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Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Uncanny X-Men #16

A Review From Christopher Franey

Ok we’re back after a crazy hectic week and I’m here to talk with you about Uncanny X-Men issue 16, part 6 of “This is Forever.”  So I missed issue 15 which had some wild dynamics, reunions, and also some damages…mainly like Cyclops being shot in the eye by Hope.  So I’m wondering how that will be resolved since Dark Beast did operate on Scott, plus he also helped the infected X-Men lose the Transmode Virus.  So is Dark Beast a member of the team?  Has he done something to Scott?  Guess we will find out at a later time.So the issue opens up with “This began when someone I cared about died.  And it began to end when someone else I cared about did, too.  All I can think is how each step we take toward our end never gets us any closer.  It always comes out of nowhere…”  So I wonder who this narrator is; my first thought was Cyclops since the text box is in red, but with this latest entry I am wondering if by chance it might be one of the New Mutants.  Who could the first death be and who was the second?  Are they deaths that are part of this arc?  Maybe it was the death of Blindfold (Ruth) and this issue’s death…(SPOILER) Wolfsbane (Rahne). 

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That was a hard revelation to see in this issue especially after Rahne asked if she could stop and just live a normal life.  That was a nice moment and something that makes sense, sometimes people are just tired of fighting, especially since she has been doing this since she was a kid; I’ll be honest I was hoping that she would have the happy ending but it wasn’t in the script for her.   

So we see right off the bat that Cyclops is turning over Samurai, Dragoness, Forearm, and Strobe to Captain America so they can be properly placed into custody.  Scott admits he doesn’t like this and really doesn’t trust Cap, he even hides the fact that he still has Hope, Banshee, and Dark Beast.  What I found interesting in the conversation between the two was that Scott doesn’t see the USA as his country anymore, which is sad but understandable as he says, “I’m a Mutant, Steve.  Any country I ever had has been taken from me long ago.”  Hmmm…maybe a return for Utopia?  Before that scene ends we see Cap give a note to Scott, so I wonder how that will play out later. Havok has a moment where he expresses that he is tired of not being in Scott’s council and the lying to Captain America.  Alex doesn’t like the fact that Scott is getting more advice from Logan and not evening hearing out his own brother.  Scott simply tells him: 

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Which I find interesting as we do tend to blind ourselves and judgements for those we care about.  The next scene sets us up for some X-Men action.  As we see a “Magneto” led Brotherhood attack Connallon Air Force Base in Eastern Transia; the scary part of this Brotherhood is they have a Juggernaut.  We then shift back to Harry’s Hideaway and the decision is set who will lead the X-Men, Scott tells the group as of now he is no longer the De Facto Leader.  They come to a consensus that most of the team members are leaders, so actions will be put to a vote.  Illyana calls up the first vote and it looks like that is to add Hope and Banshee to the team, so this group goes into action against the Brotherhood. 

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Looking good!  What was interesting was the line all sins are forgiven, so this might help to launch this team forward instead of some of the past drama holding them back.  In this fight we see Cyclops flashback to Rhane which is crazy as they are in battle and his mind wandered.  They have a struggle with the Brotherhood but in the end they manage to get to “Magneto” and discover that he is actually Joseph, which puts Juggernaut in an awkward position.  Joseph explains why he is doing what he is doing and seems to try and recruit was is left of the X-Men to his side.  Yet in the end it doesn’t matter as Juggy says:

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Juggernaut seems to not want any problems with the X-Men and he tells them that he wants to help the Mutants out.  Joseph knows he is defeated and then continues with Villainous Monologue until we see a “swssh” across his neck and then his head fall off, so goodbye Joseph, hello Kwannon aka Nothing. 

I enjoyed the issue and I felt it did move the arc along a little faster than the previous issues.  It has set up a lot of questions and I hope we get to find the answer soon as we are six issues deep into this.  I enjoy the fact that it doesn’t really play off as Bad Guy vs Good Guy with the Brotherhood and X-men, but that both sides have expressed why they are doing their actions.  For once I can see the Brotherhood being right, I mean who wouldn’t fight this hard in the given situation.  When they were in the millions they had a hard enough time now that there is a handful of them they are really backed to the wall.  I can’t wait to see how this arc continues/concludes and next issue will definitely have lots to deal with from this fallout.  I give this issue 5 out of 5 Juggernauts and highly recommend this arc.  As always read on and Excelsior!

