Friday, March 29, 2013

Fred Savage Land (Issue #62)


JUDGE THE COVER!
Everyone's favorite cave man is back! (Outside of Fred Flintstone. And Barney Rubble. And Captain Caveman. And the Teenage Caveman from "I Was A Teenage Caveman". And Link from "Encino Man" [YES, I know his name without IMDB'ing it, why is that so strange?!])

A quick look at my post from the last time this guy appeared, I see I actually liked that issue. Reason: Dinosaurs. NOT, you will note, Ka-Zar. So it's a toss-up!




SUMMARY! 
The scene opens in Tiera del Fuego [lit trans.: Land of Fugs] with our X-Men searching for Dr. Dayton "Sauron" Lykos. (Remember, he jumped off a cliff, rather than hug the woman he loves. SURE that hug could have killed her because of his power-draining mutation, but, still ... extreme intimacy avoidance!)

During the search, Angel runs into some pteranodons and tries to fight them, but flying lizards prove too much for him and he is knocked out. He falls ... a LOT and winds up in a kind of "land of the lost". A cyborg frog and his master, "The Creator", discover his body and pronounce him dead:

Ribbet Robot.
Cyborg Forg.

But they still bring him back to their lab, because The Creator thinks he can bring him back, or something.

The rest of the X-Men find their way to to the jungle under Antarctica and run into Ka-zar (pronounced Kay-sar). Somewhere between his last appearance in the X-Men [issue #10! -Ed.] and this one, he went to finishing school, because he's lost his Tarzan-speak manner of talking. Full sentences! Me great happy about new speaking ways for Ka-zar!

The reunion is short ... and filled with punches, because Iceman can't help but shoot his mouth (and his ice) off.

COLD FIN-GAHR!
He's the man, the man with the icy touch. An ice-spider's touch!
Do do do DOOOO DOOOO!
SUCH. A COLD FIN-GAHR!

But the K-Man has places to do and people to be, so he thanks them for their unwarranted attack and scarpers off. Like mutant puppies, the X-Men follow him. And when they see Ka-zar attack some other Savage-Landians, they blindly join in, fighting alongside on Ka-zar's side. Huh! I mean, they don't really know this guy, except for one brief encounter over 50 issues ago, and they just jump in to help him pummel some other strangers? A bit rash, on their part. What would Professor X say?! (Probably "Help! Help! Let me out of this coffin!" because he is dead. [Sometimes the old jokes are the best jokes.])

Back at this "The Creator" fellow's lab, he's managed to resuscitate Angel. And while he was out, The Creator also knitted him a new costume. Because that is what you do with prisoners: Give them new clothes! [Actually, wait ... I guess it technically IS, what you do, right? Every prisoner gets a new orange jumpsuit. "Go to jail and get a new costume!" (Worst marketing slogan for prisons).]

I had that flying dream again. Typical.


The Creator says, in not so many words, that he's like a Savage Land version of Professor X and not a criminal like Ka-Zar would have everyone believe. Since I have not read the decades of Ka-Zar comics that paint that cave man as a noble, savage hero, I'm willing to give this "The Creator" the benefit of the doubt. [Take THAT empirical evidence!] Note that The Creator is ALSO a cripple, just like Professor X! TWINSIES! The similarities are uncanny ... Uncanny X-MEN! (?)

Angel, thankful that The Creator saved his life, is all, "That's messed up that Ka-Zar wants to kill you. Without really knowing much about you, I'll defend you with my life!" and flies off to have a bit of a chat with his team mates.

Once Angel is gone, The Creator gets all mustache-twisty and reveals that he is ...

Magneto is a Silver Fox!


MAGNETO?!?!


I'll tell yah, this reveal took me by surprise. I may even have gasped a bit. DON'T JUDGE ME! I mean, it's not like I even COULD have guessed. Further: Why WOULD I have even been trying TO guess?

Still, it was a pleasant surprise.






READ IT YOURSELF!
Follow along by picking up X-Men - Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SaurON, SaurOFF (Issue #61)

JUDGE THE COVER! 
My first impulse was to make a "The Bachelor" joke. You know, because of that one season that was subtitled "On The Wings Of Love". Then I realized that, in the Venn Diagram of "People Who Read My Blog and People Who Watch "The Bachelor"" there is a very tiny overlap in those two groups.

