Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is THIS Your Card?! (Issue #47)

ISSUE #47!
I can't believe I'm writing this on December 20 - the day before the Mayan Apocalypse is going to happen. If this blog somehow survives the cataclysm, to be found by a future race of hyper intelligent robots please, no matter what the talking bear says, do NOT reanimate my corpse for one day. I'm fine. Thanks! I also realize that the Apocalypse reference will, in short time, become a stale, of-the-moment gag to reference, but I don't care. I really wanted that AI joke.

The X-Men might be broken up as a team and broken up, as in "at the verge of tears", they are most certainly not broken up from those two hot chicks, Zelda and Vera. So, while Bobby and Hank grump around, worrying about where coach FBI is gonna trade them off to play - is it going to be the minors? A farm team (literally on a farm, right? That's how sports works?) A Japanese team, like in Mr. baseball? - they decide to take these super-lucky ladies to see the "Maha Yogi".

Surprise, this guy with purported mental powers is a liar! Well... MORESO than other people who purport to have mental powers, I guess, since he is actually also lying about who he is, too. In fact, he is not the Maha Yogi, he is warlock known to loyal readers as Merlin. What's his plan this time? To enslave the minds of man using Kreskin-like cold reading and a "look into my eyezzzzzz" attitude.

Enraged at being made to cluck like a chicken (this did not happen) Hank and Bobby attack. What ensues is an issue-long fight scene. Highlights:

Poor Zelda!

I think we have to break up, Imagination,
you're smothering me!

Before he hit it big as an enemy of Spider-Man,
Sandman held many smaller, more humiliating
roles in other comic books.

Yeah. and those are the HIGHLIGHTS. Worst fight ever. It all takes place backstage and is just as un-exciting as "A Night At The Opera" was not. (Count the negatives, there, it works.)

The whole thing ends when Beast and Iceman use lights and noises to daze the warlock and make him give up. Honestly, his "Take me away!" reaction is the worst kind of Hostess Cupcake conclusion. Even down to the appearance of several cops, come to arrest the villain.

Straight-Jackets: Preventing "monkey shines" since the mid-60s.
But how do they work against Shenanigans? Or Goings-on? Tomfoolery?
Do they calm the common jackanape?
What I'm saying is: These cops are not taking this quite seriously enough... but, then again, neither are the writers. This issue made me want to scream.

That's all that happens.

Highlights: none.

Either this issue was exceptionally boring, or I'm getting burned out with this project. I though I'd make it at least to the end of the Silver Age before I needed to take breather, but I think I might have started gasping for air early. I'm going to take a well-deserved break!

NOW, the good news! Since I'm so far ahead in reading the issues, as compared to blogging them, you won't even notice that I took a break from reading, since I had such a backlog of posts ready to write up. In fact, I continued blogging, through my stoppage-point and even resumed reading WAY before I got to the point, today, where I'm blogging this issue. Time dilates. I am my own grandfather.

So, if you, fair reader, would never have noticed, why did I tell you? Because this is real life, baby! Welcome to it!

Having written up this blog post, I regret:
a) Not referencing the "Maha?" "AH-HA?!" gag from The Three Stooges.
b) Not making a passing mention/joke about a Dhalsim-ist YOGA FLAME!
These are two gags I thought of after I finished slapping together this all-too-short recap, but was too lazy to do a re-write to fit them in.

I continue to dazzle you with my dedication to this blog, right?

I have NO regrets not making a Yogi Bear joke. Nor a Yogi Berra joke. After all, this blog ain't over till it's pick-a-nick basket!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Re-Return of the Juggs (Issue #46)


This issue "features" "The End of the X-Men!" Isn't that a weird feature? "Your Life: Now featuring your death!" or "Buick: Now Featuring A Car Crash." Is something negative a feature? "The iPhone features a retina screen, up to 64GB of storage space, and frequent crashes!" Yeah, I know an iPhone never crashes, or whatever. Save your hate for posting in the comments of some other blog, ok? I was just making a joke about how much Apple sucks. It's not a fact. #Troll

Professor X is dead, to begin with. This you must remember, or nothing that follows will seem wondrous...

So, some FBI man (F-Man? No, G-Man!) shows up and needs to speak to the team on urgent business.

But before they can get to it, a lawyer man (L-Man? No. Law Man ... no, wait, that's a cop.) busts in and is all "My business is more important! Lawyers, right? Hey! Here's one for you: What's the difference between a lawyer and a shark?

You can unscrew a shark! I think I may have gotten that wrong.

Anyway, the lawyer is there to read Xavier's will. More paperwork! Even after you die, there's still paperwork?! Man, this issue is REALLY exploring the Human Condition. Bleak.

As stipulated by X himself, Scott "Cyclops" summers gets everything. So he tears outta there on a spending spree, never to return. Credits.

"Best interests? Of course! Look here: '2 hours, Looking after best interests
of clients: $400' See? I've already billed you for just that!. You are welcome, young Scott."

Ha! Yeah, like Scott could ever do something fun. Actually, what happens is that the lawyer leaves and the FBI, once again, gets ready to relay his important information unto the X-Mens when, once again, he is interrupted by ... Juggernaut! *BUCKAW!* (Punchline to a series of "Interrupting Juggernaut" jokes.)

"But, how did he get back from the Crimson Cosmos, in which he was imprisoned?!" the more nerdy / endowed with good memories among you might be asking. My answer: Reasons?