Comic Culture With Rafa: #009

The Magic of Buffy: Excitement for the BOOM! Studios Reboot Comic Series

An Editorial From Rafa Encinas

As stated so often already by so many different editorials, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of those series that was just part of the cultural zeitgeist of the 21st century as soon as it manifested in the late 90s. Now with over 20 years of content and history, BTVS lives on in pop culture infamy, and for good reason. Joss Whedon created absolute magic with his quirky teenage fantasy/supernatural “coming of age” / “monster of the week” television program. It was witty. It was funny. It was passionate. And most importantly, it was important.

Growing up, Buffy and the Scooby Gang taught me the value of family, both the one you are born into and the one you make for yourself. Like for so many others, I felt this show was special because it was a show that felt inclusive. It normalized and humanized all walks of life. I have many friends who felt that identifying as “queer” became much more acceptable because the characters onscreen created a safe and fun environment where sexual orientation wasn’t just a trope. It was an everyday thing that just happened to be part of the show; its cultural significance was huge. Buffy was my hero, and this was one of the first times feminism would become a huge staple in my mindset.

Not only that, but besides its cultural significance, on a personal level, this was the first show that showcased an intense unpredictability. SPOILERS to those who have not watched the show, but I still remember the feeling of shock and awe I felt when Angelus snapped Ms. Calendar’s neck, when Joyce unexpectedly passed away, and the final episode with Anya. These moments still feel like fresh wounds that never healed. There was a formula to the show, but danger was at every turn no matter how light-hearted the humor. Anyone could die at any moment.

And this is part of the allure of the franchise; why so many avid fans continued with the comic book series long after the television series had ended. This story was wild and magical, and it still boasts some of the most relatable and hilarious moments of any television show. However, the fact that it is grounded in empathetic and realized human characters made it powerful and ambitious. We were part of the Scooby Gang, so their successes were our successes, and their losses were our losses. We were family.

This is why I am excited for BOOM! Studios to now be delivering a revamped and modernized take on the vampire slayer. With three issues already out at the point of this editorial, I cannot express just how much fun and excitement I have had reading through this new imagining of the characters of Sunnydale.

Jordie Bellaire is a perfect choice for writer because she manages to capture the charm and wit of the characters, as they monologue through their everyday lives, while still giving it a modern look and feel for 2019. Not only that, but illustrator Dan Mora is such an a amazing artist who is able to bring these real life characters to life on the pages. Buffy looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar. Willow looks like Alyson Hannigan! The art style is gorgeous with colors that pop and a fluid motion that reads smoothly.

Some may not like the pacing of the comics, but there is so much lore that needs to be established, so I am okay with it. Buffy feels like Buffy. Other characters with their slight redesigns are interesting. I like the new origins for both Anya and Spike. Giles has the whole “hot librarian” thing going on. I especially like how they are playing into Xander’s deep-seated struggles with inadequacy (I’m curious to see where this will lead). I am a little taken aback with Cordelia’s “positive” characterization, but I’m on board for something new. And then Willow feels different, but I like her new confidence and style. Overall, this feels familiar enough with some new talking points which feels exciting!

Overall, these are my general thoughts and feelings:

Things I have really enjoyed:

  • the colors and art direction that move the plot forward.
  • Buffy’s characterization is dead on! Sixteen-year-old Buffy is portrayed with the right amount of sarcasm and heroism seen in the television program.
  • The introduction of Spike; portrays all things cool. He seems more like an antihero than a villain at this point, and his interaction with Cordy was both interesting and enjoyable.
  • All the little Easter Eggs and call backs to the Buffy lore (such as Anya name dropping Wolfram & Hart, Xander’s profile name: The Xeppo, and the foundation for Spike & Giles’ inevitable banter).
  • Joyce and her boyfriend dynamic is new, and I am excited to see more.
  • Anya’s introduction as the keeper of ancient artifacts instead of just some revenge demon.
  • The comical introduction of Camazotz, Buffy’s pegasus. I’m excited to see what they do with this!

Things I am looking forward to:

  • Xander’s story and how it plays out. It’s an interesting dynamic to see how feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome can come into play when surrounded by powerful people.
  • The build of the Giles/Buffy father/daughter dynamic. I lived for these moments in the show.
  • The introduction of Angel! Can’t wait! It will probably be when I least expect it. Also, are we going to get Angel or Angelus!?
  • If no Angelus, I am looking forward to The Master! Hopefully, he’s got some cool stuff in store for Sunnydale and the hellmouth.
  • The further characterization of new characters Rose and Robin.

