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Diamond Select Toys Coming in December: Gandalf, Bullseye, Sonic, and More!

A new Previews is coming, and Diamond Select Toys is ready to reveal what’s in June’s edition of the jam-packed catalog! Busts from G.I. Joe, the Clone Wars and Marvel Comics; action figures from Marvel, Muppets and Lord of the Rings; dioramas from Marvel and Sonic the Hedgehog; and statues from Marvel and Star Wars! It’s the best of all worlds! Find a store near you at comicshoplocator.com, or order online at gentlegiantltd.com!

Legends in 3D G.I Joe Storm Shadow ½ Scale Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Because honor demanded it! It’s the first-ever G.I. Joe Legends in 3D bust, and it’s of Cobra’s resident ninja, Storm Shadow! This half-scale bust captures the katana-wielding villain in his trademark white outfit, complete with swords, arrows, throwing stars and more, and sits atop a sword-hilt pedestal. Limited to only 1,000 pieces, it comes packaged in a full-color box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Salvador Gomes!

Bust     SRP: $200.00

Lord of the Rings Deluxe Action Figures Series 4 Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! The journey continues, with another series of detailed action figures based on the Lord of the Rings film trilogy! Gandalf the Grey makes his debut in the line, with his staff and his sword Glamdring, and the other figure in the assortment is a customizable Uruk-hai Orc, including multiple interchangeable heads and weapons. Each features over 16 points of articulation, and each comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Eamon O’Donoghue, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios!

Action Figures   SRP: $29.99/ea.

Marvel Animated Style Nightcrawler Statue

A Gentle Giant Ltd. release! Bamf! Kurt Wagner appears in a cloud of smoke and brimstone in this all-new animated-style statue of Nightcrawler! Based on the Marvel Comics variant-cover artwork of Skottie Young, this approximately 5-inch statue of the X-Men’s teleporter captures him in joyful exuberance. Featuring artwork-accurate paint applications and limited to only 3,000 pieces, this statue comes packaged in a full-color box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Sculpted by Paul Harding!

Statue   SRP: $49.99

Marvel Gamerverse Gallery Spider-Man Miles Morales PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Swinging out of his hit video game, Miles Morales prepares to hurl a Venom Blast at his opponent in this all-new Gallery Diorama! Based on the game’s costume design, Miles leaps over one blast as he charges up another in this sculpture made of high-grade PVC, and featuring translucent materials that catch the light. With detailed sculpting and paint applications, it comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios.

Diorama            SRP: $49.99

Marvel Comic Gallery Iron Man Mark XV PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! One of Iron Man’s classic 1990s armors makes its triumphant return in this all-new gallery Diorama! The Encephalo-Remote armor, classified as Model XV, stands amid the wreckage of an Ultron lab, firing a repulsor blast. Measuring approximately 9 inches tall, it is made of high-quality PVC and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Nelson X. Asencio, and hand-sculpted by Jean St. Jean!

Diorama            SRP: $49.99

Marvel Comic Gallery Iron Man Mark XV PVC Diorama

Marvel Comic Premier Collection Bullseye Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! Target acquired! Daredevil baddie bullseye gets the Premier Collection treatment with this all-new 9-inch statue! With one foot up on a Daredevil target and playing cards in both hands, Bullseye is ready to take out whoever he needs to in order to get into your collection. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, it comes packaged with a numbered certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Caesar and Clayburn Moore, hand-sculpted by Clayburn Moore.

Statue   SRP: $175.00

Marvel Comic Venom 1/6 Scale Mini-Bust

A Gentle Giant Ltd. release! He wants to eat your brains! Rising from a swirling mass of alien symbiote, his tongue extended, Venom gets his own portrait sculpture in this 1/6 scale approximately 7-inch resin bust. Based on his Marvel Comics appearance, this limited-edition bust comes packaged in a full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Only 2,000 pieces will be made! Designed by Nelson X. Asencio, sculpted by Juan Pitluk.

Bust     SRP: $120.00

Marvel Select Immortal Hulk Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Hulk never dies! After his tremendous reception and immediate sell-out, the Immortal Hulk is coming back into inventory! Measuring approximately 9.75 inches tall with 16 points of articulation, this iconic character will become a centerpiece in any Marvel figure collection. With one set of alternate fists and an alternate Cosmic Hulk head, it comes packaged in the famous Select figure packaging, with side-panel artwork for shelf display. Designed by Yuri Tming, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios. Previously offered as the Rampaging Hulk.