Seems like one of Professor X's machines was ... designed to do this? And it was on a timer? DING! Juggernaut's done! (Please let Juggernaut cool for five minutes before handling. Contents may be hot. *BUCKAW*!)

Of course, Juggsy-wuggsy-kins is looking for revenge on anyone and everyone, but especially his half-brother, Xavier. Once told that someone else beat him (literally) to the punch, Juggernaut gets even MORE enraged and attacks the X-Men. (Not like he was not going to do that, anyway. Juggernaut makes excuses for his anger.)

A rag-tag bunch of losers? Yeah, I can see why the X-Men like that team.

Fighting happens.

Then, just as mysteriously as he appeared, the Juggernaut disappears. Cyclops mumbles some claptrap about the professor planning it this way, or something.

Now that Agent Duncan of the FBI (Female Body Insects - I think I got that wrong, too) FINALLY has an un-jugger-rupted moment to explain his pressing business, he lays it on them. "Congratulations!" he says, "We're breaking up the X-Men!"


They are allowed to be together one last time, on the roof at Radio City Music Hall, but then they have to go off and have solo careers of varying merit. Just let it be, guys. Let it be.

Then there is the last bit of origin story about Iceman but, whatever.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

AvX2 (Avengers #53 [Read after X-Men #45])

Are you ready for the stunning conclusion of this MASSIVE 4-part crossover "event"? (Or, like me, have you forgotten how this story started and care very little how it all ends?)

"The Avengers vs. The X-Men!" I've heard THAT one before ... twice! (Once a couple of issues ago and another time a couple of issues ago. Wait. Let me explain. They did this before, in the series and they'll do it again - which, since I'm reading this issue at the end of 2012, is actually after they would do it again and make a HUGE deal about it. Gosh. Reading back issues is like time travel, and brings with it the same nomenclature issues. You know what? Forget I said anything. Just sit back and enjoy the...

The Avengers! That means Thor! Iron Man! Captain America! The Hulk!

As Bizzaro-world Dave Hester says: Nooooope! We are treated to a cross over with the crummy Avengers: Hawkeye, Giantman, Wasp, and Black Panther. But it looks like Cyclops doesn't know these guys either! Guess the lineup changed a couple issues ago and Cyke didn't have a chance to catch up on them all for his Avengers Recap Blog.

"Now, had you sent 'Adam', I would have been
cool with that!" *SPLAK!*

Now, naturally, Cyclops thinks these are Magneto's robots (PLEASE bear in mind that, to this point, we have NEVER seen Magneto have robot henchmen!), so he attacks them and they attack back. This is commonly called "fighting".

But where is Angel? The one who risked flying across an ocean, and getting into fights with Red Ravens to get said Avenger-istas assembled? Well, he found them, assembled them, flew with them to Magneto's island, but then was discovered to have a tracking device on him. Since super heroes are a suspicious bunch, they immediately think Angel is in league with Magneto. (Mainly because the tracking device said, "If found, please return to Magento, 1 Magnetic Island, The Ocean, Earth, A Mote In God's Eye") So, the Avengers tie him up and leave him in their ship to think about what he's done and you just wait until your father comes home, mister!

Where's the trust? Being a superhero is like being constantly paranoid, I guess. Who's gonna ham-string you? Who's gonna unmask you? Who's gonna turn out to be a robot version of themselves, sent from another dimension to steal your egg salad recipe?! These are the same things that I worry about, every day.

Speaking of trust: The Avengers don't even trust each other and start infighting and bickering.

This is why everyone thinks Jeremy Renner is a dick.

While they are distracted with their internal power-struggles, Cyclops sneaks off and frees the other X-Men ... so, there was really no need to get the Avengers here, in the first place? WRONG! The Avengers are there so that when Magneto shoots the X-Men with his mind-control ray, they have someone to fight. (Magneto also used his mind-ray to take control of the writers of this story, to orchestrate that. Meta. MetaNeto.)

Then Angel busts in and unplugs the mind-control device. But! But! HOW is he free?! Well, here is the panel that conveniently explains everything:

Why, it's elementary, my dear WASPson!

Uh-huh. So you Avengers were streets ahead on this whole thing? I find that hard to believe.

I wonder if right now, in the 2012 AvX story that is ongoing, if any of the characters are like, "Hey! This is kinda like that time in the 60's when we fought on Magneto's Island! That was a crazy good time, right?" and then Sour Scott Cyclops is like, "Shut up and kill those Avengers, NOW, Bobby!" Then Scott cries over something Jean did. [Having not read a single issue of the new series, how close did I get to the actual plot? Write in and tell me!]

Magneto, sensing defeat, orders Toad to blow up the chamber in which The Avengers and The X-Men are a-fighting.

In Magneto's mind, a slap
is as good as a "please".

That's when Toad realizes he's finally had enough of being a Toadie and quits the band. [Plus, he was never really sure if "Possum Kingdom" was about being a vampire, or not.] So, with an empowering "I GO, girl!" Toad sets the entire island to explode. Take THAT mom ... I mean Magneto-dad! ... I mean, MAGNETO!

Toad, Quicksilver, and Scarlet jump into a rocket which, Toad says, is Magneto-proof because it is "made of nonmetals" ... so, wood? Plastic? Hair? The X-Men and The Avenger-Men escape in a plain-old rocket car.

In a last ditch effort to save himself, Magneto tries to grab on to Toads ship, but Toad grows a pair and steps on Magnet-oh's hands, causing him to fall. The master of magnetism, unable to use the Earth's own magnetic field to save himself, plummets to the rocks below. Luckily, his helmet comes off so if can become a poignant image:

Sea turtles choke to death on superhero
helmets, because they look like jelly fish.

