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Archive for February, 2014

Noh-Varr: the Illuminati’s warrior

Arousing Grammar

Noh-Varr, beloved sex symbol of the Young Avengers and all around super cool dude, hasn’t always been a superhero.  Y’see, he’s an alien Kree soldier destined to conquer the planet for the Kree Empire’s new capital.  By himself.  Unfortunately, one alien/insect hybrid against the entire pantheon of superheroes didn’t work out spectacularly well for him.  As in, he lost.

While prison gave him lots of time to stew about his current predicament — his own conquering impotence — Earth’s premier secret society of borderline-sociopathic superheroes, the Illuminati, decided to use this weapon in another way.  And despite all their manipulating, backstabbing, lying, and downright despicable actions they accomplished during their tenure, this ranks as one of the best decisions they ever made.  Witness it for itself in New Avengers: Illuminati #4, written by Brian Michael Bendis & Brian Reed and drawn by Jim Cheung.  Then we’ll finish with four…

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Superior Spider-Man #28 Review

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THE WILD CARD APPEARS!

Well, it’s going down as the Green Goblin has declared war on the Superior Spider-Man in issue #28, so let’s get it on.

The comic begins with civilians in the distance watching Spider-Island burn as the attack begins. The Green Goblin gave him a chance to join up, but since he refused all he can do is retreat or die, which he reluctantly does after his favorite henchmen, #23, gets killed off in an explosion while the rest of the Spiderlings up top are getting slaughtered. He orders the ones still alive to hold the line while he escapes with his robot, so they’re all dead I’m sure.

Inside his noggin we have Peter Parker, who tried hiding in his memories and got sucked into seeing just what type of life Otto has lived. An abusive father and a smothering mother, bullies outside and only science as a bastion against the world, it’s really no wonder he turned into a villain. But for all their similarities, Peter had Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and that allows him to hold onto his sense of self as he continues to ride out Otto’s memories…for now.

Back to the Goblins, they destroyed Spider-Island in less than ten pages and the Goblin King has come in for a report. When they report Otto has gone missing, he’s not really worried since he knows his every weakness and orders his men to seek out the people important to him in order to draw him out. Namely the people important to Spider-Man, since he doesn’t know that Otto is wearing Peter Parker’s skin, as you may recall when he first got his hands on the journal and questioned Carlie one it.

At Alchemax, Mayor Jameson has called together the media and informed them that he’s transformed the Anti-Spider Patrol into Goblin Slayers, to which MJ states he’s out of his mind from her living room. She’s with her new boyfriend, who isn’t part of the inner circle, so he doesn’t see why it’s a bad thing. Before she can explain why, the little goblin kids who threw her off a roof and then bombed her club make a third play for her and she busts out the web-shooters.

MJ proved goddamn genre savvy after being the damsel in distress enough.  She knows what’s going on and knows what her role in this is, the Wild Card. So the first damn thing she going to do is remove all the pieces off the board.

Back to Otto, he finally arrives at Parker Industries, where his partner is waiting and furious that he’s been missing for a month and tells him the police have been harassing them since Carlie went missing. That’s when Wraith showed up and tried to make him talk, but he knows about her tricks with fear gas and lets her get knocked out by Carlie, who has arrived for him just as a couple of the Ninja Goblins try to kidnap Aunt May and Jay Jameson, only for them to have been take away to safety by MJ already as Peter Parker loses himself in the memories of Otto in the mindscape.

Carlie chases Otto around, making it clear she knows who he is without saying his name as she cuts through the robot butler and defense system of mechanical tentacles. To this end he splits up with Sanji Jaffrey and confronts her alone, willing to defend his legacy now that Spider-Island is gone and kill all the Goblins. Luckily he kicks her right in the earpiece, which allows them to talk in private. Carlie reveals she’s still somewhat sane and needs Otto’s help in holding onto it before she loses control again, cryptically mentioning that he has no idea what the Goblin King has in store for him and the world.

As the comic ends, we see that Carlie’s sister was the only one who managed to get a piece on the board as she finds and kidnaps Anna Maria without her even knowing it by claiming to have been sent by MJ to retrieve her….crap…

Okay, review time.

So the plot moves again as Otto’s first line of defense has been breached. We see a good portion of the people who have been involved in Otto’s time as Spider-Man acting reasonable with more on the way, including MJ doing a magnificent job as the Wild Card. As for Carlie and Anna…well, damn. One’s going to have to live with the fact that she has killed people while on the Goblin Formula, so I feel bad for her, and the other is getting the Gwen Stacy treatment like I feared because the Goblin King wasn’t an idiot. I’ll give the dude credit, he plays hardball.