Add the fact that the "On The Wings Of Love" season of "The Bachelor" aired seasons ago, and you have a joke that just won't work.

My "Plan B" was to tell you all about the failed joke, to pad out the "Judge The Cover" section.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!


SUMMARY! 
I lied at the end of the last recap: Sauron [the Pterosaur, not the floating eye from LOTR] does NOT have death-ray eyes. Nope. Instead, his eye-beams can give people visions. The easy way to say that is "hypnotism", but why use one word, when you can use more?! So that is where we start this issue: Sauran-wrap eye-beaming The Avenging Angel (née Angel) into thinking that he is fighting three monsters instead of one.

That first one rides that fine line between goofy and "nightmare fuel". I can imagine him growling as well as I can imagine him giggling. Though ... both are equally scary.


But angel sees through that gag. [Get it, cause, like, all this eye stuff?] The other X-Men join the fight, too, but it's mostly stale-mate. That is, until someone calls Dr. Lyko's [Sauron's human identity] offices. See, the ringing wakes up Alex [Havok]. Why is this important? Because Dr. Lykos was draining Alex of his "life force" and that is what turned him into Sauron. Now that Alex is awake, that is somehow draining Dr. Lykos/Sauron of his powers. Ugh! Do we have another T.L.P. [The Living Pharaoh] situation up in here?! Is Havok condemned to timeshare his powers with every super villain? You just know he's gonna get screwed, only able to use his powers in the off-season, when he doesn't want to. Timeshare jokes, folks!

Artistic note: Need further proof that Neal Adams' art is crazy-go-bonkers insane? LOOK AT THIS:

Some people wear their heart on their sleeve. Sauron wears his origin story on his wings.
ON THE WINGS OF DEATH!


His source of mutant energy cut off, Dr. Dayton Lykos starts to turn back to human form. He puts the hypnotic whammy on Angel and has him carry him back to his offices. The X-Men go to pick up Alex (who is looking hale and well, despite the soul-sucking that he's been going through) and stumble into an awkward scene between Lykos, his true love, and his true love's true father. The heated argument revolves around love, power, money, and how Dr. Lykos is a pauper who will never amount to anything and will never be worthy of his daughter. In the end, Dr. Lykos, almost frothing at the mouth, swears he'll be powerful enough, one day, to get her. The father and daughter both agree that this dude is cracked. There is a short pause, then Iceman is all, "AWK-WARD!" And the audience laughs, then applauds. [The X-Men is filmed in front of a live studio audience.]

The X-Men stop overlooking the obvious and agree that something seems amiss with the doctor. They head home to read dead Professor X's notes on the "good" doctor. (Which is something you'd think they would have done before they let Alex alone with him! What if the notes say, "Lykos: Unimaginably evil. Do not trust"?

On another note: Do you find yourself not missing Professor X? I find myself not missing him at all! He was kinda a jerk. And the comics certainly got better once he was gone. GOOD RIDDANCE! (He ... He's right behind me, isn't he? AWK-WARD!)

Alex and Lorna are given the task of reading the prof's notes and it steams up too-possessive Bobby something fierce (steams, because he's ICEman! Whee!) And, finally, we get some women's lib! Hooray:

And THAT is how "Looking for Lykos" became slang for making out.


Turns out, part of the reason she was so off-putting to Bobby is that she now has the hots for Alex. (Can't have hots for an Iceman, huh? What an Oxymoron!)

Somehow (maybe because the X-Men STILL have not learned how to build a fence or even lock a front door) Dr. Sauron gets into the mansion and drains a bit of Lorna's power so he can get his Saur-on ... on. Ca-kaw!!! His plan: To use this newly-stolen power to fly right to the home of his true love and her father so he can prove to them that he is powerful and worthy ... by killing her father.

What better way to say, "I love you" than with patricide?
(Brought to you by the Patricide Council of America.)


The one wrinkle in his plan is that the X-Men are already there, waiting to kick his ass. Which they do. In defeat, Sauron realizes he's literally become a monster while literally being a monster figuratively. He flies away, never to be seen again.

FADE OUT.

