A Review From Christopher Franey
Alright sports fans we are back for round three of Wrestletopia and some more layers are peeled back and we discover that love isn’t lost. The issue opens with the Wrestletopians busting into Dick Drasin’s office and destroying his pricey doors; something I enjoyed about this issue was how Dick kept mentioning the price on “fancy” things which I found to be a funny tick of his throughout. Manifest Destiny and his crew come in to set things up and get “Rock ‘N’ Roll” Rory Landell for their showdown. This was fun to see that Dick could hold his own and also has quite the tolerance since the Wrestletopians are very much into destruction of his office items. Now both sides have come to an agreement for this intergalactic faceoff for the Galactic Belt and lucky for the world it will be Pay-Per-View too!
In the end it will be a 70-30 split in revenue in favor for the Wrestletopians but at least Dick got merchandising and home media rights. Then we are taking back to Rory’s situation in which he was captured by rogue wrestlers from space; still Wrestletopians I just wanted to try something different. So they manage to take down Rory and are going through his stuff when we get to see “Mini Macho” take on the thugs and this is a great moment to show off Dan Schkade’s layouts as the wrestling action is very on point and features astonishing moves. Luckily Don, Rory’s former manager and mentor, frees him and the three now have to get to St. Paul.
Before the scene change we see Rory collect his personal things and he has a folded up poster of himself and Linda, aka “Spanish Rose.” So it doesn’t look like she was forgotten which is great as I would love to see what happened to her after Rory left. Next we head over to an emergency summit of world leaders and they come to a conclusion that only other wrestlers can stop the Wrestletopians. This is so much fun as we get to see these nation based wrestlers be featured and defended by their representative and this is probably the most functional I’ve seen the U.N. be in order to help the world; you’ll enjoy their wrestle free for all. I also really enjoyed the two reveals this issue, the first being the secret origin of “Mini Macho” which was just positively inspiring and well laid out on the page too.
The second review was finding out who “you know who” was from issue two; Adrian Polaris, the speaker for Manifest Destiny, reveals himself and the others with the mark of the New Zodiac who wish to dethrone Manifest Destiny. They figure if they can prevent Rory from making it to the match they can get their own ringer in to win, who would happen to be “Sunny” Jim Cooley, “the Peach Blossom Playboy.” Remember when I mentioned that Dick has a strong tolerance? Well it is proven as one of the wrestlers grabs him by the…you know, his namesake. So Dick and the New Zodiac have formed an alliance…looks like we might be gearing up for a three way match.
Again I strongly recommend this series, it is such a fun comic and a great mood booster as it will have you laughing at the situations and how wild they get. Inspiring moments help to keep you rooting for Rory and the action is just on point. Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin have crafted a fantastic adventure with lots of layers that keep unraveling with each new issue, can’t wait for the next! Also read the wrestler bios as the end of the issue, great humor and insights. This mini-series was created and written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin of Suspicious Behavior Productions, the production company they founded in order to waste money, find them on social media with links here: Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook. Also find artist Dan Schkade on Twitter and Here
Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #2 Review: The Challenger Has Shown Himself!
A Review From Christopher Franey
We are back for round two of ‘Wrestletopia’ by writers Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin along with artist Dan Schkade with colors by Marissa Louise. This issue is going to open with a heck of a gut punch to the feelings; I’ve been reading comics for quite a while and every now and then you run across something so sad that it hits hard…the Death of Gwen Stacy was a sad moment, Batman getting his back broken was just so horrible to watch, and now I can say Rory Landell’s childhood was just some pure sadness. That opener with his parents was a hard pill to swallow and it does build on why Rory went into wrestling and also serves as a “secret origin” to the shirt Rory wears too.
After the flashback/nightmare that Rory has, the scene is shifted to an observatory and we get to see what the local workers are seeing; just something that hits the imagination hard and fast…a steel cage…built around the world! It makes so much sense but it is just wild and crazy; I can’t wait for you to see that visual it is the best. We are then taken to Don, Rory’s friend/manager/mentor, and he is having a fun time with his lover (don’t worry it is tasteful) when they start catching the news and we have our first public sign of the invasion as Manifest Destiny starts laying down the words pretty heavy and calling out Rory for the galaxy championship. I really enjoyed as Manifest was going on with his smack talk that the other “Wrestletopians” were invading Earth at famous landmarks it was hilarious to see F.B.I. agents taking on wrestlers at the White House.