The art didn’t pop as much as it did in the past, at least to me, but the darker tone probably matches the mood as this is taking a dark turn already. So I won’t hold it against the artist.

A perfect, must have issue that gets a 5 out of 5.


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Feburary 2014 Sugar Bits Update 3


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February 2014 PPGD Update 1


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New Warriors #1 Review

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I came for the Scarlet Spider and I stayed for what seemed to be the great beginnings of a new series to read. So, armed with some rudimentary knowledge of all but Kaine and his side-kick, join me as I review the first issue of the New Warriors.

The opening panel reveals a bloody trail, being left behind as a clearly sentient half-bull humanoid creature is trying to crawl its way to safety and past the fallen corpses of its brethren, all while asking why this happened. A voice tells it to try not to speak, but it asks why their kind were being killed and what was it that they did that was so wrong it warranted their deaths. The figure that was responsible for the slaughter states they did nothing wrong, but they were never meant to exist and judgment befalls even the innocent. And then it kills the innocent being while claiming for the sake of humanity’s survival…

So basically it’s following the creed of virtually every Purifier in existence.

The scene then skips to New Salem, where Speedball and Justice are continuing their road trip from leaving Avengers Academy and are engaging in combat with a group called the Salem Seven. It turns out, much like most brawls between heroes, that it all began with a misunderstanding when Speedball attacked one of their more frightening members because of how he looked. That’s profiling, something that you would think a hero would know better than to do.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, Kaine and Aracely continue their vaunt through the land south of the border after the events of the Scarlet Spider series when they come across a couple of tourist being mugged. Kaine, after being coerced into it by Aracely, dawns his outfit and doles out brutal justice by stabbing his stinger through one of the muggers’ wrist, giving the other the Mark of Kaine (use sticky power with hand on face and then pull away for maximum pain and scar), and Aracely finishes it up by inducing the other into running with her powers over emotions by giving him a fear of spiders. He then yells at the tourists he saved, telling them to get out of Mexico, keeping with his nature during his time in Houston.

Back in New York, aka Hero Central, Sun Girl takes down some punk robbing an armored truck. She then goes in search for more crime, although when she hears the name Spider-Man she feels disgusted because she was there in the Team-Up series when his mind-control over the Sinister Six failed and…well, Otto left a bad impression. She then heads over to Grand Central station when an explosion goes off since she was close by.

Back in New Salem, Speedball somehow managed to dig himself out of trouble and ends up playing games with the guy trying to kill him while Vertigo gives Justice a tour of New Salem. It turns out it’s a town of magicians and a safe haven for people born of magic. The Salem Seven were known as the Children of the Devil and have changed in an attempt to make it safe, which for some reason makes me think of Nico Minoru and the Runaways.

Justice, on the other hand, as part of the New Warriors has to deal with the stigma associated with their group being the cause of the Civil War Crossover Event and the Hero Registration that made Iron Man and Mister Fantastic Fans afraid to admit it when they kept kicking the dog. Speedball pushed a guy with explosive powers into a bus full of school children and, since the guy was juiced up on some super MGH, he killed everything nearby including elementary kids. That royal fuck-up has not been forgotten, but before either one can talk any further some flaming guys come in and say to burn them all for having tainted blood with one being a half-breed (Vertigo), and the other being a Mutant (Justice).

Back in Mexico Kaine and Aracely are catching some rays on a beach with money he stole from drug traffickers before he left Houston. Aracely wants to be doing something heroic with their powers, saying it’s their responsibility, but Kaine states he tried that in Houston and it nearly got all the people he cared for killed in what was the result of sleeping with a girl whose father he put into a coma, Kraven gutting a doctor and pissing off his cop husband, and turning into a big-ass spider monster to settle things with the climatic villain that came out of nowhere. Unfortunately his vacation comes to an end when a bunch of dead Atlantians dye the water red with their blood as one survivor, Faira Sar Namora, pops out and says she is seeking heroes…he can’t win.

Sungirl goes to check out the situation and sees that the flaming guys from New Salem are also in the subway, killing what appears to be either mutants, aliens, or inhumans. Not too clear on which one. They also appear to kill an Alien who was harassing Nova, only for the guy from the beginning who killed the bull people to shoot him in the back and claim they have plans for the Alien-Hybrid (Nova), ending the issue on a cliff-hanger.

