Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – X-Men: Schism

Enter X-Men: Schism, the much touted Cyclops vs Wolverine fight that splits up the extended X-Men family.

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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: Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen

Artists: Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Daniel Acuña, Alan Davis, Adam Kubert, Billy Tan

Issues: X-Men: Prelude to Schism #1-4, X-Men: Schism #1-5, X-Men: Regenesis

 

The X-Men have been united for quite awhile following the big events of X-Men: Messiah Complex and Second Coming. Cyclops had successfully united the 200 or so remaining mutants, providing a (relatively) safe mutant haven in an island off the coast of San Francisco. An island that used to be Magneto’s Asteroid M, who now serves as an old war general and confidant. The times they are a-changin’.

So in 2011 Marvel decided they needed to break up the X-Men.

I can definitely see the reasoning. There’s always been a ton of mutants, and teams are usually split up based on where they are and what they’re doing. But with everyone in Utopia it gets super weird having multiple X-Men comics with different teams, for no real reason other than sales.

Enter X-Men: Schism, the much touted Cyclops vs Wolverine fight that splits up the extended X-Men family. The idea is neat, the dialogue suitable, and the actual fight between our veterans pretty darn violent and satisfying. But the overarching plot and kid-villains are incredibly dumb and frustrating, draining much of Schism’s power. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – X-Men: Schism”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Uncanny X-Force: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

Uncanny X-Force proves every bit the powerhouse comic with a small cast of well-written characters, a stable of solid artists, and an awesome villain that comes from within.

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!

Uncanny X-ForceWriter: Rick Remender

Artists: Leonardo Manco, Jerome Opeña, Rafael Albuquerque, Esad Ribic, Billy Tan, Mark Brooks, Robbi Rodriguez

Issues: Uncanny X-Force (1-19), Excerpt from Wolverine: Road to Hell

 

I’d heard really great things about Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force (2010-2012). I’d also really enjoyed Craig Kyle and Chris Yost’s previous incarnation of X-Force as an incredibly violent mutant black ops team. Even with my lofty expectations Uncanny X-Force proved every bit the powerhouse comic with a small cast of well-written characters, a stable of solid artists, and an awesome villain that comes from within.

The new X-Force team came together as the old one disbanded following its reveal to the rest of the X-Men during the “Second Coming” event. Unlike the previous iteration, this team is much less linked with ongoing mutant drama, making it much easier to pick up and read.

Wolverine returns as team leader, wanting to continue X-Force’s mission: take out bad guys before they become a problem for the X-Men. Their existence is a secret that’s not at all sanctioned by Cyclops. And like the old team, they have no compunction about killing their targets – but what if that target is a child, or one of their own? Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Uncanny X-Force: The Complete Collection Vol. 1”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Wolverine Goes to Hell

Logan’s soul is tortured in Hell while his Earthly body rampages with a host-demon in this killer start to his 2010 solo series.

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!

marvel comicsWriters: Jason Aaron

Artists: Renato Guedes

Issues: Wolverine (2010) #1-5, Wolverine: Road to Hell*

*Also included sort-of tie-ins Daken: Dark Wolverine #1-3 and X-23 #1-3

As a kid of the 80s/90s I love Wolverine. But at this point in 2010, Wolverine had reached peak saturation. He was in multiple X-Men series, multiple Avengers teams, a part of X-Force, then Uncanny X-Force, and still had his own solo book. He also cropped up in other series like Deadpool.

As I said, I like Wolverine, but it was all a bit much. I didn’t have much motivation to read his new solo series when I was getting plenty of him elsewhere. But I kept hearing good things about the story, so I gave it a shot. And holy crap, it’s pretty damn good.

“Wolverine Goes to Hell” is a pretty simple premise. A bunch of normal people who had been wronged by Wolverine’s many, many terrible deeds in the past get together. They get their hands on some occult stuff, trick him into a van (uh, yeah) and then rip his soul from his body. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Wolverine Goes to Hell”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Fear Itself

What if other Thor-like hammers fell into the wrong hands? Fear Itself provides over-the-top action amidst some impressive tie-ins.

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!

marvel comicsWriters: Matt Fraction (Tie-ins: Kieron Gillen, Brian Michael Bendis, Nick Spencer, Christos Gage)

Artists: Stuart Immone (Tie-ins: Greg Land, Chris Bachalo, Cullen Bunn, Sean Chen, Tom Raney, Andrea DiVito)

Issues: Fear Itself #1-7.3, Fear Itself: The Book of the Skull, Journey Into Mystery #622-630, Avengers (2010) #13-17, New Avengers (2010) #14-16, Secret Avengers (2010) #13-15, Avengers Academy #15-20, New Mutants (2009) #29-32, Uncanny X-Men #540-543

 

Another year, another massive Marvel event. It’s around this time through my grand catch-up of the last decade of Marvel comics that I begin to feel the fatigue of large-scale back-to-back…to-back events.