In this issue we are treated to a new character, Mini Macho; it turns out he is also looking for Rory and it appears they have wrestled in the past. If you also in this and last issue you find that Rory has knee problems and it seems that Don was able to fix that, but the two aren’t together right now. We are treated to Rory taking on some of the “Wrestleopians” which looks to drive to a meeting for a future issue as Rory is taken down. Make sure to read the extra material at the end of the issue as there are some clues in there.
Dan Schkade does a fantastic job on his layouts for the issue; he has a way with having his figures more in dynamic ways and it displays some great action scenes. I have seen Dan’s art before in Will Eisner’s the Spirit Returns from Dynamite comics so Dan is an artists who can draw a hero who gets beat on but never quits, so this is perfect for the story of Rory. Ed and Matt’s story is fascinating and with issue two they do a great job of peeling back layers; with Rory’s past and then the current situation with Manifest Destiny. Mystery is also involved as some of the “Wrestleopians” mention taking Rory to someone else so that should be interesting to find out later. These two writers also bring the humor along as the characters are great with their loud boisterous ways and the feelings creep in as well with the flashbacks to young Rory. Get ready for a slam-down on your heart strings, brother!
So do yourself a favor and check out issue two as it keeps the flow going and is building to a galactic showdown that keeps your inner wrestling fan wanting more. This mini-series was created and written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin of Suspicious Behavior Productions, the production company they founded in order to waste money. Social media is here: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook.
Chris’ Comic Book Corner: Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia #1 Review: Get Ready For Thrills And Spills, Brother!
A Review From Christopher Franey
Straight out of Starburns Industries Press comes an invasion of wrestlers that is just a fun dynamic comic to read. While I was reading issue #1 I felt that same energy, excitement, and hyperbole of the WCW/WWF on Saturday mornings as a kid and it was a fantastic revisit to those days. The story by Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin is a nice mix of nostalgia, romance, and hard knocks that puts “Rock N Roll” Rory Landell’s journey on our radar. Rory starts off as the young up and comer who is going to be the champion; luckily he has a great woman in his corner to motivate and inspire him, but sadly to Rory that isn’t enough…those dreams of being the champion are all he sees. Even the advice he gets from his manager, “Mr. Don Fong Wong”, isn’t enough to stop this head strong wrestler from pursuing the championship. We are introduced to a character that is just tragic enough that you feel for him but you know he can’t be helped until he wants it; very nice opener for the inaugural issue.
To add to Rory Landell’s problems he is going to be bypassed as the new American Wrestling Federation champion in favor of “Boy Scout” Bob Schultz keeping his title for those higher pay-per-view ratings. With this bombshell happening Rory decides to bite the hand that feeds him and during his pre-wresting interview Rory declares himself the “Galactic Champion of the Universe” and I love how that statement will come back to haunt him. Remember earlier how I mentioned nostalgia, well that works perfectly as the story opens back in 1999 and then flashes back to 1984 which would be when Rory makes his bold declaration and those galactic claims finally make it to Planet Wrestletopia fifteen years later. So not only is Rory having a hard time on Earth his problems are about to go universal.
I really enjoyed the dialogue and humor in this first issue as it plays perfectly to the troupes of televised wrestling; all the extravagant build up and multiple use of “brother!” The characters interacted perfectly to establish a history and you do feel for Rory’s girlfriend, Linda, and Mr. Don Fong Wong as they really care for Rory but their hopes for Rory are dashed. The issue does leave you wanting more as we are barely introduced to Manifest Destiny but it will be very exciting to see him go up against Rory, who is currently a washout. If you enjoyed The Wrestler movie then you are going to enjoy this lighter look at a lost hero’s path as it keeps the drama but has just the right amount of laughs to entertain.
The art by Dan Schkade is great as his style is perfect for these larger than life characters but not unbelievable as well. Dan has fantastic layouts for the wrestling scenes that keep the action moving and also provide the slapstick to make it happen. I also appreciate the way the characters aged and retained their look as well; you can see they have been weather by life but you know who they are. Dan’s art is also enhanced by Marissa Louise’s colors and she brings an amazing palette that takes the wrestling ring to the farther corners of the universe and makes that spandex look heroic.
So if you are looking for a great escape and fun time then I would highly recommend this six issue miniseries for you. Comics are always fun but they are even better when you find independent stories that are made with creators who are doing it for the passion and fun of it all; so head on over to Comixology and check out Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #1.
Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia is a six-issue mini-series created and written by Ed Kuehnel & Matt Entin of Suspicious Behavior Productions, the production company they founded in order to waste money. Social media is here: Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook.