Okay, review time.

Now my knowledge is limited to what I can gleam off wikia on the villains of the piece, but the Evolutionaries were the species that came before humans until an advance race took pity on them and gave them upgrades before assigning them to protect the species furthest along the evolutionary chain, which were mutants before. That included a plan to wipe out humanity, something that would make them the Anti-Bastions, but Cyclops killed all but one of them supposedly. I’m thinking they got reprogrammed in the wake of the Inhumanity event, but I can’t be certain until the plot unfolds.

Like I said before I came for the Scarlet Spider, but the majority of the cast seems interesting, the art is lovely, and I liked the interaction between Vertigo and Justice. The plot is akin to virtually every anti-mutant one I’ve read, but it’s too early to label it as such and the destination isn’t as important as the journey when it comes to plots. So I’m willing to give it a chance and an 5 out of 5 rating for an opening issue.


Uncanny X-Men #17 Review

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Stuff Happens. Important Stuff with the Kids.

At this point I’m starting to think that the NXS kids deserve their own side series like Wolverine’s do. But then I think about that travesty and decide this way better as I review Issue #17 of Uncanny X-Men…although I will admit the one about Toad was a good one.

The issue begins with the kids being dropped off in a strange landscape and left there with no instructions by Magik. Given that she can teleport across time and space, it’s natural to assume that they may not even be on earth, but each comes up with their own theory as to where they are and that they are being tested. Also it appears that Phoebe has dyed her hair red like she said she wanted back after Irma went black.

Anyway, Hijack reveals he kept his cellphone and whips it out. They tell him Cyclops said they can be tracked by them, but he states he couldn’t break his contract so he kept it and then states they’re in Montana. They are then split apart by a very large creature with jagged teeth and a deafening roar.

Eva, who has a very potty mouth upon being surprised, goes with Fabio and correctly guesses its training to see how they deal with unpredictable situations. That includes her and Fabio being surprised again by some Ostrich-dinosaur thing that chokes of Fabio’s goldballs (sorry for the phrasing) and keels over, but not before Eva has vanished in her Time Bubble and is nowhere to be seen.

With Phoebe and Irma, they have to put up with Triage screaming like a little girl because they ended up in a cave with a spider-slug thing the size of his fist. I will never let him live this down, but since the girls are trying to hide Irma does the mind manipulation thing they did in Limbo to make him brave. He seems to like it, but that might because he and Irma clearly are developing something and having a pretty girl in your head doesn’t sound too bad as long as you can stop thinking about dirty thoughts every few minutes. It worked for Cyclops and Emma, if you ignore she took advantage of his vulnerability while with Jean and then Jean hooked them up to avoid a bad future from the grave…Yeah, he might want to be careful in the long run. Anyway, Fabio finds them, but Eva is still nowhere to be seen.

We then skip to Benjamin, Hijack, and Celeste hiding. She explains they are in Tabula Rasa, a.k.a the place Archangel blew up and led to the bad future of Uncanny Avengers. She’s giving them an overview of them being in a bubble that will show what the earth will look like well after I’m good and dead when she can sense a mind in the distance.  Unfortunately said minds don’t like her and mind-rape her to the point that her sister’s couldn’t hear her and assumed she was dead within their Hive Mind, leaving it to Benjamin to try and reason with them by using his powers to gain some level of trust and understanding and calming them down. It works to an extent, as they touch and read Benjamin’s mind, and they reactivate her brain.

She’s pissed, more than Emma when confronting an Adult Jean Grey, and tries to mentally assault them despite Benjamin stating that they are an evolved species. It goes poorly. But then Eva pops up and traps them in the time bubble.

She looks like she went through hell. Her hair is longer, her clothing are torn, and she looks like she aged a bit. But the first things she does were hug Benjamin as though she hadn’t seen him in a long time, tell Celeste not to tell anyone anything about what she gleamed from her mind, and kissed Fabio on the forehead. But she became downright hostile to Triage, who only wanted to heal her, and seeing as the two of them were the first of the team to meet up and be friends he must’ve fucked up bad in the future.

Anyway, SHIELD shows up with Nick Fury, Coulson, Fucking Hawkeye, and Spider-Woman because of Hijack’s phone. Yeah, he fucked up. They want Cyclops, the big fish, not the small minnows and tell them to put their hands up.