The end! Whew! That was something, huh? Feel satisfied?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

En-Cyclops-pedia (Issue #45)

Apparently, we're in for a Cyclops-centric story, here, by the looks of things. But, how can he be "featured" (as the cover claims) if he's already a featured / main character? If I'm allowed to make a rapper analogy (and why shouldn't I?!), wouldn't that be like The Wu-Tang Clan [SHAOLIN REPRUHZENT! (I'm from Staten Island, I'm allowed to say that, for some reason)] putting, oh, I dunno, The Rza as a "(feat.)" artist on the liner notes [Liner notes?! Ugh. Good modern-day reference, there, old man Somogyi]. "Protect Ya Neck - Wu-Tang Clan (feat. Ole Dirty B*stard)" (censored, because it's the version sold in Walmart - righteous condemnation of Walmart and their policies! Boom!).  And THAT is what this X-Men comic is all about!

Last issue, we followed the crazy exploits of Angel [which, ever since I watched a season or two of Dexter have pronounced the Cuban way, "An-HELL" for no apparent reason other than TV has broken my brain]. Remember: He was flying across the ocean in search of The Avengers, so he can bring them back to help free the X-Men and defeat Magneto.

In THIS issue, we jump back in time, LOST-style, to see what Scott "Cyclops" Summers was doing while Angel was fighting a Red Raven. Well, firstly, he uses his eyebeams to break free of the shackles that bind him, even though Magneto swears he designed these shackles specifically to prevent such a thing. Freed at last [or, well, "after a couple of uncomfortable minutes", I guess], he goes looking for the others. [Not "The Others". Just the others. Y'know, the X-Mens. I didn't want you getting confused because I made a LOST reference, earlier. Sorted? Good.]

Inherited? I think you use that word incorrectly. (Either that or
there is something Professor X isn't telling
us ... OR  Darwin is spinning in his grave. Your choice, writers.)

And, despite her being held behind a WOOD door, he just leaves her there, unconscious, to continue his search for the other others. [Again! NOT LOST - though I think this issue is starting to GET lost in itself a bit! A-Zing!]

Cyclops' OTHER Mutant power?
To climb stairs in ways that no human ever could.

He doesn't find any x-others, but does manage to run afoul of Quicksilver and his hair.

Was going to make a "How long does THAT
take you to style, in the morning, Quicksilver?!"
jibe, but realized he's super-fast, so it probably takes him no time at all.
His other mutant power is to ruin my obvious jokes. Jerk.
I wonder if they ever address Quicksilver's hairstyle? Probably in the 90's once things started getting all "meta" and "self-referential" and "grunge" and "President Clinton" and "wrap sandwiches" and "me graduating from college".

The rest of the issue is essentially a battle between the two of them. It resolves with Cyclops knocking out Quicksilver... which is EXACTLY the moment that the Avengers appear and are like, "Who's this guy knocking out one of our ex-members?!" [because Quicksilver was an A-Venger for a while there, don't forget ... or, rather, know for the first time, since you, like me, probably never knew that.] Things are tense, but then Hawkeye says, "Awk-WARD!" in the way that you do, and makes things even more awkward.

All the loose ends and questions will be tied up and answered in the finale of this story [unlike the finale of LOST, which tied / answered NOTHING! [honestly, what is my LOST obsession, today? WAAAAAAAAAAALT!!!]]

Oh! And that finale is in The Avengers #53, not X-Men #46. If you jump to X-Men #46, you're gonna miss some great stuff. Maybe. I don't really remember. Let's find out together, next blog post! [Which is happening on another blog! Cross over! - Nah, just kidding. No other blog would post this stuff. I've cornered the market!]

Just in case you were all ready to leave, HOLD ON! There is a bit more of that yawn-worthy origin stuff about Iceman!

So ... Cyclops comes to break Bobby out of jail, but Bobby says he's gonna stay because he knows he's innocent and a fair trial will prove it. Cyke says, "That sounds like a plan!" and then beaks Bobby out against his will, causing the townsfolk to think he's escaping and reacting to that news by sending out a lynch mob after him. I think it is clear, by now, that Professor X's recruitment solution to getting me X-Members is to set them up to be on the run from the law! Not cool! [Clever, and effective, but not cool!]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Red Raven (Issue #44)

Red Raven, Red Raven
Send ANGEL on ov...en?
Ah, issue 44! Do you know what that means? I do! It means that I/we am/is/are now 2/3 of the way through the Silver Age portion of the X-Men. So, 2/3 of the way to the series getting cancelled!

Quicksilver convinces Magneto to NOT kill the X-Men, only lock them up (like any good classic super villain should.) Within seconds, Angel escapes. When he asks Scott what to do, "Free us all, stupid!" is incredibly NOT what he says. Instead, he tells Warren to go get the Avengers, because they have cut a lucrative cross-over deal with the other franchise and it'll sell more books. "Meta," Angel mumbles, but flies off in search of the super-group, anyway.

Quicksilver - who can now FLY - chases him a bit, but his heart isn't in it, so Angel gets away. Two escapes in one day! Things are looking up for The Angel!

