Tag Archives: x-men

Advance Book Review: Your Favorite Superhero Sucks

you favoriteReading Your Favorite Superhero Sucks by Hooded Utilitarian editor, comic critic, and writer for The Atlantic Noah Berlatsky elicited three main responses from me: laughter, anger, or pondering. I laughed as he savagely took potshots at inept comic book artists Philip Tan and Igor Kordey in essays about Batman and Cable respectively. I was a little angry when he spent an entire essay nitpicking about why Iron Man didn’t save Jessica Jones and “plot holes” in shared universes but smiled a little bit when Berlatsky begrudgingly wrote about some of the reasons he enjoyed her Netflix series

As long as you’re okay with seeing your (super)heroes slung through the mud,  is an entertaining and wide-ranging work of superhero criticism as Noah Berlatsky covers the gamut from Silver Age Wonder Woman comics to recent Marvel blockbusters like Avengers  and Ant-Man and even superhero TV shows. Each chapter is titled “XYZ superhero sucks” and is a short essay critiquing a facet of them. No nook and cranny of the superhero world is spared from his biting wrath as he talks about Joss Whedon‘s inability to craft a believable romance and a strong female character in one narrative (I would counter with Zoe and Wash’s relationship in Firefly even though they don’t fall in love per se during the show.), the fact that Aquaman has always been a supporting player, and that the Hulk is a racist African American caricature. (He’s a character that I’ve never been too fond of. There’s a reason that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a one-off novel.)

Probably, the most enlightening essays of the bunch for me were Berlatsky’s well-researched piece about why there are no great Wonder Woman stories, an article about how writer Christopher Priest showed how Black Panther didn’t fit the superhero mold in his run on the book, and also how Stan Lee and Jack Kirby‘s X-Men run is racist, sexist, and just plain bad. I also enjoyed the essay about X-Men Days of Future Past that was paired with the Lee/Kirby one that discussed how Bryan Singer showed “genocide without context” in the film. This idea works even better with X-Men Apocalypse  when Magneto (Under the influence of Apocalypse.) destroys Auschwitz as his tragic backstory as a Holocaust survivor that Singer decided to make the first shot of X-Men in service of yet another CGI disaster movie sequence.

Berlatsky’s thesis for why there are no great Wonder Woman stories is that William Moulton Marston‘s vision for her was so contradictory. (She’s a powerful woman, but also likes to be bound. She is peaceful, but also likes to punch people.) Wonder Woman isn’t like a Spider-Man, Wolverine, or Batman, who Berlatsky says are ciphers and get fit into a bunch of different types of stories. (I think genre jumping is one of Batman’s strengths as a character.) Then, he goes into a deep dive of Denny O’Neil and Mike Sekowsky‘s run on the title starting with Wonder Woman #178, which took a giant dump on Marston’s vision with Wonder Woman saying she is a monster, Steve Trevor acting like a creeper, and plenty of hippy slang and psychedelic art. But unfortunately, O’Neil and Sekowsky couldn’t build up a new vision of Wonder Woman in place of Marston’s, depowered her in the next issue, and gave her a stereotypical Asian martial arts sensei named I-Ching. The rest of the essay is a hilarious chronicle of just how terrible Wonder Woman comics were in the Bronze Age except for some of Diana’s groovy outfits.

Honestly, we as fans of superhero comics often take these brightly colored underwear wearing mostly white men too seriously. I know I’m guilty of going on multi-tweet rants about how Marvel or DC is “misusing” one of the small parts of their intellectual property. Sometimes, we need to sit back and listen to someone, like Berlatsky, who doesn’t give superheroes the benefit of a doubt and isn’t afraid to probe their weaknesses, inadequacies, and utter failure at mirroring reality or being ethical. Because the (non-animated) Justice League is a scrub superhero team, and everyone knows it.

“Your Superhero Sucks” also show the potential of comics criticism to be more than just a mouthpiece/cheering squad for big companies or an exercise in pretentious shelling out the latest Drawn & Quarterly. It can be entertaining, insightful, and provocative just like criticism in any other medium.

Your Favorite Superhero Sucks is set to be released as a self-published e-book on September 19, 2016 and can be preordered here.

Overall Rating: 8.0

EE Spotlight: Gather Your X-Men With these Statues on Clearance

Each day we’re going to spotlight cool items for sale through Entertainment Earth, one of our affiliate partners.

Entertainment Earth has been running a summer clearance and it’s been impressive as far as how cheap some things are going for. Checking out items I thought would be cool, I checked out their X-Men section to find some statues that are just dirt cheap at over 50% off.

Originally retailing for $49.99, these Dark Horse Statues capture the classic look of the X-Men. They’re on sale and are about $10 a piece, around 79% off. You can get 5 for around the cost of one normally. That’s a hell of a deal. Choose from Cyclops, Angel, Marvel Girl, Beast, Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, a different Cyclops, and Banshee.