I largely enjoyed the Bendis-led run that evolved from “House of M” into “Civil War,” through the “Secret Invasion” and subsequent “Dark Reign,” and culminating in “Siege.” In total that era encompasses a solid five years of comics.

But large events had become the new big business. We had barely a year go by before the literal hammer dropped, or in this case, multiple hammers in “Fear Itself.”

If the new post-Siege Heroic Age of 2010-11 was meant to be a throwback to the Silver Age of Good vs Evil comics, then “Fear Itself” was the appropriate event. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Fear Itself”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Age of Apocalypse

With its sheer volume of content and fantastic world-building Age of Apocalypse remains one of the best X-Men stories ever told.

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!

age of apocalypseWriters: Scott Lobdell, John Francis Moore, Fabian Nicieza, Jeph Loeb, Warren Ellis

Artists: Andy Kubert, Adam Kubert, Ian Churchill, Steve Epting, Terry Dodson, Carlos Pacheco

Issues: X-Men: Alpha, Age of Apocalypse: The Chosen, Generation Next #1-4, Astonishing X-Men (Vol. 1) #1-4, X-Calibre #1-4, Gambit and the X-Ternals #1–4, Weapon X (Vol. 1) #1–4, Amazing X-Men #1–4, Factor X #1–4, X-Man #1-4, X-Universe #1-2, X-Men: Omega

 

Let me begin by apologizing for the recent dearth of my Comics Final Thoughts series. It’s one of the most popular things I do on this blog, but between moving to a new house and churning out news stories for E3, I’ve been incredibly busy.

But the other reason is because I was tackling a gigantic project – rereading the massive 1995 X-Men event, “Age of Apocalypse!” I was hoping to get it done in time for the X-Men: Apocalypse film, but hey – better late than never.

“Age of Apocalypse” was the insane X-Men event take-over that occurred in the mid 90s. It was also pretty much the only good Marvel comic to come out of the 90s.

“Age of Apocalypse” was incredibly extensive, with dozens of comics, limited series, and an awesome alternate universe playground. We got to see familiar heroes and villains in all-new roles, and a few new characters rose to the occasion to eventually escape the dark reality and enter the regular rotation. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Age of Apocalypse”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Age of X

Starts out as yet another dystopian mutant world, but quickly evolves into an excellent mystery thriller about the truth of this world.

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!

marvel comicWriters: Mike Carey

Artists: Clay Mann, Mirco Pierfederici, Steve Kurth

Issues: Age of X Alpha, X-Men Legacy #245-247, New Mutants (2009) #22-24, Age of X Universe #1-2

 

The mini X-Men event called “Age of X” has all the markings of yet another dystopian future-verse or alternate reality. This is a well-traveled road by our favorite mutants, whether in the massive 90s event “Age of Apocalypse” (which I’m currently re-rereading – final thoughts coming soon!) or “House of M.”

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it’s actually much more than that. “Age of X” focuses on a world that’s just not quite right as Magneto leads the last stronghold of mutant-kind against an overwhelming human coalition out to destroy them. I wish this weird world’s mystery had been a bit more expanded, but given the relatively quick pace the action and story lead to a satisfying and unique conclusion. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Age of X”

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – The Thanos Imperative

The Thanos Imperative is a culmination of events spinning out of War of Kings and Guardians of the Galaxy.

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!

The Thanos ImperativeWriters: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning

Artists: Miguel Sepulveda, Brad Walker

Issues: The Thanos Imperative (#1-6), The Thanos Imperative: Devastation, The Thanos Imperative: Ignition

 

The creative writing team of Abnett and Lanning enjoyed a string of major successes in the 2000s. They reshaped the entire Marvel Cosmic setting through awesome events like Annihilation, Annihilation Conquest, and War of Kings. They created the dysfunctional and fun Guardians of the Galaxy. They made Nova a central hero in all things cosmic.

And they made it all come together in The Thanos Imperative.

Like previous cosmic events and series, to understand The Thanos Imperative requires a lot of set up. The plot spins right out of War of Kings, which heavily involved every major cosmic faction: the Kree lead by the Inhumans, the Shi’ar, Nova, Blastaar, the Guardians of the Galaxy – hell even Silver Surfer and Galactus have to show up. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – The Thanos Imperative”