Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Examples Of "Homages" Used In X-Men.

Marvel has a tendency to pay 'homage' to various material without ever telling the audience what material. Whether you want to call that idea theft, or paying respects to various material that influenced them is entirely up to you. So here's a quick list of some of the most recent properties they've borrowed from.

Generation Hope and Akira.
This was quite a heavy discussion awhile back around the early issues of Generation Hope. The first issues that focused on Kenji Uedo currently known as Zero in particular are what I'm refering to.

X-Club and Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
The X-Club miniseries is focused heavily around a tower/elevator that reaches a space platform. This is the exact same as Genom tower in the Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 anime. The tower hides a secret overlord that controls all the workers and potentially makes technology go rogue(*cough*scary AI*cough*)... Yup, that's right. It's pretty much the exact same as Genom Tower from that 90s series, story and all. Well, minus the kickass Knight Sabers and their armor designs so far. You know, the elements that actually made that series great. Though surfing on a hammer head shark is a close second, and there are some great one liners still in X-Club.

Astonishing X-Men and El Shaddai: Rise of the Metatron
Astonishing X-Men v3 issues 44-47 in particular have a character named Savior who wears white armor, has blond long hair, and travels across many worlds to try and save his own. If I hadn't prefaced that with Astonishing X-Men volume and issue numbers, you probably would have thought I was talking about the multi-platform video game El Shaddai from Ignition Entertainment. The only real difference between the two? The character in El Shaddai is a good guy named Enoch based around the religeous Books of Enoch, whereas in the "Exalted" storyline he is a bad guy named Savior using mutants from different realities to harness a machine to keep his world from destruction. There are more similarities than that, but this is one of those you have to see for yourself in how blatant it is.

Pesonally, I'm fine with homages so long as the source material is credited. That's where the question arises in my mind. Would Marvel credit the source if they weren't called out on it or do they try to slip by thinking it's okay to steal ideas so long as no one notices? I just hope they don't decide to file lawsuits against anyone that does the same to them that they do to others.

These are also more blatant and less genre scope references like the recent issues of Wolverine and The X-Men have had with a 'sacred seal' being broken that sets free a demon army/demon king. That's a general trope/story archetype that's repeated quite often. Most notably in reference to eco-activism or Japanese shrines. It has been used in other ways too though from construction sites on sacred lands, to whatever other variation can be created and implemented into a show. This usually ends with said being getting sealed back into said sacred/portal area and a general lesson or words of caution to respect the land or traditions/history of an area. So that isn't a direct homage to any one thing usually, but does have its roots in a commonly told story type used in many things. So it's nothing like the above mentioned examples.

What other stories and references have caused you to notice this trend from Marvel? Requirements being the work used in question must have come before the Marvel story that used it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Preview: Avengers Academy Issue 25 and Venom Issue 13

CBR has the previews up from Marvel for the comics going on sale February 1st.

This includes the next installment in X-23's new student life at the Avengers Academy in Avengers Academy issue 25. It also is the kickoff of the Venom event Circle of Four with Venom issue 13.

Check them out, both are looking pretty amazing! Be ready to pick them up at your local comic shop this Wednesday, Februray 1st!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

X-23 Volume 2: Chaos Theory Released!

The premiere hardcover for X-23's volume 2 tpb was released today. This one is called Chaos Theory. It includes the stories Touching Darkness and Chaos theory.

SOPA and PIPA Blackout

We here at KP support the Stop SOPA and PIPA blackout that is circulating the internet. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, but believe the one day blackout will help shed light on what the future may hold if these two draconian 1984 sledgehammer measures were to pass. While the White House has suggested it would veto these measures if they reach that far, it is best to be reminded of what could happen if such a law were passed as this blackout represents.

Please refer to the following sites for more information.
http://sopastrike.com/ and http://sopastrike.com/strike/

Again we apologize for this inconvenience, but measures of censorship that overstep their bounds like these two acts propose cannot go unopposed.