But the flight back to New York from ... where ever Magneto's fortress base is ... is long, so Angel stops to take a rest ... on a rock in the middle of the ocean. But it wasn't a ROCK ... it was a rock LOBSTAR ... no... sorry, it's an island that rises out of the sea. Angel is enRAPTURED by it. [What? It's not such a stretch to assume you comic lovers would get a Bioshock joke, is it?!] Seeing as how getting to the Avengers so he can rescue his friends - who could, remember, be killed at any moment depending on the capricious whim of a magnetic madman - isn't THAT important, Angel decides to play Rizzoli and Isles all by himself and do a bit of investigating. This is where the cover-character, Red Raven, shows up. They fight for a bit, but realize that that is SO cliche, so they call a truce so they can talk things over.

Now that's an ... INteresting turn of phrase.

Red Raven tells a story about bird people living in the clouds. They wanted to wipe out mankind, so he, Red Raven, put them all to sleep for 20 years. Twenty years have passed and the bird people are all going to wake up. Red Raven (Yummmmmm!) has to put them all back to sleep again. Angel says, "Why not let 'em wake up?! We can convince them that it's no use to attack!" Red Raven says, "Hey! That could work ... OR ... and just hear me out, ok? OR! I shoot you unconscious and put them all back to sleep, instead!" "Wha-" ZZZZZAP!

Angel wakes up adrift in the ocean and resumes his flight back to New York City. Does that make three escapes for Angel? Technically?

It's part 1 of Bobby "Iceman" Drake's origin story. Are you as excited as I am! Impossible.
In short: He's walking with his "best girl" and they are attacked by some jealous others, so Bobby freezes them. The girl freaks out, then the town freaks out and everyone tries to lynch him. They settle for only throwing him in jail. And THAT'S how he got his powers to control ice... What?!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Magneto's Back - and Front! (Issues #43)

Now you're playing with power...
MAGNETO power!
Fantastic Firsts: This next run will be the longest-parter yet, as it includes four issues. One of which is an issue of the Avengers. So, it's ALSO a "Fantastic First" [I JUST coined that phrase for this blog and, having used it just twice so far, already regret it] because it's our first true X-Men crossover. No longer do the X-Men have a guest star show up in their pages, THEY actually infiltrate another book's story. Does this show that X-Men was starting to get popular, as the team's appearance in another book wouldn't tank sales? Who knows! ALL SPECULATION from here on out, ok?! Deal.

Quicksilver, who has rejoined Magneto, drops in on Xavier's funeral, only to run away. (Which shouldn't have been too unexpected, really, since running is kinda his super power.

Fantastic First (ugh, I hate myself): Magneto's gang is called the "Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants"!
And, look, it takes a certain kind of person to be like, "Wait. What? We're EVIL?" and still stay in the club.
"No, I did NOT know the 'Baby Eaters of America' actually ate babies! I joined for the camping trips!"

Back at the mansion, the kids play a tape of Xavier's last words to them. It is revealed that the Professor has been teaching Jean telepathy, which is good, but that he fears Magneto is back from space, which is bad. Bad, especially, because we, the audience, didn't even know he went back to space! Are we to assume that space-cat, The Stranger, caught him and brought him back to the planet of inquisitive people? Guess so!

Here are some other things revealed in this issue that, apparently, happened either "off-camera" or in another comic book series that I am NOT going to read. (One comic book series, from beginning to end, is enough, thankyouverymuch!)
1) Toad is ALSO back! Yay...? Where did he go? I forget. How did he get back? No idea.
2) Quicksilver spent some time with the Avengers.
3) Scarlet Witch has lost her powers AND her mind
4) Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch (his sister) still have their Facebook relationship statuses set to "It's complicated"

To move this along: Magneto is putting together a device that will enslave the earth with a mind control ray and the last components he needs are on a tanker ship, so he plucks it from the water as effortlessly as only the master of magnetism could.

"I'm going to call it the Myrmidon! That'll show everyone that my
degree in Greek Classics wasn't a waste of time!"

Too bad it was a ploy by the X-Men! A Trojan horse, if you will (thanks again, Greek Classics education!). Magneto picks it up thinking "parts for my ray" and gets a face-full of eye-beam. How does he react:

He immediately regretted smashing his
"World's Greatest Magneto" mug.
Also: up to this point, we did not see Magneto drinking
coffee, so this is all just the illustrator being like, "Well, when *I* get mad,
I break my coffee mug ... let's have Magneto do THAT!"

Magneto and the X-Men start to scrap and Magneto says:

Panels later:

I guess you can be a hypocrite when you are, essentially, insane.


The first "Green" superhero? (Excluding THE HULK, of course! Oh, we have FUN, don't we?!)

Friday, November 23, 2012

SPOILERS: Professor X DIES! (Issue #42)


WARNING! If you have not read my recap of issue #41 "Grotesk To The Max", please do so right now, or nothing you read from here on in will make any sense! (Well, that's not true at all, really. It'll make just as much sense, but I'll get another click for that last post. It's all about the clicks-jamins.)

"Clicks-jamins" is a play on "Benjamins", as used in rap song lyrics by Masters of Ceremonies-es. "Grotesk To The Max" is a play on the old 80's expression "grodie to the max", as used in, I dunno... the 80s? Tentative, in both cases, I know. What's the old saying? "When your blog needs a glossary, you need to re-evaluate your blog?" (That is not a real saying, until I made it up, just now. And since I made it up, I can choose to ignore it.)