The Stepford Sisters can’t affect them because SHIELD regularly has anti-telepathy equipment  given their line of work. Now Eva could probably take them again, but Hijack turns their fancy gear on them. It’s then that Magik teleports them out and back to their base.

Cyclops is pissed off. It was a field test to see how they reacted, and most of them passed with flying colors. Even Fabio, who stumbled his way into a victory. While I doubt Celeste and Triage did as well, the only one to outright fail was Hijack.

They were in the most unexplored place on the planet and SHIELD tracked them down in 15 minutes, because of his cellphone at that, and he revealed his power. Next time SHIELD is going to be prepared for it like they were with the Stepford Sisters. Cyclops can’t have that so they drop him off at his old place, which is bad when you remember what happened to Fabio and that Mystique will most likely be the one talking to him with that silver tongue of hers to turn him evil, and the issue ends.

Okay, review time.

First off, considering that Kitty was in the background during that lecture I’m assuming this is before the Trial of Jean Grey. Second off, according to rumors next issue revolves around Cyclops, Teen!Cyclops, the aftermath of this chapter, and Tempus’ crush on him.

While I want to believe she went to a bad future and took some training from hell, there is a chance that the writers aged her so they could pair her with Cyclops if what I’m hearing about her romance for him coming into play. You can’t blame the young girl either for the crush. He’s hot enough that Pixie, Irma (for a while), and even the teenage host of Lady Deathstrike in X-Men #11 wants him.

Teenage girls find him hot, to the extent even his teen version was getting some play before BOTA, but while Cyclops is a lot of things, and most of them positives with a spattering of negatives, he’s not skeezy enough to have a relationship with her like that. Even though he did meet her mother already, and she was his first rescue, and so on. That’s Wolverine’s department.

Not to mention, whenever she was at clearly traumatized her. I mean, getting lost in time is mandatory for an X-Men with powers remotely close to hers. But if there is any luck she learned more about her powers and will serve as the leader of the team behind the adults.

As for Hijack, I’m conflicted on how to feel because Cyclops was a little harsh, but he has a point since they stated he warned the idiot about the phone thing. It’d be one thing to kick him off the team because he was disobeying an order that was morally wrong, but Hijack admitted the main reason he didn’t toss his phone was because of the damn contract. You’re an X-Man, and a fugitive one at that, fuck the phone contract and worry about the giant-ass robots SHIELD and Helmet-Head keeps sending at you!

Honesty, Cyclops can’t have that sort of reckless behavior right now and was somewhat right to kick him out, despite the benefits his power-set has to offer. If he’d used his phone at the base, they would have been compromised in a hurry. Like Cyclops said, mistakes have killed good X-Men before.

But Hijack knows wayyyy too damn much to be let go if he decides to go traitor and turn them into SHIELD. I don’t normally agree with mind-fuckery, but at least fudge the location of their base in his mind so he can retain his abilities and know how they work without compromising the group. Even if he’s being used as SHIELD bait by some chance, like a couple of people suggest when I lurked in the forums.

The sad thing is that I liked Hijack as he had the potential to be a great character. A victim of prejudice-turned-crusader of their rights without going overboard, a neat power, and as an older member of the team he would have been an excellent big brother figure to the rest of the younger members (barring Benjamin since he’s collage-age). On the other hand, the X-Men are lacking interesting villains and if you can’t join or stay with the team…in the end it really depends on what the storyboard has laid out for Hijack, but this won’t be the last we see of him.

So, between Tempus having aged and gone on her own time travel trauma and Hijack gotten the boot, many things have happened. I’m calling this a must-have issue that will have major effects on the plot, so it gets a 5 out of 5.


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Febuary 2014 Grim Tales Update 2


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Gambling on Spider-Man

I’m honestly surprised the bet didn’t end with some punches being thrown given the number of shady characters. If Electro knows how the Spider fights, you would think he would do better against him.

Arousing Grammar

If we consistently drop everything to follow a car chase every time it appears on TV, how can civilians in the superhero world ever get anything accomplished with all the daily battles?  In New York City, with the combined rogue galleries of dozens of superheroes and superhero teams patrolling the city, I figure there must be at least two or three supervillains attacks a day.  So all the normal folks, probably to ease some of the pain of living in a spandex-filled war zone, hope to gain some benefit from all this destructive world-saving.  Y’know, a benefit besides not having Galactus eat the planet.

