Tag Archives: x-men

TV Review: Legion S1E7 Chapter 7

legionLegion, based on the Marvel character created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, dives into the action as David Haller (played by Dan Stevens) tries to find a way out of his predicament.

With just one more episode to go, Legion focuses on David and his friends being stuck in the construction by Lenny who we find out the real deal and comic fans should be squealing with glee.

In my last review I made some guesses as to who the man with the yellow eyes/Lenny really is and who David’s father is (though that’s straight from the comics). This episode confirms the former and seems to confirm the latter.

Dan Stevens stars as David Haller in Legion

While everyone is still stuck in this weird world, David works out for himself what’s going on and explores the history of everything. It’s the clearest explanation of his mutant power, his lineage, and who the parasite mutant is.

As I said, fans of the X-Men comics will be happy with the revelations as things are laid out for new viewers in a very entertaining way. If things didn’t make sense until this episode, it’s pretty clear now exactly what’s going on. We know David’s history, the parasite’s, and how we got from point A to point B.

But, how to deal with it all is cool too. The various dots are brought together and done so in an episode that’s as visually stunning as all of the rest. There’s some amazing moments here, and that’s saying something from a show that’s been one of the visually best on television today.

Legion continues to get better and better with each episode and with each layer added and new reveal that will get comic fans super excited. This is one of the few cases where the long build has really paid off after a lot of episodes. This has been six episodes of hints and twists, and we get the delivery here. An absolutely fantastic series that begs for multiple viewings.

Overall Rating: 9.65

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TV Review: Legion S1E6 Chapter 6

legionLegion, based on the Marvel character created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, dives into the action as David Haller (played by Dan Stevens) decides to take things back to the beginning where everything started.

The end of last episode was full of twists and turns and ended with Lenny capturing everyone in a twisted world that looks like the facility from the beginning of the season. This isn’t a start over, instead everyone is now under the power of Lenny who is the ruler of this world acting as the psychiatrist of the facility keeping her subjects docile and confused.

But as expected not everyone is completely bought into the make believe world and resists to some extent and it’s not who I thought.

While I thought it’d be David who would push back against Lenny, instead it’s Syd who stands up slowly putting together clues and anomalies that hints the world isn’t as it seems. And once again the show uses those visuals to entertain as much as the acting and plotting. This is a show you need to pay attention to so you can catch what’s going on visually.

Dan Stevens stars as David Haller in Legion

And while those visuals are important in this episode for Syd’s journey, what’s really interesting is seeing the various characters in this new setting. Everyone is a captive and how they act within this new constructed world is entertaining and telling as to who they are as characters. Syd, Cary, Ptonomy, Kerry, Melanie, and The Eye are all present and while most are straightforward, one is not. The Eye is his usual creepiness, especially in a confrontation with Syd. He mostly stands around and you never get a good sense as to what’s going on with him.

But, what I think is the biggest thing of the episode is the reveal at the end. For some time I’ve been debating (with others and myself) if David is schizophrenic or as the show has stated this is all his power or even another mutant! We get what I think is the answer here in the final moments of the show which gives us some revelations that not only makes what’s going on clearer but what’s stated seems to make the show more tied into the “X” world it’s based on.

SPOILERS AND THEORIES!!! (Highlight to reveal the spoilers)

Lenny says she knows who David’s real father is and when she reveals herself to also be the man with the yellow eyes, who I’m guessing is the Shadow King. She says David was sent away to protect him from Lenny/yellow eyes. Since it’s clear Lenny/yellow eyes has control over the psychic plane I think it’s the best hint that Professor X is indeed David’s father in this television adaptation.

End Spoiler!!!

Ok, so if you read the theory/spoiler above you can understand my excitement and why I’m even more pumped for this series. It’s a fantastic twist that answers questions and has the series taking more from the comic world it’s based on.

Legion continues to get better and better with each episode and with each layer added and new reveal we’re forced to go back and think through what we’ve witnessed. An absolutely fantastic series that begs for multiple viewings.

Overall Rating: 9.85

Review: Inhumans vs. X-Men #6

Just when you thought this battle couldn’t get any better, Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule  kick it up a notch. Vendettas, side missions, and unlikely alliances! Oh, my! The character count has increased to a seemingly maximum capacity, yet the story doesn’t go off the rails. There are a lot more players on the board but, the story doesn’t seem busy or overrun with chaos.

