Tag Archives: x-men

New X-Men: Apocalypse Photos

More official photos are being released for next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Check out a better look at some of the new characters and actors in the role of some classic characters.

Review: Age of Apocalypse #1

aoa001Secret Wars has been so noteworthy thus far for its ability to incorporate other crossovers into its stories.  While the quality of these tie-ins has varied wildly, it has nonetheless been somewhat comprehensive in its attempt to give some exposure to all the major crossovers from the past.  It would be nearly impossible therefore to leave Age of Apocalypse off of this list.  Although this story occurred in the pages of X-Men related titles, it was nonetheless one of the bigger crossovers that Marvel has seen, as well as being in part responsible for the upcoming sequel to the X-Men movie franchise. As it was told at the time it featured the introduction of the mutant Apocalypse, a mutant of extreme power who undertook a plan for world domination and very nearly succeeded.  In the original story Charles Xavier is removed from the scene early on, and Magneto takes his place as the mutant championing compromise between mutants and humans, while equally being responsible for trying to stop Apocalypse’s tyrannical and genocidal reign where he attempts to wipe out regular humans from existence.

As opposed to other tie-ins which have attempted to re-imagine or recast some of the major aspects of the stories, this one instead seems to be looking for more of a pure retelling.  Apocalypse’s Horsemen are sent to the Savage Land to track down Cypher, although he is defended by a group of core X-Men.  After he is captured he is taken to Apocalypse, who is revealed to be employing several other mutants, many of whom have joined his side.  Standing against them are still Magneto and his mutants, as well as a group of humans led by Carol Danvers.  Apocalypse grows restless to wipe out his opposition, but it will not necessarily be as easy as he planned.

This first issue most sets the conditions for what will follow, and it does so in a meticulous way.  It is a challenging enough task, condensing a huge story arc into a few issues, but at least a proper job is done at this if if this issue ends up being a bit clunky at times.  There is enough action mixed in with establishing the scenario that it doesn’t become too heavy in the dialogue and concept, but it also seems to be leaving a lot of potential for the following issues.  It bodes well for the tie-in, and while this issue is a bit too conceptual to get through at times, it still excuses it for what is bound to come.

Story: Fabian Nicieza  Art: Geraldo Sandoval
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read

 

Fashion Spotlight: Stray Dog Strut, Cooper, and Pawns Go First

Ript Apparel has three new designs today. Stray Dog Strut, Cooper, and Pawns Go First from adho1982, kgullholmen, and ArtBroken will be for sale on July 7, 2015 only!

Stray Dog Strut by adho1982

Stray Dog Strut

Cooper by kgullholmen

Cooper

Pawns Go First by ArtBroken

Pawns Go First

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Review: Years of Future Past #2

years002The Secret Wars crossover has perhaps been the unkindest to the X-Men.  Part of the underlying concept behind the huge crossover is to take story arcs and other crossovers from the past and to rework them into the Secret Wars framework.  While this has worked well for some series, for others it has not, and the X-Men versions are perhaps among the most distorted.  This is because the mutants often serve as analogies for what is wrong in society, and with that as a theme, it tends to make a lot of the best X-Men stories into the best of the genre.  In this case Secret Wars hgas grabbed what is one of the best comic book story arcs ever written, so popular in fact that it was chosen as the story line to revive the movie franchise.

This story follows along some basic plot elements from the original series while leaving other important parts behind.  This has been the case with other X-Men tie-ins to Secret Wars where a lot of the characters remain, if not for the baseline being altered in minor, though fundamental ways.  The changes here are thus similar and different as a similar group of characters struggle against the sentinels of the future who have eliminated most mutants already and the few remaining mutants who struggle to maintain their lives and their kind against this threat.  One of the highlights of this issue is a monologue by Colossus which evokes the famous quote by Martin Niemöller about the Holocaust.

