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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Marvel Cares

We as fans always tend to get caught up in the stories, the characters, how Marvel treats fans, and insult Marvel's staff.  I'll admit I'm guilty of it myself at times.  Sometimes a story comes along that just makes you smile about them though.

Today is one of those days when this story popped up.  It's well worth the read.  While I'm not fond of the idea of using something like this as a marketing point to praise a company on, it is worth reading and acknowledging that this truly is the heart of Marvel.  It doesn't matter how big they get, who buys them, or even how heartless we may think CEOs are.  Things like this continue to prove what makes a company great will always be the people behind it.

So my hat is off to you Marvel.  Today, among other times, you have made me proud to be a fan.  A company that knows when to speak to help others in the same situations, and a company that knows how to help others silently when they need to.  It's these kinds of personal touches that truly sets Marvel apart from other companies out in the world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Section: Wallpapers and Icons

As some of you may have already noticed, there's a new section on the nav bar.  The Icons and Wallpapers section has been added. It's not complete yet as many of them are still being made and some resolution adjustments. The icons and various avatars haven't been added yet as graphics are still being edited down for the various chat apps, forum regulations, and other various usages.

Also coming soon will be a massive update to the covers section, Merchandise section, among others.  Some other posts are also still in the works as promised, but some are taking longer than others due to the volume they entail (the full recap of issues 1-21 of the ongoing for example).  One post in particular is taking a lot more time than anticipated because of finding the best way to approach explaining my current running theory on the Cloaked Mystery Woman.  A character I want to just start referencing as Rem, since she's a leftover Remnant that the ongoing didn't get a chance to wrap up or officially name among other reasons.  A character that could have a lot of interesting details interwoven in, especially if her real name is something like Sarah and then the last name is whatever Dr Kinney and Debra Kinney's mom's maiden name was.  Reasonings will be explained in that entry, so just consider this a brief teaser of what's to come.

Enjoy the Wallpapers.  I'll also be working out a fan submission method for those that want to contribute to it.  Eventually will do the same for all sections for those that want to help contribute.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Few Observations from Avengers Academy Issue 30.

This issue was really well done, and gave us a large focus on X-23. It was interesting to see her rise in her role as an Avengers Academy student and teammate but also as a character that others look to for guidance. Well anyway, if I keep going on and on about it here, I won't have any points to use below. So let's kick the tires and start the fires.

X-23 as a character others look to for guidance.
This was an interesting idea to expand on.  Due to her experience and ties, it makes sense.  It's interesting though to note how the others tend to treat her as less like a peer, and more like a guiding older sister.  She comes across as someone they all respect and look to for example or advice.  It comes back to that more student-teacher vibe she seems to evoke as well as her potential as a future leader.

X-23's intel gathering.
Another very interesting point, and one I'm glad was used.  A good chunk of the issue was used to explain what AvX was about in as concise a manner as possible.  This really helps explain to many readers what this is all about.  Using X-23 for this position as the audience entry way really helps sell the point too.  Her info/intel gathering to make a better decision fits with her overall personality as well as helps really push her recent self-discovery journey.  It helps reflect an X-23 who takes the care to know what she's dealing with and not jumping to conclusions.  She comes across as someone who doesn't want to make a decision based on assumptions and what ifs, but instead wants the cold hard truth at the heart of the problem.  In this case, that being the forced restriction from choice and free-will.

X-23's immediate situational awareness about the Sentinel.
This was a rather quickly done moment, but interesting nonetheless.  It helped highlight some of Laura's strengths right off the bat.  Her situational awareness, precision, and adaptability are all on full display with how she stopped the Sentinel without harming anyone or really even it except for the cockpit.  Though I'm sure this is going to lead to other issues because of what Sentinels represent, but that's a topic that'll be interesting to see covered later.  Especially considering how what things or people represent have a tendency to change, or be given the chance to show they are different.  This is a pretty common theme in X-Men so it'll be interesting to see how it's  handled with the younger generations as well as the older heroes.

Hazmat finally opening up to X-23.
This moment caught me off guard, but it's got me liking Hazmat again as a complex character and less like someone that's just overtly jealous.  It really helps make her character come across as genuine and it also starts letting X-23 understand these people, and really, maybe even start to feel accepted by them all as a teammate.  Their conversation also had a lot of valid points, and is a topic that could benefit many readers that could be feeling those kinds of pressures.  It feels especially poignant coming from X-23's mouth considering her own history.

X-23 and Finesse.
Again, I just can't get enough of this pairing.  Their interactions are always a highlight.  It's going to be interesting to see how these two grow as friends.  Finesse's interpretation of AvX was spot on.

X-23's Final Choice.
Even when Hazmat started to jump to conclusions, X-23 held her ground in her choice.  Laura even explained it in a quite simple and elegant manner.  Her final choice?  Free will.  She didn't choose either team.  She chose an ideal that everyone should be free to choose where they stand, where they think they belong, how they want to approach a situation, and that a choice shouldn't be forced upon them even if it's rationalized behind "what's best for them."  Generally people learn and grow from their mistakes.  Denying them that is denying them the rites of passage that leads to becoming an independant capable adult.    Considering most of the X-Kids in the issue are of the age for military enlistment, it's a very sound point to make and harkens back to the original reason behind the schism between Utopia and Wolverine's school.  It also resembles her own choice about coming to the Academy.  It's going to be interesting to see how that ideal holds up against Shaw, and whether or not he's truly reformed because of the amnesia as he's claimed.