Leinil Francis Yu provides the art work and steps in along with Gerry Alanguilan to help on inks and David Curiel on colors. This issue is pretty and bright despite the bleakness of the situation at hand. There’s a sense of fun infused within the darkness that makes this an interesting read. The panels are filled with detail and a richness that adds and extra element to the story.

This issue lays out everyone’s ultimate motives and solidifies alliances. There’s a sense of tension in the air and a lot on intrigue. Emma is on the war path and her rage might just take down a truce. There’s also a lot of fighting in the midst of the talking and some rage filled (and rash) moments adding to the drama. The old guard on both sides, with a few exceptions, are at odds with the young ones who seem more into talking things out than going all out nuclear. Despite all of the drama inside this issues pages, there remains a sense of hope towards the end as the writers close out this arc. While there’s still some vengeance in the hearts of some members of each team, this issue ends on peace and sets up what’s to come in the future.

Story: Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule Art: Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan
Story: 9.4  Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

TV Review: Legion S1E5 Chapter 5

legionLegion, based on the Marvel character created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, dives into the action as David Haller (played by Dan Stevens) decides to take action to save his sister. That leads to a series of events and revelations that I can only really describe as spiraling.

As emphasized again in this episode, David isn’t schizophrenic in the traditional sense, so what’s going on here? We find some of that out as David goes rogue to save his sister.

That leads to his new friends to follow him and in doing so they discover some of what’s been plaguing David including the man with the yellow eyes and Lenny who has gone off the rails herself taking charge in a bunch of ways.

Dan Stevens stars as David Haller in Legion

This episode is an interesting one in that the first half is pretty standard with the hero going to save someone and doing it on his own. It’s not until we see the damage he’s done in doing so that we get a sense of how powerful he is and that’s also the case with his new friends. Their coming upon the carnage is an eye opener.

And that carnage is amazing. Again playing with visuals we see soldiers fused in the ground and ripped apart from reality and through a very neat visual trick we also get to see the man with the yellow eyes in action. It again emphasizes how impressive the visuals of the series are and that this is a whole other level of show (and challenges the X-Men movies in what they’ve presented).

The episode also finally gives us some hints as to what’s really going on with David. Is it something more than what we’ve been lead to believe? The end of the episode really challenges the viewer and lead me to utter “what the hell is going on” multiple times and that’s not a bad thing. The series has slowly explained what’s going on and I’m sure what we’ve witnessed here and that ending will be better explained in future episodes.

The visuals of the series continue to be stunning and the best thing about it. That says a lot, since the story is so solid and getting better with every episode. This is a show you need to watch and watch intently as many of the hints and plot points are driven not by the dialogue, but by the visual clues that are thrown on the screen in quick flashes. The series begs to be watched multiple times to catalog all of the quick flashes and coloring to decipher what it all means.

Legion continues to get better and better with each episode and with each layer added and new reveal we’re forced to go back and think through what we’ve witnessed. An absolutely fantastic series that begs for multiple viewings.

Overall Rating: 9.45

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What are folks excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The Verge – The story behind the custom X-Men comics in Logan – If you were wondering.

Slate Magazine – The Senate Torture Report in Graphic-Novel Form – If you want the report to have pictures!

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: My Giant Nerd Boyfriend helps kick off Webtoon’s female led launch week – Free comics! Go read!

The Comichron – February 2017 comics sales estimates now online – For those that enjoy the horse race.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – The Circle #3

Talking Comics – Royal City #1

ICv2 – Smokin Paradise Vol. 1

A Short, Spoiler Free Logan Review

loganIt should be no surprise to you by this point that I’m a huge Wolverine fan, so when I realized I could watch the movie on my birthday I jumped at the chance to get to go see it.

But before I say anything else, if you want an in-depth critical review with no real plot spoilers then you can read Brett’s review over here, because that’s not what this is going to be. This is going to be some quick impressions from a twenty-five-year fan of Wolverine who has been desperate for a half way decent movie starring the clawed Canadian. I went into the movie with the critic part of my brain turned off (somehow), so this is being written from a fan’s perspective before anything else.

