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Dazzler #41 (1986, January)

We’re at the penultimate issue of Dazzler. By Goodwin and Chadwick, “Revelations.”

Revelations

This cover sucks.

Some guy is talking about Dazzler’s big light show at the PR stunt for her movie. The stupid bikers from last issue were apparently there, and were touched by the light so it awakened their powers. The guy is talking to one of the bikers now, in a fancy self-sufficient community. He talks about a project from 25 years ago. He and his wife were running some sort of experiments with enhancement drugs, and it kept killing people. The project was shut down, and the two went on the run as fugitives, with their psychic powers growing stronger. Eventually, they learned that the drugs they’d given people had the effects passed on to the kids of the subjects, and they started gathering the kids at their little cult compound. Unfortunately, there was no way to awaken the psi-potential of the kids, until Dazzler’s light did the trick on the stupid bikers. The man crumbles to dust and possesses the biker.

The man, Dust, goes to visit his wife, Silence. They talk about their plan. Silence says the country is turning further against mutants, and will soon carry over to other superheroes, while Dust and Silence and their flock will be an alternative.

Meanwhile, Dazzler’s kicking the asses of some biker gang. She wants to know about the stupid bikers. The biker she’s trying to intimidate refuses to say anything. Chase fires a warning shot at Dazzler and leads her back to lock her in the truck, then shmoozes the information out of the guy. All part of the plan. When Chase gets back in the truck, he finds out that Cerberus has eaten all his cigars, and Dazzler let him. Dazzler wants to keep searching for the stupid bikers, but Chase brings her in to the agency that hired him to find her.

At Camp Silence, the cult compound, it’s meditation hour, and Silence uses the latent power within the cultists to send out a call for anyone else who hasn’t arrived yet. Rachel Summers hears the call and wakes up wondering what it is, but dismisses it. In a prison in Kansas, an inmate who’s obsessed with Dazzler senses it.

In a Denver hotel, Dazzler’s fed up and ready to fight Chase, but her dad comes down the stairs. He tells her he heard about some weird things going on with US Bailbonds, the group that hired Chase. He found evidence that showed Dazzler was never required to show up in court, and the warrant and files given to Chase were forged. Dazzler’s dad leads her to a waiting car, and she asks if they can check out Camp Silence. At the hotel, Chase checks out Dazzler’s dad’s hotel room, and finds a decomposed skeleton.

Back in the car, Dazzler guesses that it’s not really her father she’s riding with. He tells the driver to find a quiet place for the inevitable battle. In Denver, Chase calls the police to get help for Dazzler, and figures on going his own way. But Cerberus wants to help her.

Out in the desert, Dazzler blasts the driver with light, but he just gets empowered by it. He gets telekinetic power. He ends up knocking himself out with it by pushing himself too far. That leaves Dazzler and Dust. He tells her to blast him with her light, saving his life and her father’s body, which is crumbling quickly, as a result of Carter’s strong will. Dazzler refuses to do it, and instead drains herself of light so there’s no way he can force her to help him. Dust tries to take over Dazzler while she’s exhausted, but Chase shows up to kill him. As Dust dies, he says Dazzler’s mother is at Camp Silence, and Dazzler jumps in the car to head there.

Bleeeeh. This is so bland and mediocre and stupid. Melodramatic dialogue, a lame plot, a weak fight scene. There’s nothing about this issue that’s particularly good. It even kills off Dazzler’s father, because superheroes aren’t allowed to have two living parents and killing off a parent is great for cheap angst and drama. Not that her grief ever gets explored, of course – superheroes have no time for grief. “My father’s dead! Well, I guess I’d better go punch someone!” So stupid.

The next issue of Dazzler is the final issue. Given how bad the series had gotten, it’s not surprising that no one was reading it any more.

 

X-Men comics for May 20 2015

I like being off on Wednesdays. OK, let’s get into it.

Uncanny X-Men #34, by Brian Bendis and Kris Anka. In Delhi, Scott pays a visit to Mystique, posing as a Bollywood star for a couple weeks as a vacation from herself. Scott’s there to talk to her. She takes the forms of Emma, Jean and Wolverine, but each time he says he just wants to talk. She likes that he’s been in so many messed-up relationships that her antics just roll right off him. He wants to know what she wants. A week earlier, Dazzler paid a visit to Maria Hill to say she wanted Mystique. She wants to see the files SHIELD has on her. While Dazzler reviews the files, Hill asks about Scott, and if he’s still insane and declaring a mutant revolution. Dazzler finds something. Back in the present, Scott continues asking what happened to Mystique, and Mystique realizes Scott isn’t Scott. Back a week ago, Dazzler offers to bring in Mystique, in exchange for Hill wiping the records of Scott’s students. Hill makes the deal, and even throws in ice cream. In the present, Mystique is trying to pull the trigger of her weirldy big gun, but can’t. The Cuckoos are stopping her. The other students are there, too. And Magik. A little music gets Dazzler in the mood. She blasts Mystique out the window, but Magik saves her. This is a great issue. We get closure on Dazzler’s arc, and Mystique is defeated, except we know she’s actually still out there in Wolverines, so SHIELD obviously screwed up. The students also get a nice scene at the end, setting up UXM #600, which is in frigging October now for some reason. Anyway. I do like that, even while out for revenge, Dazzler still thinks of the kids. She’s still trying to look out for them. Also, it turns out Maria Hill is apparently a fans of hers. Everyone in the MU is a fan of Dazzler. Which is why I think she should get a solo series, by Jen Van Meter and Jamie McKelvie, about her being a rock star. Come on, Marvel, you know you want to. Anka’s art is good here, as always. There’s a nice expressiveness to his faces. He can get a lot across just with an expression. Great issue. And now I have to wait 5 frigging months for the follow-up on it. Ugh.

