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!