raising the bar that much higher with each issue.  This issue is no exception.

1. The Parallels.
Throughout Emma's attack, her words sting various students as they too fall under the various things she's calling the sentinel.  It's an interesting point about how power corrupts and can cause people to overgeneralize and miss the core of what they are actually saying.  It's something very common in all walks of life, especially politics.

2. X-23 adds Emma to her list of enemies.
It's about time on this one.  Emma has pushed and prodded, mind raped X-23 and worse.  It's about time Laura put her foot down.  Really interesting though as the psychology of X-23 still shines through.  The straw that broke the camel's back isn't from something Emma did to X-23, but how she harmed a fellow student.  Something that's very common among people that are trying to find their own self-worth and still unsure about it.  The entire "I'll deal with whatever you throw my way, but if you harm someone else I will stop you at all costs."

3. Quicksilver has a heart?
Okay maybe not, but I still loved his line about all his heart wants is quiet, and uses it to rationalize his actions of helping.  Where have I heard that one before?

4. The Sentinel
An interesting moment happened in this issue with the processing unit.  A moment that shows that this "killing machine" has truly evolved, dare I say it, even mutated into something alive with how it overrode it's own prime directives.  Someone here really did their homework, because Pym was absolutely right with how coding works.  That should be an impossibility and the Sentinel made an actual concious choice to disobey to protect those it cared for.

All around just wow.
Next issue the Avengers Academy starts wrapping up some loose plot threads as it paves the way for the post-AvX future.  Fear not true believers!  Thanks to the October solicits we know for fact Avengers Academy isn't going anywhere but up!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

SDCC Exclusives: X-23 Edition

Kotobukiya has an SDCC X-23 X-Force version Bishoujo exclusive statue with a limited to 1000 pieces run.

She features a new face sculpt and minor alterations to her costume to mimic her X-Force attire with a blend of comic accuracy and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 X-Force alternate costume accuracy in an interesting anime-like design.

She was available on the show floor, and will be made available through pre-orders on their site. You can check out a photo review of her at Tomopop.

Pre-orders for her are available here.

Update: Err, well they were. It seems to be sold out now.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marvel October 2012 Solicits

Marvel has posted their October solicits.  For X-23 fans, so far that means Avengers Academy issue 38 and a tpb or two.

• Guest-starring the staff & students of WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN!
• Because you demanded it: the flag football game between Avengers Academy and the Jean Grey School!
32 PGS./Rated T …$2.99

New students, new teachers and new campus — same threats! With the Avengers’ Infinite Mansion in ruins, Giant-Man moves the school to California — where he converts the West Coast Avengers’ former headquarters into the new Avengers Academy! It’s a bright day for the student body, as Pym invites all young superhumans seeking direction to enroll in the Avengers’ training program — including X-23, the new White Tiger and Lightspeed. And they’re joined by new instructor Hawkeye! But tragedy strikes when a faculty member is murdered, and the killer hides in their midst! Can the new and old students band together to root out the traitor, or is the Avengers Academy’s future doomed before it begins? Collecting AVENGERS ACADEMY #21-28.
176 PGS./Rated T …$19.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-5203-3

Laura Kinney, the teenage clone of Wolverine known as X-23, has been on a quest to find herself. Now, it’s time for her to choose between the two feuding X-Men teams — but first, it’s time to have a misadventure in babysitting! Reed and Sue Richards of the Future Foundation have asked Laura to babysit their children, Franklin and Valeria. Of course, the Richards children aren’t normal kids — and this night will turn out to be anything but normal! X-23 will face dragons in Manhattan, cosmic beings in space and teenage romance at inopportune times. And the biggest danger will be the Invisible Woman if Laura doesn’t safely return Franklin and Val to their Baxter Building home! Collecting X-23 (2010) #17-21.
112 PGS./Parental Advisory …$15.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-5282-8

Reminder: Avengers Academy Issue 33

Just a friendly reminder!  Avengers Academy issue 33 hits comic shops this Wednesday, the 18th of July.

You can check out the preview for it here. It's the conclusion to the two part story "What the Heart Wants."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

AvX: Does Might Make Right?

After the events of AVX issues 5-6 and their tie-ins, we've been given a full on glimpse into how Cyclops' team is handling the power and what they are doing with it.