In the fantastic first half Spider-Man: Unlimited #11, written by Brian Reed and drawn by Michael Lark, our setting never ventures outside the bar:

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Do you think the jokes distract criminals from realizing just how powerful Spider-Man is?  Super speed, super strength, projectile webs, spider-sense,

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Superior Spider-Man #27 Review

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Okay, we are at the climatic arc of Otto’s time as Spider-Man as the Goblin Nation kicks off with a bang rather than a whimper and here’s hoping I’ll be able to review it all the way to the end. So, let’s get to my review of Superior Spider-Man #27.

We start 31 days after Otto quit the Avengers, where he is watching as Goblins rampage over the city with him questioning why his drones aren’t picking up on anything. He quickly realizes that the Green Goblin is behind it, and goes to look for all information related to him inside his mindscape. Ghost Peter is there, hiding amongst the thirty-one memories that remained after Otto dumped the rest and wondering how he’s going to reclaim his body. Again, I would like to point out that once he does get his body back there is so much of who he was missing he’s going to be effectively an amnesiac.

Unfortunately for Ghost Peter, he stupidly ventured into Otto’s memories again (having forgotten he did that once before) and ends up as part of them and most likely will be out of commission until near the end. At the same time, Otto is looking over his Spider-Bot to figure out what’s wrong with them when his girlfriend walks in and points out that he’s been skipping work and forgetting to eat. He thanks her and tells her he’s been thinking of making her a partner, with a panel revealing a wedding ring box in his pocket.

And here’s one of my biggest gripes once Peter comes back. This romance, this heartwarming romance between a woman who has fallen for Otto (in Peter’s body, granted), will end in a tragedy. I blame Otto, I truly do, but all I can do is pray she doesn’t get the Gwen Stacy treatment with the Green Goblin running around.

Speaking of which, after Anna gives Otto his eureka moment with the face recognition software being the problem, we see on the television reporters hounding Jameson with questions to if the Green Goblin and Spider-Man are working together since he got rid of all the competition. Jameson denies it but takes a little trip to Alchemax to visit that little bastard Stone and Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O’Hara, to get his Spider-Slayers since he believes they are working together and Spider-Man must die. And he wants him to know it was him who was responsible.

Yeah, that’s going to end badly for everyone involved.

Spider-Man pays a little visit the guy who made the facial recognition software since he’s avoiding Otto as Peter and he learns about the Goblin Protocol and where the Goblin’s army can be found. So he goes underground to pay them a visit as Captain Watanabe pays Parker Industries a visit, as she wants him for questioning just as much as the rest of his employees. The Green Goblin is waiting and has him sit down for a little chat, revealing he knows he’s Otto wearing his skin by reading Carlie’s Journal.

Otto actually sits and listens to his proposal for an alliance to rule the city…right up until he said Otto was his second. When you have an ego as big as Otto’s, that gets you enraged and he declares himself Spider-Man and that he was going to rid the city of him. Green Goblin tries to fry him with lightning at that, but he reveals that it was the virtual projection made from the tech that Stunner used as he wasn’t stupid enough to go into enemy grounds on his own when he has an army and a brain.

Green Goblin then points out that he was still stupid enough to make his base of operations public and calls for his goblins to destroy Spider-Island, ending the issue.

Well, there was a lot going on in this issue and I must say I’m liking the intro into the final arc. The art was good, the plot was moving, overall it’s a must-have issue and gets a perfect 5 out of 5.

 


All New X-Factor #3 Review

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The latest entry in the newest iteration of the X-Factor series is out now and I’m here to review it, no strings attached and my personal opinions abound. So, let’s get straight into it.

The story opens with Havok, brother of Cyclops and figurehead of the failure of a team that is the Avengers Unity squad, playing pool in a bar and getting briefed on Serval and the X-Factor team by his man on the inside. Yeah, no one is really surprised that it’s Quicksilver, what with Gambit pegging him from the moment he walked into Serval., but let’s talk about Havok. Now, if there is one person I dislike more than Wolverine and Captain America whenever they show up in an X-Men book, it’s this sellout right here.

First off, he left Polaris at her wedding for the nurse he was psychically dating while in a coma with the help of her mutant son. Second off, wasn’t he flirting to high-heaven with Wasp in Uncanny Avengers? They have a child together and are married in the upcoming arc, which I know will be retconned soon enough since Cap got disfigured by acid and Marvel can’t have that, but still. Now he claims he wants Quicksilver looking out for her because she’s his girlfriend and she’s nuts, and he uses these exact terms in the same page.