Check out the full list.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Around the Tubes

Postal_13-1It’s new comic book day tomorrow! We’ll have our picks in a few hours. Until then, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

iO9 – Why Are Marvel’s X-Men Comics So Terrible Right Now? – The truth and a good question.

WLOS – Comic dealer says suspects on surveillance stole prize books  – If anyone has any info, please help.

Comics Alliance – Black Widow and Captain America Kick Off New Marvel Ultimate Action Doll Series at Disney Stores  – This could be cool.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Attack – Postal #13

Blog Critics – Thoreau: A Sublime Life

Around the Tubes

BGBOPREB-Cv1-ds-5de97San Diego Comic-Con is over and we’re recovering. We have about a week before we need to prepare for Gen Con! Yes, another convention is being covered next week!

Until then, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

iO9 – NASA Will Put Rocket Raccoon And Groot On Its New Mission Patch – This is really cool.

Wizards of the Coast – Wizards and Transparency on Social Media – Hopefully more geek companies adopt this.

Kotaku – Marvel Ultimate Alliance Coming To PS4, Xbox One And PC On Tuesday – It’s a great game!

Inverse – Christ, Superhero: Inside Christianity’s Comic Con Booth – Always been fascinated by this at the convention.

Slash Film – ‘Justice League Action’ Will Feature 152 Different DC Comics Characters – That’s a lot of characters.

ABC News – Los Altos teen with autism creates comic book available online – Fantastic to see things like this.

Comics Alliance – X-Men Books Not Cancelled! All-New Wolverine Goes Rogue In ‘Enemy Of The State II’ – You mean sites that traffic in rumors are wrong?

The Beat – SDCC’16: Batman The Telltale Series let’s play shows you how to be your Batman – Can’t wait for this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1

Talking Comics – Black Hammer #1

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? Sound off in the comments below!

While you await stores to open, here’s some comic news from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Kotaku – X-Men For The 90s Kids – Some awesome art.

Truthdig – Meet El Peso Hero, a Latino Superhero Fighting Injustice on the U.S.-Mexico Border – This is awesome.

Montgomery Advertiser – Comic store expanding to Cloverdale – Great to see an store expanding.

Deadline – ‘Beasts Of No Nation’ Revelation Abraham Attah Joins ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ – The movies is sounding good as far as casting.

Variety – ‘Arrow’ Adds Artemis for Season 5 – Very interesting.

Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse PosterBryan Singer does it again!

I have to be honest I had my doubt with this movie. Having watched it last night I am very proud to see that most if not all them have been put to rest. Maybe I’m a sucker for the 80s, (1984 baby here) but the time period, the clothes, the  references, resonated very strongly with me. Xavier’s school in the era of skinny jeans, the cold war and President Reagan is a very fun place to be.  The themes and struggles of that era pair themselves well to the unfurling X-Men Mythos one that continues to tread Xenophobia, difference, the red scare and the spectre of mutually assured destruction. Apocalypse seizes on these zeitgeists in a way that punctuates his threat.  I shared the concerns of how Apocalypse would be presented but these were quickly alleviated. Oscar Isaac‘s really sold Apocalypse as primal and ontological threat.

One of my gripes was the lost opportunity for philosophical engagement. Ideologically Apocalypse is the diametric foil to Xavier, most of their conflict in the movie is confined to physical and psychic combat however. To me this was a bit of a lost opportunity (but still very cool visually). Apocalypse’s Darwinian proclivities could have benefited the film with a more thorough exploration. This is also the case at least 2 of his horsemen, (Psylocke and Storm) who’s motivation for aligning with the God-Mutant aren’t entirely clear.  In the comics, mutants chosen to become Horsemen undergo profound brainwashing that endures for years after the fact, in the movie it wasn’t too apparent whether this was taking place. Additionally  The notion of first mutation was introduced and also could have benefited from more explanation, with 7 installments into the franchise I think the time is ripe to explore the ontology of mutation, especially considering a jaw dropping event that takes place near the end of the film. Spoiler: with a telepathic assist from Jean on the Astral plane Xavier instructs her to unleash her potential giving us a more faithful adaptation of the phoenix force on the big screen.  This moment was huge and I doubt that its ramifications have been all settled.

Bryan Singer is to be commended for the way he interwove the plotting and pacing,  the interaction between the mentor X-Men and younger team was masterfully done in a way that was organic and believable. I was worried how they would throw the neophyte X-Men into the ring training and all, but their involvement and the nature of the threat they are presented with makes it work. The progression of the film did feel a bit fast but there was good economy of screen time per character vs set up on the hero side of the equation. As I mentioned earlier however Apocalypse and his horsemen suffered a bit in this regard. Quicksilver returns once more doing what he does best …stealing scenes. This time his powers are shown off to an 80’s hit track that had everyone in my theatre laughing. Made me wonder and anticipate what he’ll speed out to if they get a 90’s sequel off the ground.

Magneto had some very good scenes, and the story did a good job raising some pathos for his character. A new plot element takes its cue straight from the comics, and really cements Magneto as a tortured soul, justifiably incensed with humanity. As I mentioned earlier however die hard fans will be left unclear as to how much of Magneto’s rage is his own, versus how much is of Apocalypses influence.