Well, let's GLOSSary over that opening preamble, and get to the "good" stuff:

Marvel Girl and Professor X continue to act cagey, to the point of denying help to Cyclops and Beast in their fight against Grotesk (a sub-human) which is currently happening down in the subway tunnels. Further: Professor X (soon to be EX, eh, as he's about to DIE!) even forbids Warren and Ice "Bobby" Man from returning to the caves to help. Something mysterious is going on, and I don't like it. OH! I like mystery, just fine, I just like them presented to me in 60-minutes chunks by 20/20. (It's always the husband who did it, right?!)

MEANWHILE (in all caps, for no reason except I'm feeling like I'm not being as funny as I should be, in this post, and want to "spice things up" for you guys, and CAPS ALWAYS DOES THAT) down in the tunnels, Cyke and Beast's fight against Grotesk is - as any long-time reader of my blog and/or the early X-Men comics will know by now - going typically VERY poorly for the heroes. The only thing that stops Grotesk handing their spandex-clad asses to them is that a small tremor happens. This send Grotesk into a rage, so he runs off to find the tiny man in his head who is causing these earthquakes. NOT KIDDING:

A headache can feel like a tiny man operating an earthquake
device in your brain. Try Tylenol. 

Licking their wounds (gross), Cyclops and Beast return to the mansion and are all like, "Where was back-up?!" and Jean is all like, "Reluctant to say things!" But then a mental summons from Prof. Deadxavier commands her to, like a good little girl, bring the other men folk to him. As long time readers of my blog will no doubt have already assumed: She responds to his beck and call with unquestioned obedience. Subtle misogyny is the best kind, because it sneaks behind you, while you're not looking, and - POW - has you make it a sandwich.

Meanwhile, at the laboratory that MAKES EARTHQUAKES (not kidding), Grotesk attacks! But the man running the Earthquake-o-Tron 5000(tm) is ... Professor X! And why wouldn't he be?! See, it was all part of Professor NotALotOfTimeToLive's strategy of luring Grotesk to where he could be incapacitated. That is, Grotesk is the one that is supposed to be incapacitated, not Professor X, as my dangling modifier might have led you to believe ... though something tells me the tables are about to turn. FATALLY! And if this "clever" plot is the reason why Professor X dies, I think you can agree with me that he deserves it, as it is a sloppy ploy. A ploy so sloppy it has mustard stains on its pants, and it hasn't had a hot dog in WEEKS. Probably not since the July 4th BBQ. Gross.

Well, guess what?! EXavier can't incapacitate the sub-human, so the monster throws the "hoisted by your own petard" switch that'll cause massive earth-killing earth-quakes that will kill the entire earth.

Everything is funny out of context.
(And when you have a gutter for a mind.)

Just in time to NOT stop him from throwing the switch that will cause the thing to happen, eventually, that will destroy the world: The X-Men arrive. Punctuality is the politeness of kings, apparently, not mutants. "Sorry we're late!" they say, but how can the professor believe them when they are always late? Saying your "sorry you're late" means you'll try to do better in the future! It does not excuse your rampant lateness. [Look. What I'm saying is that I hate when people are late, ok? To the point that I, personally, wind up showing up early - maybe too early - to events, then get mad when people show up on time, because it feels like I've been waiting forever. I am a frustrating enigma to my friends and loved ones.]

Anyway! While the rest of the X-Men (Rest-Men?) keep the G-dude (Geodude?) busy (Philips?),  Professor "I'm not dead yet" X and Marvel "Death Happens To Ugly People" Girl manage to slow the earthquake machine down. Just as it looks like everyone is about to not die, Grotesk realizes what they've done, breaks off his x-attack, and tries to reactivate the quake-machine. It explodes, killing him. So that's one loose end tied up.

But Xavier has survived! Yay!

But then he dies of an illness he knew he was dying of, anyway! Boo!

WHERE, has he gone Angel? Oh! Right. Sorry.
Also: You know this is a serious moment, because
Iceman's tears are not drawn as tiny ice cubes.
That've been hilarious.

To "cheer" us up, they include the last installment of the Cyclops "origin" story. And it DOES cheer me up a bit, because its finally over and I don't have to read any more of it.

Essentially: Jack O'Diamonds has succeeded in turning his whole body into living, flexible diamond (so, something without two of the BIG properties of a diamond) by bathing in rays from a nuclear power plant's cyclotron. Easy peasy. Xavier convinces Scott to get a "vibration ray" and use it on Jack ... which makes Jack explode. Scott, the poor orphan, laments that, with the death of this diamond monster, he is even more alone than ever and that he has no where to go. Xavier over-hears his all-too-obvious fishing for a place to crash and says, "Why not come be a superhero with me?" "Really mister?!" "Really!" "No kinky stuff, though." "Wouldn't dream of it. Here are your spandex. Put them on and work out in this torture chamber I have built in the basement of my secluded mansion." "Uh.... OK!"

"You, young Scott, will be the first into danger,
while I sit at home watching Roseanne reruns on The Hub."

So, lets review. Xavier uses a lonely orphan to commit murder, then tells that orphan that he can protect him from the authorities if the teenager joins his crazy gang of mutants? That's f*cked up.


Wanna read the source materials? Have fun with THAT! They're in here:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Grotesk To The Max! (Issue #41)

This issue features a Sub-Human named Grotesk. Don't you just HATE when people use "alternative" spelling for their kid's names?! Speaking of names, he's not a "sub-human" in the way you think. He's "sub" because he lives underground ... and might be slightly stupid, too. And violent. Ok, so it is a bit of what you think.