Then, like a modern day movie with multiple endings, we fade back in. Dr. Dayton Lykos has traveled to Tiera del Fuego [lit. trans: Tiera of fuego] where he plans to sit around and wait for death. But what's-her-face (the love interest) shows up, because she had a sneaking suspicion he'd return to the site of the most horrifying incident of his life [being attacked by Pterosaurs and turned into a freak]. Dr. Lykos is so weak that he knows that to touch her would mean that his mutant power of life-draining would kick into action and suck her dry. So he suicides! Right off a cliff.

FADE OUT.

Always leave them laughing!





READ IT YOURSELF!
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Ca-CAW! Ptera-Man Strikes! (Issue #60)

JUDGE THE COVER! 
Most times, you only think you're in the shadow of Sauron, but, in reality, we are the wind beneath his wings? Did you ever know that? Maybe he never told you you were his hero? That you were everything he'd like to be.

Maybe he didn't tell you that, because he was too busy picking out a slit-sided unitard that would accommodate a tail? I mean, look at that thing! Though, I'm guessing he's only wearing that on the cover because the angle would have meant that the cover artist would have to have drawn Sauron ass. And the comics code would have none of that!

Stupid comics code! Keeping us from Sauron ass!

Let me also point out that they are really stressing the TEENS in the slogan, up there. Admit it, you've kinda forgotten that they were supposed to be teens, right? This is the comics way of reminding up. It's ALSO the comic's way of reminding potential teen buyers of the late 60s that these "X-Men" people are JUST LIKE THEM, SO THEY SHOULD BUY THE BOOK! This is how advertising works. Did it work? The book was cancelled in 6 issues, so, no.

Long "Judge The Cover" this week, huh? That's how it rolls. Sometimes I'll have a lot to say, and sometimes I'll be putting in extra hard-returns to stretch it out. Sometimes I'll do

both.


SUMMARY! 
Before they leave the mountain-side Sentinel HQ to drop Alex off at Dr. Creepy, MD's practice, Judge Chalmers says he is going to release all of the mutants that The Sentinels captured. Since all the other mutants in captivity we're of the evil stripe, the X-Men think this is ... a good idea and leave him to it?!

"So, now that that's over ... back to EVIL?" "Yep" "Yes" "You betcha!" *Fart* "UGH! WTF, TOAD?!" "Sorry, heh heh."


Further bizarre: Instead of locking up Larry Trask (you know, the one who unleashed The Sentinels upon mutant kind and told them to "kill early and often, my lads!"?), Judge Chalmers says that if his mutant-ability-repressing medallion is placed back on him, that he won't remember doing any of this. Overlooking the obvious, "Then wouldn't that mean he'll try again, because he'll assume he hasn't tried yet?" argument, the X-Men think this is also a good idea and leave him to it.

Out of frame, there is a Wookie NOT getting a medal.


Somewhere in there, Lorna Dane says she wants to join the X-Men. Since there are only six more issues until this series is cancelled, she has pretty bad timing. OOH! Or is this like the Cosby's getting Raven Simone on that last season? Is Lorna the shark that the X-Men are jumping? That's SO Lorna!

Once more I remind you that we are SIXTY ISSUES IN to the X-Men, so the "here are our powers danger room scenes" that follow are completely necessary. This is the trope I hate the most. Maybe it's because I think that these pages could be used for a fight sequence later on? Which means I'm mad because it's a fight scene that I don't want instead of one that I do. I am a complicated and confusing man ... I'm deep.

"The metal octopus!" "Why do we have a metal octopus?!" "Metal calimari!"
"Calimari is squid!" "We've made a HUGE mistake!!!"


Meanwhile, back at Dr. Something's-Up-With-Him's office [his real name is Dr. Lykos. You know, like the search engine? What?! You don't remember Lykos? Google it! IRONY!], the good doctor starts having a break down and remembering his ORIGIN STORY!

WAVY, WAYNE'S WORLD LINES

Lykos and his dad were acting as guide in the frozen Tierra Del Fuego [lit. trans: Crown of Fuegos] to a rich dude and his daughter. When the daughter gets lost, Lykos Jr. finds her in a cave, about to be eaten by pterodactyls.

Pterri, no!!!


He fights them off, but is left exhausted by the battle. And THAT is how he gained the ability to draw away people's life forces. QED? So... did the pterodactyls bite him and he became a wereodactyl? Follow-up question: Do pterodactyls have the ability to drain life force? Is this what extincted the dinosaurs? Lets get behind this theory. I saw on the "history" channel how aliens probably caused the extinction of our dinosaurs,  so this new theory of mine sounds just ridiculous enough to be believed by a lot of gullible people. The truth is out there!