It's a very might makes right type way of thinking.  Forcibly changing minds and imposing their will of perfection on the world.  Something Magneto has dreamt of all  his life with Mutants as masters of the Earth.

I'm biased right off the bat.  I'll admit it.  I've never been one to agree with the mind games and manipulations people play, so this to me is no different.  Cyclops and his 'brotherhood of mutants' reborn is not something I can side with no matter what they've done to the 616 universe to make it a better place simply because of how they did it.  It mirrors too much the initial reasons they kicked Charles out of the X-Men pre-schism, which also makes Cyclops a hypocrite.

I could go on, but I want to hear from you guys.  What are your thoughts on what the Phoenix 5 are doing?  How is it any different than what the Facility imposed on Laura albeit allegedly for the better of mankind?  Does just because you can mean you should?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Avengers Academy Issue 32

You know what they say about vacations.  Once you go on one, it's hard to get back into the swing of things again.  So true.  Completely my bad for putting this off longer than I should have.  This issue especially.  It was utterly amazing.  I was expecting something great, but this, this is just beyond anything I could have ever expected!

So let's get started already.

X-23 and Emma Frost
"Let me mess with your head so I can give you years of therapy in 5 minutes."  Uh yeah, like anyone would accept that from Emma.  Like Laura would ever let Emma in her head after what she did back while Laura was at the Xavier Academy.  This moment I would have liked to see played up more towards what Emma did before, but I can see why it fell to the wayside as sometimes those events can easily be forgotten even if they scar.  This is the fight I've been dying to see for ages though.  Ever since that issue happened actually.  It'll be interesting to see how the school deals with Emma, and how much of the school grounds will survive.

X-23's Past with Pets
The issue picked up on the Marjorie Liu puppy addition to Laura's origin.  A fantastic addition as the hesitancy that moment in her life displayed is probably what led to the facility creating triggerscent to begin with.  It also shows a Laura that's never considered non-living things as living.  An idea that quickly falls aside as the issue progresses and the more she hears from others.  Which is a very interesting point as she wasn't there for the duration of Jocasta being on campus, and has no direct ties as yet to any other synthetic lifeforms in the Marvel Universe.  The speech used against her probably helped, as it was right on the mark.  The sentinel may have flaws, but it's trying to become more than it was created to be.  Something that parallels perfectly with X-23 herself.  It also reflects a sympathetic X-23, and a Laura that can't abide screams of pain from the good guys, even if one is a former robot built solely for genocide.  It was a very interesting moment to see that shift in perspective.  Something that could have deeper roots yet still with how Emma had acted.

X-23 As a Leader
Laura's still taking the lead, which is fine by me.  It makes sense though with her history and experience.  She has a natural talent for situational awareness that works wonders out in the field as displayed last issue, and I'm sure we'll see again come next issue.

The Artwork
This issue's new artwork sells a different point I never expected to see covered ever.  The artwork conveys a familiarity among the students.  You don't really notice the difference unless you compare it to previous issues.  In comparison, while the artwork on previous issues was good, it conveyed a sense of alienness or newness to everyone.  This is something quite fitting as the new class is still getting to know each other and become friendly with each other.  This issue though kind of sells the point that the previous battle in issue 31 was a bonding moment.  So the artwork in this issue conveys a more familiarity or naturalness to the cast.  Something I'm sure everyone has experienced whether it's a new school, new friends or a new job.  The more time you spend at it, and the more you get accustomed to it, the more familiar things become.  The more like home it feels.  That's what the artwork here feels like it conveys.

Overall, this issue was simply spectacular.  I can't wait to read the next.  Gage and crew just keep impressing with every issue after issue in this ongoing that keeps reaching new heights of awe, life lessons, and interesting philosophical debates.  It's starting to make the pain of not having an X-23 ongoing go away as it steps up to fill the void little by little with what it presents at a decent pace with artwork that also feels deep and well planned out for every minor change we may see.  A trait from the ongoing that yielded high praise from me as well, and shows great depth to the entire creative roster on this book.