Anyway, Grotesque is an underground dweller that is the sole survivor of underground nuclear testing by our aboveground government. His entire civilization has either been wiped out in the blast or by the radiation. Tough break. Now, G-tesk is alone and possibly driven mad by it all ... so he attacks a subway car. Luckily, Hank and Bobby (Beast and Iceman, respectively, if you're just joining us) are with their dates (Zelda and Vera, irrespectively) on that very train! Talk about coincidence! Sometimes truth IS stranger than fiction.

Lets talk about Zelda and Vera. They've been around for ages, but I rarely mention them. This is because the marginalization of women in these comics is starting to rub off on me. Female readers: Go make me a sandwich, would you, doll? Whoa. Sorry. I'll shake it off. Sorry, toots!

Vera, Zelda. Zelda, Vera. There will be a test.

But back to Grow-teck and his revenge-quest against those who nuclear-ized his under-home: Is this supposed to be some kind of moral story for the kiddies? Like, "Hey! Maybe you should tell your dad to stop nuclear testing, lest a ... THING from underground comes up and kills him!" If that's the case, then that's pretty two-faced of the writers of the X-Men, don't you think? You can't have it both days, oh tellers of story. On one hand, you're feeding us a line that awesome nuclear power is responsible for eye-beams and foot-hands, but on the other, you're saying it can lead to catastrophic sub-human attacks. Do I ban the bomb or not?! I await your answer, comic writers from the late 60s. You know where to reach me.

So, compounding the Groddie-esque problem is that some egghead professor over at Archer College (go Fighting Arrows!) has invented an earthquake machine. It creates earthquakes. And these are making Grossy even more annoyed than when his entire race was destroyed.

My life was terrible, until my house was destroyed by an
earthquake! Thanks,  Dr. Hunt! Your earthquakes are a benefit to humanity!

In what will be dubbed his biggest "Manson Moment", Grotesk assumes that these tremors are aimed at him! Whoopsie! So he's off to destroy the earthquakes. Yes, he's not sure there is a machine, so his plan is to destroy the earthquakes. Sub-human ... INTELLIGENCE, AMIRIGHT?! [sub-high-five? Whoops, too slow!]

Though, on the way to smash-town, he has a change of heart. When he finds the machine, he decides to NOT smash it, but use it to destroy all above-dwellers in revenge for us killing all of his cave people, including his cave dad the king, cave sweetheart, his cave puppy (one assumes), and all his Nick Cave albums. Turn about is fair play, right? Not if the X-Men have anything to say about it!

And where are they now? Well, the X-gang are in the subway tunnels [which, as a native New Yorker look NOTHING like the real tunnels! (could you hate me more, at this very instant? No. You could hate me none more.)] trying to track down this sub-menace. Actually... all but Marvel Girl are on the Grotesk-finding mission, as she stayed behind to - ahem - "help Professor X with some 'experiments'". This has been the seed idea for many a fan-fic story, methinks.

And since it's been a while since I showed you a picture, here:


Asking Slake to step aside, so they can crash through his limbo, the X-Men find Growth-x's cave... but wait, it's not just a cave, it's an entire city! Just sitting there, behind a subway tunnel, for all these years. Strange that, what with all the construction that would have to go on for the subway to be built, that it wasn't discovered before. Again: Truth is stranger than fiction! [That's called a "call-back", it's what humorists use, when they can't come up with a new joke.]

To report their find, Angel and Bobby return to the mansion in person, since they can't seem to raise him on the wrist radios [remember, they all wear wrist radios? You do?! Then you've been paying too much attention to my blog. Please go outside and play for a bit ... but come back. Yes. Always come back, my preciouses .. What?!] Marvel Girl starts acting all squirrely and tells them that the professor "went out". Is she hiding something?! We'll never know, because that is the end of the issue.

Well, it SHOULD be, except that there is that damn, ongoing "Scott Origin Story" - or "Scorigins", as I have never called it until I just made it up, this instant.

SUMMARY: Scott is dragged along by this guy and does next to nothing as the guy turns himself into a living diamond man. 'Nuff said!

Wanna read the source materials? Have fun with THAT! They're in here:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4

Friday, November 16, 2012

The X-Men Meet Frankenstein! ZOWIE! (Issue #40)

In this issue: The X-Men meet Frankenstein! Gosh. Um... what?!
Was there something going on at this time? Some kind of resurgence of love and appreciation of the old Universal monsters? Someone who cared would do some research, read some articles, write a book / thesis about it. I am not that man. I'm just gonna go with my gut and say: Yes. People of 1967 were crazy over Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, et al. (Though, I guess "et al" is just "The Wolfman" ... OH! And The Creature (the one from the Black Lagoon) so I guess the "et al" was deserved! Good for me!) Anyway, in '67, there were crazy Frankenstein parties, where everyone would come dressed as the mad scientist - because even back then there were pedantic jerks.

It is into this atmosphere that this comic was released.

Get this, here is the plot: Frankenstein ['s MONSTER] is found frozen in ice. But he's really an android from space. He once went amok, and was defeated by being trapped in ice. (Ice: Trapping monsters in, since 1967!)

Somewhere along the course of the story, it is said that Mary Shelley probably saw the old android go nuts and just wrote it all down as a work of fiction. I found this a clever, subtle way of being demeaning to women. Think of it! It's like saying, "Nah, no woman could have come up with such a story, she probably SAW it and just wrote it down!" We all know women make GREAT secretaries and stenographers. Gosh, even when these stories aren't being outright sexist, they still manage to sneak some sexism in there. Good work, boys!