Now, in order to survive, Dr. Lykos has to replenish his energy by hypnotizing patients and siphoning off some of their excess energy. When he tries this on Alex, he turns into a pterodactyl. Of course!

This is what happens when nerds get super powers.
Also, I hear the Tolkien estate is very litigious. Is it their copyright lawyers who shall defeat this menace?!


Later, the X-Men hear a news story about how police are investigating crimes committed by a winged man. Angel flips out. Again. [See Last Iss. -Ed] In a rage, he changes his costume back to the one he used before he joined the team. The costume of ... The Avenging Angel! [I'm so sorry. I really had no idea that alter-ego of his was going to turn up so often, or I'd have given more space to it in my recap of Angel's origin.] He storms (flaps?) off to find the menace and finds it in Sauron ... who has death-ray vision?!

"The LIGHT! The HEAT! Guys! It's not Sauron, it's Peter Gabriel!!!"


Oh!Oh! And somewhere in there, Lorna Dane was all, "Bobby's fun, but were not an item! TEE HEE!" Cold! Even colder because Bobby doesn't know this. Colder still, because Bobby is Iceman. Lorna, you're a terrible person. You broke my heart by breaking Bobby's heart ... at some future, undetermined time!






READ IT YOURSELF!
Follow along by picking up X-Men - Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)!

Friday, March 22, 2013

SUNtinels! (Issue #59)

JUDGE THE COVER! 
Sure looks like that ruby quartz visor - you know, the only thing holding back Scott's killer eye beams - is held on by a single, flimsy piece of wire! How safe is that?! We've never noticed, because that detail is always hidden under his hood, but now it's on display for all to see. The thinness of that cord worries me.

Though, I guess I've never seen anyone's Croakies break, and those things are pretty thin.

Though, I don't normally stay near anyone wearing Croakies for too long. (They tend to start talking about hiking and lighthouses.)


SUMMARY! 
If you have not read the last couple of recaps, this one is probably not going to make much sense. Though, that can probably be said at the start of every recap. Does it even matter? You're just here for the jokes, right, and not a cohesive dissertation and summary of the narrative of these comics? God, I hope not, because I certainly am not delivering that at all! Should I start saying "therefore" and "as the data reveals" more often? Raise the level of discourse? Anyway, read the last one, at least, or what I'm about to say next will have you being all "Huh? Who?!"

So, judge Chalmers ("Huh? Who?!") explains to Larry Trask that he (Larry) was clairvoyant as a child. That's why his dad made him wear that mutant-blocking medallion: To stop him from being clairvoyant  Because clairvoyance is a gift that you certainly don't want to have access to. "Oh, this goose lays golden eggs?! Kill it, it's a freak!!!"

Meanwhile, The Sentinels continue their mission of rounding up all the mutants. Even the crap ones, apparently:

Did the robots really have to add "easy" to that? Just denigrating. 


Breaking into The Sentinels mountain fortress, the X-Men free Toad, The Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, then do a costume swap with them.

That's Jean and Scott, not brother-and-sister Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
(So their sexual tension is WAY less weird.)


The thought behind this is that they'll trick The Sentinels into expecting different powers (the robots adapt their attacks to confront different mutants), so that they'll mis-adapt themselves. It works and the 'bots are defeated!

After that, it's all just a bunch of fighting. Well drawn fighting. Though maybe still a bit over-the-top on some of the expressions. But it's beautiful stuff.

K-K-K-K-KOMBO BREAKER!


So, thanks, Neal Adams, for continuing to "bring it" to the X-Men run! (Too bad your days are numbered! [this is not a threat! The series is REAL close to being cancelled, at this point.])

During the battle, judge Chalmers is accidentally injured while freeing Havok. The Sentinels FREAK OUT!

Why do The Sentinels even have articulated mouths?


See, these Sentinels, unlike the first batch, really do want to protect humans and humanity. They are murdering robots with hearts of gold. Jumping on this "weakness" for wanting to save humanity (weak fools!), Cyclops uses his mutant powers of logic to convince The Sentinels that if they REALLY want to protect humans, then they have to protect humans from becoming mutants. And what causes punctuated mutations? Well, according to The Sentinels, it's the sun! En masse, every last robot-jack of them rocket off to destroy the sun.