Wolverines #19, by Charles Soule and Ariela Kristantina. An hour ago, Mystique was watching a message Destiny left for her, with plans to bring her back to life. Now, the plane has crashed and exploded. Sinister is pissed off that Mystique hit him with a ship. He’s also not at all injured. Laura wakes up Daken, and Ogun wakes up in control of the Shogun body. He offers to distract Sinister so Deathstrike can escape. It’s actually a cool fight. Mystique starts ordering the others around, getting them to do what she wants them to do. She needs to get them all to the Nexus of All Realities. She makes a deal with Portal to get him to help her in exchange for an object that’ll let him teleport anywhere. Back to the Ogun/Sinister fight, and Sinister cures Shogun. Then Siphon gets set on Sinister. This is a fairly interesting issue. I’ll admit, my eagerness to see Destiny back from the dead probably helps. I really, really wants Mystique’s plan to succeed. Destiny is a character who humanizes Mystique a great deal. Plus, you know, lesbians. Woo. But Destiny was just a neat character, so it’d be great to see her brought back. Mystique plays everyone well in this issue. The fight between Ogun and Sinister is cool. The art is very nice. I like Kristantina’s style. She draws a very pretty holographic Destiny, so if Destiny does come back, I’d like to see Kristantina on whatever book she ends up in. I also like how Kristantina draws Laura in motion. She looks fast and agile. So I’d like to see Kristantina draw a book with Laura in it, too.

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #1, by Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli. We start with all the heroes dead. Then we cut back to the first issue of the original Secret Wars, where everyone introduced themselves. And Deadpool’s there. A galaxy’s destroyed and Battleworld created. The Beyonder offers to fulfill the dreams of the winner of the death battle. Deadpool immediately cheers for killing, then stops when he remembers he’s surrounded by classic “no killing” heroes. They’re all teleported to the planet, and Magneto heads off after being called a villain. Captain America is chosen as leader. Then it’s the first fight against the villains. Deadpool hits on She-Hulk and the Enchantress. Absorbing Man absorbs his power, and his cancer. Then Deadpool beats Kang. This is OK. It’s somewhat similar to the classic Deadpool #11, putting Deadpool into a classic story and trying to keep the original tone while also using Deadpool’s odd humour. The problem is Cullen Bunn is nowhere near as hilarious a writer as Joe Kelly, so a lot of the humour is just bland. The art also tries to be similar to the original series, but it’s still too dissimilar from Zeck. Not that Zeck’s work on that series was actually all that great, of course. It was as middling as the writing. But still, it’d be nice if the art in this book was closer to the original. There’s a back-up story by Bunn and Jacopo Camagni, based on the original Contest of Champions, between Death and the Grandmaster. Deadpool says he wants to play, too. And some others. Himself, Rocket Racer, the Fabulous Frog-Man, the Pink Sphinx, the Vile Tapeworm, She-Man-Thing and Howard the Duck (who points out he’s more social satire than superhero). Grandmaster gets annoyed at Deadpool’s whining, and so, a bonus round. The object they’re looking for is in a strip club. Deadpool reveals all the pouches he has are for singles. Pink Sphinx hypnotizes Rocket Racer into thinking he’s the lovechild of Donny Osmond and the Dazzler. It’s a very stupid story. Very, very stupid, and not particularly funny. Bleh.

That’s the X-Men stuff. Now, this week’s Secret Wars stuff.

A-Force #1, by G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett and Jorge Molina. We get a little poetry about Arcadia, the feminist paradise. (On a side note, a panel with Dazzler also shows Luke and Jessica, and Rogue and Gambit. Nice touch.) Some of the women go on patrol over the city, while She-Hulk, Medusa and Spider-Woman monitor from the Hall of Justice. Meggan and Crystal, doing some fishing, are attacked by a giant shark. The patrol women – Captain Marvel, Dazzler, Nico, Ms. America and Pixie – go to help. America gets caught by the Megalodon, but Nico shooting it gets her free. It jumps out of the water, and America, despite everyone telling her not to do it, throws the shark so far it actually lands on the other side of the Shield. She’s very, very strong. Unfortunately, Thor Sam Wilson shows up, tells her she broke Doom’s law, so she gets taken away, and assigned to the Shield. Poor America. Being sent away from all her friends. Interesting, America and this female Loki seem very close. Jean Grey mentions her and Nico being Loki’s wards. With America gone, She-Hulk wants to know where the Megalodon came from, and asks the Sub-Mariners to check it out. This is a good first issue. Always nice seeing America get to be awesome. She threw a giant shark across the Shield. Awesome. I mean, it doesn’t get much more awesome than that. It is a shame that we won’t see more of the relationship between America, Nico and Loki. Well, presumably we’ll see more between Nico and Loki. That should be interesting. But it would’ve been great seeing the three of them. They all have strong, sarcastic personalities. They would’ve made for some fun times. Maybe we’ll get flashbacks. Anyway, the writing is strong. The art is also great. Molina does a good job with the characters and the action. This is a solid start, and I’m definitely interested in seeing where it goes.