I know I definitely missed a few key points this go round, but if you haven't picked up the issue yourself, go do it!  This issue is well worth the read.  Alongside the other X-title tie-ins into AvX, it really helps establish and punctuate the Might makes Right argument the Phoenix 5 are using to impose their will on the planet.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Astonishing X-Men Issue 51

Well darn.  I thought I was going to be able to conveniently skip talking about this comic or topic.  Should have known better as Laura shows up as a secret guest with Jubilee in tow.  Almost feels like a direct pick up from Girls night out part 1 from X-23 issue 20.  It's almost like these events are prior to AvX, Avengers Academy issue 23, and Laura's issue 21.  It makes me wonder if anyone has ever thought to try and create a comprehensive and up to date Marvel universe sequence of events timeline.

X-23's in perfect form during her appearance. Marjorie Liu plays off a one line reference to the origin mini Innocence Lost to create some quick tension breaking and humor in this otherwise mostly normal superhero wedding read that has a polite shocker ending.  The two X-23 and Jubilee panels are memorable.  The other interactions between characters seemed topical and relevant to their respective character histories too.  Fine, I'll admit it.  The two X-23 and Jubilee panels are what sold me on this comic.

For those keeping track of X-23 continuity.  This marks the first wedding Laura has been to where she wasn't there to kill someone.

As for the topic itself.
What needs to be said?
This issue was handled with care and tact.  It displays nothing objectionable nor does it really offend any senses.  It's just like any other superhero wedding.  It's a milestone for the characters and one that should be celebrated as much as any other.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a ceremony to celebrate and dedicate your commitment to the one you love, the one you want to spend your entire life with, and they you.  Doing so in front of all those close to you, what you believe is god, and even your country. 

It did have one sort of a vocal objector, but she was handled in a manner that still respected the sanctity of the event so as not to disrespect the happy couple.  The one who vocally admitted to not attending wasn't even human and may have reasonings that could be based against the foundation of what marriage means in her Shi'ar warrior based culture as opposed to who is getting married.   Any other characters who objected to this seemed to have declined their invitations or turned a blind eye.(Yay!  No Rahne perverting her beliefs in pursuit to persecute!) It was nice to see how normal a superhero wedding can be.  Especially one that's so low on villian radars.  It really reflects an interesting perspective on hero public appeal and villian attacks when a wedding can happen with minimal interference from either side.  Altogether it was a quite refreshing read and one that's respectful to the dedication and sacrifice that marriage and love represents.

Preview: Avengers Academy Issue 32

CBR has the preview up for Avengers Academy Issue 32 that's being released today!  Looks to be an even better issue than expected for both X-23 fans and Avengers Academy fans alike!  So be sure to head out and pick up your copy today!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Waiting with baited breath for the moment that will never come. Everyone has faced memories and future's undone like that. For Laura it's most pronounced through those that have come and gone in her life. The family she can never see again whether they are dead or on the run, all the happy times she's had. These moments tend to be fleeting but we also need to cherish them. Sometimes these moments are painful though. That feeling of loss and lingering on for more innocent times. In a busy life people rarely have time to reflect on this which is probably best for escapisms and coping. Reflection can be both a blessing and a curse.

Mistakes, joy, anger, sadness, fear, life is full of conflicting emotions and experiences. Things that can make us smile in wonderment and awe, or moments that we fear to ever face.  In the end though, they are beautiful.  Gorgeous on levels we can never understand until in hindsight.

In life we travel on. We move forward, we make new memories. Though the feeling of loss is there and those people remembered, new memories and friends travel through that can lessen the blow. We've been given small teases of this with Jubilee and Laura becoming friends after a rocky start. We're starting to see it with Finesse and Laura too over in Avengers Academy.

Life always keeps moving forward, but sometimes the past can catch up with us. Sometimes those we thought were long buried and best left forgotten can surprise us. Life is unpredictable. Life is chaos and order. Existence is a duality of good and bad and how you roll with those moments helps define who you are. It's a test of character. Something X-23 just had with how she dealth with the New X-Men at Avengers Academy.

Sometimes I wonder though.  Would Megan and Debra Kinney start keeping a scrap book of X-23 news clippings and sightings to keep tabs on Laura?  Is Laura ever given pause on a street by the scent of a familiar perfume?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

X-Men First Class Sequel Rumors *Potential Spoilers*

This movie's rumors caught me off guard so I wanted to sit and ponder them awhile.  These rumors were reported on Bleeding Cool, and on various other outlets. 