Action Figure     SRP: $29.99

Marvel Select Immortal Hulk Action Figure

Muppets Deluxe Action Figures Best of Series 3 Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s time to play the music! Series 3 of the Best of the Muppets action figures features none other than the Electric Mayhem band! Dr. Teeth with Zoot, Floyd with Janice and Animal with his drum kit make up the three packs in this series, and each figure features their instrument as well as multiple points of articulation. Each figure or figure pair comes packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios!

Action Figures   SRP: $24.99/ea.

Muppets Deluxe Action Figures Best of Series 3 Asst.

Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Gallery PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! This piece is sure to go fast! Based on the hit movie, this approximately 5-inch sculpture shows Sonic standing on one of Dr. Robotnik’s drones, about to take off in a burst of speed, lightning crackling around him. Sculpted in a 1/6 scale, this statue features detailed sculpting and paint details. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Varner Studios.

Diorama            SRP: $49.99

Star Wars Clone Wars Wrecker 1/7 Scale Mini-Bust

A Gentle Giant Ltd. release! The bruiser of the Bad Batch is here! Wrecker, the biggest, strongest and loudest member of Clone Force 99, is now the latest animated-style 1/7 scale mini-bust from Gentle Giant Ltd. Measuring approximately 7 inches tall, this exclusive resin mini-bust shows Wrecker without his helmet, is limited to only 3,000 pieces and comes packaged in a full-color window box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. And look for the gentlegiantltd.com exclusive version with alternate helmeted head! Designed by Barry Bradfield, sculpted by Paul Harding!

Bust     SRP: $99.99     

Star Wars A New Hope Stormtrooper Milestones 1/6 Scale Statue

A Gentle Giant Ltd. release! The troopers are coming! This all-new 1/6 scale statue of an Imperial Stormtrooper stands approximately 12 inches tall and features interchangeable arms, so he can hold an E-11 blaster rifle or a DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle. Limited to only 1,000 pieces, it comes packaged in a full-color box with a numbered certificate of authenticity. Sculpted by Oluf W. Hartvigsen!

Statue   SRP: $250.00

Star Wars Rebels Kanan Jarrus 1/6 Scale Mini-Bust

A Gentle Giant Ltd. release! Become one with the Force! Spectre Cell member and Ghost second-in-command Kanan Jarrus joins the 1/6 scale line of mini-busts with this all-new sculpt of the Jedi Knight! Featuring interchangeable helmeted and unhelmeted heads, this detailed mini-bust is limited to only 2,000 pieces and comes packaged in a full-color box. Designed by Barry Bradfield, sculpted by Paul Harding!

Bust     SRP: $120.00

Last Day to Save with the Marvel Nightcrawler Sale!

Nightcrawler takes center stage with this week’s debut of Way of X and you can find his earlier adventures with the Marvel Nightcrawler Sale! Today is the last day to save on the sale wrapping up on comiXology.

The sale features 139 releases. You can save up to 67% on collections and individual issues are just $0.99.

But hurry! The sale ends today.

Nightcrawler Vol. 1: Homecoming

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Review: Way of X #1

Way of X #1

The elevator pitch is that Way of X is about Nightcrawler founding a mutant religion. However, Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, and Java Tartaglia bring so much more to the table in a book that visually looks like an X-book, but is far from it. What they’re really doing is picking up some of the threads from Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men and exploring what life is like on Krakoa and what holds it together.

Utopias seem to be doomed to failure, and Nightcrawler has a nagging feeling about that when the book opens with Professor X telepathically calling to him in shadows surrounded by pictures of his exes. Looking into Charles Xavier the man and not just figurehead or cameo king is one of the myriad delights of Way of X #1, which goes down many amusing and thought-provoking rabbit holes of potential storylines until finally finding a real hook in its final scene.