Quicksilver wisely points out that she has no reason to trust him well enough to serve as a mole and she tried to shoot him, but she was drunk and their whole family has issues like…well, every major character in these books. Wolverine kills his kids, the Summers brothers are currently on the opposite sides of the law and don’t get me started on their extended families, do I need to cover anymore? For that reason Havok’s claim that she’ll trust him because they’re blood rings hollow as hell. They wrap it up with Havok also being a deadbeat and Quicksilver saying everyone hates him, which he tends to bring on himself and I think Finesse likes him as a mentor.

We then skip to Serval, aka Google, and learn that Harrison Snow had implanted a nanotech camera in Polaris’ eye while she was sleeping so he sees what she sees. Yes, he violates her privacy like it was a Tuesday for him, but he’s big business. It was probably in her contract under the terms no one reads.  Anyway, he learns at that moment they’ve been hacked from the PR head and decides to give his new team a call.

Two members of the team, Polaris and Gambit, are in his new room in the building and playing with his cats that Mystique gave him when Iceman decided to freeze the world over after corralling his ex-girlfriends into a snow cave for their safety, his ice clones claim, in Astonishing X-Men…including Polaris. Anyway, one cat scratches her and she flips out and gets ready to deal with it violently until Gambit snaps her out of it. Okay, maybe she isn’t a paragon of good mental health but I refuse to say Havok was right.

Snow pops up then and takes them down to their server room, where the guy running the place reveals they are being hacked and he knows the location for their team to go deal with it. Gambit notes he’s screwed as the place is the headquarters of his Thieves’ Guild even though it doesn’t pop up on the map. So he and Polaris suit up as Quicksilver arrives (with Gambit correctly claiming he was updating the Avengers about them) and take their shiny new jet out for a spin after it beams them up.

Meanwhile Snow goes to confront last arc’s villain of the week, Hoffman, and recruits him after illegally detaining him. He still has his mutant powers, but his DNA reads human, so naturally the megacorp wants him to work for them. Hoffman signs up when he learns they get benefits, which A.I.M doesn’t I suppose. Must be because they keep getting blown up or attacked…

As the team arrives on location, Gambit come clean that he knows who’s responsible despite the fact that he’s not involved in this one. One of his members is Nil, a technomancer. He uses magic to control computers and such…really, magic for that?  Anyway, Nil confesses he was only able to get into Serval by using a new medium for his powers.

It’s Danger, who helped spring Cyclops from prison and hates being locked up and controlled more than anything. So naturally when Polaris springs her she’s too pissed to think about anything but killing everything. Cue fight next issue before she joins the team.

Okay, so while it isn’t an action-based issue it does move the plot along and reveals several key things while introducing a new team member. We learn that Serval is basically any big corporation in Marvel like Roxxon or Alchemax or Oscorp and we learn Quicksilver is a spy, but no real shocker there until his sister finds out and tries to kill him again.

So I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 because the art work still isn’t doing it for me and calling it a review.


All New X-Factor #1-2 Review

Okay, I feel that I need to expand my horizons beyond the big names of Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Wolverine (not a fan of the guy lately). So I’ve decided, after reading the first two chapters of the fourth iteration of X-Factor going under the “Original” name of All-New X-Factor, to start reviewing this series. This review in particular will encompass Issues# 1 -2, which features Gambit, Polaris, and Quicksilver undergoing their first outing as part of the new X-Factor, which is now a corporate superhero team.

So let’s get to it with Issue #1, which opens with two scientists, the one named Hoffman being the important one, giving themselves pats on the back for a good and hard day’s work of torturing some mutant in the name of science. This is the Marvel Universe so that’s expected, but Hoffman seems even more douche-baggish with the sincere way he smiles as he says it’s for the greater good and then goes to get an espresso from Starbucks. That tells you two things, the first of which is that this is normal behavior that he does daily and the second is that he honestly believes what he says. But more on him later as the scene changes to Gambit.

Being one of the premiere thieves of the Marvel Universe, he’s taking to his role to liberate a statue locked into place with a mystic spell after navigating a bunch of laser alarms while hanging from the ceiling. It’s once he gets it that he finds that Wolverine is there and that the owner knew he had tried robbing him since he tripped an alarm made by Tony Stark, which must’ve hurt his ego as much as Logan talking down to him like a child and revealing he knows Gambit is running the Thieves’ Guild. Now, despite his condescending tone Wolverine has a point in that it poses no immediate threat and he is stealing…which is wrong I suppose.