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace,
where Sentinels are built into Helium, at a temperature of millions of degrees!


It is presumed that they all boil away into nothingness in the heat of our home star. Problem solved! Though, wouldn't it be great if, in a few issues, the sun just goes out and Scott is like, "Ah, crap..." Boy would HE feel foolish!

Then Alex explodes because he has stored up too much energy:



But he's OK, just in need of a doctor. So, the last couple frames are of a shadowy doctor talking to Scott on the phone ... while a crucified man apparently dies. Yeah, it's creepy:

"No. No need to bring your own crucifix, I have one he
can use. Yes. $30 co-pay? Fine. See you soon!"


Imma go ahead and "call it" as the end of this story ark, since The Sentinels are sunspots now. (Look, astronomers, I know what sunspots are, please don't write in. It was just a joke.) [There's a Sentinel Spot on the sun today ... it's the same old Sentinel as yes-ter-day ... (and then, at this point, I'll invariably start singing "King Of Suede", instead, because that song had more of an impact on my childhood than the original.)]





READ IT YOURSELF!
Follow along by picking up X-Men - Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

TeeeWIST! (Issue #58)

JUDGE THE COVER!
A PRICE HIKE?! X-Men now costs 15 CENTS?!! And the children of 1969 get a cruel, abrupt lesson in purchasing power in the face of inflation. "But, DAAAAAAAAAAAD! Comics cost two cents MORE now!" "Bah! Join the army, you hippie! Maybe if you didn't spend it all on DOPE, you'd be able to afford the X-Men!"

(Why is Past Dad always a jerk?!)

Well, for two more of my hard-earned cents, this issue better be worth it!


SUMMARY!
And it's immediately worth it, because, literally, the first third of the book is a fight between Iceman, Beast, and a Sentinel. After some epic panels, Bobby holds off the Sentinel and tells The Beast to escape and contact the others. Beast is like, "You sure? You ARE only Iceman..." Then immediately feels guilty.

When the rest of the gang hears what's going on, Angel kinda gets really worked up about it.

And then you GRAB them, like THIS... FIRST.
Before they can grab YOU there.
HEED MY WORDS! THEY WILL GRAB!
(Angel makes "squeezing" motions.)


So worked up, in fact, that he starts calling himself "The Avenging Angel" (which is what you would know he called himself during his vigilante times when he first got his mutant powers and before he joined the X-Men, had I cared to thoroughly recap those origins stories that I told you were not worth reading. Ugh! Guess THAT'S come back to bite me in the tuchus, huh?)

Back at Sentinel HQ: Bobby, who apparently (not surprisingly) lost the fight against the giant robot, has been captured. Not only captured, but bathed in a "special steam" which will strip him of his powers for four hours.

Do you know how long it took me to formulate it to be EXACTLY four hours?! Well, only about four hours.


Then he is thrown in a cell with Lorna and Alex. Somewhere along the way, Trask took a break form his "kill all mutants with robots" plan to sew a ridiculous costume for Alex:

The chest circles will focus and refine your cosmic rays.
The head-dress will  prevent women from being attracted to you.


Trask also told him he would, from here on out, be called "Havok" (It's spelled with a "k" so that it can be trademarked. Like when SciFi changed their name to "Syfy".) So, unlike the rest of the mutants, Havok is not "neutralized" because he and Trask have some kind of deal ... except that they don't? Then Trask turns off his powers. Yes. It's as confusing as I've made it sound. WORD PICTURES.

The next couple of pages are a montage of The Sentinels rounding up The Living Pharaoh, Angel, and Mesmero and Magneto ... except teeeWIST! MAGNETO WAS A ROBOT ALL ALONG! Well, not ALL all along, but at least recently? Or ... who knows? No matter the case, the look on love-lorn Mesmero's face is PRICELESS:

Close your mouth, Mesmero!
We are NOT a cod-fish.


So, the federal jurist R. C. Chalmers (who has been helping Larry Trask by trying to pass legislation against mutants) arrives at the Sentinel Cave for a visit. He sees the way the mutants are caged and has doubts about this whole "exterminate an entire race" thing. Voicing those doubts, Trask flips out on him and then orders all of the mutants destroyed immediately. Somehow, while doing this, he tells about how his dad told him to wear this funky-fresh medallion ALWAYS and never ever ever take it off.