Regular activities will resume on January 19th.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

X-23 v3 Volume 2 Chaos Theory Premiere Hardcover Hitting Shelves Wed.

The second hardcover volume in the collection of the v3 ongoing comic will be hitting shelves this Wednesday at local comic shops. It will be collecting the Touching Darkness and Chaos Theory arcs.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Random News Bites - Not X-23 Related.

More on SOPA and PIPA for those who want to know about this.

Seibertron.com, a transformers fansite, has covered it pretty indepth with many of the resources people would like to read also linked.

Stanford Law Review also sounded off about it awhile back and the problems associated.

The Huffington Post has an article up now about how the White House will not support SOPA or PIPA. While I tend to loathe the huffpost for their attempts at TV show recaps or reviews(mostly their Supernatural and Once Upon a Time reviewers/recappers in particular, though the OUAT one is getting better) that are so off the mark it's beyond laughable, this is one tidbit I'm glad they covered with integrity.

Here's a direct link to the source about the White House reacting to the petitions and legislation.

In other more fun news, there are two new movies coming up I'm personally interested in and can't wait for.

Haywire in theaters January 20th.

Chronicle in theaters February 3rd.

Chronicle reminds me of an older indie film called The Source but handled far better. The Source is great for it's corniness and so bad it's good approach, but The Chronicle just outright looks good to me. Both seem to share a similiar catalyst of events by using friends who discover some kind of power inducing object in the forest. It's the divergent path they take afterwards that leads to their differences. Where The Source focused on this power corruption applied to a highschool with the group having to stop their friend, The Chronicle deals with it on a city level.

Speaking of Chronicle, ComingSoon.net is reporting that Fox's rebooted Fantastic Four called Fantastic Four Reborn may be helmed by the same man. Sounds promising. I hope Fox considers more indie directors if Chronicle does well. The wealth of genuine talent untapped is astonishing in Hollywood as they rely on big names that don't always grasp the properties they handle. Then again, the same could be said of audience over-reactions to properties they don't grasp.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bleeding Cool on X-23's Hot or Not (Comic)

So Bleeding Cool has a video up from Grace Randolph doing her Think About the Ink vlog. This time it kicks off with some colorful commentary and preferences towards X-23. Well, just watch it for yourself. I'm just going to go over here where it's safe...

Video embedded here for reader ease. Keep in mind, some of it is just comedy schtick similiar to the likes of The Colbert Report, but sprinkled with facts between the playful jabs that are deliberately not always on target for comedic effect.

CBR Interviews Avengers Academy Scribe Christos Gage

Over on CBR, Christos Gage has given an interview about what's coming up in Avengers Academy. Among the highlights there are bits about what's coming with X-23 and how much of a role she'll be playing in Avengers Academy in the future.

Monday, January 9, 2012

December 2011 Sales Rank

From last month we have two X-23 issues to check for, and I'll go ahead and toss in her Avengers Academy appearance because it's interesting. Avengers Academy showed a strong rebounding out of the below 20K numbers finally with X-23's addition to the title.

X-23's title is also still doing well above Daken, and Wolverine: The best there is among several other Marvel series. Part of the slight decline could be attributed to the cancellation effect, but it's still staying above the 20K threshold.

X-23 v3 #18
Cover Price: $2.99
This issue was ranked 91 out of 300 according to ICv2 which is based on Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores. The issue has sold an estimated 21,999 copies to them.

X-23 v3 #19
Cover Price: $2.99
This issue was ranked 96 out of 300 according to ICv2 which is based on Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores. The issue has sold an estimated 21,348 copies to them.

Avengers Academy #23
Cover Price: $2.99
This issue was ranked 89 out of 300 according to ICv2 which is based on Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores. The issue has sold an estimated 22,422 copies to them.