It feels good to see Buffy reimagined for a whole new generation of people to read and enjoy. I am excited to see new ideas and fresh takes on characters I love; I mean, I’m already digging the introspective Xander, the kind Cordelia, and the confident Willow. If you are a Buffy fan, I highly recommend you pick this series up. If not, pick it up anyway. It’s a quirky coming of age story with demons and vampires. It’s going to be awesome!

Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Green Lantern #6

A Review From Christopher Franey

Here we are a quarter of the way through the Morrison/Sharp era of Green Lantern adventures.  Of course this is based off of talks right now and the vision being that Grant Morrison will be doing two seasons, each season being 12 issues.  Liam Sharp is a master of the arts and delivers some beautiful pages in this latest issue.  So lets jump into the issue.
The issue tells us that we are on the planet Rann, which is a part of Sector 2814 (which I’m curious if this is a retcon or has always been so).  The BlackStars are about to take over Rann and also test Hal Jordan and see if he is worthy of being BlackStar Parallax.  His first mission is to kill Adam Strange, luckily Hal gets them to agree to a showdown.  

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So the BlackStars are representing MU and are threatening Rann with a Sun Eater that can only be stopped by the BlackStars, so join or Die!  To add to the drama the BlackStars have Rann’s champion and are going to have him showdown with Parallax.

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Sure enough after pleading and taking 10 paces we see Parallax shoot down Adam Strange, so Rann has no champion or hope.  Alanna does a great job of adding to Hal’s guilt and reminding him of his friendship and responsibility.  Luckily we know that Hal is a couple moves ahead.  We discover that the Rann culture doesn’t let anything or anyone go to waste, so the Department of Salvage will start harvesting Adam.  

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Now we finally meet Controller MU and he is very much the sinister looking alien that would be trying to create his own version of “Universal Harmony” under his thumb.  MU does recognize that the GL Power Ring is not cooperating.  Mu does want the information it holds but it will not respond, Hal does remind MU that the Guardians might’ve locked the ring since he did betray them.  The scene changes and we discover that Adam Strange is alive, so Hal isn’t totally evil like we’ve been led to believe.

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So now it is up to Adam to save Rann and his daughter Aleea from the BlackStars.  The scene shifts back to Hal and MU, with Hal reminding MU that he has done everything they have asked in order for him to become a BlackStar.  MU calls out Hal about joining the BlackStars to which Hal tries a play at being conflicted and not sure of which side he is on.

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MU decides to show his “absolute intent.”  He has a dream of no more police, armies, warriors, weapons, or rings…no more repetitions.  Just a universe of his own/creation and if he cannot have that then he will have annihilation.  MU is the ultimate Controller and is planning on using Aleea as a U-Bomb.  The U-Bomb will explode and all well be neutralized making Hal’s mission accomplished along with the annihilation MU wishes.  
Luckily the Strange family shows to rescue their daughter and help take down MU…but Hal is telling them to not shoot MU.  Sadly Alanna doesn’t hold back as she goes for the head shot, don’t mess with her or her family.  BlackStar Belzebeth does take the spotlight now and encourages Aleea to let the U-Bomb go off destroying everything.  

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This prompts the Guardians to break their cover and get Hal to disarm the U-Bomb so Hal uses his ring to do something (we will find out in an issue or two..?).  We see Rann is fine and safe, Adam and his family are all okay, but sadly Adam is called back to Earth, and I’m sure his last words are a clue to something for later issues as well.  We are left to believe that Hal has sacrificed himself to stop the U-Bomb, but then we see a ring in space with a planet inside it.  We see that Hal is there and talking to someone; it seems that Hal has some amnesia and is talking to someone by the name of Myrwhidden (check out wiki for more).

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So where does that ending leave us?  Well the character reminds me of Myrwhydden, so you’ll notice there is a different spelling with the y and i replacement.  The first time we meet Myrwhydden is in Green Lantern v2 issue 26 titled “The World Within the Power Ring!” so is that a clue or maybe an extension of the current story line?  I like how Grant Morrison has been mining Hal’s history and this issue’s ending looks towards the past, so I know I’ll be rereading GLv2 #26 and this issue again.  Liam Sharp’s art is just so much eye candy that you could lose yourself in it, which isn’t a bad thing.  This volume of Green Lantern has been great and I really love how it explores the “cop” side of Green Lanterns and their responsibilities.  This issue especially is a great ending and beginning to the overall story by Grant as we can see how these “cases” lead to each other.  So are the BlackStars done?  What will Myrwhidden do and is he realated to Myrwhydden?  I can’t wait for the next issue, so I rate this issue 5 out of 5 U-Bombs and recommend hitting the back issues to get the full story.  As always read on and Excelsior! 