As the installment closing out the second X-Trilogy I would say X-Men: Apocalypse did its job admirably. The call backs and homages to past movie elements really show how much Singer and Simon Kinberg love and respect the franchise while providing winks to the audience. Above all this however, X-Men: Apocalypse injects fresh blood and opportunity into a run that could have easily gone stale 16 years and 7 films in. To see the broad range of philosophies presented thus (egalitarian, Darwinian, bioethcial etc) aside multiple/alternate timelines, is quite a feat. It is fair to say that the x-movies have juggled and adapted its source material wonderfully, while using time travel to cleverly edit out or otherwise erase its less than stellar flops (Sorry Brett Ratner). As the X-students say after walking out of a Star Trek movie “The third movie is always the worst”

There is a post credit stinger you will want to stick around for, providing another hint that we are not finished with the X-Universe just yet. This stinger also hints at another iconic villain I am excited to see. Apocalypse is one of the most iconic villains in the X-Men rogues gallery, was he perfectly adapted? That is debatable. Will this movie have you excited for what’s to come? Without a question….yes it will and for me that’s where this movie’s strength lies. Clearing away the stagnancy of what came before   and being the fire that ignites new life, to paraphrase Apocalypse’s words, I think that was the underlying ethos for this movie as well…that’s kind of meta.

Final Thoughts

Although the political themes weren’t showcased as strongly as I had hoped, the opening title sequences explored them quit a bit symbolically. They are really starting become a hallmark of the franchise, reaching James Bond Levels of Iconic.

Overall Score 8.5

Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse PosterThe X-Men must united to battle the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse who has an extinction level plan. That’s the simple premise of X-Men: Apocalypse, the third film of the second trilogy of X-Men films. This is the sixth featuring the team of mutants, the ninth in the series of “X” films. And much like X-Men: The Last Stand, the third film in each trilogy is the weakest.

Let me list the issues of the film… the pacing, the acting, the special fx, the use of characters, the plot itself, you name it, there’s issues and some of them are massive. I’m not even going into the fact the film takes place a decade later and actors haven’t aged a day. The film is a very slow long slog as it builds towards the inevitable fx driven show down.

For what feels like the first hour of the 2 and a half hour film individuals talk, we relearn everyone’s powers, and we get the lay of the land as people are caught up on new incarnations of characters we’ve seen before.

It’s not until Quicksilver shows up that the film gets entertaining. Once again Evan Peters as the character steals the show not just in his kinetic acting, but the action as well that uses his abilities to a fun extent and with a sense of humor that adds some levity to what is a rather dour film.

When it generally comes to the actors themselves, everyone seems to have taken steps back and often feel like they’re phoning it in. Lines are spouted with little emotion, little that gets me interested or even feels natural. The lone standout is Michael Fassbender who shows a range of emotion, though generally floats around. Olivia Munn as Psylocke stands around doing little until the end. Alexandra Shipp mostly does the same as Ororo Munroe/Storm with just a few lines here and there. It’s almost laughable at Lana Condor‘s role as Jubilee. Much like the character’s three previous appearances, here too she’s just filler.

There’s some twists and turns, though many are foreshadowed, like Jean Grey’s horrible nightmare and a “dark” force out there. Comic fans will likely perk up to that line.

All of that leads up to the big showdown between the X-Men and Apocalypse where it looks like all of the money went to the special fx and little to the sets. The sets have a quality where I’ve seen better in model railroads as far as how natural they look.

The one upside? The 3D actually looks decent and is worth it for the film. From the opening credits to the final battle, it’s a lot of fun.

X-Men: Apocalypse doesn’t feel as much a culmination of the three previous films as much as an attempt to kickstart everything that’s to come from Wolverine to New Mutants, to the next X-Men films. It’s a start that sputters…. a lot. It’s clear that director/writer Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinberg know and love the X-Men, but have issues putting the puzzle pieces together, especially when they take on too much.

Is the film worse than X-Men: The Last Stand? That’s debatable and I’m not quite sure the answer.

Overall Rating: 6.1

X-Men: The Animated Series Gets an Honest Trailer

Relive the ’90s cartoon courtesy of Honest Trailers!

Fashion Spotlight: Four Horsemen, War Munitions, Maritime Merc

Ript Apparel has three new designs! Four Horsemen, War Munitions, and Maritime Merc, by Akiwa, AtomicRocket, and onebluebird, are on sale today only! Get them before they’re gone!

Four Horsemen

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War Munitions

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Maritime Merc

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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.

Fashion Spotlight: Old Fashioned Homicidal, Shield of Omens, Mutants, Inc.

Ript Apparel has three new designs! Old Fashioned Homicidal, Shield of Omens, and Mutants, Inc., by Nemons, Toonhead, and BoggsNicolas, are on sale today only! Get them before they’re gone!

Old Fashioned Homicidal

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Shield of Omens

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Mutants, Inc.

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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.

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