A review/recap from Christopher Franey and Rafael Encinas
Welcome back X-fans and let us get ready to dive into the next phase of Jonathan Hickman’s X-men with ‘Dawn of X’ . We are fresh off of ‘House of X’ and ‘Powers of X’ (Ten) so we wanted to do a recap of the two series and how they intermingled with each other. Rafa will cover “Powers” and I will talk about “House” and then we will both put our thoughts out there along with some of the hopes and wonders about the ‘Dawn of X’ that will begin in today’s X-men #1. (SPOILERS AHEAD)
Synopsis: It all begins here…Hickman’s vision of the X-men and Mutants and their place in the Marvel Universe. Now be prepared with this story because you could probably read one without the other, but the layers that they add to each is so much more enriching to the overall tale. I was just planning on ‘House of X’ only at first, but I am totally glad that I added ‘Powers of X’ as well. The issue opens hard with Xavier in his new Cerebro helmet and us seeing the pod people; it is such a cold open that we are guessing who the pod people are and why they could be there, then finally the first words are spoken…”To me, my X-Men.” We see various X-Men members planting these flowers, that have grown off of Krakoa, in various places that are famous to X-Men lore…and Mars and the Jerusalem Habitat. Once they fully grow we can see how massive and lush they are. Now we are taken to a political side of the story in which we can see that various countries are being offered a gift from the Mutants; a drug that can extend human life another five years, prevents diseases of the mind, and a powerful antibiotic. Xavier is using the drug to get other countries to recognize Krakoa as a Mutant nation. We are then treated to a tour of how Krakoa works and how it will be for Mutants and Humans on the land as well. Hickman does treat us to some pages that are info-graphics…spend the time to read and enjoy them, also take notes. The action continues with reveal of Orchis and their base near the Sun, “Evil” Mutants committing crimes of breaking and entering, murder, and data theft; to which the Fantastic Four answer and leads to an interesting showdown with Cyclops. The issue ends with Magneto letting the Humans present that the Mutants are so much more now…they are New Gods. Stage is set and the drama is high.
Critique: Lots of mystery is laid out for the reader and makes for a comic that you will probably read over and over again. Lots of questions will come to your mind…which is great, and hopefully with HoX/PoX answering them as you go along. This is not for the mere “fanboy” this is some serious comics that will have you analyzing who the X-Men have become. Great read and it has me hooked. Pepe Larraz is just killing it with the art as well. He just draws these characters and they feel iconic again…even though some of them have new costumes and looks, they just look amazing. This is an artist to follow if you can.
Synopsis: This issue is an excellent introduction to the expansive and detailed world that Hickman is creating. Whereas House of X #1 creates a new and exciting position of empowerment for the mutant species through Xavier and Magneto’s new ambitions, Powers of X #1 sets up an impressive and expansive timeline of mutant events. We get Year One: The Dream in where we have Xavier’s early life as leader of the X-Men and when he first meets Moira; these are the events that occur before the events in House of X. We have Year Ten: The World which is the current timeline we saw in House of X. We have Year One Hundred: The War which showcases a dystopian future where Nimrod and the humans have almost wiped out the mutant species. We are particularly introduced to new mutants Rasputin and Cardinal who are on a mission to retrieve important information from earth. They escape by the skin of their teeth. And lastly, we have Year One Thousand: Ascension where it appears that humans have evolved to a higher level of intelligence, and all mutants have been subjugated in a preservation habitat.
Critique: Basically, this is a wild issue where we see Hickman world-building and setting in motion the events in where the X-Men will inevitably lose. R.B. Silva’s art is outstanding with vivid lines and colors! The new mutants: Rasputin and Cardinal are excellent new characters introduced with enough characteristics that make them feel like mutants we’ve loved and known in the past, but with enough differences that they come off as unique and special. Also, Nimrod is portrayed as an absolute wicked and deranged machine hell bent on destroying the mutants, so that is a plus. Overall, this issue is great storytelling because it sets up and asserts what we are going to eventually end up leaning in POX #6: The X-Men always lose. It is both a somber but effective and electrifying issue.
Synopsis: This issue will change everything you know about Moira MacTaggert, who last time we saw here in main continuity was dead. We will see various versions of her life and how she has been successful in them or been utterly defeated; what is great for Moira is that she will be able to retain her memories from each life. So she has tried it all, being there for Xavier, being with people like Magneto and Apocalypse. Spending one of her lives trying to kill off the Trask bloodline; which is really telling that the Machines/A.I. are worse to the Mutants than the Humans are. Her third life was very interesting as she decides to use Science to help cure the Mutants and avoid their fate altogether, but she is stopped by Mystique and her Brotherhood. We can see some big setting up with Moira’s confrontation with Destiny; which will come to play out towards the end of the tale.