Or am I reading too much into this? No. No I'm not. I refer you to this comic's past atrocities against women.


Conclusion: This issue sucked and I'm not going to tell you any more about it.


Except that it was a short story because, again, they crammed a "bonus" story at the end, that continues the "origin" exploits of Cyclops. Though it doesn't really explain any origins of his powers, just how he got on the X-Men.

This month, Cyke, as you may remember, ran afoul of the first ever evil mutant. Meanwhile, Prof X is using CYBERNO to find him.

Well played, writers, to retcon a typo from years ago into canon. Clever bastards!

Turns out, Cyke is hanging out with Jack O'Diamonds, a man who got his name from the fact that his hands are made of diamond and his parents named him Jack. Both of them are in a nuclear facility and they're going to rob it. Why? Because Diamond Jack hopes that stolen nuclear isotopes will turn the rest of him into a diamond. Then - only then - will he be a girl's best friend. Also: Diamonds are forever. Also: How can one months' Jack last a lifetime? Also: They call him the Diamond Dog. Also: Then the world will NEIL before him. Also:

ALL over. ALL.

But who is this busting in to confront them and ask them to put aside their robbery-type ways and go straight? Oh, it's just Professor X? That was expected. Next month: A fight, probably.

Added to my auto correct dictionary: cyberno

Wanna read the source materials? Have fun with THAT! They're in here:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Confronting The Factor - Part 3 (Issue #39)

Not really a true three-parter, since the last issue was cut short for a dulls-vill "origins" story and, I assume, so will this issue be, too. So, more like a 2.5-parter? I will not go count pages and compare against an average page-length (minus ads) of previous issues, despite how badly I want to do that.

The cover promises new costumes, so you know I'm way more excited about that than about "the fateful finale" battle.

One other thing I'd like to point out, before we get started: I really love that tiny picture-within-a-picture on the cover. (Is there a name for this? There must be. You can't have hundreds of thousands of Marvel employees saying, "You know, that tiny picture-within-a-picture on the cover?" all day every day. It's a waste of everyone's time. And the first thing an efficiency expert would do would be to give it a name. I am not so full of hubris that I would in any way deem myself worthy to name it, so I will continue to use the long form of "tiny picture-within-a-picture on the cover" until told the correct term for it.) I love how it looks like Cyclops and Marvel Girl are peeking around the corner and mugging for the camera, as if to say, "What's happening, here?" Maybe their look is a plea to us, the audience, to explain what Iceman and Beast are getting up to?

Here we are. Watching Cyclops and Iceman break into the missile silo to destroying the air filtration system because Factor Three said they would be dumping knock out gas into it so that they could launch the missiles and start WWIII. Cyke and Ice'm give no thought to how the men in the silo will breathe without fresh air being pumped to them through said air filtration system, but one crisis at a time, ok?! Wait in line, asphyxiation! Knock Out Gas was here first! And, look, you didn't even take a number! Now the next crisis is going to show up and get in line ahead of you. It's not our fault that the number tickets were not immediately noticeable upon your entry into this deli, nor that you just want to purchase some dried Pappardelle and now the guy who came in after you has your ticket and is buying, what seems like, a half pound of every meat and cheese they offer! Caputo's.

Then this happens:

Uh. It's not just me, right? That's messed up, right?

But its only an illusion created by the sick mind of the Mastermind. So now our two heroes have him and Unus, the untouchable to deal with ... but NOT phallic machine parts. Trade up? Things get too intense, so Cyclops melts some ice with his eyes, causing an all-concealing mist / steam that our "heroes" can escape under cover of.

Meanwhile, in the USSR, the other X-Men fight the Blob over a suitcase bomb. What a country! In Russia, the men X you! The Blob is all like, "This bomb I'm holding is going to blow up everyone but me, because I'm fat." And Marvel Girl is like, "Uh. No. You'll die, too. Also: You're fat." And The Blob is all "Woop woop woop woop! [Curley running away sounds]" And by default, the X-Men win the day. Oh, and they throw the bomb into the air, where it explodes, they care not where.

Ah, back in the day when comic-reading nerds were expected to
know sports references! Times have changed!
[Also: Pretty sure Juan Marichal (a baseball sport pitcher)
never pitched straight at the sky.]

With both parts of Factor Three's "Start WWIII With Two Bombs" plan thwarted, the X-Men converge on the Mutant Master's base only to be re-confronted by The Blob, Unus, the Vanisher, and Mastermind. It promises to be THE knock-down drag-out to knock-down all drag-outs. (If you think beating up on second-string evil mutants is something to be proud of.) But then Professor X appears and says something like, "Wait up, yo! Mutant Master is playin' ALL y'all! Kill THAT dude!" Something like that. I paraphrase. Also, it's pretty apparent to everyone present that the Mutant Master is hiding something. Plus, since tensions in the MM camp have been mounting, Prof X's indictment was nothing less than a repeat of the death of Archduke Ferdinand - except on a mutant scale and with less bombs and more finger-pointing and less WWI results. Or something. I paraphrase.

So everyone joins forces and attacks the MM. Banshee finally wakes up and uses his banshee-ness (banshositude?) to create a frequency that destroys all of the MM's robot henchmen without hurting the mutants. He can also remove stains without fading your fabric. Also: The MM breaks apart revealing that underneath his human facade he is... a giant green alien... from the Sirius star (an XM company). And if there is one thing that unites all mutants, it is their hatred of aliens, especially when they try to muscle in on Earth.