Master of Kung Fu #1, by Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic. First, a history lesson. A long time ago, all the Masters of the various martial arts schools went to war, until the only two left were the Masters from Iron Fist and Ten Rings. As they battled to kill each other, they saw how badly the war had hurt K’un Lun. It was decided that, to end the wars, a leader would be decided through trial by combat in the Thirteen Chambers. The Master of the Iron Fist won the first tournament. The current leader is Emperor Zheng Zu of the Ten Rings school, who’s ruled for 100 years. The next tournament is about to be held, and Shang-Chi doubts anyone will beat his father. He’s drunk. Some guards tell him to beat it. It’s Razorfist, Typhus (Typhoid Mary) and another woman. Shang-Chi says he’s too drunk to even feel his legs, so he can’t leave the park until he sleeps off the liquor. Razorfist tells Typhus to burn the dog with Shang-Chi, but Shang gets up to offer to be flogged, instead. Fight! Shang-Chi is the Drunken Master! Kitty is watching the fight, and goes to tell Callisto about it. Razorfist and his ladies are attacked by Callisto’s people, rescuing Shang-Chi, who refuses to kill again. In the Temple of the Ten Rings, Laughing Skull kills a couple students, using fire and ice against them. A servant also fetches Red Sai in the Halls of the Red Hand. This is a very interesting set-up. It’s a cool Eastern Mystical Martial Arts deal. Shang-Chi is funny. I like the way he talks to the dog. His fighting is cool. Callisto and her gang look neat. Talajic’s art is excellent. He does a great job. This looks like it’ll be a really cool series. Especially if you like Chinese Martial Arts films, because that seems to be what they’re going for here.

Battleworld #1. The first story, by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson, is about a version of the Punisher possessed by Dr. Strange. He’s currently in the 2099 realm. he’s attacked by the Infernal Four, versions of Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider who were captured by demonic forces and turned evil. He’s wanted for crossing borders, and is to be taken alive. Punisher doesn’t make it easy for them. Magic guns. And a Rocket of Raggadorr. Which is pretty awesome. Wolverine is the last one standing, and he fights Punisher to the death. A death at the hand of a magic grenade. Wolverine survives, and reports back to Sheriff Strange. Pretty good story. A fun evil version of the New Fantastic Four, a group I do have a soft spot for. Punisher gets to go out in a blaze of glory. His astral weapons are fun. Henderson’s art is good, if rather conventional. The art does lack backgrounds, a lot of the time. It makes it feel like the fight is happening in a barren area, rather than a city of the future. That’s a bit disappointing. The second story, by Ed Brisson and Scott Hepburn, is about MODOK. He completes a Tarleton transporter, which brings him an army of MODOKs. he wants to usurp Doom’s place as ruler of Battleworld. Another MODOK, one who considers himself more evolved and more mature, points out his plan is stupid. First, he wants to usurp a god. Second, this MODOK feels working within the system is more effective, and uses his own work within SHIELD as an example. Ultimate MODOK feels he should be in charge, since he can walk through standard doors. 1602 MODOK wants to know how the lights work. Baby MODOK thinks they should kill all the other MODOKs and rule together. The MODOKs start battling. A pair of Thors show up when it’s all over. This is a fun story. That shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s a story about a bunch of MODOKs arguing with each other. How can it be anything but great? Each MODOK has a distinct personality, and a distinct look. The art is as fun as the writing. It’s great. I have a feeling this might be the best story in the entirety of the Battleworld series.

Planet Hulk #1, by Sam Humphries and Marc Laming. Some Thors are flying over Greenland, and the Hulks launch some projectiles at them. Flaming stones, scraps and crap. The Thors decide to punish them. The Thors have a mission to contain them. In the Killiseum, Captain America and Devil Dinosaur have beaten the Wolverine Clan. Arcade steps into the arena to give the Captain his award. The Captain grabs him and jumps into Devil’s mouth. He demands to know where Bucky is. Arcade knocks him out with an electric flower. The Captain wakes up in Doom’s court. The Captain is given the task of going to Greenland and eliminating the Red King in charge of the Mud Kingdom. He’s told that Bucky is in a captive of the Red King. The Captain agrees, and he and Devil are sent there. They get attacked by weird giant insect things. This is a pretty fun story. Some political intrigue via the Mud Kingdom. This version of Captain America seems pretty neat. Devil Dinosaur’s cool. Nice writing, nice art. Good comic. The back-up story is by Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa. In Phoenix, Arizona, Amadeus Cho, Bannertech Chief of Practical Tech, is about to activate something that’ll change the world. An experiment on some pigs, which hasn’t been cleared by Bruce Banner. Amadeus activates it, and irradiates the pigs, making them bigger. More bacon! Gabe Jones of SHIELD calls to report that a gamma bomb has been stolen. It’s sent at Phoenix, and Amadeus flies out to try to keep it from killing everyone. Instead of exploding, gas is released that turns everyone green. And Hulks. This is a fun story. Pak writes a fun Cho. Miyazawa’s a great artist with a lot of charm to her work. It’s fun. It’s good. I like it.

Spider-Verse #1, by Mike Costa and Andre Araujo. The Jackal is robbing a grave, and Spider-Gwen stops him and his two hired goons. She thinks about how her memory’s been bad. She sometimes remembers a different life, one where she plays drums in an indie band. The world she’s on right now is one where she and her dad are dead. Elsewhere, a guy is watching the Enforcers on a dock. Spider-UK stops the smuggling before the observer can get involved. Spider-Girl is there, too! Yay Anya! She makes fun of Montana for using a lasso. Some planes arrive, and the observer puts on his costume – Spider-Man India. He helps the other two defend themselves from the attack, and to escape. Once they’re safe under a bridge, Pavitr says they don’t belong on the world they’re on. Gwen is investigating her “death,” and gets a job with Ozcorp to do some close research on Mayor Osborn. Ozcorp’s office is set up a lot like a lot of modern tech companies, with no cubicles, a foosball table, beanbag chairs, all meant to give the impression of not being an office. Gwen hasn’t been able to get into the network, but she did find a door leading to Special Projects, and has spent weeks watching the door, figuring out exactly how to get inside. She gets inside, and finds a tablet with plans for a Sinister Six, and some information on her and the other Spiders. Interesting story. I like the set-up of them all having no idea where they are, or really, who they are. Presumably, it’s because their worlds were destroyed, which raises the question of why these Spiders were spared, and why the ended up where they did, in Manhattan. The writing is solid for all the characters. The art’s good. Good comic. There’s also a back-up by Costa and Steven Sanders, about Spider-Ham. He’s been living on the streets for a while. He always takes up with a group of hobos, but eventually, gets kicked out. He eventually moved in with a blind lady who thought he was her grandson. He became a famous food blogger. Then the grandson came home and, once they got to know each other, the grandson suggested Spider-Ham join a circus. It’s a fun story. The art is very cute.