Not only will we be dealing with period assassinations, we might be seeing the future too. Rumors and comments of Cable, New Mutants spin off, and more.  The current running rumors are that it's going to potentially have Cable, use an adapted Days of Future Past storyline or just the title for the time travel element, and be centered around the Kennedy assassination.

We also need to consider that the serial self contained multi-title universe feature building has been proven to be a moderate to decent success with fans, TV viewers, and movie goers at large in succession. So this opens an interesting door for Fox. Granted it seems the entire purpose of a future story (*Cough* young justice *cough*) is to change the future. That still means these various mutants shown could prove potential for a spin-off same universe feature.

Could prove for a decent testing ground for any character to make a cameo and be able to gauge audience reception. This is of course refering only to the future landscape or side. 

The past period is limited moderately so from previous films.  Let's see what we've got to work with if they keep the details. 

The timing seems difficult since we're still in the 60s in comparison to other recruits. The X3 Jean Grey flash back would have to be checked for her time period(check for newest model car or appliance).

The three mile island incident sets a date on by when Xavier needs to go bald. So that gives us a year there for Cyclops too.

Emma Frost(getting old? Someone Shatters her?) the telepath gaining a new body from young Emma Silverfox after the 3 Mile Island incident(Which makes Charles learn about leaping bodies as shown in X3 and his lesson plan on Coma patients).

The future inbetween flashbacks period doors are also wide open for any background character teaser to gauge reactions. So we could have Cannonball's farmhouse, Dani Moonstar from her reservation, X-23 and her creation(leaves more room for when she tells her story to megan in an innocence lost feature). The doors are open for anyone, maybe even archangel and Apocalypse. Really the windows are open too for anyone. Even Dazzler and Pixie. If they talk to Ellen Page back, could they get her as an older Kitty Pryde, or will they continue Kitty Pryde's running gag of a different actress every film? What about Colossus? Hugh Jackman I could see for the future story line too, so they can cash in on his character and try to gain more audience appeal. Lots of potential on this end, just to name a few. In an even scarier way, the rumors of Cable in the past set up the potential for Cable and Deadpool feature at some point if they manage to actually do a Deadpool feature that fixes his issues back to who he is with the costume included. He's the Spider-man of the X-Men. Just doesn't work without the suit and wisecracks. Thankfully this just means you only need Ryan Reynolds voice which frees up the filming schedule if that feature were to ever exist.

So c'mon Fox. I dare you to take X-Men to Avengers heights while maintaining a cohesive X-Universe. Make your franchise the star wars of comic features that focus on the key points of the mutant war. Discovery(XFC), Magneto killing a major politician, Birth of Weapon X(XMO:W), Mystique becomes a senator, Destruction of Weapon X(X2), the red haired lady incident and cure injections(X3). That leaves them open for another feature before the original X-Men feature after this one before they need to dive into an official X4, of course this split could also be used to bypass the serial titles and just append an immediate continuation of both eras until they formally meet as a variation on the multi title system.
Though that'd be a bit pecular and forceful.

So churns the rumor mill, and decisions they need to make.
Keep your fingers crossed for whoever you want to see.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Few Observations From Avengers Academy Issue 31

Continuing the tie-in to AvX, this issue brings up some interesting points.  So let's get to it.

X-23 on Guidance.
Laura raised a very valid point on the difference between the two teams.  One side tried to tell her what she needed to do or be, while the other gave her the information she asked for and let her make her own decisions.  In life this is true.  The more you try to tell someone the choices they need to make, the more likely they are to rebel even if it is best for them, but if you give them the information they need to make an informed decision and let them think for themself and choose, they might surprise you by making the right choice themself.

X-23 as a Leader.
More and more Laura is coming across in a leader capacity.  This isn't surprising considering her training and her history at Academy X, but it's nice to see that new Laura after her self-discovery journey is becoming more than just a tactics-to-win leader.  The elements of empathy are there and she genuinely cares for helping life.  This is an interesting change from her Academy X days where they had to tell her no killing.

