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.)