That is the case with this issue though.  Although it works well enough as a story, it also is a story which has a few defining moments with other material in between which almost feels like filler.  It is an unconventional format for a story as it moves between moments which are either strong for character development or artistically impressive, but such is the lot of the X-Men tie-ins to Secret Wars.  It is good, but not much else, and more than anything makes the reader want to re-read the original as opposed to continuing with this.

Story: Marguerite Bennett Art: Mike Norton
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read

Extraordinary X-Men #1 – Still Hated. Still Feared. Still Standing

The fate of mutantkind is decided here! Prepare for a new team of X-Men for a new set of threats this fall as the Marvelous Mutants return in Extraordinary X-Men #1! Eisner Award-nominated writer Jeff Lemire joins chart-topping artist Humberto Ramos for the flagship X-Men title of the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe!

Eight months have passed. The X-Men are in dire straits. A cataclysmic event that has altered the destinies of both Mutant and Inhuman. Many of the X-Men have gone missing – including their wayward leader Scott Summers. It will take the remaining X-Men to forge mutantkind into something stronger. Something…extraordinary! Now – Storm, Colossus, Magik, Nightcrawler, Iceman, Jean Grey and Old Man Logan will lead mutantkind headfirst into tomorrow.

In an upcoming interview with Marvel.com, Lemire says:

The chance to write the flagship X-Men book is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s both exhilarating and somewhat intimidating. The X-Men have a staggering legacy and an extremely devoted fan base, so this is not an assignment I am taking lightly. I’ve poured everything I have into making this book something special. I don’t want to write just another X-Men run. I want the work Humberto and I do to stand up with the truly great X-Men runs.

Welcome to the new Marvel Universe, X-Men – hope you survive the experience!

EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art & Cover by HUMBERTO RAMOS
Coming Fall 2015!

Extraordinary_X-Men_1_Cover

Review: X-Men ’92 #1

X-Men92The 90’s are back, and so are the X-Men most of us woke up to on Saturday mornings.  I have to admit, when I saw the solicits for this Secret Wars tie in I thought we would be seeing the X-Men from the comics in the 90’s… but it is very clear this book is more like the cartoon version of our merry mutants. And I’m more then ok with that.

We open to our team engaging in a training session… playing lazer tag at the local mall. Plenty of character references from the cartoon are thrown at us here, from Storm referring to Jubilee as ‘child’ and giving out nature themed speeches before using her powers, to Jean Grey doting all over Cyclops, to Wolverine contradicting everything Cyclops says. The two, of course, have a disagreement and Wolverine decides he has better things to do… like go shopping?? (this  felt way out of character to me, cartoon or not… so did the scene where he is shopping and talking with the sales girl… a Wolverine I haven’t seen before). But I digress. The training session is interrupted when a group of Sentinels attack, seeking to terminate the mutants. Our team comes together and defeats the ‘free range Sentinels’ in time for Baron Robert Kelly to arrive.

His arrival gives us some background to this part of Battleworld, telling us about the Westchester wars where Magneto and his brotherhood rose up to fight for mutant rule, and the X-Men stood against them. The X-Men were victorious, are now seen as saviors and the mutants left after the war were sent to a camp called “Clear Mountain”; a place where mutants can be rehabilitated to live as accepted members of society. Of course, the X-Men are suspicious of this and Cyclops insists on investigating… and then quit the team to live a normal life. The X-Men arrive at Clear Mountain and are greeted by its director… Cassandra Nova.

As I said earlier, I was expecting the comic book version of the team, not the Saturday morning cartoon version, but I have to admit this was really fun to read. As I turned the pages, seeing the team in the costumes we all know and love, I couldn’t help but play the cartoon theme song in my head as I read. The shopping Wolverine, and the sugary sweet exchanges between Jean and Cyclops not withstanding, Chad Bowers and Chris Sims give us the X-Men we remember, as well as some background to this region of Battleworld, something a lot of the other tie in books don’t explain. Scott Koblish’s art is perfect for this title, giving it the cartoon feel that sells the feel of the animated series. I am curious to see more about Clear Mountain, Casandra Nova and the sinister secret I’m sure this rehabilitation camp is hiding.