Before showing long conversations between Nightcrawler and Dr. Nemesis about Dunbar’s number, belief, and psychedelics or data pages that are feel like riffs on Augustine of Hippo’s Confessions (Kurt is Catholic), Spurrier and Quinn set up Way of X with a team of mutants going on a mission.In keeping with the series’ premise, this mission is religious theme with Nightcrawler, DJ, Pixie, Loa, and Blink disrupting a “museum of hate” that the cloak and dagger mutant-extermination organization Orchis is using to convince people that mutants are dangerous and evil. It’s like that room in Kentucky’s Creation “Museum” that pins all evils, wars, and sicknesses of the world on people not believing that the world is 4,000 years old and was created in seven 24 hour days, but with panels from old X-Men comics. This is pretty messed up and is a commentary on how museums (Especially more respectable ones than the one mentioned in the previous sentence.) can codify narratives about countries and people, but Si Spurrier and Bob Quinn also connect it to Krakoan belief systems when Pixie takes a bullet in the head so she can be resurrected again. This really messes with Kurt’s own beliefs and gives Quinn an opportunity to draw one hell of a befuddled Nightcrawler.

It also sets up the overarching conflict between the violent ritual of the Crucible being the shared narrative of Krakoa or something more peaceful, which Kurt is still workshopping in the data pages of Way of X #1. As seen in other X-Books and succinctly explained by Exodus, the Crucible is a ritual where mutants who were de-powered by the Scarlet Witch fight to the death so they can be resurrected and re-powered. It’s primal and bloodthirsty, and Bob Quinn switches from his usual grids and tiers to more diagonal and chaotic layouts to show the discomfort that mutants like the aptly named Lost feel as they are forced to be a part of a violent struggle to get their abilities back.

Java Tartaglia also uses flat, stark colors to show how much of the crowd has embraced the Crucible as Krakoa’s proverbial theory of everything. However, he, Quinn, and Spurrier hint at another way when Lost calls Nightcrawler a “kindly one” an allusion to the Greek play Eumenides, which showed the vengeful Furies becoming the protective Kindly Ones.

But, originally “Kindly One” was a euphemism so the people of Athens could avoid the wrath of the Furies and still mention them by name so maybe Nightcrawler is seen as more of a malevolent force a la the mysterious Patchwork Man, who is a kind of a folk Bogeyman spirit in Krakoa rising up through campfire stories along with the more “orthodox” baddie Scarlet Witch. Unexplainable forces dart between the margins of Way of X #1 culminating in Si Spurrier and Bob Quinn’s big final page reveal that makes sense in both of the context of this issue and Spurrier’s larger body of X-Book work. Nightcrawler and Pixie darting around in a big action scene is interspersed with a spooky figure that even causes Professor X to cry out in the night and cut the bullshit for once in his conversations. It’s a figure that can’t be taken out with the blunt force of a strike team, hence, its appearance in the clever, intellectual X-Book whose protagonist is trying to find a belief system for Krakoa that isn’t centered around ritual combat as things come fun circle.

Way of X #1 is a true feast of a X-Book from Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, and Java Tartaglia. It’s funny, sensitive, smart, and covers a range of emotions from hope to doubt and even confusion. (It’s definitely one you’ll have to read a few times to let it sink in.) Its 42 page length also let Spurrier and Quinn give an extended glimpse at the life of the mind, body, and soul of Krakoa, pick the brains and feelings of an idiosyncratic cast of characters, including Magneto, Professor X, Nightcrawler, and stealing the whole damn show, Dr. Nemesis, and also set up the initial plotline of the series.

Story: Si Spurrier Art: Bob Quinn
Colors: Java Tartaglia Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comixologyZeus ComicsTFAW

Nightcrawler Leads the Way in Way of X this April

Since 2019’s House of X and Powers of X, writer Jonathan Hickman and a host of amazing creators have revolutionized the X-Men franchise. Now begins the Reign of X, the latest chapter in Hickman’s grand vision for mutantkind, and acclaimed writer Si Spurrier brings fans a groundbreaking new series: Way of X. Known for his high-concept storytelling on titles like X-Men Legacy and X-Force, Spurrier returns to the X-Men with a series that will explore some of the most pressing questions that have been raised in this thought-provoking new era. Led by Nightcrawler, a brand-new team of mutants will assemble to confront the dark mysteries of the X-Men’s new way of life.