Critique: HoX 2 was just mind blowing to me…I mean Moira MacTaggert is a Mutant! I remember reading about her first appearance and she was saying she was Xavier’s maid…then his lover…mother of Proteus and so much more to her, plus she’s dead! This just was a wild ride of an issue and has me very intrigued about Moira’s new abilities. This also raises a big question for me…which life is Moira currently in? Like was she always living everything out in the “Marvel-616” first experience or was she pretending it along? Plus with the info-graphic we can see that “Life Six” is missing…so what happened there? They mystery deepens. At least we know something more about Moira MacTaggert.
Synopsis: Powers of X #2 continues to explore the events of each timeline that Hickman showcased in POX #1. It begins in Year One where Xavier and Moira recruit Magneto to their cause (we get to see the bromance develop and strengthen now with the incorporation of Moira’s vision). This is an excellent scene where we see these powerful mutants come together for a long-term plan. We then get a look into the Year Ten timeline where Magneto and Xavier recruit Cyclops to assemble a team. They must stop the activation of that timeline’s Mother Mold because it ultimately becomes the Nimrod that we see in Year One Hundred. Basically, Cyclops is given an almost impossible task, but knowing what is at stake, he cooly accepts (setting up one of House of X’s pivotal moments). During the One Hundred timeline, we get further details on Rasputin and Cardinal’s mission on earth. They have retrieved important information necessary for locating the exact time and date of Nimrod’s activation. However, they must return to Nimrod’s archive to find the specific data file. Again, this appears to be another impossible task because of Nimrod’s forces. It is revealed that Apocalypse is leading the last mutants on Asteroid K, and he tells them not to fret because he will be leading them. In Year One Thousand, we continue to see Hickman world build by giving us examples of different types of civilizations, almost as if though theoretical physicist Michio Kaku helped him with some of these ideas, and we find out that the evolved humans are seeking ascension by becoming one with the Phalanx.
Critique:Powers of X #2 is an excellent issue because it continues to weave the story that we saw both in POX #1 but also in events from HOX #1 and #2. The art direction continues to be excellent with excellent graphic design and utilization of text. There are also definite stand out character moments for both Cyclops and Apocalypse; they just feel so cool. Hickman is a master at these huge sci-fi epics, and it is further proven through both the plot reveals (We need to stop the Master Mold from coming online) and from its insane amount of questions that keep popping up (What really is going on in Year One Thousand?).
Synopsis: This issue starts with a bang as we focus on the events of Year One Hundred. The last mutants of Asteroid K unleash a final assault on the Nimrod’s Machine Empire. Rasputin, Cardinal, and Xorn have some great moments as they act as a distraction for Wolverine and Apocalypse to retrieve the vital information from Nimrod’s archives. Nimrod shows up and has an awesome battle against Apocalypse. With Wolverine being the sole survivor and heading back to Asteroid K, it is revealed that Moira has been in stasis and is woken up so she can absorb Nimrod’s origin point which happens when the humans activate the Mother Mold in the Year Ten timeline (which is being attacked by Cyclops’ team in HOX #3). Now that Moira has absorbed this knowledge, Wolverine kills her and so ends the ninth life of Moira.
Critique: This is an action-packed issue with many standout moments. Apocalypse taking on Nimrod so that Wolverine can escape with the information is not only a highlight, but a badass moment. Xorn and Rasputin’s final Hail Mary as they “Black Hole Sun” Omega and her forces is very gratifying. And the reveal that this timeline wasn’t necessarily the future of the current House of X timeline, but instead was a future for Moira during her ninth life is a crazy reveal, and it showcases exactly why Hickman is such an exciting and rewarding writer. Furthermore, what I like most about this issue is the fact that it focuses solely on the final battle between Nimrod and the mutants of Asteroid K. We get some great action sequences with beautiful moments; again, the colors and art direction in this issue is phenomenal. Hickman writes Nimrod in such an awesome way that he has quickly become one of my favorite characters (both full of character and menacingly evil and powerful). Also, Hickman’s Apocalypse is such a stand out character and is given some of the most iconic lines. The final reveal at the end with the time traveling Moira and her ten lives feels exciting and not cliché. Overall, this is a great issue that feels like it pushes the plot forward.