If you’re as big an X fan as I am and looking for a throwback to Saturday mornings, I recommend checking this title out.

Story: Chad Bowers and Chris Sims Art: Scott Koblish
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

No Salon. Magneto Should Remain a Holocaust Survivor.

magneto-1On Saturday, Eli Keel posted what looks to be his first article on Salon, “It’s time for Marvel to make Magneto black: Use the coming “Secret Wars” reboot to make X-Men get real about race.” I believe this is the same Keel who has contributed to other sites, and in his first piece for Salon, he shows either a tone deafness to what he asks, lack of understanding of the Civil Rights movement, a lack of understanding of Marvel’s X-Universe, or a mixture of all of the above. It also surprising that Salon would approve such a poorly thought out article.

Keel opens his article with the conundrum of time in comic books that originally had characters reflecting or living in “modern” times. And with real-time moving, and characters not aging there is an issue of how do you deal with age and origins in the comic universe. Iron Man for instance originally was injured in Vietnam, but in years that has been updated to the Gulf War, and most recently Afghanistan. This shifting time line has led to inconsistencies and continuity issues. DC Comics has rebooted their universe numerous times, often resolving such issues, while Marvel has had a rather unexplainable sliding time scale. This summer’s Marvel event Secret Wars will hopefully right some of those time paradoxes, resulting in a new “prime” Marvel universe bringing together the various continuities, versions, multiverses, and more into one grand vision that will guide Marvel for the “next 50 to 75 years.” Marvel has said that some things will change and that new characters may take on old mantles for instance X-23 will be the new Wolverine, and there’ll be a new Hulk that is not Bruce Banner. In the past few years Marvel has also found success in changing up the gender or race of characters such as a Jane Foster taking up the role of Thor, a new Ms. Marvel who is a 16-year-old Muslim girl from Jersey, and the Falcon who is now Captain America.

Keel begins his article from a false logic point, that comics have been white and cis-gendered throughout their history. Not only is this incorrect, it ignores comics’ rather vast a varied history that is often forgotten or unknown. Female characters have existed since the early days, with many over the years placed out of mind such as Nellie the Nurse, Invisible Scarlet O’Neil, Betty, Veronica, Sheena, Miss Fury, and many more. There’s also comics’ progressive nature including the creation of Captain America who advocated America’s entry into World War II a year before Pearl Harbor, integration of the military in comics before the actual real world military, and creation of characters such as the Black Panther and Luke Cage when African-American and black characters weren’t heard of. In fact comics were the industry that Jews, women, and African-American creators went in to when they were shunned by “mainstream” America. Things haven’t been all rosy, but it’s not all black and white as Keel suggests.

All of this leads Keel to conclude in the new Marvel universe:

It’s time to make Magneto black.

Magneto is one of the very few comic characters inextricably tied to a specific real-world event: the Holocaust. His abuse at the hands of Nazis turns him hard and cruel. This real-world event can’t be moved forward in time, and that’s becoming a problem.

Thing_Num56_Pg22Keel is requesting for not just erasure of one of the highest profile Jews in comics (a minority more underrepresented in comics than blacks and African-Americans), but also erasure of the Holocaust from mainstream comics as a whole. There’s a tone deafness of the request that is astonishing, but also beyond insensitive to the reality of both the real world and history of the X-Men and X-Universe. The website ComicBookReligion lists 507 out of the 36,389 characters as Jewish. How many can you actually name? How many actually wear their Jewishness regularly and out in the open? Compare that to how many African-American or black characters you can name.