Mutantkind has built a new Eden… but there are serpents in this garden. Some mutants struggle to fit in. Some mutants turn to violence and death. And the children whisper of the Patchwork Man, singing in their hearts…Only one mutant senses the looming shadows. Snared by questions of death, law and love, only Nightcrawler can fight for the soul of Krakoa. Only he – and the curious crew he assembles (including fan-favorites Dr. Nemesis, Pixie, and Blink) – can help mutants defeat their inner-darkness and find a new way to live. This is the WAY OF X.

Joining Spurrier to bring these unique mysteries to life will be rising star artist Bob Quinn and the first issue features a cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli.

Be there for this unmissable entry of Reign of X when Way of X hits stands this April.

Way of X #1

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends X-Force (Wendigo) Assortment

We’re back with another crazy assortment of Marvel Legends! This week, it’s the currently-in-stores X-Force assortment featuring the Wendigo BAF. These figures were provided to us by Hasbro for free for the purposes of review. Let’s get to it . . .

Mister Sinister: Presently being fabulous and, well, sinister in the pages of House of X and Powers of X, Mister Sinister falls squarely into the category of “re-dos that I didn’t know I needed until I saw them.” I always thought that the first one was great, but it did come out (checks notes . . . HOLY CRAP) 14 years ago. This figure is a top-to-bottom upgrade. Let’s start with the face. That grin is positively demonic.  And the cape! The cap is excellent. It’s separated, but feels heavy and sturdy. The fine details of Marc Silvestri’s costume design are present here. Based on this, I’d really like to see more Marauders appear in the various X-lines. Overall, this is a pretty great figure.

Boom-Boom: Though Tabitha Smith first appeared in (of all places) Secret Wars II, she quickly became a regular character in the X-franchise, notably as a member of the New Mutants. When the New Mutants title segued into X-Force in 1991, Boom-Boom was on the team, sporting this Rob Liefeld-designed look. Rob, if you’re reading, they did you proud. This is a terrific figure, and the sculptors really captured the look of Liefeld’s art, particularly in, of all things, the hair. Take a close look at the figure, and then look closely at the covers to #1 and #7; that is total Rob, kids. As with Jubilee, I love the alternate regular head/bubble-gum head dynamic. Also, the team went a step further on the extra accessories. Instead of just regular hand/other hand, we get a clearly individually sculpted “blasting hand” that has the energy bomb coming off of the hand. There’s also another explosive effect included. The separate belt and vest also indicate attention to detail and a dedication to getting the look right. Given her long history, Boom-Boom has been criminally underrepresented in figure form. This is an outstanding correction right here.

Cannonball: Some people like the blasting effect, and some don’t. I do. Do I wish there had been legs? Well, of course. But I also understand that idea behind the concept, and I support the desire for the Hasbro team to just do different stuff. Frankly, I’d like to see some kind of power-effects accessory kit, because the effects that they’ve been making and including (Boom-Boom’s aforementioned bomb-hand, the optic blast for Retro Cyclops, etc.) have been great. That said, this is a genuinely cool-looking piece, and the top half captures the flavor of that Liefeld Cannonball costume quite well.

Wolverine: Hat trick of shortness! Lately, I’ve been praising Hasbro’s inclination to keep Wolverine short again. In both the Wolverine/Hulk two-pack and the Retro Wolvie of late, they’ve kept the figure appropriately undertall. They’ve done it again, and it’s great. This particular iteration of Wolverine (with the black and gray X-Force gear) wasn’t a must-have for me, but I’m glad that it exists. The team did a great job on the claws (which I feel are receiving much more attention in the sculpting process these days). It’s a very good era-specific figure, and it’s a good make-up figure for people that weren’t able to get the early boxed set exclusive version. Definitely looks good.

Nightcrawler: The original Marvel Legends Nightcrawler was released when my oldest son was less than one month old. He’s in high school now. So yeah, this guy’s due. One of the most requested figures for a revamp, the new Nightcrawler more than does the job. With an extra hand, two extra heads for different expressions, a poseable tail, and a big sword, this Nightcrawler covers a lot of ground and covers it well. This is one of those characters where the overall poseability of the Marvel Legends style really pays off. Kurt is frequently depicted as slightly hunched or perching or being acrobatic; this figure allows you to accomplish ALL of those. If you want a swashbuckling Nightcrawler, throw on the happy face and the sword. If you want an angry Nightcrawler, swap heads for that too. It’s a generally well-considered figure that tries hard (and succeeds) to hit all of the points you’d want in a strong version of this character. A hearty well-done to the team.

