Agents of SHIELD Just Wrapped Up Its Best Season Yet [Polygon]

Read the full article at Polygon

Marvel has been a dominant force in cross-media entertainment for the last decade, earning the franchise immense mainstream popularity (despite the occasional misstep). That broad popularity has yet to transition to the comics the franchise draws its source material from. And it might not anytime soon, what with Captain America being revealed as a sleeper Hydra agent in Secret Empire.

That event has been met with resounding boos in an era where every day brings a new political crisis and people are more scared, hateful, and divided than ever. And so it’s refreshing that Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season pulls the best elements from the MCU and the most over-the-top elements from comics to remind me why I love Marvel: superheroes punching Nazis.

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Legion’s Villain Explained: The Shadow King [Polygon]

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Legion has swiftly become one of this year’s biggest surprises on television. Its debut season has built a compelling ensemble cast of mutants centered around troubled telepath David Haller, known as Legion in the Marvel comics.

While the main plot began with David on the run from mutant-hunting agency Division Three, the real Big Bad was allowed a much more gradual and sinister reveal. Last week’s episode provided a surprising name drop and firm reveal: the grotesque figure seen hovering near the periphery of David’s mind’s eye is the Shadow King, a powerful X-Men villain, and he has his sights set on David.

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Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers vs. X-Men

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriters: Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman

Artists: John Romita Jr., Adam Kubert, Olivier Coipel

Issues: Avengers vs X-Men #0-12

I also read the following tie-ins: Avengers: X-Sanction #1-4, Avengers #25-30, Avengers Academy #29-33, New Avengers #24-30, Secret Avengers #26-28, Uncanny X-Men #11-20, Wolverine & The X-Men #9-18, X-Men Legacy #266-270, Avengers Vs. X-Men: Versus #1-6, Avengers Vs. X-Men: Consequences #1-5

 

Avengers Vs. X-Men was a massive event. Most Marvel events are big, but they tend to balance smaller events with a few tie-ins with larger, world-spanning events that completely take over all the comics. AvX was definitely the latter in 2012.

It’s also very gimmicky, and staged almost like an empty-headed Summer blockbuster. Even the title doesn’t exactly evoke a lot of mystery. Yet it gradually evolves from a vapid smackdown into a dramatic story that deconstructs Cyclops’ recent worldviews and mutants’ place in the world.

The plot boils down to the return of the Phoenix – that cosmic firebird that has caused the X-Men many headaches in the past. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers vs. X-Men”

Marvel Comics Guide to Legion [Polygon]

Read the full article at Polygon

There are dozens of solid story lines and characters that FOX could have spun out of the X-Men franchise for an ongoing TV series. They chose Legion, which airs tomorrow, Feb 8, on FX.

Legion is an odd, but bold choice. At best, he’s a tragic, multi-layered former supervillain with incredible powers. At worst, he’s yet another figure that demonizes those with mental illness. But either way, Legion is not a very well-known character, particularly if you haven’t been keeping up with Marvel comics in the last decade. We’re here to help.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT POLYGON

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Wolverine and The X-Men (2011), Vol. 1-2

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriter: Jason Aaron

Artist: Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw

Issues: Wolverine and the X-Men (2011), #1-8

Hey, it’s been awhile! Rest assured that despite my recent gap in Marvel Comics Final Thoughts, I’m still reading them. Much of my comic reading time is taken up by my massive read-through of all The Walking Dead comics. But I do sneak some Marvel in.

Currently I’ve been blazing through the timeline circa 2011-12, catching everything up to the big 2012 event, Avengers Vs. X-Men. Most of the stuff hasn’t really been worth writing about. But then we’ve got Wolverine and the X-Men.

Following the divisive events laid out in X-Men: Schism, Wolverine left Utopia to return to the East Coast and re-open Professor X’s School for Gifted Mutants. He takes a number of mutants with him, including Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Rachel Grey, and Beast (who’d basically quit the X-Men after he found out about X-Force). Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Wolverine and The X-Men (2011), Vol. 1-2”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers: The Children’s Crusade

The Young Avengers go on a hunt to find the Scarlet Witch, who hadn’t been seen since the devastating events of Avengers: Disassembled and House of M.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriter: Allan Heinberg 

Artist: Jim Cheung

Issues: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1-9

 

Avengers: Disassembled in 2004, followed by House of M in ’05, kicked off the modern Marvel era of story-telling. Big events, major character deaths (which were never permanent but hey), and years-long fallout and regime changes became the norm.

I dig it quite a bit, despite lots of missteps. But Avengers: The Children’s Crusade represents a lot of what annoys me with Marvel comics – time-travel, retcons, and do-overs that let them “fix” any formerly awesome scenes and situations that had years-long revelations. In this case, the sobering saga of the Scarlet Witch.

I’ll give credit to Marvel for at least not doing this story like a year or two after House of M. Instead we were treated to a whirlwind of cascading events, and the Scarlet Witch was mostly forgotten about, though her “No More Mutants” legacy forever altered the X-Men.

In this special nine-issue limited series that ran from 2010 to 2012, Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung brought Scarlet Witch back to the forefront using the Young Avengers. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Avengers: The Children’s Crusade”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Generation Hope

Hope Summers, the Mutant Messiah, leads a team of the first generation of new mutants since M-Day.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriters: Kieron Gillen, James Asmus

Artists: Salvador Espin, Ibraim Roberson

Issues: Generation Hope #1-17

 

Hope Summers, AKA the Mutant Messiah, had been the focal point of the X-Men saga for years. The first new mutant born since M-Day was first shown in X-Men: Messiah Complex. She was then raised by Cable by jumping through time in Cable (2008), and finally returned to our world in X-Men: Second Coming.

You don’t necessarily need to read all that to understand Generation Hope, but it certainly helps. After Second Coming, Hope officially joins the X-Men. Well, sort of. She’s a badass future-soldier in her own right, and her fellow mutants both love and fear her. She’s also a young woman who had just lost her the only person she cared about.

So Cyclops lets her build her own team after they discover her purpose – saving and recruiting newly awakened mutants. These new teenage mutants, the first five of which are dubbed “the Five Lights,” manifest their mutations in violent, dangerous ways.

Hope’s touch works as a magical cure that calms them. She is both the spark for mutation and its salve.

Hope is sent to save and recruit them during Uncanny X-Men #526-529, which should definitely be required reading for Generation Hope (for that matter, the following story in Uncanny X-Men with Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw is also referenced heavily in a later story in Generation Hope).

So Generation Hope is all about this new team of teenage mutants, which has really been done to death by now. While most superhero teams are delightfully dysfunctional, Hope’s is downright violent and unstable. Their actions sow the seeds for the X-Men’s eventual schism in 2011, and in 2012’s epic Marvel event Avengers vs X-Men. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Generation Hope”