Lets begin with the argument of Magneto’s age being an issue. Keel correctly points out his age has been fudged and changed before, and there’s no reason it can’t be done so again. If we de-age Magneto a bit and say he’s 5 or so during the Holocaust (born in 1940 for an easy number), that’d make the character 75 years old today giving him decades more before age is an actual issue. There’s no reason Magneto can’t be 75 or older, and in fact it opens up even more compelling storytelling opportunities. To make a more “comic” like solution, we can say his mutation somehow makes him age slower too for an even easier fix.

Thing_05There is a very real world issue of those who survived the Holocaust dying out and the history being forgotten. Not only by keeping Magneto as a Holocaust survivor do you do a service of serving as an entry point for those to learn about this vile point in human history, but it can also address this very issue. Imagine Magneto reflecting that those that have experienced what he has are dying out, and the world is forgetting the horrors. What would a man do with the power he has when faced with that reality? Imagine a story of him being on his death-bed, and having characters around him reflecting upon his experiences and what it means to lose that first hand knowledge.

Today there’s a “cult of Hitler” propping up the genocidal leader as a pop-culture icon, not even 70 years since those last camps were liberated, parts of the world have washed the ghastly horrors away enough to use the visage of a madman to sell products, ideals, and more, turning him into an advertising prop. If that’s not enough of a sign we need for a renewed call to “never forget,” I don’t know what is.

Keel continues:

But part of what makes Magneto such a great villain is his base in real-world historic tragedy.

This is absolutely correct, and his experiences in the death camps have driven his actions to prevent similar tragedy for the mutants of the Marvel universe. It’s not Magneto’s Jewishness that defines him (actually for quite a while it was murky if he was Jewish or Romani), it’s his survival from the Holocaust that defines and drives his character and actions. His hope is to prevent what happened to 6 million individuals repeating for the mutant population.

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-comic-coverThe imagery of the Holocaust has been an aspect that has been used time and time again in Marvel’s “X” comics. In the classic tale Days of Future Past, mutants are rounded up into camps reminiscent to exactly what the Nazis did. There’s constant talk of the eradication of the “mutant threat” in Marvel comics, and it’s going on today quite frequently in the current Secret Wars event. This is something the X-Men have been attempting to fight against, and Magneto proactively through terrorism is trying to prevent. In fact when it comes to the black/African-American experience or the Jewish experience, Marvel’s mutants in their dwindling numbers better reflect the serious issues modern Judaism face, as the religion dwindles in numbers.

Currently Jews worldwide account for a little over 6 million individuals, less than 0.1% of the world’s population. There are fewer Jews in the world right now than intersex individuals who are about 1 in 1,000 (not really a point to that, but an astonishing stat I learned). In modern stories the X-universe was faced with dwindling numbers and the very possibility that mutants would become extinct. This issue is something that Jews face today as the numbers of those practicing shrinks and interfaith marriage increases. Other recurring stories have had mutants attempting to establish a homeland where they can be safe, but have been besieged over and over again, and recently that very storyline has had almost Zionist tone in a schism that divided the X-Men, a split that does exist within the Jewish people.

But most insulting is Kreel’s insistence that any retconning/race-swapping be tied to the Civil Rights movement, ignoring Jewish contributions to the actual Civil Rights movement. Also the Marvel X-Universe today is more reflective of the Gay Rights movement, more so than the Civil Rights. It shows a lack of knowledge about X-History and the real world history. It was in Haifa, Israel that Xavier and Magneto first met as an example.

Keel says:

The best fix for Magneto’s origin problem is to reboot him and Professor X into the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. Have them experience the heartbreak of the historic assassinations as young black men. This reboot would be true to the heart of the characters — X-Men began as a  metaphor for segregation. In 1963, America couldn’t openly discuss race in comic form, so the conflict was encoded. “Negroes” became “mutants.” Professor X and Magneto are often interpreted as metaphors for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Having the characters openly admire the historical figures would give Professor X and Magneto the opportunity to argue about the nuances of the their mentors’ philosophies.