X-23 and the New X-Men.
Seems the Academy X kids have finally grown... Somewhat.  There were apologies all around on the New X-Men side for how they treated Laura and parted ways ages ago, but a lot of that was said in thinking she'd be leaving with them when she wasn't.  Dust again seems to be the voice of reason here, telling Laura if they ever need her they'll be there.  I kind of wonder how Surge's leadership is going to be affected by this, and if she might throw more tantrums, but it was nice to see Surge finally calm down and not be a total raging hypocrite still.

X-23 and the "New" Avengers.
Laura decided to stay with the Avengers Academy.  She has an interesting knowledge of her teammates and how to ask for help when needed.  This goes back to her as a leader, them respecting her, and how they accept her, but it's still interesting to see how she quickly took an inventory of all the powers available to read the situation for the most information about what's going on.  Instead of diving into a headlong fight against Shaw, she dove into figuring out what his intentions were.  Instead of attacking, she asked why.  This outright is the key to life.  Asking why and understanding leads to not jumping to conclusions and casting others down like they were nothing for what you think is going on that couldn't be farther from the truth.  It plays up her empathy, but it also shows a very well rounded Laura who doesn't fall into prejudgements.  It's an interesting notion between the X-Men and the Avengers.  The X-Men have been judged so much they fall into this time and time again about condemning others for perceived slights, whereas that isn't what the Avengers are about.  It's the difference between doing the right thing because it's right, and doing things because you want to prove others wrong out of fear or spite.

This was a great issue, and it brought many more points than that up, but it's worth buying and reading for yourself for those points.  Gage and his creative team continue to impress time and time again with how they handle these characters and make them grow. 

Be there next issue, as Avengers Academy will be picking up a powerful moment from Marjorie Liu's run on X-23's solo book as Emma Frost comes a-knocking at the Academy to take apart the sentinel!
(Just a reminder, next week might be a more or less dead week here with sparse postings or late notices.)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Preview: Avengers Academy Issue 31

CBR has the preview up for Avengers Academy issue 31.  It'll be released Wednesday, June 6th.

Be sure to grab your copy as it looks to be another amazing tie-in to AvX.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cloaked Mystery Woman Theories - Round 2!

Okay, well first off I want to apologize for this.  I've been taking notes on what I wanted to say here for awhile, and then putting it off.  I made more notes and went back over some issues.  All around it's a pretty scattered mess with no coherency, but I've got a vacation coming up in June so I need this to go forward now rather than later since I don't have anyone that can fill the dead time with material while I'm gone (the other contributor for here is preoccuppied until late August or early September).  For a vacation this couldn't be worse timing, but I really need it too.  My other projects besides here are taking a step back so I can come back fresh to everything.  Sometimes in life you just need that mental sabatical.  Originally that vacation was going to lead to more material for here, including retracing half of Laura's bus trip from San Francisco to New York as depicted in Target X.  Instead, now it's a genuine real vacation so I can remember what I'm working towards in my own life and just have good times with friends that have long since scattered to the four corners of the world.

So anyway, with all that said, I may as well get this one out of the way since it's the easiest to cover out of everything that needs to go up before that week.

So who is this mystery woman?
Well that's a hard question to answer outright since we honestly don't know.  It was never answered in the ongoing comic.  Sadly the comic was canceled before it could answer that question.  We have been left with some hints though.  If you add in the interview remarks about who it isn't, that helps narrow down the possibilities.

What do we know?
Since she first appeared in issue 9 of X-23's ongoing comic, it has been suggested she potentially is in league with those that were financially backing the Facility and those who are trying to start Weapon X up again.  We know it's not Kimura, and it is someone that's tied solely to X-23.  More accurately, she's someone tied to X-23's future.  So to be blunt, everything here is conjecture and assumptions based around what would work with what we do know.

Based on her speech patterns, and note she left for X-23, we do know one interesting thing.
She has the same speaking pattern as Laura occasionally.  That being the lack of contractions.  Though in the two pages from her first appearance, she did use them.