On the quality: After sitting through the film on opening night, it’s safe to say that I was not disappointed, and I have every intention to see this movie again very soon. Logan earns the R rating several times over, and as fun as it is to see the movie do that, that’s not why I loved the film. Or at least not the whole reason.

On the action: This is the Wolverine movie fans have been waiting seventeen years for. Remember the scene in X2 when Wolverine defends the X-Mansion? It’s like that, but R-rated, and with much better choreography.

On the acting: While I doubt there’ll be any Oscar talk around this movie, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are fantastic. As is Dafne Keen who is able to hold her own when sharing the screen with the two veterans as they deliver their best performances as these characters to date.

Overall: I saw somewhere that somebody had compared this to the Dark Knight of the X-Men movies, and I don’t disagree with them. After a single viewing, this is easily the best movie in the franchise right now – whether that’ll change once I’ve rewatched it… I doubt it, but you never know. The performances of the three leads was phenomenal, the story everything I hoped it’d be. I can’t wait to watch this again – and I will. Very soon.

And no, if you’re wondering, there’s no post-credits scene.

Logan is the Rare Superhero Film that Deals with Finality

loganxfi

*Warning: This article contains full spoilers for the film Logan*

There is a famous line in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen that could be used to describe the world of superhero comics as well as the Disney golden goose/juggernaut that is “Nothing ever ends.” As long as the books are selling, the TV shows are getting decent ratings, and the movies make back their budgets, there will always be stories about Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, whatever mediocre white male Marvel Studios decides to make a movie about, and yes, the X-Men. But whether it’s due to Hugh Jackman or Patrick Stewart’s contracts, a burst of creativity on the part of writers Scott Frank, Michael Green, and co-writer/director James MangoldLogan decides to end the character of Wolverine on its own terms with no reboot or recasting in sight.

In its plot, influences, and setting, Logan is a departure from X-Men and superhero films. The story follows Logan, who reluctantly agrees to drive Charles Xavier and a new mutant Laura aka X-23 (Dafne Keen) to Eden, a place in North Dakota where the last mutants are supposedly hiding out. Logan is skeptical about this land’s existence. In a bit of a family twist, it’s revealed that Laura was created from Logan’s DNA and has his claws, healing factor, and rage. Logan is a dystopian western/road trip movie as Logan a beautiful combination of Cormac McCarthy’s novels The Road and No Country for Old Men if Sheriff Bell (Played by Tommy Lee Jones in the Coen Bros film adaptation.) was the one taking the road trip with a child that he had a strained relationship with. And the Reavers definitely fall into the Anton Chigurh school of villainy driven on by relentless evil and a desire to hinder Logan at every turn even when he’s just minding his own business and being a chauffeur.

From its tense cold open where Logan fights some Latino men on the Texas/Mexico border, Mangold, Jackman, and cinematographer John Mathieson give us a front seat to his mortality. There are the hacks and slashes that are his signature, but it comes after he gets his ass kicked a few times and takes some wounds to his chest. Logan is still a skilled fighter, but you can see him wince in pain as he takes shotgun shells to the chest, and throughout the film, it’s obvious that he’s trying to avoid getting shot using throws and holds instead of just charging at his foes berserker style. (Although, Logan does give into his animal nature several times in the film, especially when fighting his conscience-less clone X-24.)

intesnelogan

Unlike The Wolverine where Logan losing his healing factor was a plot device to be reset at the end so he could go on more adventures with the X-Men, it’s a terminal condition as the adamantium on his bones is beginning to poison him. Jackman’s body is a canvas of pain and suffering, and there are many shots of him turning to whiskey, pills, and later a kind of superhuman steroids to get his deteriorating body to function. He, Charles Xavier, and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) are living in the physical equivalent of death’s door in an old smelting plant in Mexico where Logan works as basically Uber driver and hauls around hard partying, jingoistic young people to have enough money to get pills to suppress Xavier’s telepathy. As it’s revealed later in the film,  the former Professor X has a degenerative brain disorder that leads to seizures and can kill both humans and mutants. Logan doesn’t want him to hurt anyone else so he has him in isolation, and a very honest Xavier remarks that he’s just waiting for him to die. The dream is dead, there are no X-Men or superheroes, and he and Logan are just trying to save enough of money so they can float away on a boat and be free. They are the living dead and only spoken of in hushed tones like urban myths, or in the colorful, nostalgic pages of in-universe X-Men comics.