Pull list for May 20 2015

I’m off tomorrow, so reviews will go up.

I’ll go to the store for: A-Force #1, by G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett and Jorge Molina; Loki Agent of Asgard #14, by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett; My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #30, by Christina Rice and Agnes Garbowska; Uncanny X-Men #34, by Brian Bendis and Kris Anka.

I’ll also review: Deadpool’s Secret War #1, by Cullen Bunn, Matteo Lolli and Jacopo Camagni; Master of Kung Fu #1, by Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic; Planet Hulk #1, by Greg Pak, Sam Humphries, Takeshi Miyazawa and Marc Laming; Secret Wars Battleworld #1, by Joshua Williamsson, Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson and Scott Hepburn; Spider-Verse #1, by Mike Costa and Andre Arujo; Wolverines #19, by Charles Soule and Ario Anindito.

So that’s 4 comics I’m picking up, and 8 reviews. Not too bad. I’m reviewing all the Secret Wars #1s this week, since I’ll have time. I probably won’t do it often, and unless a book is especially good, I’m not likely to review past the first issue. I’ll review all the X-Men Secret Wars titles, though, of course.

I’m most excited for A-Force and Uncanny X-Men. Assuming the UXM solicit is actually correct – always iffy, with Bendis titles – it’s looking like it’ll be an interesting issue, with Mystique taking on the team. Hopefully, it means a confrontation between Mystique and Dazzler – Dazzler deserves some closure there. She deserves a chance to kick Mystique’s ass. This will be the final issue of UXM, before the big 600th issue spectacular. And A-Force should be good. I like Wilson’s writing, and Bennett’s been solid on Angela. Lots of cool characters. It should be an interesting series.

The August solicits are out. I have few thoughts on them, so here’s my pull list for August: Silk #7; Ms. Marvel #18; Silver Surfer #15; Loki Agent of Asgard #17; Secret Love #1; Siege #3; Ghost Racers #3; Age of Apocalypse #3; A-Force #4; Giant-Size Little Marvel AvX #3; Witch Hunter Angela #3; Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #2; E Is For Extinction #3; Years of Future Past #4; X-Tinction Agenda #3; Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #3; Secret Wars 2099 #4; Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8.

18 titles. Secret Wars isn’t cutting down my pull list at all. The solicits do hint that Loki might end with #17. A shame, as I’ve enjoyed the series.

I finished reading Jane Eyre. I started it back in, like, October. I downloaded it to my phone, and read it during lunch breaks at work, when my lunches were long enough. When Wal-Mart moved to a new location, I was much, much closer to my home, so now, if I have an hour lunch, I just come home. That means I haven’t been reading the book. I haven’t read it since January. So over the past week or so, I decided to finish it off. Here’s my Goodreads review:

I was reluctant to read this, because I’d disliked Wuthering Heights in high school. Luckily, this was a vastly superior book. Jane is an excellent character – strong-willed and independent. She’s what female characters should be. She’s complete in herself, and doesn’t need someone else to complete her, which makes her relationship with Rochester deeper and more satisfying. She doesn’t love him because she needs him, she loves him because she enjoys his company. The writing style does get a bit flowery and dense at times; there are occasional passages that need to be read a few times to figure out exactly what’s being said. But for the most part, it doesn’t go too far in that direction. This was a very strong book. I enjoyed it.

I also read Courtney Crumrin Vol. 5. Here’s my review from Goodreads:

Another excellent volume of the fantastic Courtney Crumrin series. This one gives Courtney a friend for about five minutes before it goes wrong. It shows how her actions over the previous volumes have been seen by people who have been caught up in them. Until now, we’ve seen everything from Courtney’s perspective, but here, we find out how other people see them. It’s exciting stuff, and it’s arguably the first volume to result in real changes to the status quo. The art is still great, a nice mix of creepy and cute.

At this point, if you’ve read any of the previous volumes, you know what you’re in for here, and you know if you’ll enjoy it. If you haven’t read any of the previous volumes, well, go do that. They’re great books.

So that puts me at 14 books finished so far this year. I gave myself a challenge of reading 24, so I’m well ahead of schedule. My next book will be War of the Encyclopaedists, by Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite.

I’ve recently been “playing” Cookie Clicker. It’s a silly little browser game. There’s a big cookie. You click on it. Clicking it gives you cookies. You can spend those cookies on upgrades that get you automatic cookies every second. I’m currently getting over 15 billion cookies per second. The total number of cookies I’ve made is over a quadrillion. Like I said, it’s silly. But fun.

My work schedule this week is: 3-8:30 Friday, 10-2:20 Saturday, 3-11:30 Sunday, 7-11 next Wednesday. So I’ll have posts Thursday, Monday and Tuesday. I’ll probably do my next pull list on Sunday, and I’ll have my weekly reviews on Wednesday. I’ll have posts for Dazzler #41, Longshot #5 and Alpha Flight #30.

And that’s all I’ve got this week. I really don’t have much to talk about at all.

Nightcrawler #3 (1986, January)

I almost forgot to actually do this post. Oops. Anyway, by Cockrum, “To Bamf, Or Not To Bamf.”

To Bamf, Or Not To Bamf

Big Bamf.