The note she left reads:
Please accept this token of my appreciation, Laura. After all, without you, this weapon would not have been possible. In addition to the money, I offer you something far more valuable: A name. Alex Cimini.  Years ago you were sent to kill his family, but you resisted your conditioning, and left him alive. Perhaps you should find out why.
This note is what led the story to the Chaos Theory arc.  A story that revealed what the "soul mark" on Laura's hand is from.  It's a remnant of the Uni-power or Enigma Force.  A power that has its own will and motives.  Something that called Laura its "chosen vessel."  A vessel for what we've been led to believe is a sword, a weapon.

This is rather interesting as the letter also gives reference to a weapon, leaving the reader to assume it's the newly created Triggerscent that works on everyone.  What if that's not the weapon referenced?  What if it was a hidden self-reference by the one who wrote the note?

This does fit to what else she had said.

But when will that meeting happen?
As mentioned above, we potentially know she's tied to the financers of the Facility that created Laura.  We were led to believe this in issue 9 of the ongoing during Colision, the mystery woman's first appearance.  We've also been told she was working with Colcord on recreating Weapon X, potentially for years.

These raise even more questions.  Just how does she know?  Okay, well maybe that one is obvious since this is Laura we're talking about.  Nothing has been able to stop her from accomplishing a mission before.  Why would that change?

This is potentially where the vial of blood for the Circle of Four clones may have come from too.  Did she sell one off for an influx of cash with whatever her plans are?  Possibly.

The only other information we really have, is what was in the "Previously..." box for issue 13 of the ongoing.

This woman claimed to represent Laura's future, but what does that mean?
Is it literal, or is she simply messing with Laura's head like Kimura loves to? 

Every appearance leads to more questions from this leftover story remnant of the ongoing.  Who is she?
Is she literally Laura from the future trying to make sure she will exist?  Is she an older additional experiment from the Facility financers that was outside the Facility's view?  Is she that remnant of the Uni-power given flesh but turned dark?  Is she the only woman that could be a match for Laura's strategic prowess? 

I have no clear answers since it was never told in the comic.  The story could go many directions, but she does have a rather uncanny resemblence to the cloaked Laura we saw briefly in Collision when X-23 met Daken for the second time.

Does that mean something?
Is it possible that Laura in the future forcefully removes the soul mark?  An act that could manifest itself into a new being with all of Laura's memories but with a will of her own?  That's one possibility.  Which could explain the lack of claws, and potentially even the lack of the full uni-power.  It'd also explain why she would send Laura to Alex.  An act that set it all in motion with awakening the full power inside Laura, but has ulterior motives that may not be altogether altruistic.  If Laura did remove her hand at the wrist above where her claws store, she would just grow a new hand like she did her full arm in X-Force.  This also explains why she reattached her arm during Chaos Theory, as the cut was below where her claws are stored.  It'd also explain why this woman knows so much, but just how far back in Laura's history was she sent, and how?  Was that also from the last of the Uni-Power left in Laura's soul-mark after this theoretical incident?  If it is this, I'd half expect her name to be Sarah after Laura's mother, but using Sarah and Debbie Kinney's mother's maiden name as a refusal to take the last name of the man who abused Laura's mother(their father sexually assaulted Sarah as a child).  It'd also explain how this woman stays one step ahead of Laura, and would make for a concept of her playing chess against herself.  Afterall, who is the best opponent for someone who never loses at chess? 

If she's not that.  Then what is she?  How does she know all of Laura's innermost thoughts and history?  Is she working with the telepathic parasitic pervert that's constantly assaulting Laura's mind?  Is she an agent for the financers that are trying to harness the Weapon X project anew?  Was she thanking Laura for helping them perfect this new triggerscent, or was the weapon she refered to a thank you for her own future creation?

More questions, no answers.
All we do know for certain is that this may not be the last we see of her and that somehow it is all connected.  When next they meet, we may finally get answers.  Whether when they meet next is this woman's creation or simply her revealing who she is to Laura, has yet to be seen.  Hopefully Marvel someday allows Marjorie Liu to pen that revelation.  The best timing for which with marketing would be next year.  Anytime between August 2013, which is X-23's ten year anniversary, to October 2013.  The month and year when October 23rd falls on a Wednesday and is literally X-23 twice over. 10-23 being the breakdown of the roman numeral X to 10, and 2013 being an anagram of 1023.  As it is, it seems we're one pixel short of a full resolution on this story remnant.