Synopsis: This is a huge action issue…the X-Men take the fight to Orchis to prevent the Mother Mold from going online and that will be leading to the Nimrod sentinel and nightmare that we have been seeing in Powers of X. Cyclops gets his team of Mutants and they are some famous ones to take this suicidal trip to the Sun with him; on that team are Wolverine, Husk, Archangel, M, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, and Mystique. We also get to see how Mutants and the Law interact at Sabretooth’s “trial” and how he has diplomatic immunity by way of Krakoa; this will be a game changer to the way Mutants can do their actions. Sabretooth is release to Emma Frost’s care where she takes him back to Krakoa. Then we are shifted back into space where we see the X-Men land on the Orchis installation and the battle begins. One member of Orchis makes the ultimate sacrifice to make sure Mother Mold isn’t stopped; he causes and explosion that does take out the X-Men’s means of transportation…but what of the X-men? To be continued…
Critique: This issue was just insane! Seeing the X-Men in action was great and this team that Cyclops put together really just shows that every Mutant is a part of what is happening. Hickman does a great job with the Orchis “villains” as they are people with their own hopes and struggles…plus the way the Mutants have been acting does seem scary…maybe not Sentinel/Nimrod scary, but they just don’t seem to be as peaceful as they once were. I also love that we are not getting some of the Krakoan alphabet, so now we can see what is being said throughout issues and on the last pages. Pepe delivered on the action sequences and made them awesome and real.
Synopsis: We begin with Xavier, Magneto, Storm, and various other Mutants at the Observation on Krakoa as they look on to the events of the X-Men vs Orchis. Their team is in communication with Cyclops’ team out in Space and the discussions are not well at all. This mission has quickly become a high cost to the team. Cyclops tells the others that they have to finish this otherwise it is in waste, so the team rallies and goes at it. The team separates in order to break off the collars that are holding the Mother Mold head to the satellite…one by one the team is successful but at great costs. Jean Grey is the only one to make it out via escape pod, but Orchis is out for blood as this has become personal. This is nothing new for the X-men, but this time…Xavier vows “No More.”
Critique: This issue was just amazing…huge kudos to Pepe on the art. He drew some heart wrenching panels showing how much the X-Men are willing to give in order to prevent Mother Mold. Cyclops is my favorite character and watching his death just hit me hard; especially Jean’s death…that’s the stuff of nightmares. Orchis is not a group you mess with after the events of this issue. This was a high point in both series for me…high stakes mission with the X-men!
Synopsis: Powers of X #4 focuses on Xavier before the events of House of X; it is a behind-the-scenes look into the foundation he lays for what inevitably flourishes in House of X. We see him and Magneto systematically recruit an extra flamboyant Mister Sinister to create a catalog of mutant DNA (this is important because it brings Sinister into Xavier’s endgame and at the same time leads to a game-changing plot point in HOX #5). We also see Xavier recruit Douglas Ramsey (the mutant Cypher) to meet Krakoa and to begin creating a Krakoan language to be utilized later, as we see in HOX #1. We get a glimpse into Krakoa’s past when it was a part of a bigger island state, but due to demons attacking, Krakoa was separated from its second half. We also learn that Apocalypse was the one that cast the demons aside and protected Krakoa from further destruction (a plot point that is further realized in HOX #5). The issue ends with the Year One Thousand timeline in where the evolved humans continue to ponder if the Phalanx will accept their request for ascension.
Critique: I feel like Powers of X #4 is a bit of a letdown compared to the explosive events of POX #3 and HOX #3 and #4. However, it still establishes good background for how certain characters help move the plot forward such as: Cypher and his creation of a Krakoan language system and even Sinister with his role in HOX #5. The issue does wander for a bit and does not feel as important as previous issues; however, it is still an interesting issue. Personally, I was a bit confused by Sinister’s comedic and fabulous characterization, especially at Bar Sinister when he japed about capes. However, I realized that if you read Sinister’s dialogue in Tim Curry’s enigmatic voice, it just makes everything better. I also appreciated the lore about Krakoa’s history, something I am sure Hickman will bring up in the future.
Synopsis: Now we understand why Mister Sinister is a part of this…regrowth and rebirth. So we meet the five: Goldballs, Proteus, Elixir, Tempus, and Hope. They use their powers in conjunction with each other and now we know who those pod people were from earlier; resurrected X-Men. They help to recreate the bodies then Xavier comes in and give the mind back to the body. Storm then addresses all Mutants on Krakoa to make sure that everyone feels that the killed in action X-Men are truly themselves. Storm addresses all of them and they can point out why they are themselves resurrected anew. We then shift to the U.N. and see that the Mutants have gained their nation after all and are recognized by the U.N. and various nations, but not all. Lastly, the doors are open to ALL Mutants and we see various “evil” Mutants arrive at Krakoa…we are then reminded of Apocalypse and Krakoa’s history together. Now there is total unity with all Mutants on Krakoa.