This issue is a definite must read.  It explains AvX rather concisely, gives us some real insight into these characters as people, and all around so far seems like one of the best things to come out of AvX(love the reversal usage of Shaw with how it nods the original Hellfire club assault Wolverine did, it's almost poetic in a way).  Granted we're still early in the event, but this issue is a definite must buy if you're following AvX, are an X-23 fan, or were a fan of Generation Hope.  I'd assume you'd already bought it if you were an Avengers Academy fan.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day From Kinney Pride

"Things change.  Time passes by so fast, keep out of the rain."

Happy Mother's Day from KinneyPride. Enjoy the day and remember to appreciate your mother or the mother figures in your life. Remind them you're thankful for all they've done for you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Preview: Avengers Academy Issue 30

Avengers Academy issue 30 goes on sale May 16th, 2012.  CBR has the preview up.

Looks promising as this issue seems as if it'll dive into X-23's feeling on the subject as they deal with the problem of Shaw's escape.  Lots of classic throwbacks within these few pages, and I'm getting a kick out of Shaw in the sewer which seems like an homage to Wolverine's sewer rampage to get into the Hellfire Club only with everything reversed.  We also get to see the Avengers Academy student techie get some panel time.  It's been so long, I forgot they even had one.  Though they could always do with another.  Never have too many smart tech savy kids as Future Foundation shows.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CBR Interviews Liu over Astonishing X-Men

Fans were able to send in questions to Marjorie Liu about Astonishing X-Men and other topics recently. CBR has the interview up.

Among these questions came some constant praise for X-23's comic, and a few details about what could have been. Stuff about potential future stories like a Vegas trip with the NYX crew, and Black Widow training Laura to be more than a warrior/assassin.

Also some minor tidbits about the Mystery Cloaked Woman came up. No real answers came to light about this woman, but we do know now that she's a very X-23 centric villian and potentially won't be appearing in anything that's not Laura related. This seems quite fitting with who she has been alluded to be. In this humble blogger's opinion from everything we know this suggests she is a fellow chessmaster of life who, like Laura, never loses. Someone who knows Laura better than herself, and not in a "I've read her file" type way.

Again much praise goes out to Marjorie Liu for her work on X-23.  It's a sad day that the comic is no longer with us, but we here at KP are ever hopeful that the future could bring more.  Especially with X-23's 10 year anniversary coming up next year.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Avengers Academy Issue 29

Okay this was a juicy read outright.  I'm not really a fan of the AvX main title series, but as with Marvel's previous events, the good stuff is in the side titles.  This one is no exception.

So let's get this party started!

1.)  X-23 and Wolverine's interaction.
This was something straight out of X-Force v3 almost.  Played up Laura's growth since then, and really displayed some interesting chemistry between the two on the family front.  X-23 really is starting to come into her own as his daughter.

2.) X-23 Interacting with Dust.
Again another moment that really shows how much Laura has grown, and also reflects a writer or editor that did their homework.  Using Dust mirrors moments of Academy X perfectly, and even makes a reference to her illness from earlier Utopia issues.

3.) X-23 and Finesse.
I just can't get enough of this pairing.  They just work so well together.  Everything about how that was handled was dead on perfect.  The perceptions and persona reading they display is also quite fun.  It makes sense, and all around plays up to strengths of both characters.

4.) Surge's demeanor.
Still as much of a hypocrite as ever with how she jumps to conclusions and wants to be in the fight.  This could prove to become more interesting as it's sure to come to a head soon.  Will be interesting to see how Striker and her powers might react to each other.

All around, this story arc looks like it's going to be amazing!  So far it's handled perfectly, has nailed the personalities, nailed the history, some fantastic classic Phoenix story nods, and generated an interesting form of rivalry and bonds between members of each team.  This is outright one of the must read side stories to AvX.

Deafening Silence

In life, we're given choices.  Every choice we make defines us.  The question here though, is the choice of silence or inaction.

In life there are many instances where sometimes you just have to swallow the truth.  Nothing good can come out of it.  These moments suck plain and simple.

This is a choice X-23 faces every day.  We were given hints of it in Circle of Four where she couldn't abide it anymore since it would have made more like her.  It was pretty much the entire basis for her run in Academy X, and was a major highlight in Target X.  There are even spots of the ongoing that dove into this.  Does Laura remain silent about the Facility and how they are tracking her cousin and aunt, or does she publicize everything which could put them in danger too?  Does she track these monsters down for what others would perceive as revenge or does she take the higher road of trying to let it go and move on with her life and inadvertantly flaunting her growth into a better person?  She bit her tongue in dealing with her former teammates the beginning of the ongoing as well.  A moment where she could have explained to them everything on why she did what she did, but they probably wouldn't have been able to handle it.  So it was silence to protect them, and just take their assaults and judgements that were thrown at her.

It's a parallel we've all faced in our lives at one time or another.  That line of speaking a truth that'll cause nothing but pain for others, or remaining in forced silence so others can have blissful ignorance while we stay in pain.

So the question presented.  Which is better in life?  Do you stay silent so those you cared for stay happy, or do you just let it all out so you can selfishly feel better about having to swallow that bitter pill?  It's these kinds of choices that make life hardest at times.  Especially in a world that wants to jump to conclusions about anything you'll say, is harshly judgemental out of blind anger, and all around forgets everything that led up to how things got to where they are.

To put it bluntly, it's the essence of a choice with the answer being either way you're screwed.

(*Update* Bottling up emotions isn't healthy.  It's a fine line between the two of silence and bottling up those feelings until the bottle breaks.  There's also psychological damage that can come from forced silence, especially in matters of confronting the one who put you in that spot of forced silence for whatever reason.  In these instances, seek help any way you can.  There are many toll-free helplines dedicated to dealing with these exact kinds of issues and places dedicated to helping those that need help.  It is not weak to seek help.  It takes strength to know that something is beyond your capabilities to handle alone.  True inner-strength means sometimes reaching out for that hand that can help and not make it worse.)