In other words, they could openly talk about race. After 50 years of coded language, it’s time to get real. The Civil Rights Moment needs to become canon.

Personally, I’d have Professor X be a follower of Malcolm X, while Magneto hangs with Dr. Martin Luther King. That way, Prof. X sees Malcolm X gunned down, the tragic results of a movement divided. He tries to choose peace. Magneto watches the death of his pacifist hero Dr. King, and rejects nonviolence.

The Jewish contribution to the Civil Rights movement and black history is long and closely entwined. Jews after-all were the original slaves (Egypt) and treated as less than others/full citizens (most of history). The Religious Action Center has a wonderful article laying out Jewish contributions to the Civil Rights movement. That includes helping found the NAACP, the establishment of some black colleges, “Jewish activists represented a disproportionate number of whites involved in the struggle. Jews made up half of the young people who participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964.” It was Jews who were murdered attempting to do their part in the Mississippi Burning case. And this support continues today.

The Jewish community has continued its support of civil rights laws addressing persistent discrimination in voting, housing and employment against not only women and people of color but also in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and the disabled community. Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is currently the only non-African-American member of the NAACP board.

Keel then suggests the rather non-inspired idea that not only should Magneto and Xavier be black, but they should be involved in the movements of Malcom X and Dr. King, showing insight of the X-Men that should be left in the past, much like some of the non-progressive attitudes that have been shed by the industry in recent times.

legacyToday, the X-Universe no longer reflects the Civil Rights movement so much as the Gay Rights movement. A more inspired idea would to embrace that aspect of the characters. Like gays, there has been a theme and outright debate throughout the X history of those that can hide the fact their mutants and those that can’t, reflecting more of the struggle of gays being in the closet and facing discrimination when they come out or can’t hide. In fact, there was real world uproar when writer Rick Remender had mutant and Avenger Unity team leader Havok say he disliked the division and the word “mutant,” and in the comics some responded it was easy for him to say, since he could pass for a normal human.

In the 1990s the X-books faced a disease called the Legacy Virus which very much was a not too subtle allegory about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And, reflecting the Holocaust again, there was real world discussion of placing those afflicted with HIV/AIDS in camps to isolate them, another reason for Magneto’s past to remain unchanged. This is something that has actually been done in Cuba, and political leaders in the US have called for it in the past. While HIV/AIDS isn’t only a gay issue, add in the “coming out” aspect of a mutant’s gift and the mutant story better reflects the LGBT experience. An inspiring and more original twist might have Xavier be bisexual and present at the Stonewall riots or part of the early years of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

I can’t tell if Keel actually believes his suggestions would lead to compelling storytelling, is oblivious to what his request represents, or he and Salon are trolling for click-bait like rallying articles. No matter, not only is the article poorly thought out, it’s downright insensitive.

Fashion Spotlight: Evolution X, File Island, and Marty Kart 88

Ript Apparel has three new designs today. Evolution X, File Island, and Marty Kart 88 from JBaz, Gilles Bone, and Obvian will be for sale on June 4, 2015 only!

Evolution X by JBaz

Evolution X

File Island by Gilles Bone

File Island

Marty Kart 88 by Obvian

Marty Kart 88

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Cut the Check: A Call for True Leadership at Marvel Comics

(The below is a guest blog post from past contributor Anthony Brown – The Management)

Marvel ComicsIt’s funny how in High School the people given awards for Most Likely to Succeed and Best Leadership rarely are the people who go on to become something super successful or to a position of great leadership. While I do not have access to the yearbooks of the Marvel brain-trust I am almost certain none of the people calling shots over there were nominated or won those awards either. When I am not blogging for Graphic Policy I am actually in a leadership for company as their Director of Operations (not this kind).