Critique: This was heavy to see Apocalypse and Xavier shaking hands and pledging to make it work for everyone. The resurrection scene was great and what a boost for Goldballs to be a major player now. I just wonder how things will work out for Tempus since Moira didn’t like Destiny’s precog powers, how will time travel be viewed? The resurrection itself is very interesting as that does take the drama out of missions, but then again how real are these X-Men? They may look like our usual Cyclops and Wolverine but is there something more going on?
Synopsis: This issue continues to be a behind-the-scenes look at Xavier putting into place all the pieces to establish his House of X. In this issue, we see Xavier approach the mutant Forge about updating cerebro to copy every mutant’s essence and then store that essence into different redundant cradles /storage for backup. Basically, he enlists Forge to make some upgrades to cerebro with awesome Krakoan technology (which we see used in action in HOX #5). We then see Xavier and Magneto recruit Emma Frost to utilize her Hell Fire Club Corporation to act as the East India Trading Company to deliver the new mutant drugs to other nations, making her essential to the new mutant future. We also get to see Xavier’s call to all mutants, offering them all a home at Krakoa (which is what then happens in HOX #5 when all the villains show up at Krakoa’s gates). The issue ends with the Year One Thousand timeline in where the evolved humans’ request for ascension is accepted; however, this is more ominous than celebratory because this means that the Phalanx will absorb that civilization’s lore and construct, but no living thing will be left behind.
Critique: Like with previous Powers of X issues, this issue is good at giving us a behind the scenes look at creating the nation state of Krakoa. Hickman’s incorporation of Forge is great and the utilization and explanation of cerebro is good storytelling. Also, Hickman writes a powerful and fully realized Emma Frost who feels full of character, passion, and wit. Seeing her interact and bicker with Magneto and Xavier is fun and definitely in character. Xavier coming to Namor to ask him to join them at Krakoa was also a standout because we get an egocentric and empowered Namor who just scoffs at Xavier’s offer, which might be setting something up in the future. Lastly, I am happy that the “ascension” plot with Year One Thousand is reaching its conclusion. I really like the ominous feeling of the Phalanx accepting humanity’s request for ascension but in doing so, humanity has been doomed to a purge of all living things for a form of immortality. Hickman brings up really interesting concepts about immortality and type two and three civilizations and the philosophical implications it has for humanity. I also like the continued build on cosmic lore with continued advanced civilizations like Titan, Stronghold, and Dominion. I am especially interested in seeing how this plays out with the call out that Dominion civilizations only fear the world eater Galactus and the Phoenix. This will definitely come into play in the future, which is again in Hickman’s playhouse; he writes for the long game.
Synopsis: House of X comes to an end and we are going to have some bombshells…the issue opens at Moira’s No-Space and here we will discover this is where she is hiding from everyone except Xavier and Magneto. We are introduced to the “Quiet Council of Krakoa” with members consisting of Xavier, Magneto, Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Storm, Jean Grey, Nightcrawer, yet we are still missing someone who will be the “Red King.” There are supports as well with Cypher and Krakoa itself and “Great Captains” of Cyclops, Gorgon, Bishop, and Magik. The council first meets to decide what to do about Sabretooth and they agree to banish him to the depths of Krakoa. The three laws are established: Make More Mutants, Murder No Man, Respect This Sacred Land. Once the Council is done we see all the Mutants celebrating and just living in peace…which is great for them as they are usually “hated and feared.” We do see Apocalypse sitting along and then Magneto and Xavier looking onward.
Critique: Great ending to this series, but of course this is not the end of the tale. I found the Council to be something of intrigue as some of the members are distasteful Mutants, but this is also interesting as checks and balances. I like the Great Captains and am happy that Cyclops is the Captain Commander. I wonder how the seasons will play out with the Council? What is Apocalypse planning as he sits alone? Will this make the Mutants not the strongest after all? Beautiful issue as always from Pepe Larraz; I’m so glad he is on X-Men and I hope to see his works later on in the Dawn of X-Men.