Nightcrawler meets a Bamf, on Bamf Island. Nightcrawler realizes it’s the character from Kitty’s Fairy Tale. The Bamf keeps calling him Daddy, because he’s so much bigger. The Bamf invites Nightcrawler to Bamff, the Bamf hometown, but first Nightcrawler has to recap the series up to now. The Bamf walks Nightcrawler to Bamff, and they pass a couple Pinis – little fairies, named after the Pinis, the creators of Elfworld.

In Bamff, Shagreen randomly shows up. Shagreen tries to blast Nightcrawler, but the Spellstone Kurt’s standing on reflects the spell back. Instead, Shagreen vanishes with all the Bamfs, except the first one. They need to follow him to the Fangs of Doom, and the fortress built by Barclay the Extemporaneous, who talked himself to death. The Bamf blows on a big horn, and the Fiend With No Name, named Mean, pops out of the ground. Mean and the Bamf bicker a little, and Lockheed the Giant Dragon With An Inexplicable Irish Accent arrive. Lockheed The Small Dragon hisses at Giant Lockheed, who blows him off. Nightcrawler explains the situation, and Giant Lockheed agrees to help.

On the flight, Lockheed asks about Nightcrawler, and the Bamf says he’s a Boggie, which pisses him off. Nightcrawler explains he’s from another dimension, and muses that the infinite universe theory must be true. Big Lockheed spots Kitty and Colossus’ ship. Kitty decides to join the party, and Little Lockheed is quite taken with her.

They arrive at the Fangs of Doom, and something in the water grabs Big Lockheed, which means everyone else gets dumped in the water. They swim to the shore, and get attacked by Dreadwings. Kitty gets captured. They get to the front door, which has a sign saying to Abandon Hope, except Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-7.

In the normal world, Kitty is getting multiple readings on Nightcrawler, and grabs at one. Turns out to be a Bamf. It hits on the girls, and Kitty sends it back. But they heard it call itself Bamf, so Illyana guess, correctly, that he’s in Kitty’s Fairy Tale.

Colossus rips open a door, and gets a steel block dropped on his head, which he also tears apart. As they continue on, Colossus and Mean disappear, and a giant red Bamf appears. It’s Dark Bamf! The Dark Bamf defeats Nightcrawler.

With this issue, the series goes from odd to bizarre. It’s still a lot of fun, though. The return to Kitty’s Fairy Tale – and the reveal that it’s a real world – is cute. In an infinite number of universes, it makes sense that this one would be real, too. In fact, every story ever told would have its own universe. Bamf and Mean are both fun characters. The story moves along well, with clever twists. The art is good.

In retrospect, though, I do have one problem with this issue: Making the Bamfs real opened the door for Jason Aaron bringing them into his WatXM run. The modern Bamfs are an obnoxious concept, and one that absolutely no one can make the least bit bearable. It’s enough to make me wish that Cockrum had never done this story, so that Aaron never would’ve come up with the idea of bringing them in.

Still, it’s not fair to judge Cockrum for what later writers did. So this series remains light, silly fun. It’s an enjoyable read.

 

New Mutants #25 (1986, January)

I just brushed so much fur off my cat. But now, by Claremont and Mary Wilshire, “The Times, They Are A’Chagin’.”

The Times, They Are A'Changin'

That costume does not look good on Magneto. No one wants to see a 50-something-year-old man in spandex.

Magneto introduces himself to the Mutants, and explains that Xavier’s gone and left him in charge of the school. Bobby gets angry and calls Magneto a supervillain. Magneto says those days are behind him. Sam tells Magneto they’re not sure they can trust him, and Magneto asks for time, then takes them to the Danger Room to get a sense of their powers. In the boys’ locker room, Sam says everyone deserves a second chance, and Doug makes a really stupid joke about Bobby joining his dad in the Hellfire Club. It’s really stupid, and it feels like it was thrown in to create conflict, rather than as something anyone would actually say. In the girls’ locker room, Illyana points out that she’s an evil demon sorceress, and the others have accepted her, so she figures Magneto deserves a chance. Amara agrees. Karma is less confident. Magneto is sure he’s making a huge mistake, and he also misses Lee Forrester, who’s out with her fishing ship. And that’s that relationship pretty much over.

Magneto tells the kids it’s a physical test, and so dismisses Cypher, which pisses everyone off. Cypher storms off to the control booth, and yells that being the team’s weak link makes it even more important that he learn how to take care of himself. Sound reasoning, truthfully. Cannonball takes first crack at Magneto, but Doug creates a castle environment that allows Magneto to wrap Cannonball in metal and stop him from using his power. Magneto gives Warlock a shock, taking him down. Though he doesn’t actually seem hurt.

Magneto tries to trap the gathered Mutants in a metal shell, but Sunspot keeps the walls apart long enough for Karma to get out. She tries to possess Magneto, but he reflects her power so she instead possesses Sunspot. The others are trapped inside the metal room, so Magik teleports them all out. Wolfsbane manages to catch Magneto, but he just reverses gravity. He wins the first round.

That evening, they go to Harry’s Hideout to groan. They debate what they should do, whether they should stay or leave. Shan is inclined to leave. She doesn’t want to be made another villain’s slave, and she’s never been all that interested in superheroics in the first place. The Mutants are told to head home, and Dani decides to walk home rather than drive. A trio of douchebags follow her with the obvious intent of raping her. She’s rescued by Brightwind, who chases them off. He brings Dani back to the school, and Magneto asks Brightwind to lead him to her attackers.

The Mutants follow him, feeling that avenging Dani is their job. They watch how he deals with the attackers. He smashes into their frat house and pins them to the wall. One of them says she asked for it, and he blows up their house. He says that in the past, he would’ve killed them quite happily, and he’s still tempted, but he’s wiser now. He tells them that if they continue down their current path, they’re going to get themselves killed. Sadly, that’s probably not the case. More likely, as rich white men, they’d never suffer any real consequences for their actions. That’s how it works in the real world: If you’ve got money, you can get away with just about anything. Just the same, one of the guys is scared into calling the cops.