The fight isn't going well for the MM, so, instead of being humiliated by defeat at the hands of mere earthlings, he takes his own life (all Sirius-ians come with a self-destruct button, it's true!)

Looks like something that would birth from a pod found in RJ's vegetable box.
This is an inside joke that maybe ONE person is laughing about, right now.

But what about all the deadly, dangerous super-evil super villains? They're let go, of course! Xavier gives some lip-service to "now that we've fought side-by-side, we have to let them go" and not ONE of the X-Men is like, "Screw THAT - ZAP!" saving them all from future tussles with these fellows. One too many cheeks have been turned.

Back at the mansion, Jean gets girl-excited. FOR CLOTHES!

"Thanks, douche, for ragging on my last attempt at making costumes for you. A little gratitude?" --Certainly not Jean, or any other woman, in this comic book!

Now each costume is a primary color. Mainly because Jean is a huge fan of that Primary Colors movie. Not the book, so much ... she just really likes Mike Nichols films.

Then, as a "BONUS", we get more Cyclops origin story! This time, we learn that Scott is an orphan (awwwww) and Xavier is working with the FBI (boooo!) to track down known mutants (yay!!!). Scott gets chased around by some bigots (booo!) and hops a train (choochoooo!) where he's attacked by hobos. Then he enters a shack where he runs into the first evil mutant ever. Who is it?! We will find out in the next ish, natch. CLIFFHUNG!

Wanna read the source materials? Have fun with THAT! They're in here:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Confronting The Factor - Part 2 (Issue #38)

Who remembers what happened at the end of the last issue? I sure don't!

I guess the X-Men escaped capture (I vaguely remember a bubble-cage and a BRATTTT Robot?) because they are now seen hijacking a couple of Factor Three's flying disc ships ["Do you  mean 'flying saucers', Jeff?" "SIR! I DO NOT! Flying saucers are an ice cream and cookie treat your grandparents buy at Carvel and keep in the freezer for when "the kids" come by ... until years pass and "the kids" stop coming by as frequently ... then they start buying sugar free Flying Saucers because of their diabetes ... then "the kids" visit and reach for a sweet treat only to get a horrible, sorbitol surprise. So, I say NO! These are NOT "Flying Saucers" and stop correcting me, or this blog will go on forever!"]

Where do our mutanic heroics go? Why, back to the X-Mansion, of course, as they only know one address because Professor X made them memorize it to tell a policeman in case they got lost.

Meanwhile, Mutant Master (MM(TM)) again exposits how he's going to orchestrate Dubya Dubya Three so that the mutants can inherit the earth. Let's take a look at those who will inherit:

Clockwise from left: Vincent Price, Flower Man, "Guy", and Louie Anderson.

These guys? Seriously? A fat guy, a coward, a guy who can vanish, and a guy who doesn't like to be touched? Though, as a fat coward who dislikes being touched, this is good news for me!

Back at X-Quarters, Cerebro just HAPPENS to pick up a transmission from MM(TM), so the X-Men know exactly where to go to stop WWIII from becoming a "thing". What luck! So off they all go in their stolen UFOs. [Where does morality sit on this issue? Are they technically "stolen" if you are the X-Men and the people you took them from are trying to kill everyone? The Ethicist from the New York Times would know. He ALWAYS knows what's right.]

Marvel Girl, Angel, and Beast try to save the lives of the heads of the communist military from a bomb which will go off, making it seem like a capitalist plot. It does not go well, and everyone is captured by Commie Joe. Ivan? Yeah, to be formally ethnically insensitive, I guess you'd say Ivan.

"Da" means "yes" in Russian.
(Thank YOU, four years of previously-useless Russian language classes!) 

Cyclops and Iceman head towards a U.S. missile base to try to convince them that their missiles are going to be used by evil, evil baddies. This tactic doesn't work as well as you think it will [oddly, people in costumes running up to military bases shouting, "HEY! HEY! YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIEEEE!!!!" never really gets the desired effect, does it?] and they are dismissed as jokers / crackpots / fools [checked the thesaurus for more, decided to give up on synonyms, instead].

"AW, man! Grown ups just NEVER listen to us kids. We should LET WWIII happen! That'd show 'em! Then we'd never have to go to bed early or eat our vegetables or give the dog a flea-bath.  Stupid grown ups."

So this dynamic duo [what? OTHER duos can't be "dynamic"? Does Batman really have the corner on that market?] is forced to try to destroy ALL of the U.S.'s missiles by hand (well, by ice or eye, really, I suppose). Oddly, again, this does not go over so well. For some reason, military dudes don't like attacks on their nuke bases, so the military men attack back.

And then that's it. It's over. Yes, it was a short issue, but they padded out the rest of the book with a "bonus" - the first in a series, they claim - called "The Origins Of The X-Men". This month: "A Man Called ... X". [Raise your hands if you read that in the same delivery as "...some call me ... Tim?" No one? Good. That means I remain unique, like my mom always said I was.]

In this "bonus" story, we learn ... next to nothing. Honest. A couple pages to reveal that Professor X, before he had a team of mutant kids he was training to be a fighting force, went out on recruitment missions to find kids to join to his mutant squad. It's a story we could have inferred for ourselves.

EXCEPT for the fact that he did this in collusion with the GOVERNMENT! Yes, YOUR government! They want to nationalize the mutants. Give every citizen access to affordable mutants. Levy a flat, 13% tax on mutants. Uh... other political things that people are complaining about!

Wanna read the source materials? Have fun with THAT! They're in here:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4