Comic Culture With Rafa: #008

The “Tommy Oliver Variety Hour” Coming To Comic Stands Near You!

An Editorial From Rafael Encinas

The “Tommy Oliver Variety Hour” Coming To Comic Stands Near You!

BOOM! Studios has done such a wonderful job at bringing the Power Rangers lore to new heights. I have been a devout Power Rangers fan for many years, and specifically, these past couple of years have truly been a blessing because of the talent, excitement, and respect that the comic book medium has brought to the franchise. I have been reading these amazing stories since they have come out in January of 2016, and I now have a reason again to buy single issues and to collect variant covers again without waiting, like I normally do, for the trade graphic novel. Moreover, I have especially liked the attention to detail and maturity that Kyle Higgins’ has given us in his stories and in his characterizations of the cast. Whether it be Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Go Go Power Rangers, or Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink, I have loved the new adventures and situations that these teenagers with attitude have gotten into.


However, with all good things, there is always room for improvement, and unfortunately, sometimes there is a growing frustration.  At Wondercon this past weekend, the BOOM! Studios panel revealed that starting with issue #21, the Go Go Power Rangers ongoing series would finally be introducing Tommy Oliver to the team; this in turn would begin the “Green with Evil” plot we have seen in the television program. The incorporation of Tommy into this series will coincide with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ issue #40 kicking off the new “Necessary Evil” storyline with a returning White Ranger Tommy.

So, basically, we are getting a whole lot of Tommy Oliver! This is great and exciting news if you are a Tommy fan, but Power Rangers is so much more than one single ranger.

Now, I do not mean to sound like a complainer. I mean, we have gotten some truly amazing stories these past couple of years. However, as many fans have pointed out on twitter and reddit threads, the love and focus on a certain Green Power Ranger has been at the forefront for these comics for some time now.  Afterall, this past year we have seen Tommy’s evil future doppleganger take the spotlight during the “Shattered Grid” storyline, and we even got “Saban’s Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon” one-off graphic novel. Now, we are getting two heaping helpings of Saban’s Favorite Ranger in both the green and white variety. And honestly, this isn’t the color palette I’ve been craving.

Though I recognize the appeal for the Tommy character, after all, he is a foundation to what made Mighty Morphin Power Rangers so popular! However, I have always loved the power rangers for their team dynamics. The television show managed to change from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: teenagers with attitude in colorful spandex to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Tommy Oliver variety hour. I understand that Tommy was the cool Green Ranger, which I 100% loved as a kid; however, the shows got too focused on Jason David Frank’s character and the show was less about team dynamics and more about how many flavors of the Rainbow can Tommy fit into. Jason David Frank has probably done more for the franchise than any other ranger in the series, but at this point it is too much.

I am hoping that these stories will prove to be some powerful and engaging story arcs, after all, BOOM!Studios hasn’t failed me yet. However, it is disheartening when you see the spotlight on the same character over and over again, especially when there is such a rich history of so many awesome Power Rangers characters. But again, only the future will tell how we see these stories in tandem with their respective visions. I hope to see more Ranger variety in future stories.

Late Gamer Plays Battlefield V

A Review From Hidai Moya

At it’s core BFV does enough to uphold its franchise even if it is a step down from the stellar quality of its superb predecessor. The campaign, revisionism notwithstanding, was surprisingly emotionally moving, especially the story of the last German soldiers. The urban combat feels excellent. With a complete lack of “Run n Gun”, players must tightly round each building corner & tactfully hug the corridor walls to survive. The gunfire is unforgiving of any wayward onlooker. There is also an indelible appeal to its classic WWII era vehicles. German Panzers, Tiger Tanks, & British Spitfires all feel superb operating in battle & have excellent sound design. The visual customization however is exorbitant in it’s demands for in game credits that are more wisely used to upgrade vehicles & weapons. Pre-Firestorm, it’s a fair BF entry. Grade B

 

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As the #AutumnOfTheRemakes approaches its end, we tackle the film that started a decades-long smear campaign against Texas.

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