Back at the school, Magneto asks what the Mutants are doing up. He tells them to be quiet upstairs, as Dani needs a few days’ rest. Bobby concedes to Illyana that Magneto may not be so bad.

This is a solid issue. It sets up the conflict about whether to trust Magneto very well. Each person’s viewpoint makes sense from a character perspective, including Dani’s general apathy about the whole thing – she’s got other stuff on her mind. Magneto’s handling of the attempted rapists was cool. Something like that very well may be the only way to deal with people like that, frankly. Magneto does seem a bit dickish in the training. Luckily, he doesn’t wear the uniform from the cover. He wears purple, with a cape, as a proper supervillain should.

Wilshire’s art is OK. Not great. It’s similar to Sienkewicz, but she’s not as talented. She doesn’t pull it off as well as he does. It’s stylized, but doesn’t fully commit to it, and has some unpleasant oddities to it. Still, it’s pretty good in this issue.

 

X-Men comics for May 13 2015

Hey, I got these up!

Storm #11, by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez. Kenji is crushing everyone, so Storm lightnings him apart. She has Beast take the students to safety while she continues trying to get through to Kenji, but he’s not listening. He shows her his last thoughts before he died before – all the pretty people staring at him in horror and disgust. Then he shows her all her friends being attacked around the world. He wants her to kill him again, at the cost of Marisol, Callisto and Forge. She seems to freeze up, but she takes control of him. This boosts her power to crazy levels, and she starts tapping into the fundamental forces that determine weather. The magnetic fields, specifically. She gets rid of all Kenji’s flesh-monsters, but weakens herself enough that he starts taking her over. But she has a plan, using all the friends she just saved. As usual, it’s very meh. It gets way too after-school-special at times, which is par for the course with this series. The writing isn’t strong. The art also isn’t particularly spectacular. It’s not bad art, by any means. Ibanez is reliably good. But it doesn’t really grab me. It’s a bit muddy at parts, a bit vague, a bit rough. It’s OK, but nothing special. OK is really the only way to describe this whole series. I had high hopes, but none of them were met.

Magneto #18, by Cullen Bunn and Paul Davidson. Magneto and Polaris have a little chat about how much Magneto sucks at being a father, but that they’re glad to have known each other. Meanwhile, the world is ending. Magneto wants to stop the Incursion, even if it kills him. He flashes back to years and years and years ago, all the way back to X-Men #6, and meeting Namor. Magneto wanted Namor’s help in deposing humans, in favour of mutants. Back in the present, Polaris says she would’ve liked to have seen where his actions on Genosha would’ve gone. While he gathers his strength, his Marauders protect people. Polaris goes up to join him. Flashback again, to a few months ago, on Utopia. Namor was watching an injured Magneto sleeping, and asks Magneto if he thinks he’s doing enough to protect mutants. Another scene in the present, and then another flashback, to a few weeks ago in Genosha, with Namor giving Magneto information about the Incursions. This is a good issue. t uses the end of the world to do a deep exploration of who Magneto is as a person. And also his relationship with Polaris. It even makes time to throw in a couple jokes here and there to cut the tension, which has been the biggest problem with this whole series: A distinct lack of any sort of jokes at all. This issue has a few somewhat funny moments – Namor’s arrogance actually works pretty well for that, as usual – and it really makes the comic more enjoyable. It doesn’t take away from the tension of the issue, but it does make that tension a little easier to take. The art is pretty good, too. I’m not a fan of Walta. Davidson’s style isn’t that different, but it’s different enough to be pleasing. There is something oddly sweet about Polaris showing up in her original costume – a statement that she’s standing with him. It’s nice.

Wolverines #18, by Charles Soule and Jonathan Marks. Sinister’s taken control of the Wolverines using the control words. That can’t stop the Changeling from crashing into Arcadia. Shogun stumbles out of the flames, and gets attacked by Laura. He uses the release word, erasing all her control words. Sabretooth attacks, and keeps Laura busy, while Deathstrike goes after Shogun. He releases her, too. Mystique is angry at all her plans being shot to hell. So she makes sure Sabretooth can’t hear his release word, which puts Shogun in a bad position. Sabretooth tears Junk’s head off. Laura and Skel start pounding on him. Shogun shouts the release word again, and this time it works. Endo attacks Shogun, saying she can’t die but wishes she could, but will kill him instead. Mystique shoots her. Then shoots Sabretooth in the head. Then shoots Skel. There’s a lot of chaos in this issue. Marks does a very good job with it. Soule’s writing actually isn’t particularly outstanding in this issue, sadly. There’s a nice scene between Shogun and Deathstrike, and Mystique gets an awesome moment, but other than that, there’s lots of screams, lots of shouts, lots of nothing. It’s presumably meant to highlight how crazy things have gotten, but it just ends up being a little annoying. Marks makes the whole issue look like pure chaos, though, which works well. So he does a much better job than Soule does. Though I still don’t care that much about the series. Also, Daken doesn’t show up this issue at all, which is nice, though it does make me wonder if he’s now dead. No big loss.

That’s the X-titles. Here’s some other stuff.

Ms. Marvel #15, by G. Willow Wilson and Takeshi Miyazawa. Kamala’s pissed at Kamran. She even calls him gross. He says she put herself in that situation. Legacy says he wants her to be part of his plans for New Attilan. She tries to keep him distracted while she mashes buttons on her phone in her pocket. She calls Bruno, and he leaves chemistry class to get her help. Back in New Attilan, Kamala throws her phone at Legacy’s head (the phone doesn’t much like that). She runs through the place until she finds the training room, and initiates her own Legendary module. Bruno arrives via water taxi, and is immediately captured. Kamala’s found and cornered by Kamran, who gets ready to punch her for making him look bad. She realizes that, despite his good looks, he’s a buttwipe. So it’s fight-back time. As always, this comic is just so damned good. This issue has fun references to both Star Trek II (“KHAAAAAAAN!”) and Star Wars (“Into the garbage chute, flyboy.”) Kamran is a dick, and Kamala is wonderful. So good. Miyazawa’s art is really cute and fun, too. This series is amazing and you should be reading it already.