Disclaimer: These numbers do not reflect digital, subscriptions, foreign sales, or any other avenue of release the title may have. They are estimates based on Diamond US to US specialty shops only(so the real numbers can be anywhere from an estimated +1 to much higher).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A few Random Thoughts about Avengers Academy Issue 24

Okay, so last time I got a bit carried away in wanting to comment on all the characters which kind of shifts the point of this place. So instead let's just focus on the elements of X-23 that can be gleamed from this great title.

1.) X-23 and Finesse Sparring.

I hope this becomes a regular occurence. These two are interesting together with all that could be covered. There's a ton of potential here to explore.

2.) The kids still not quite grasping what trigger scent is.

I have a feeling this is going to be a common occurence until they finally get used to it, or X-23 explains to them how it works.

3.) X-23 rushing off to protect the kids at the first sign of danger.

Another interesting point that comes back to what I was saying before as X-23 as sort of a teacher's aid/Counselor. Granted here, it also shows her lack of training in dealing with certain areas of the unknown. She recognized danger, but rushed off without a plan or strategy in how to deal with this unknown threat. (Dire wraiths are entirely new to X-23.)
The emotional instinctual reaction plays up to what was just said by Black Widow to X-23 in her ongoing. That X-23's emotions make her get sloppy with how she reacts. It also plays up to the elements of the character that have no care for her own well-being. After everything we've seen in the ongoing though with how X-23 can lock out telepaths and even overpower dimensional entities trying to possess her, it makes me wonder how long the dire wraith will be able to control her. It could be argued that the power from all the people there has heightened the wraith's powers, including X-23's healing powers and the invincible kid's, but it does bring to question the power levels of those presences she's dealt with before. Of course this could also be thanks to the little telepathic parasite in X-23 who seems to want to see her blood thirsty and attack others. If he were the cause of the other blockings besides Laura's own will, he could also be the reason the Dire Wraith is getting such a strong hold on Laura. (Comic book science... Oh how I loathe thee.)

Recap: X-23 v3 Issue 20

One month closer to the Venom arc, and two months away from the final issue. This makes it really hard to stay excited for this title, but even so the impact and ideas it deals with are still highly interesting.

This issue itself is just utter fun. We get Jubilee and X-23 painting the town red. Some classic throwbacks to playing powers sports in the grass of the institute, a classic throwback to NYX with the Zebra Daddy knowing pimp, and a nice launching point for Avengers Academy using Black Widow. A moment that makes X-23 realize she may have been dealing with emotions and not know it. Anger specifically in this instance, which made her react rather sloppily and less precision that she usually uses. Not berserker level anger, but a level of anger that still blinds judgement in how to approach a situation(though that could be questionable considering the pride of the source that spoke these concerns, but it could also be directly tied to Laura's emotional state about not caring about her own well-being). Black Widow with her spy background does make sense about keeping tabs on X-23. There's a lot of potential there to be explored in Avengers Academy and something I hope comes up if both Natasha and Steve talk to X-23 there.

The issue overall is fantastic. It deals with a lot of topics and subtext here. One that caught my attention was how Jubilee refered to X-23 as hot. Something X-23 never thought about before. This is again something that both genders can relate to in geekdom, but something more often that women deal with. I'll admit it, for here I try to stay away from the physical attributes commentary, but it is true about compliments and ego boosting. It does help others heal and see themselves differently. This is especially true for those that are used to being alone. Compliments are foreign to people like that. It's not validation they are looking for. They don't see the world as hot or not. Things just are the way they are, but the outside compliment one doesn't expect or never thought about before can throw a person like that off guard. It can reach areas in that person they never thought about before. I don't mean the basic compliments one would get from good work, or other family like ones, or even compliments from work you're doing mindlessly. I'm refering to the randomness of life of getting a compliment from someone you've grown to respect or care for. Well, to put it simply, it can be trippy. I really don't know how to explain it other than that. It does elevate self-esteem, but for people who are used to being alone and don't need validation it's a completely alien thought to deal with.

