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The Deepest Cut — Logan Review

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Interesting how this all came about. 

While the X-Men movies have basically been Wolverine-centric, it was X-Men Origins: Wolverine that featured the first onscreen appearance of the Merc With a Mouth — Deadpool — who eventually got his own solo movie that made a strong case for R-rated comic-book flicks. 

Studios have traditionally shied away from restricting comic-book movies to adults because of financial reasons — toys, merchandise, and a larger audience filled with teens and children. 

Which is, by James Mangold’s admission, why The Wolverine ended so badly — Logan fights a robot samurai and loses his claws, which somehow grow back.

Hrm.

Anyways, for what it’s worth, The Wolverine was better than Origins — though that’s not saying much. Origins was incredibly bad, and if I had to sit through it, I’d want the leaked version stripped of its special effects for educational reasons. 

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Original Artwork for Wolverine’s First Appearance Found

Herb Trimpe, the artist who drew Wolverine’s cameo in The Incredible Hulke #180, thought the page was missing.

He forgot he’d given it away.

The owner contacted Heritage Auctions to put the page up for sale and to benefit the Hero Initiative at a May auction.

Judging by the photograph, the original page looks clean and well kept. Good job, Mr. Collector. You did us proud.

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Heritage Auctions

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All-New X-Men #16 Review

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The future X-Men have come back through time to correct the current X-Men’s mistake of bringing the classic X-Men into the present in All-New X-Men #16, the second chapter of the Battle of the Atom crossover event.

Professor Charles Xavier’s grandson Xavier, Deadpool, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Beast, and a mysterious figure wearing Xorn’s mask introduce themselves as the future X-Men team of this current timeline. A healthy — and predictable — amount of doubt and suspicion add to the tension when a sudden loss of control by Wolverine sends the various teams into a ruckus.

In the aftermath, everyone left in the room realizes Jean Grey and Scott Summers have used the manufactured circumstances to escape the premises in the team’s Blackbird.

To go the opposite extreme and bring in an aged X-Men team with a membership made up of some surprise choices, Brian Michael Bendis connects the dots to create the basic and most tenable conflict: The original X-Men must go home. The X-Men of the future are well aware of the consequences, and for the sake of the world and team — hindsight is also 20/20 — the mutants of the future plead to the mutants of the past: Fix this.

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X-Men #4 Review

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While the other X-Men books under Brian Michael Bendis’ control have followed squads of X-Men building on a firm foundation, it’s the one book written by Brian Wood that details the problems of a team beginning to form.

With relationships frayed over the events that came to pass last issue, Storm designates herself as leader, much to the chagrin of Rachel Grey.

Back in issue #3, Karima Shapandar regained consciousness and stabbed herself with Psylocke’s psychic blade. Only moments before, Storm issued the order to kill Shapandar and the bacteria controlling her body, Arkea Prime. Were it not for Grey, the X-Men could have lost a friend to a split decision.

Though the day ended with a checkmark in the win column for the team, questions over whether the team could ever work together under Storm’s leadership were discussed.

X-Men #4 explores the aftermath and the relationship between Ororo and the major dissenting party, Rachel Grey. Acting a little passive-aggressive, Rachel shows she’s not okay — especially with Storm naming herself as leader of this X-Men squad — and the two have it out in the passenger space of the Blackbird.

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Meanwhile, a Columbiair passenger flight experiences mechanical failure out in the middle of nowhere. Psylockey, Rogue, and Shadowcat hatch a plan to guide the plane with a risky maneuver that puts the microscope on the team’s chemistry, tactical abilities, and care for each other.

A month before the Battle of the Atom crossover event, Wood gives readers a solid base that explains why this team deserves to exist. This current iteration did not choose its own members — it just sort of happened because no one else was available when Arkea Prime decimated the school. With one victory under their belt, the team realizes there’s something there and that they’ve got something good going. The women of the X-Men who’ve been relegated to supporting cast roles have a new power structure that puts them under one banner.

What makes Wood’s X-Men series interesting is the personal touch. Things haven’t worked perfectly smooth for the team which has only been together for a few days, and disagreements that could derail any team have bubbled to the surface. Questions about Ororo’s decision making abilities only scratch at the surface — it’s really an issue of trust and distance. As Storm begins to dictate orders to the team, Rachel tells her, “Trust the team.”

Storm’s leadership style has clashed with Cyclops’ way of running the X-Men team. Cyclops earned even Logan’s respect with his tactical prowess and hands-on approach. Storm usually acts as a field commander, surveying the battlefield and ordering issues from on high. Both command respect, but in very different ways. Scott Summers was the embodiment of Charles Xavier’s dream. He was one of the first X-Men, and until recently, he was predictable in a way that comforted the teammates following his lead.