Silk #4, by Robbie Thompson and Annapaolo Martello. I had no idea Stacey Lee wasn’t the artist for this issue. Dang it. Silk and Reed Richards are out in a field, and Galactus grows up, holding her in his hand. It’s a VR thing, with Reed playing Galactus. Sue knows he enjoys it. Johnny decides to ask her out while she takes down Galactus, AT-AT-style. She’s the one who calls him an AT-AT. I like Silk. With all the tests done, Reed talks to her about the problems with her powers. He asks how long she spent in isolation. There’s nothing physically wrong with her, so he figures it’s anxiety. He admits to having had anxiety, himself, and gives her the number for a psychologist who specializes in people with secret identities. She goes out and punches Peter. The Fantastic Four all like her. She’s upset he told Reed about her history, and feels it wasn’t his business. Johnny cuts the tension by suggesting she join them in eating Ben’s cooking and watching The Hobbit. She declines, but does accept a dinner date for that night. She heads to work to do research on Black Cat, but Jameson tells her to go away and be young. He’s actually not a bad guy, Jameson. She goes to a club to dance, and talks to one of her friends. She flashes back to her parents finding her in her room filled with webs, and promising to work through whatever’s happening together. The date starts painfully awkward, because superheroes have no idea how to be normal for any period of time, so they decide to go superheroing. This is another good issue. I miss Lee’s art, by Martello actually does a great job. Her style’s not that far from Lee’s, so it’s not a big shift. She doesn’t have the same sense of motion that Lee brings, but she does have the expressiveness, and the fun. Thompson does a good job with the Fantastic Four – I liked Reed saying his natural state is a puddle. He also tosses in the two lesbians from the first issue, which was nice. I’m a fan of supporting casts, and this series has been somewhat lacking in that area. I like this series. You should definitely read it.

Howard the Duck #3, by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones. Aunt May has robbed Tara’s tattoo shop, and now wants Howard to hand over his wallet. She’s got a gun pointed at him, and when he threatens to use Quack-Fu on her, she pistol-whips him. He wakes up to She-Hulk leaning over him. Tara called her from Howard’s phone, since apparently the only two contacts in his phone are She-Hulk and “SpiderMandrewGarfield.” Heh. Not a bad name, actually. I like it. Too bad Garfield isn’t Spider-Man any more, so there won’t be any more opportunities to use it. Howard realizes the necklace he found was stolen again. He returns to his office, and finds Mr. Richards there already. He explains the situation. Richards is pissed, and gives Howard three days to get the necklace back. Three days later, Howard is in a park, pretending to be a normal duck, being fed bread by old people while he looks for Aunt May. Tara says he’s put on weight, and bread makes you fat. Scott Pilgrim reference! Her sees May, and confronts her, but she has no memory of robbing him. The next day, Howard hatches a plan. May gets robbed by an old guy, and Howard, Tara and May follow him to his lair (and Tara learns that May almost married Dr. Octopus). Turns out the ringmaster of these crimes is – the Ringmaster! You know, the guy with the hypnotic hat? The Circus of Crime is closed down, and an attempt at reinventing in Vegas failed. So he hit on this current scheme. He orders his hypnotized old people to kill Howard. There’s also a back-up story of superhero impersonators asking Howard to find out what happened to the heroes they’re impersonating. Howard tells the Captain America and Thor impersonators to pick different characters, and tells the Wolverine impersonator that Wolverine’s dead. The back-up is drawn by Jason Latour. It’s a pretty fun issue. Aunt May’s good. Tara’s a fun character. Ringmaster’s always a fun villain. But I don’t know, this just isn’t a Howard the Duck comic. It’s silly and wacky and funny, but it lacks the cutting social commentary that made Howard such a brilliant character. As it is, he’s just a talking duck. He’s a cartoon character. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are funnier books out there (Squirrel Girl!), so Howard doesn’t feel particularly relevant.

Secret Wars #2, by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic. It starts with a young man becoming a Thor, and joining the Thor Corps. They all kneel before a giant image of Doom’s mask. The new Thor gives a quick rundown of the story of how the world came to be. There was nothing, then there was something. Everything, created by Doom. The Thor Corps are intended to keep peace in the various kingdoms. In Utopolis, Alex Power meets some Moloids who say they’ve found something. Dragon Man talks about the world not naturally occurring, but being a construct, a composite. An Old Thor and the New Thor visit Higher Avalon, seeing Baron James Braddock waiting for them to deliver justice. They pay a visit to the Bar Sinister. They take Sinister to Doomstadt to be judged for the crime of discord. Doom sits in judgement on Yggdrasil, with James Braddock, Dr. Strange, and Sue and Valeria Richards gathered around him. And others watch, too, from the stands. Sinister is found guilty, and challenges Brian to a duel in the arena. Brian decapitates Sinister, but then Sinister still kicks his ass. Doom stops Sinister from killing Brian, because he’s heard that some rebels speak Brian’s name. He wants to know where the rebels are. Brian says he doesn’t know, so Doom sentences him. James speaks up, and says he’s the one the rebels talk about. Doom orders the entire House of Braddock destroyed, but Sue tells him to be merciful. He sends James to the Shield. With court adjourned, Val talks to Strange about what Alex Power found. She says research suggests it comes from before Creation, and Strange orders a quarantine of the site. At the Shield, James puts on his Captain Britain armour, then jumps off to go fight zombies, Ultrons and the Annihilation Wave. So now, we’ve seen Battleworld. It’s an interesting set-up. This issue is, as usual for Hickman, extremely heavy on exposition. The story is exposition, and the exposition is the story. It’s really what Hickman’s done on Avengers, and it doesn’t change in the slightest here. In fact, this issue is arguably even more exposition-heavy than usual for Hickman. It’s somewhat necessary, in order to give a context, but that’s kinda part of the problem with Hickman’s writing: Everything needs huge mounds of exposition for context. He tries his best to make it interesting, but it’s still narration telling the reader what’s going on. It’s world-building, rather than story-telling.