Yes, Logan is the cinematic equivalent of staring into the abyss for two and a half hours as Mangold comes to terms with the lives that Logan has taken and mirrors his violence and savagery in the young girl Laura. Laura’s big introduction is when she takes out a group of Reavers, who have attacked Logan and Xavier’s compound. Most of the action takes place off camera and is signified by her walking out carrying a man’s head before a whip quick pan shows her launching an attack on the remaining Reavers. Unlike Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass, this and countless other instances of violence involving Laura aren’t played for dark humor, but for tragedy.

One thing that I particularly enjoyed about Logan compared to a lot of superhero films was that it gave its characters a chance to breathe, emote, and interact instead of rushing through the equivalent of trailers for other films or using big gestures like kisses or near death experiences to “develop” characters. So, its best sequence isn’t an epic desert/barb wire fence car chase that is even cooler than the one in Batman Begins, but Xavier, Laura, and Logan sharing a family meal with the Munsons, a family that they helped out on their way to Eden. Xavier confesses to X-24 (Who he thinks is Logan) that this is the best night he’s had in a while and a vision of what a normal family life is like before he is brutally gutted by a man, who he thought was his friend. There have been scenes where Xavier is trying to acclimate Laura to because this is an incredibly depressing film.

Instead of bringing back Sabretooth, William Stryker, or another villain from the Wolverine comics, Mangold has Logan fight himself (Or technically his soulless clone) in the film. Evil clones are kind of a gimmick, but through the sheer brutality of the combat and Jackman’s unhinged performance as X-24, their fights come across as a world-weary man trying to exorcise demons, murder the savage part of himself, and find some peace before he dies. Logan truly goes through some Passion of the Christ worthy physical torment, and Mangold and the visual effects don’t hold back from showing his gaping wounds as he struggles to drive the last few miles to Eden, and medical experts say he’s dying. To draw a connection to the Hebrew Bible, Logan, like Moses, could see the Promised Land, but he can’t live in it.

loganandlaura

Other than the incredibly sad funeral sequence where one of the kids holds a Wolverine action figure and Laura turns the wooden cross on his grave sideways to make an “X”, the scene where Laura pushes a semi-comatose Logan to the side and drives both of them to Eden is real moment where Logan comes to terms with its finality. It parallels a scene early in X-Men where Logan is the one driving a young mutant named Rogue to safety except now the young mutant, Laura, has his life in her hands. It’s a really passing of the baton moment, and Laura even becomes the badass loner with the dark past of the group of new mutants brooding off to the side while her new friends eat by the camp fire. This is very much like Wolverine’s role in the first X-Men movie.

Logan is dead, and the Wolverine with him as he passes the torch of hope and heroism despite great odds and a messed up past to Laura and the young mutants of Eden. And along the way James Mangold redeems the adamantium bullet that made everyone snicker in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Early, in the film, it’s the symbol of Logan’s suicidal ideation when Laura finds out that he carries it an and a single shot revolver to kill himself when the time comes. However, Laura ends up using the bullet to kill X-24 defeating the murderous animal inside Wolverine and only leaving the noble, flawed man Logan to die a mortal death from his wounds. Mangold, Jackman, and Keen create something beautiful from the carcass of a terrible film and let Logan find a small measure of redemption before he passes away.

And this is why Logan is such a fantastic film. It has real life and death stakes and not in the Iron Man passes out for five seconds after going into space before being okay way. James Mangold, Scott Frank, and Michael Green aren’t afraid to grapple with the pain of taking a life and the bitter tang of morality, and it does it all in the thrilling, poetic skin of a Western cyborg film. It’s the sad, savage, and soulful superhero film that I’ve been waiting for.

X-Men Prime #1 Sets The Stage For a New Beginning. Marvel Releases a First Look!