The way Storm leads — she’s more like a corporate manager who would rather keep her employees at arm’s length. She’s the outsider, and her first impulse is to micromanage a team that works on instinct.

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Issue #4 gets it right with great characterization and a look at how an X-Men team starts from scratch. This is the issue where the team solidifies itself, and it’s the real first official step.

Taking over for pencils to complement Wood’s scripts, David Lopez’s style fits right in where Olivier Coipel left off. The artwork isn’t as attractive as Coipel’s, but it does capture the action well, especially without much explanation of what’s going on in the narrative.

Characters follow current designs, and they’re easily distinguished. Where Lopez contrasts with Coipel are the expressions. This issue has an overabundance of smiling X-Men, and the parallel story involving Wolverine and Jubilee tracing her roots depicts Logan on what looks like one of his happiest days — he’s shown smiling in all but two panels.

Lines look clean, though there are some blotchy shadows, especially on Storm’s face and on the women’s lips. It’s possible Cam Smith and Norman Lee split duties — one inker on the Wolverine/Jubilee story, and the other on the bulk of the book — and by the looks of it, the Jubilee story has the cleaner and more defined lines.

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Cris Peter’s colors are fairly decent. There’s more of a cel-shade look in this book — see Psylocke’s TK lines and Rogue’s green outfit — and panels look a little flat at times. Lighting does change, and Peters uses contrasting colors for effect.

X-Men #4 works because it covers the rounds. There’s action, a sense of newness and exploration, and psychology. This is a team looking to take a stand, and as sum of its parts, it’s pushing and pulling all at once. There are dynamics that create a palpable tension within the team, and though the narrative could have been a wee bit stronger, it’s the action that really speaks louder than the words.


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Intimate Revelation — All-New X-Men #7 Review

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Marvel

This issue focuses heavily on young Scott Summers and his current confusion. While I have enjoyed the last few issues of All-New X-Men. I’m curious as to when it will occur to writer, Brian Michael Bendis, that there are typically problems interacting with ones younger self as Hank, Bobby, Scott and Warren have just done. I really want to see how the timeline eventually gets screwed up and how they fix it or even if they’re totally able to. I believe strange things are coming for Scott Summers that may cause him to change into more villain than hero. Well, stranger things than getting possessed by a cosmic being. But hey, isn’t that like a Tuesday for the X-Men?

Brian Michael Bendis has done a good job so far of letting us see the basic ins and outs of dealing with being more-or-less temporally marooned. From what I’ve seen in the last few months, there’s going to be a pretty sizable story here and this is just the beginning. It takes an impressive writer to map out something so long-running as it appears this is going to be. The pacing is good, with plenty of classic tropes and even more new and thought-provoking material. The dialogue is good, but not the best it’s ever been. The ending of the issue is nearly perfect, but certain parts leading up too it run either a little short or slightly longer than they should.

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Marvel

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Marvel

The art is still great and really a big part of what keeps me reading this book. That is due in no small part to the pencils from Stuart Immonen. Every piece of background in this issue looks more realistic than most comics I read. The attention to detail is what really grabs me when I see Immonen’s artwork. Then there’s Wade von Grawbadger’s inks which are, again, quite detailed. They seem to be a perfect match. As I’ve mentioned before, the shadowing is impressive. The real eye-catcher is the colors from Marte Gracia. Thankfully, the colors aren’t quite as muted this time, which works for the issue.  It’s a beautiful book and these artists should be quite proud of that work.

The issue earns a 4/5. While the story wasn’t as good as it could have been, it was a great attempt and will surely lead us on to more issues in a bigger and better collected story. Again, the art is what carried it, but don’t lose hope. There will be more excellent writing around the corner.

All-New X-Men #7 (2012)
Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade von Grawbadger
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: Cory Petit

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Old Friends, New Faces — All-New X-Men #5 Review

If you’ve followed this title, you’ll realize just how much is now going on for the men and women with the X-gene. So far, the current X-Men have been divided up between Cyclops’ wayward mutants on the run from the law and the Wolverine’s band of mutants at the new Jean Grey School. Oh, that reminds me, the original X-Men are back. Yeah, those guys in the blue and yellow uniforms. Beast went into the past and brought Scott, Jean, Bobby, Warren and that era’s Hank back to the future. Anyway, they’re here and this is where things get tricky, because of the whole time travel and blowing up the universe thing. Either way, this is a pretty good comic issue. There’s a lot that stands out and makes you realize just how much in their lives changes at this point. Personally, I’m just looking forward to ‘lil Scott taking on the present’s douche bag Scott.

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