I should also mention Captain Marvel #15. Contrary to the solicits, the issue has absolutely nothing to do with Secret Wars. Instead, it’s all about Carol mourning Tracy Burke, who died a week before Carol got back to Earth. It’s a very sad, sweet issue. Also, Tracy was apparently a lesbian. This is the second time in this volume that Kelly Sue DeConnick has outed a character after removing them from the supporting cast. Just kinda funny. Maybe after Secret Wars, she’ll have an out LGBT character as part of the ongoing supporting cast.

Pull list for May 13 2015

I work tomorrow, so reviews may be Thursday.

I’ll go to the store for: Angela Asgard’s Assassin #6, by Kieron Gillen, Phil Jimenez, Marguerite Bennett and Stephanie Hans; Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #8, by Al Ewing and Luke Ross; Captain Marvel #15, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez; Ms. Marvel #15, by G. Willow Wilson and Takeshia Miyazawa; My Little Pony Friends Forever #16, by Jeremy Whitley and Jenn Blake; Silk #4, by Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee; Spider-Man 2099 #12, by Peter David and Will Sliney.

I’ll also review: Howard the Duck #3, by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones; Magneto #18, by Cullen Bunn and Paul Davidson; Secret Wars #2, by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic; Storm #11, by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez; Wolverines #18, by Charles Soule and Ario Anindito.

So that’s 7 comics I’m picking up, and 7 reviews. A pretty heavy week. Man, that’s a lot of comics.

I’m most excited for the Marvels. Of course I am. I’ve loved KSD’s work on Captain Marvel. This issue finally brings her back to Earth! Just in time for Secret Wars! Yay? I’m assuming her amazing supporting cast will appear, so that’ll be a definite yay. And Ms. Marvel is Ms. Marvel. It’s one of Marvel’s best titles. It’s what superhero comics should aspire to be. Fun, optimistic, heartfelt, and just great. Everyone should be buying it. I’m always excited for Angela – Stephanie Hans, guys. Stephanie gorram Hans. So amazingly talented. And of course Jimenez’s art is always great, and Gillen and Bennett are great writers. But Hans! Silk should be fun, with her going on a date with Johnny Storm. That should be amusingly awkward.

So, I read Greg Pak’s new kids book, with art by Takeshi Miyazawa (the artist on the current arc of Ms. Marvel). It’s delightful. It’s called The Princess Who Saved Herself, and it’s about a young girl who’s sweet, and kind, and awesome. She’s a friend to all animals, and she plays an electric guitar. And there’s an evil witch who also plays guitar. And it’s great. This is definitely a fantastic book to read with young children. It is for very young kids – I’d say around 4-6. It’s written in very simple rhymes (and was actually inspired by a song of the same name by Jonathan Coulton). The art is adorable. The princess is non-white, which is a nice touch. Always nice to see. If you have young kids, or plan on having kids, then it’s definitely worth picking up. You’ll probably enjoy it as much as they do.

Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter have both been renewed. Good for them. It’s cool we’re getting another season of Agent Carter. We need kick-ass female leads, and it’s a very well-done period piece, as well.

I didn’t make a post yesterday, because I woke up late, and then went earlier than I expected to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was good. Fun movie. Some cheesy bits here and there, but mostly good. Hawkeye having a wife and kids was nice, because I always thought the Hawkeye/Black Widow relationship was more interesting as platonic life partners. Anyway, I enjoyed the movie. I also enjoyed the Ant-Man trailer. That should be a fun movie, too.

I finished reading Things Grak Hates, by Peter Story. Here’s my review from Goodreads:

This is a really good book. It reminds me of Animal Farm, in a sense, as an exploration of how dictatorships form, and how good intentions lead to despotism. It starts off amusing, with Grak a lovably misanthropic protagonist. As the story goes on, it becomes less and less funny, and Grak becomes less and less likable. There’s always a degree of sympathy for him, but it’s a reluctant sympathy, as he does become a truly awful person, as any dictator inevitably must in order to hold onto power. The story also explores the formation of religions, and the inevitable fanatical branches of any religion.

The writing is excellent. It’s a third-person limited present-tense narrative. We get Grak’s feelings on events as they happen. The present-tense style ensures we’re getting his immediate feelings, not his feelings filtered by time. It lets the reader know more fully exactly why Grak does the things he does. This allows him to be both more and less sympathetic. More important, it lets us see the extent of his self-delusions.

On a very minor side note, there is a lesbian couple in the book. Always nice to see that sort of thing show up.

And finally, I do agree with Grak: Olives are terrible.

I enjoyed the book. It’s worth reading. It’s a slow book, for the most part. It doesn’t force you to rush through to see what happens next. You can take your time with it. But it’s also not really a book that forces you to read it slowly. It’s very much a “read-at-your-own-pace” novel. And it’s really good.

My schedule for the week is: 3:30-11:30 tomorrow, 5:30-10 Friday, 5-10:30 Saturday, 1-5 Sunday, 7:30-3:30 Tuesday. So Monday might be my only post this week. Which kinda sucks. Oh well.

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