Synopsis: Powers of X #6 is significant not only because it is the final issue in Hickman’s HOX/POX magnum opus, but it further expounds on what we learn from the very first issue in POX #1; we learn that the mutants always lose. This is told through the experience of Moira who is revealed to be living her sixth life in the Year One Thousand timeline. As the evolved humans are about to be absorbed into the Phalanx, one of the humans seeking ascension reveals this plan to Moira and Wolverine (who is still alive and with Moira in the mutant preservation habitat). Moira basically confirms that mutants always lose because humans do whatever is necessary to win every time, whether it means evolving alongside machines or becoming something even deadlier. So, she has Wolverine kill her (just like in POX #3) and her sixth life ends. This experience radicalizes her and adds so much more intrigue into what her true motivations are. We are then taken to a scene where Moira is speaking with Xavier and Magneto as they are preparing for the festivities on Krakoa (the same events during House of X #6). We see that Xavier and Magneto have taken advantage of Moira as much as she has them. They are no longer listening to her input or her worries about constant failure. They have a strong belief that what they are doing is infallible, and the issue ends with them challenging anyone who doesn’t like the mutant’s new status quo to just try and stop them.
Critique: Powers of X #6 is definitely a stand out issue because it states what we see in all the future timelines in Powers of X #1; we see that the mutants always lose. Today’s victory is meaningless in the long scheme of things. Whether it is killer sentinels or ascension with the Phalanx, mutants don’t stay at the top for long.The art is wonderful. The characters are given additional dimensions due to their plotting. And the fact that Xavier and Magneto have stopped listening to Moira is concerning, but exciting. Like in House of X #6, we see the mutants triumphant, but this issue muddies the implication by basically asking, but at what cost and for how long? Overall, this is a satisfying conclusion in that it brings up enough dissent and ominous plot points that we should get an exciting and riveting new status quo for the X-Men moving forward. The X-Men have successfully won the day; however, as we have seen in the Powers of X storyline, winning the day is nothing when there are multiple timelines and future events that can make the X-Men’s prosperous today a living nightmare tomorrow. Hickman truly created an exciting work of art with this series.
Reactions to HoX/PoX: Overall, I can say that reading through both the House of X and Powers of X issues has been a cathartic and enjoyable experience. We get to participate in some of the best storytelling being told today, and Jonathan Hickman writes his characters with respect and excitement. It feels exciting to be an X-Men fan again because we get engaging and riveting narratives. I like how Powers of X serves as complementary reading alongside House of X’s main narrative. We get to see the background and motivations for the things that Xavier does in House of X. Both series really complement one another really well, and it all feels important.
Let us talk about the new dawn…so what are you expecting from the new series that will be launching after HoX/PoX? With X-Men, Excalibur, New Mutants, Marauders, Fallen Angels, and X-Force continuing the story of the Mutants which and how many will you be continuing on with? Has your favorite Mutant gotten a good spotlight yet? Hickman has let it be known that there will be more books that will talk about the resurrections and a focus on Moira as well. Check us out on social media and let us know your thoughts and as always remember to…GEEK OUT!
A Review From John Camarena
As many of you may know, I’m quite a fan of Stranger Things. This show resonates with my 80’s nostalgia. It’s a fantastic blend of pop culture icons; everything from Stephen King to Stephen Spielberg, sci-fi and fantasy. The very first episode got me hooked, from that synthesizer theme song to the sprinkles of Dungeons and Dragons, Knight Rider, E.T., and so on. And the story is great too boot! Unlike the kitchen sink approach that Ready Player One threw at us, this show has an interesting mystery, likable characters, and well-paced action beats. It genuinely captures what it felt like to be a nerdy child with an overactive imagination. And now, while we wait for Season 3’s trailer to drop (any freakin’ day now please!) the supplemental materials are now making their way to tide us over: The Official Stranger Things Companion book, the Dr. Brenner-centric novel Suspicious Minds, and a whole slew of unofficial books are now available, with many more to come. As someone who loves consuming this stuff, I had to dive in and chose the 4-part comic book series just as the 4th issue released, because at the end of the day, Stranger Things is meant to be binged. Does the comic book meet the same level of awesome that the show does? Almost.