Fantastic_Four_645_CoverWhile on my journey to this position I learned from some really great leaders, and as I think about what is going on at Marvel Comics currently something Larry Nichols told me, and everyone, at Devon Energy about doing the right thing sticks out. He told us when Devon goes into communities to drill or frack or do whatever it is they are in town to do, they make sure they do right by everyone in the community not just the people being affected by the work they are doing. In my time there that was exactly what I saw happen. We cut BIG checks to land owners and communities for the inconvenience and then would go in and plant trees and restore playgrounds and do other community work just because.

So how does this tie into Marvel Comics? Well right now Marvel is currently killing off anything related to two of their titles that paid the freight for the company for years because they do not own the movie rights. The Fantastic Four and X-Men are being treated like well… the comic version of X-men in real life. Marvel just ended the Fantastic Four comic. You know just in time for their moving release. The Marvel web-site had not even a blip on it about the last several X-Men related movies. Full disclosure these are the first two comics I read and I have not missed an issue since 1988.

All New X-Men 40 biInstead of Marvel showing any kind of real leadership or appreciation for these two franchises they kill comic book series or continue to do stupid stuff like this (hat-tip to Bleeding Cool). Marvel why not make another great Fantastic Four run? You know the book that you had “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” at the top of for years. Instead you treat it like DC’s Vibe. Why not stop Brian Michael Bendis from his shock-jock-esque writing style on X-men? How does a guy write Avengers for 10+ years and have the fall out of their stories have more consequences for the X-men than for the Avengers? Why not let Hasbro, Bowen Designs, XM Studios and others put out great figures and statues of all the characters we still love; because before the Avengers were the cash cow they are today. The Fantastic Four and the X-Men were paying the freight.

So here is my revolutionary solution sure to change the comic world. Marvel CutTheCheck! I understand The Mouse is calling the shots now and we have to have contrived “events” like AXIS (still trying to figure out the point of that event) Age of Ultron and Original Sin all the time. While each of these had their moments, we all could have done without them. The real point is Marvel is run by grown men, all of whom should know better than to take their ball and go home. Here a fun a fact. Just a segment of what Disney owns, ESPN, made over $40 million a day. So from my vantage point cutting a check to Fox and Warner Brothers and whoever else Marvel needs to pay is not going to put a dent in the bank account. Even if it theoretically did it would be short-lived because the Marvel Movie Machine would crank out a reboot, toys and comics faster than we could write a check to pay for it all. So Marvel show some real leadership and quit screwing us, the comics and the characters that made you great for so long and cut the damn check.

Review: Inferno #1

inferno001In the history of the comic book medium, and especially the part that focuses on superheroes, there has certainly never been a period with as much hero vs. hero action as the past three months at DC and Marvel.  DC got things started with Convergence and Marvel followed with Secret Wars.  The concept between the two companies has been strikingly similar almost as though the two companies are trying to compete with each other directly for the same exact market with the exact same concept.  The Convergence world At DC created by Brainiac has obvious parallels to the Battleworld at Marvel created by Doctor Doom.

Inferno finds itself in the middle of this mess, but as opposed to so many others of the past few months, this one at least makes an effort to weave a more inspired story into the hero vs. hero concept.  This one involves many of the X-Men trapped inside a hellish version of New York City.  Overrun by demons, the X-Men have established themselves as something closer to police, save for one specific instance.  Once per year Colossus is allowed to lead a strike team to try to rescue his sister Illyana (also known as Magik) from the clutches of the demons, although his actions have not come without a heavy price.  This issue focuses on two subsequent missions and what they meant to the fabric of the team, and the price that one man will pay to rescue a loved one.

The issue is not as gripping as might be hoped for, but there is nonetheless still something here which is better than what has been seen elsewhere in the past few months.  The X-Men generally rely on science for their stories in one way or another, so the supernatural element feels a little bit out of place, but equally so too does the entire Battleworld, so this still comes off feeling logical enough of a story.  It does so by mostly avoiding the focus on the specific aspects of the Battleworld setting, which incidentally serve the story better overall.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Javier Garron
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.1 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read

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