"Not even when showering, Papa?" "ESPECIALLY not when showering, son!" "That's weird, dad." "Is it? IS IT?!?!"


The judge, hoping to punch his madness out of him, hits Junior Trask. And in what is surely the quickest foreshadowing-to-turn-around twist, Chalmers grabs that medallion - that we were JUST talking about - from around Trask's neck. Immediately, The Sentinels grab young Trask because HE is a mutant and the medallion was cloaking him from the killer robots. Also: They are gonna kill him to death.


ADDITIONAL BONUS JUNK!
This month's bonus? That there IS no bonus! I feel both happy and sad. Happy, because I hate these things, but sad, too, because in the late 60s, women even got deprived of their origin stories!


ADDED TO AUTO CORRECT!
Havok. Yes, THAT won't lead to complicated misspellings when I try to quote Shakespeare from my phone. [OK. OK, I mean "quoting Star Trek VI"] "Cry Havok, and let slip the dogs of war!" Bark!




READ IT YOURSELF!
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Monday, March 18, 2013

The X-Men Have FEELS! (Issue #57)

JUDGE THE COVER!
"The Sentinels ... Live!"
I prefer to read this as "live", like, as in a concert setting.

Live from New York! It's Sentinel Night! Staring Dan Androyd ... and, um ... other robot/cast member mash ups that would make a great basis for a trending twitter hashtag but that I just can't come up with right now...

LARAINE NEWMANDROID!


SUMMARY!
So, The Sentinels are back and they are attacking Lorna Dane in her apartment. Turns out, that tiny chain really isn't enough to keep an attacker out. (A giant, robot attacker, sure ... but my point stands!) "Who is it?" "Beep Beep. Candygram. Boop Bop." "OH! Well come on ... EEEEEE!"

But, wait! We've not wrapped up the The Living Pharaoh's / Alex Summers is The Power story lines yet! What gives?! Are you trying to B-story me?! How many plots do you expect me to juggle in my head? They expect me to be the Chris Bliss of comics?!

Meanwhile, in the A-story, some Egyptian authorities arrive to sort things out, but it doesn't go well. Since the X-Men are the foreigners, here, the police want to take them into custody. Alex freaks out and zaps some of them, so a huge fight breaks out. During the fracas, Alex runs off into the desert. When brother Scott realizes that Alex is gone, he gets all racist:

Though, to be fair to Scott, they DID show up riding camels.
(I am not joking.)


When the X-Dudes can't find lil' Alex using their eyes, they remember they have a mutant-finding computer. It's back in the states, so they'll have to get left-behind Lorna (a Garbage Pail kid?) to do their mutant-Googling for them. Putting in a Skype video call to Lorna's apartment, it automatically shows a video feed of her digs. I know so many young, attractive, mutant women who would agree to having an instant-on camera installed in their apartment. Despite its creep-factor, it allows us to see that her place has been TRASHED. Since Iceman (having totally forgotten about his beatnik girlfriend, Zelda) is crushing on Lorna, he flips out. it looks like this:

I AM SUPER EMOTING! YARGH! If I had Ice Hair,
I'd be pulling it out by its Ice Roots!


He and Hank head home to check up on her while Scott, Jean, and Warren stay in Egypt to continue the search for Alex ... who has, unbeknownst to the x-searchers, just run afoul of a Sentinel.

The Sentinel's other weapon: Sarcasm.


Back in the states, Bobby and Hank turn on a news program at just the right moment to see that Bolivar Trask's SON is behind the mutant-hunting menace this time. [Bolivar Trask was the guy who originally invented The Sentinels. Like father, like son!]

Is it possible for illustrations to be accused of over acting?!
"WHAAAAAAAA?!?!?!" "SHHHHHHHH!!


So, the kid was around to see his dad create them, but I guess he missed the fact that his dad recanted his ways and destroyed all the Sentinels himself? Oh, right. That's because he repented right before dying. No time to fire off a quick text, first. "Dear son, I was wrong, please do not avenge me." [Man, I wish one day I'll get that text from MY dad!]

As you may have noticed from the screen-caps, this issue's illustrations were BONKERS. So much emotion crammed into every panel. Tortured facial expressions! It was kinda distracting ... but also nice to see someone bring this level of detail to a comic book. We can thank / blame Neal Adams. Which is weird, because he drew the last issue, too, and it is no where near as insane as this one. Thus concludes the historical, non-recap portion of this post.