Guardian: Just in time for the forthcoming Alpha Flight boxed set, Weapon Alpha here is a sold figure. He’s well-sculpted and has a great grumpy look. I regret the lack of energy attachments, but it makes sense due to the fact that he comes packed with two Wendigo parts, including the body. This is a very clean, very nice-looking super-hero figure, and it should make fans of Marvels most famous Canadian team pretty happy.

Wendigo: This thing is awesomely HUGE. I mean HUGE. Remember when I went on about how big the Wolverine/Hulk Hulk was and how cool that made it? This, but Wendigo. He’s freaking BIG. Which is great. Wendigo should be big. The overall body and design are great. I would have personally liked the head to be a little more like the Byrne version instead of the more modern take, but that’s a minor, minor quibble. This BAF is a monster. I took pictures for you with the very appropriate Wolverine and Hulk from the two-pack so you could revel in its hugeness and see it alongside First Appearance Wolvie, too. This is well-worth getting; I like it quite a bit.

Okay, readers. That’s it for today. Let’s talk about it. What do you think? Which one is your favorite? Mine, I’m happy to say, is Boom-Boom, probably followed by the Wendigo. There’s damn good stuff here. Talk to us, and come back next time. Thanks for reading!

Review: X-Men The Wedding Special #1

Full disclaimer: for a long time, Kitty Pryde was my all time favorite Marvel superhero thanks to her awesomeness in X-Men Evolution and Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men run, and there is a Marvel Legends figure of her sitting on my bookshelf right now as I write this.

Even though Kelly Thompson, Marika Cresta, and Federico Blee end up almost saving the day with a fun tale of X-Women out on the town with pretty, shiny art to match, X-Men The Wedding Special #1 is a big stinker of a “special issue.” Greg Land’s stiff art style isn’t a good fit for a raucous bachelor party, Chris Claremont can’t rekindle his old magic, and this book doesn’t really have much for long time X-Men fans who might be a little lapsed (Like yours truly.) and definitely not new or casual fans. Why are Kitty and Piotr even getting married? Maybe, the X-Men Gold  hardcore readership will find something to love here.

In the first story, Kitty Pryde’s co-creator/father of the X-Men Chris Claremont returns to Marvel with his Nightcrawler collaborator Todd Nauck and skilled colorist Rachelle Rosenberg.  However, after having Nauck re-draw Kitty’s greatest hits courtesy of John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, John Romita Jr., Alan Davis, and others, he makes the story all about Kitty’s relationships with the dead men in her life, namely, her dad, Wolverine, and some guy from a 1999 time travel miniseries called X-Men True Friends. Claremont is a still verbose prose stylist, Rosenberg is game with the bright colors of the different eras, and Nauck turns in some gorgeous dualistic compositions contrasting the triumphs and trials of Kitty Pryde’s life as an X-Man.

But there isn’t really a coherent story to channel these skills and traits into as Claremont abruptly cuts from Kitty recounting her life story and feelings about being phased through a bullet (Thank you, Joss Whedon.) to randomly talking about Wolverine and the aforementioned guy from a time travel story. Plus I guess I missed the issue of X-Men Gold where she worked as a bartender at the Hellfire Club themed branch of Coyote Ugly as Claremont and Nauck cut to this, and Nightcrawler has some great lines about faith and facing challenges. There are a few good ingredients, a few bad ones, and sadly, the story doesn’t touch on the great female friendships (and possibly romances) that Claremont set up for Kitty with Magik, Storm, and Rachel Summers among others and focused on ghostly men instead. It’s like a great slice of Chicago deep dish (Shoutout to Deerfield, Illinois resident Kitty Pryde.) that’s completely burnt to a crisp too bogged down in a continuity to have any real emotion or even nostalgia.