For much of nerd culture, we're not used to hearing these things and we don't know how to take it when we do hear it. It used to throw me for a loop all the time as a guy who just stopped caring what people say. Having someone call you attractive outside of the obligatory family "You're handsome" does have a big impact on people. For women it can vary just as much when they rarely get to hear compliments of that sort to remind them just how beautiful they are. It was interesting to see it brought up here, and I wish I were more awake to dive into it as I'm writing this. It's one of the many things that makes this comic so great though. The usage of it is quick, and yet it does yield a big impact in such a subtle usage. This is a topic I'll come back to in another entry. Trying to explain the difference between self-esteem and looking for validation is just slightly beyond my grasp at this hour, but there is a big difference between the two.

You can kind of feel the wrap up nature to the comic. This makes it feel almost like a sad read as it starts winding down. It covers the other end of human trafficing sex slavery(the extreme end), and it dives headfirst into X-23 as a person who doesn't want to see any other girl or kid confined or hurt by the things she's experienced.

The pairing of Jubilee and X-23 works well for the growth of both, and the artwork really helps set the tone of the story. My only complaint I guess would be the surprise factor for me is gone as I've noticed how the art transitions based on the amount of death in the issue. It doesn't have X-23 as eery as Takeda's eyes glowing red pissed off X-23 from Adventures in Babysitting, but it carries a different kind of scary that has a similiar impact. For me though, with seeing that Takeda tends to have art on the non-killing issues and Noto the art on the killing issues, it made it rather obvious something bad and surprising was coming up. Not that this is a bad thing really. Sure I can expect one thing from the style, but how it comes to pass is what really creates the impact. This issue really lets Noto shine as he deals with both lighthearted fun, and serious topics with his artwork. It also shows more skill from the writing staff as the twists and turns are organic, yet also carry weight to even the small moments.

It's a great issue, and really helps set up what's to come. This issue is another one to add to the pile of reasons why it can make fans frustrated that X-23's comic is being canceled.

Sexism in Games and Comics

Kotaku has a follow up article up from their previous one about this topic. Looks like it's getting slightly derailed from all the comments last time it had, but it expands to explain why the arguments many use to dissmiss this are a big part of the problem.

Nerds and Male Privilege Part 2: Deconstructing the Arguments is an interesting read and it highlights many false equilvalances and "strawman" arguments people use when it comes to this topic. Both are equally objectified is an example. One's a fantasy to let a person have that power trip of rippling muscles(men), while the other is treated as eye candy because sex sells(women). (Sex sells being another topic the article deals with, and how untrue it actually is.)

There's a bingo card for this too if it ever comes up.
You can find it here, but personally I would argue the Metroid slot on it(well not the equality part of it, that's BS). The original Metroid at least, you were simply playing as a bounty hunter, and no matter your gender by the time you find out the gender of the character you've already been hooked on merit of the title itself. Now granted, the card's usage relates to the modern era Samus Aran and the Zero Suit. Which I can't argue. It very much is in line with objectifying Samus who was once one of the dominant and strong female characters in gaming that transcended the sexualized arguments. It probably still can be argued that some of her titles still hold those qualities(the Prime series), but it's also highly noticeable other titles cash in on her sex appeal (Other M).

I'm also glad to see the article covered the differences in what attracts women and men, as well as the other kinds of sexy and attractiveness that aren't based on objectification.

It's something all geeks should be concerned about with how we treat others. Perpetuating the stereotypes will do nothing but hold geek culture back.

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Minimates Wave 3

Yay, the wave with X-23 is finally coming soon!

She'll be in the wave 3 of the Marvel vs Capcom minimates as the specialty store exclusive set that includes Felicia from Darkstalkers. Double yay! We get a catgirl with her! This X-23 will also include her foot claws too!

You can find out all about this over on Marvel's exclusive article!