BONUS GARBAGE: JEAN GREY'S POWERS!
This summary of Jean Grey's powers is only notable because it was written by an icky GIRL! [I didn't know that Marvel let them do a man's job! Oh, but I make fun of the late 60s social mores again! Whee! But, seriously: Chicks, right?!]

Also notable: In this featurette, I think its the first time Jean Grey's telepathy is represented by the color pink. Pink wavy lines. And I remember enough of future X-Men comics to know that pink is the official color of telekinesis!




READ IT YOURSELF!
Follow along by picking up X-Men - Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mano-a-Monolith (Issue #56)

For those keeping score, we are now in May, 1969. [Thanks, Em!]

JUDGE THE COVER!
Hey! You can't grab the comic book's title like that! Don't you see the FOURTH WALL that's in your way?!

Now that a character on the cover has interacted with cover elements, does that mean that they know they are all trapped in a comic book? Imagine the existential crisis of realizing that?

Deep.

Anyway: Crappy costume, right? A Quaker Oats Man hat and a silver wrestler unitard.


SUMMARY!
This is the THIRD part of what I'm calling "The The Living Pharaoh Sagaoh". If you have missed any of the previous parts, feel free to go back. Or feel free to read on and ignore the past. Look forward to the future! That's the way to live! Don't look back in anger! Look forward in HATE. Um...

The X-Men let The Living Pharaoh's henchmen get the drop on them, immediately. The thugs are able to free T.L.P. AND recapture Alex and make their escape. So ... Alex is like the "flag" in "capture the flag", right? The first person to get him home wins? And we can prevent that from happening by throwing a well-timed grenade? (Yes, I am basing my capture the flag knowledge on the multi-player Halo setting.)

To track T.L.P., Jean performs some mental hoodoo. It looks like this:

Is that her brain?! Are we seeing her BRAIN?! Why is it green?!

It works, and the X-Mans are on their way to tracking T.L.P. to his new base. Yes. This Pharaoh guy has ANOTHER base. He has them all over. If he didn't spend so much money on bases, maybe he'd have enough to just BUY global domination... or whatever he's out to get.

Oh! We're about to find out what he wants. Shush!

T.L.Pia (pronounced like "tilapia". Did that joke work?) has put Alex in a power-transference box. See, both Alex and Pharaoh get their powers from cosmic rays, so, somehow, they also share powers. One cannot fully realize their potential while the other exists. It's like a mutant version of Harry Potter. Accio metaphors! So, this box is going to suck all the rays from Alex and funnel them into T.L.P.

That's, actually, a pretty cool idea. I think that has redeemed the story, somewhat, despite it's awful plot holes up to this moment. Also, this issue is better because it has better artwork, too. I hate to say it, but that DOES make a difference. Looks DO matter, no matter what your mom told you. No one wants to marry bad artwork.

Once turned on, it begins zapping those delicious cosmic rays directly into T.L.P., causing him to grow and transform into T.L.M. (The Living Monolith)!

And his clothes have changed, too!
They are now Monolith Clothes,  powered by Cosmic Rays.

I wish he had chosen a better name. "So, you just stand there?" "NO! I crush and destroy! Just like a real m- ... oh, I see your problem with my name ... hmmm. Well ... I CRUSH YOU!" Problem solved.

Alex, still alive in the transference box, thinks: What if I use these so-called powers everyone seems to think I have? He tries and it causes The Living Monolith to lose his powers. PLUS, it brings the temple hideout crashing down. PLUS, all that power that was flowing out of Alex and into The Monolith has reversed itself, therefore: No more T.L.M.

HOWEVER, all that power starts to flow into Alex, and it's like filling an 8-gallon bucket with 10-gallons of RAW COSMIC POWER.

Exactly how I react when the TV
remote runs out of batteries.

BONUS GARBAGE: ANGEL ORIGINS!
He doesn't want to join the X-Men, so he fights Cyclops and Ice Man. But then he joins anyway.
Good. God. When will these things END?!




READ IT YOURSELF!
Follow along by picking up X-Men - Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Plot Holes (Issue #55)


JUDGE THE COVER!
Uhhhh...

Uuuuuummmmmm...