The second story by X-Men Gold writer Marc Guggenheim, the aforementioned Land and inker Jay Leisten, and colorist Jason Keith tells the story of Colossus’ bachelor party and except for the part where Piotr throws an anti-mutant alien monster around a casino, it’s cliched, heteronormative, and just plain bad. In keeping with his introverted nature and desire to be faithful towards Kitty after decades of breakups, reunions, and the original Secret Wars crossover, Colossus wants a chill night out and not the typical strippers/booze/brawling trifecta of a normal bachelor party. But Nightcrawler, Gambit, Iceman, and the “boyo” overusing new-look Pyro have other ideas for him including Bobby lecturing Piotr on traditional masculinity and making me glad that Sina Grace had almost exclusive creative control over him for a year. The story follows a limp, through line of getting Colossus to “lighten up”, and you have to buy a whole other comic to see how the story ends. It’s pretty terrible except for the huge smile on Nightcrawler’s face as he ushers his squad into Las Vegas and beams that there is a casino run by demons so he doesn’t have to feel weird or different while having a good time for once. Kurt is such a great character that he shines even in subpar stories like the first two in X-Men Wedding Special #1.

The final story in X-Men Wedding Special #1 is a fun, cute, grownup version of the “X-Men go to the mall” plotline as Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, Psylocke, and others take Kitty to karaoke, which is actually “stripperoke”. However, there are both male and female strippers at the club, which Kitty is cool with. And it’s also this issue’s only nod at the bisexual subtext surrounding her since the late 1980s. In a similar way to Piotr, Kitty is introverted and more than a little Type A so the cocktail of strippers and karaoke is pretty lethal for her, and she spends most of the issue hoping for a fight.

Kitty does end up doing hand to hand combat with Callisto, who I think had a crush on Colossus, in the 1980s, and her resolves shows how much she has grown in 38 years from the X-Men’s kid sister to their leader. It also shows that artist (and star in waiting) Marika Cresta has a knack for fight sequences as well as conversation, beautiful faces, and high fashion. The bright filters used by Federico Blee and soft lighting definitely give this issue a very laidback field even if Kitty is freaking out a little bit about her wedding. The Kitty/Callisto derails the story a little bit, but Thompson and Cresta easily counterbalance with great moments like Storm rocking the karaoke stage, and Rogue and Kitty having a true heart to heart that reminded me of a more mature version of their bond in X-Men Evolution.

X-Men Wedding Special definitely lessened my faith in the marriage between Kitty and Colossus as well as heterosexual, monogamous marriage as an institution in general. Okay, maybe not completely, but the Marc Guggenheim and Greg Land story is a great example of how bachelor parties are dated and played out. However, Marika Cresta is a real find as an artist in the final story and should definitely be the main artist on one of the big X or Marvel books.

Story: Chris Claremont, Marc Guggenheim, Kelly Thompson
Art: Todd Nauck, Greg Land with Jay Leisten, Marika Cresta
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg, Jason Keith, Federico Blee Letters: Clayton Cowles

Story: 5.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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

 

Review: Inferno #2

Inferno002Setting a comic inside a post-apocalyptic world run by demons inside another mini-dimension run by a powerful overlord might seem like one of the strangest concepts for a superhero book, but it is the basis for the Inferno series which is tying into Secret Wars.  The first issue was a solid introduction to this universe, where the X-Men patrol what is left of New York City against a demon horde, while the same horde led by Colossus’ sister does pretty much as they want inside their own domain.  Once per year Colossus leads a strike team to try to rescue his sister, and the first issue focused on the most recent attempt to do so.  Previous attempts resulted in tragedies of one kind or another, and this attempt seemed equally doomed from the onset.

It should be said that even for someone following along that this setting is pretty weird and confusing.  Domino and Colossus were separated and thrust into two different sub-plots involving the Goblin Queen, Madelyne Pryor.  As the characters try to regain a stronger foothold, the development of the story takes some strange twists as the strike team is fractured and then almost reunited.  Meanwhile Magik and Nightcrawler face off against each other, with Nightcrawler at a distinct disadvantage being her prisoner.

There is a general lack of description in this issue, as the reader is seemingly supposed to let go of trying to make sense of what is happening in the interest of allowing the demon world to exist.  While this is a bit of a letdown in terms of the pacing the issue is saved by the well written characters, as specifically the interaction between Colossus and Madelyne, and also between Domino and Madelyne’s son save this issue from going off the tracks.  Heading into the next issue it would seem as though there is a stronger direction for this series, and while the setting is bizarre, that the creative team is making it work.

Story: Dennis Hopeless  Art: Javier Garron 
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.3  Overall: 8.3  Recommendation: Read

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