The RessurXion begins here! In the wake of Inhumans vs. X-Men, the Children of the Atom pick up the pieces and charge headlong into tomorrow! And it’s all kicking off in March’s can’t-miss X-Men Prime #1! Featuring a collection of blockbuster creators, the next chapter of the X-Men’s saga begins in this oversized one-shot! Xavier’s dream comes full circle as creators Marc Guggenheim and Ken Lashley give fans a taste of what awaits them in X-Men Gold. As Kitty Pryde returns home after a long absence, the student becomes the teacher as she readies herself to lead the X-Men for the first time! Then X-Men Blue scribe Cullen Bunn teams with artist Leonard Kirk to take the X-Men Blue team into the Danger Room – with shocking results! Finally, Greg Pak and Ibraim Roberson re-open the Weapon X program! What secrets lie within, and why are the world’s deadliest mutants being targeted? The kickoff to the must-read X-Men titles of the spring begins on March 29th in X-Men Prime #1!

Featuring covers by Kris Anka, John Cassaday, Whilce Portacio, and Elizabeth Torque.

x-men_prime_1_cover

TV Review: Legion S1E4 Chapter 4

legionLegion, based on the Marvel character created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, continues its exploration of the main character David Haller (played by Dan Stevens) in an episode that finds David in trouble and his friends searching for answers to his past.

This episode is a departure from the past few in that while it deals with David’s memories, the focus is really about figuring out what exactly is the truth. The reason? David is in a coma of sorts. We find out it’s the Astral Plane. For fans of X-Men comics, this is an awesome addition opening up a hell of a future for the show.

Part of the episode follows David as he falls deeper into the Astral Plane and learns what’s going on. It’s visually fantastic as expected and introduces a classic X-Men setting to the television series which has teased “X”s all over, but hasn’t been overt about its comic connection. But, what’s interesting is David meets an individual while there. How’d he get there? Who is he? The episode lays out the dots about some of these answers, but not all. It’s a subtle payoff of a character who has only been mentioned so far.

Dan Stevens stars as David Haller in Legion

The bigger part of the episode is the search for David’s past and figuring out the reality. This is the most straightforward aspect of the series we’ve seen so far, but even that takes us down a rabbit hole in many ways as we spiral trying to figure out what we can trust and what we can’t.

And that’s part of what’s amazing in this episode. The reveals that we’re presented with make us the viewers completely question what we’ve learned so far in the series. It’s not a question of what is real, it’s a question of who is real? What is reality? Like a solid show of this type, we the viewer now have to go through and see what the hints are. Are there visuals? And speaking of…

The visuals of the series continue to be stunning and the best thing about it. That says a lot, since the story is so solid and getting better with every episode. This is a show you need to watch and watch intently as many of the hints and plot points are driven not by the dialogue, but by the visual clues that are thrown on the screen in quick flashes. The series begs to be watched multiple times to catalog all of the quick flashes and coloring to decipher what it all means.

Legion continues to get better and better with each episode and with each layer added and new reveal we’re forced to go back and think through what we’ve witnessed. An absolutely fantastic series that begs for multiple viewings.

Overall Rating: 9.35

Review: Inhumans vs X-Men #5

inhumans_vs__x_men__5Inhumans vs. X-Men #5 comes with a little bit of fire. There’s a lot of action packed into the less than 28 pages but, there’s also a damn good continuation of the story. Readers are treated to an unlikely alliance, a couple of rescue missions and, a vengeance gone rational.

Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire are building one hell of an arc by sharing a story that does what the X-Men tales do best. We get to see compassion and real life prejudices and social situations play out on the pages of a comic book. The story isn’t as hard line and action movie based as the earlier issues but, it is a solid read. This issue is kind of a turning point in the story where each side begins to better understand the other sides motives. The younger versions of both teams have figured out where the other side is coming from and seem ready to set out on some kind of wacky kids teach their parents to get along style set up. The way Soule and Lemire set this part of the story arc up means that as cliched as that ideas sounds.

Javier Garron provides the clean and modern art work that makes each panel feel like a storyboard for an awesome cartoon. The lines are crisp, the facial expressions are realistic and, the action looks hard. There’s a lot of beauty in the pages and the art becomes a nice part of the story itself.

Without giving away too much I can say that overall this was a solid read. There’s passion, emotion and, a good story combined with something pretty for the readers to look at. The story never feels forced and follows a natural progression to the arc with a twist that comes out of nowhere but, still seems plausible. There are no cheap gimmicks to draw the readers in making this issue a decent read that feels like a nice throw back to classic comic style.

Story: Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire Art: Javier Garron
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

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