Massive spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched seasons 1 and 2, by the way, so here goes. The comic book 4-parter was written by Jody Houser, with art by Stefano Martino. Who are these people? I don’t really know, as I’ve not kept up with comic books for a very long time, but between the two of them, they seem to have done good work in the past. The comic takes place simultaneously with the events of the first season, beginning when Will Buyers realizes there’s something strange and dangerous in his home and runs to hide in the shed out back. Something not shown in the show is how exactly Will ends up in the Upsidedown, and this comic basically shows him teleporting there. Unlike other characters and sometimes the Demogorgon who are shown having to walk or crawl through a gross-looking portal that resembles an open wound in the fabric of reality, Will just kind of blinks and is suddenly in the Silent Hill version of Hawkins that we come to refer as the Upsidedown. Here he has his first encounter with the creature, and Will shoots it right in the toothy petal-head then it disappears. From here, the narrative jumps around with flashbacks to events leading up to the present, such as some more interactions between Will and his friends, Dungeons & Dragons campaigners Mike, Dustin and Lucas. We see a little more of their previous adventure and learn that Dustin and Lucas are apprehensive about Will’s choice to be a Mage, and questions his usefulness to the quest. This is put in contrast with the real danger he is in the present. While being shown as indecisive and defensive in the real world, Will takes action and fights back against the Demogorgon and goes out exploring the Upsidedown, trying to make sense of his situation. It’s here that I really appreciated the comic due to Will processing things as if it was a D&D campaign. Will finds strength by relating to his Mage character, imagining he is on some sort of quest he must endure after being separated from his party. These sections are short, and they depict them both with fantasy-style art and with versions that looked like they were drawn by Will himself, a reference to the character art shown in the series. I actually would have really liked if the whole series was done in this style, as that seems to tie in better without having to reveal too much or make up things that may be out of place or not fit in to the continuity.
Now, the majority of the story is set during the 7 days that Will was missing in the real world, and we do see how some of the time unfolds from Will’s point of view. It is shown that Will can sometimes hear the people calling out to him, and that although the Upsidedown appears to be devoid of life or light, there is still a connection to the powergrid of the real world that he has an indirect effect on. For instance, the Christmas light Ouija board that his mom, Joyce Buyers makeshifts on the living room wall works by having Will touch the corresponding letters on his side, and we are to infer that his proximity to the light is what causes it to react. It’s never spelled out and it is not consistent either; for instance, the first time Joyce hears Will faintly on the telephone, Will was trying to use the walkie talkie. It’s not clear if anyone in the Upsidedown would be able to do this or if there is something special about Will. After some time passes, Will decides to leave the house and explore around the town, and it is during this excursion that he sees Eleven for the first time. She appears almost as a vision, because she does not seem to be entirely corporeal, but she does seem to also see Will, which explains how she knew about him when she sees a picture of him at Mike’s house. The exploration portions turned out to be my least favorite part of this series, however.
Now after Will goes exploring, he essentially visits all the same other parts of the Upsidedown that other characters come into contact with. Will hears Barb scream for help and he follows her voice, but by the time he arrives to the pool outside of Steve Harrington’s house, all that’s left are Barb’s glasses. Will returns home and sees that a portal stared forming in the living room wall and makes brief contact with his mom, but has to run away when again the Demogorgon attacks. While Will is out in the woods, he almost runs into Nancy Wheeler, Mike’s older sister, and Johnathan, his older brother. According to the comic, he was within stone-throwing distance of meeting up with them in the Upsidedown, but just missed them. He also runs into a wounded victim of the Demogorgon that dies before his eyes, and eventually makes his way to Castle Buyers, a wooden fort in the woods of Hawkins, where Eleven makes contact with him letting him know that they haven’t given up hope and are still looking for him, even after a fake body was planted in the quarry by Hawkins Lab and presumed to be him. Finally, after days without food or water and cold due to the lifeless nature of the environment, Will is found by the Demogorgon. Will wakes up in the public library, which is now a nest of sorts and there are other bodies strewn about. While the other bodies appear decomposed, Will is still very much alive in a cocoon-like structure with a long tendril going into his mouth, not unlike the proboscis used by the facehuggers in Alien to impregnate their hosts. We don’t dwell on this too much though, because Joyce and Sheriff Hopper find him right then and take him home. The next few panels before the end are of Will recovering in the hospital and it leads to my favorite part of the whole series: while talking to his mom and brother, we see from Will’s point of view and for a moment, he sees them and his surroundings as if they were in the Upsidedown, with the two of them appearing decomposed while still talking to him. Will convinces himself it’s just his imagination, but leads to the idea that he is still connected to the Upsidedown, which we see later in season 2.
All in all, it was good. The art was well drawn, and the covers of each issue evoke the style of horror and sci-fi movie posters from the 80’s like The Thing and Aliens. The Easter eggs I caught were nice also, such as Mike reading Stephen King’s The Dark Tower in a flashback to get ideas for future D&D campaigns, and a brief glimpse of the Mindflayer, who did not appear in season 1 but was the big bad of season 2. You won’t miss anything important if you skip out on this comic, they leave the worldbuilding to the show, but for fans like myself who can’t get enough of this story, it fills in some of the gaps and gives you more of Will so he feels like he was there the whole time. I’m looking forward to more side stories but really hope they also expand on the mythology. So until the release of Season 3, due July 4th, 2019, this has been John reminding you to Geek Out!
Overall rating of 7.5 out of 10.