The only joke I got is something like: "C'mere and give auntie mutant a hug!"?
I know. Pathetic, right?

WAIT! WAIT! How about: "Ho Ho Ho, Greeeeeeeen Mutant!"?
Not much better?

OK OK OK! What about: "Can you spot the Christ figure in this picture?"
Meh. Not funny AND possibly sacrilegious. Let's imagine I just said nothing, ok?

SUMMARY!
You may remember that, at the end of the last issue, Cyclops ran afoul of The Living Pharaoh. This story picks up, from there, with Scott getting knocked out by same. The Living Pharaoh boxes up Scott (literally) and loads him and Alex (who is hidden inside a sarcophagus) onto a commercial flight back to his secret base in Egypt. See? We DO need those back-scatter-field x-ray TSA scanners: To find hidden mutants!

With Jean's newfound bloodhound powers, the X-Men are quickly on their trail, tracking the brothers Summers down. The gang hops in their mutant aeroplane, but they are shot down over the ocean by T.L.P. who, somehow, hangs out of the side of the plane and shoots them. It's weird. (But don't worry, they made a safe and successful water landing - or a "Sully", if you will. [Crosses finger that that joke is both still topical and NOT "too soon"].)

Once T.L.P. and co land, they dump Scott into an ancient burial chamber, literally:

See, this is why I hate blind-box toys! You always wind
up with ANOTHER  "alternative head" cyclops.


Oh! and his secret base looks like THIS, by the way:

Yep. Who would ever think to look for a pharaoh in a pyramid?
Now T.L.P can reveal why he went through such pains to capture Scott and Alex. It is ... so that they can die in Egypt, as is befitting of a mutant ...? [I'm sensing some hasty re-writes on the part of Roy Thomas, who has just returned to the X-Men and found the series in shambles, after the last two issues.] And what kind of death "befits a mutant-born"?


Me-BLAAAAAARGH-ow!
(Drunk cat)
Yep, being drowned in a chamber filled with water is THE choice for a proud mutant death. With his head wrapped up and Alex locked in a sarcophagus, Scott has only one recourse. Use his wrapped-up head to bash open the sarcophagus. I am not making this up:

Now THAT'S what I call ... USING YOUR ... face?

Calling, specifically, for an Excedrin, Scott reveals that he has an endorsement deal and getting paid for product placement. This is not the first time the X-Men have dropped an Excedrin reference. Was Excedrin new, back then? Or was it common parlance to use it as a generic word for "aspirin", in the same way we would use "Xerox" or "Google" today? (In place of taking an aspirin, I mean. "I had a headache, but then I took a Xerox.")

Alex unbinds Cyclops eyes and they start kicking ancient Egyptian ass, Osiris style! ("Osiris II: Something Sphinx in Egypt"!) The rest of the gang, having repaired their water-bound craft, arrive to help polish off the remaining goons. Just as The Living Pharaoh is about to smite them all with his power ankh [this blog makes me say silly things], Alex Summers strikes him down with ... sonic waves!

Throw your hands in the air...
and shoot sonic waves like you just don't care!

That he is revealed to be a mutant is supposed to be shocking to us ... but, didn't we already know this? Especially since him being mutant-born is why T.L.P. captured him - and why he was going to be drowned in the cat-mouth water-death chamber? He was supposed to be the mutant sacrifice that would elevate T.L.P. to some greater level of being, or something. [Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yeah, that's Pharoah-roah-roah your boat's {I'm sorry} big plan.]

But lets talk about that, for a second: So, Pharaoh Fawcett was going to knife Alex back in NYC, but got thwarted. So, when he captures both Alex AND Cyclops, he instead packages them up and brings them to Egypt ... where he was going to drown them both. Is he just really bad at sacrificing people, or what? Stick the knife in: Done! Stop faffin' about with it!

Anyway, the story portion of this blog post ended a few paragraphs back, so I guess we're done here.
To be continued!

CRUMMY ORIGIN BOLOGNA: ANGEL!
Warren Worthington III, having sprouted wings, decides to become a vigilante. This attracts the attention of the X-Men. We are left wondering how this is all going to settle out! Does he join the X-Men? Or start a career showing of up in people's vacation pictures and/or toast? ANGELS, huh?!





READ IT YOURSELF!
Follow along by picking up X-Men - Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)!