Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – All-New X-Men (2012), Vol. 1-3

The original five X-Men are brought forward in time to find their mutant dreams of peaceful co-existence have never been further away.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artists: Stuart Immonen, David Marquez, David Lafuente

Issues: All-New X-Men (2012) #1-15

marvel
All-New X-Men #8

Avengers Vs. X-Men was a major event in the Marvel universe. It finally reversed the Scarlet Witch’s “No More Mutants” decree back in 2005’s House of M, turned Cyclops and a few of the more grey-area X-Men into hidden revolutionaries, and led some of the more pro-active X-Men into joining forces with the Avengers.

AvX also transitioned veteran Marvel scribe and architect of the modern Marvel universe Brian Michael Bendis from Avengers books into X-Men. Specifically, a new flagship series called All-New X-Men.

All-New X-Men‘s story hook had me immediately rolling my eyes. The Beast, fed up with Cyclops’ post-AvX turn as a murderer and mutant revolutionary, decides the best course of action is to travel back in time to when the original five X-Men were starry-eyed teenagers under the tutelage of Professor Xavier (Marvel plays it coy with the dates. Jean is sporting a 1960’s era bob cut but obviously our modern heroes aren’t 60 year olds…). Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – All-New X-Men (2012), Vol. 1-3”

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

Read the full article on Polygon

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.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON POLYGON

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 – 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”

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.

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 – 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”