But, if you’ve read Cable and the X-Force, Colossus and Domino successfully did the same with a Hell-hole device that was inside of a secure bank lock-box after releasing demonic hordes. Why these apocalyptic things are even left in one piece escapes me, but I’m with Gambit in that it would be better if the thing disappeared. After all, if some ancient sorcerer comes from three thousand years in the past and knows the spell to activate it, they’re screwed. And since this is the Marvel Universe that will probably happen in a later arc.

After getting dressed down by Wolverine, Gambit goes to a bar to unwind. Said unwinding involves beating the hell out of a bunch of guys saying New Orleans had Hurricane Katrina coming a few years back. We don’t blame him for the ass-kicking in that case, but before he can get another drink Polaris comes up to him and tells him to get a coffee to sober up so they can talk business. When he explains that Wolverine told him to go straight and narrow if he wants to stay at the school and remain a member of the X-Men (which I will point out has nothing to do with one another given the sheer amount of crap they get into illegal or otherwise) she asks him to take a trip with her to Virginia.

While on the private jet she explains she’s working with Serval Industries, a rising company that specializes in electronics and such. There’s a minor incident when someone launches a missile at the jet, but Polaris is the Mistress of Magnetism for a reason and it goes boom with a snap of her fingers. She then explains that Serval is basically Marvel’s version of Google and they have enemies, but since they help people she’s working for them as a member of their new corporate team, X-Factor, the name for which was bought from the previous owner Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) by Harrison Snow, the CEO of Serval, at Linda Kwan’s insistence as their PR person.

Now, this guy is smooth as silk but gives you that greasy feeling that Gambit picks up on and asks flat out if he’s evil. He laughs, not really denying it, but he wants Gambit on the team because Polaris recommended him. He then reveals Quicksilver, Polaris’ half-brother, wanted to join to look after her upon learning they got Polaris out of jail after she tried to shoot him and trashed a bar while drunk. Yeah, that doesn’t go over well.

We can clearly see that Quicksilver isn’t the most wanted person around by Polaris or Gambit, with one claiming he’s spying on them for the Avengers, which he denies (although the preview for issue #3 says otherwise) and the other thinking he’s evil, which he denies again. But ultimately Polaris decides to give him a chance. And it’s just in time as Harrison sends them on their first mission to deal with Hoffman, who it turns out is a biologist who has been employed by some A.I.M looking dudes and he wants them to go and do what they do best when it comes to heroes and shady organizations.

So they put on some snazzy outfits and go in destroying stuff to rescue the kidnapped victims. Gambit doesn’t really buy the timing and the excuse Harrison gave him for having them do this, but he’s done worse for less and gives it a go. The team arrives just as Hoffman is about to vivisect Fatale and he is ecstatic at more mutants arriving since they would be more test subjects.

So ends Issue #1.

Going straight into Issue #2, it picks up with Hoffman going to field test his research against the intruding mutants and unlocks a doorway to two mutants who are locked up in giant pods and clearly dislike the man, what with the torture and all. It then skips to our heroes being split apart and Polaris deciding to just trash the place in a fit of rage until she ends up where Fatale is. Gambit somehow escapes the standard Fall-into-Furnace trap with a well-placed charged card only to find himself at gun point. Quicksilver shows up about then and takes their guns away, but the chumps prove to be smarter than the average mooks as they have wrist mounted spares built into their bracelets. It doesn’t help as Quicksilver dodges the bullets and Gambit puts them down with another charged card.

On the subject of Polaris, she’s with Fatale who reveals Quicksilver gave her and the other two who were captured their powers back after M-Day but turned them into living bombs. The only reason they didn’t blow up was because they were frozen in time in another dimension and then pulled out of it by Hoffman, who siphoned off the excess energy. We then cut to Hoffman following up on that and getting ready to use that energy for himself to turn into an energy monster.

Cue the boss fight where Hoffman claims the mutants didn’t know the potential of their abilities or how to manipulate them and then claims that it was because of this that they let the world treat them like dirt and he can do it so much better than they can. Yet, for all that bragging, Gambit and Quicksilver put him down with an charged card inside his ear in less than five pages without a scratch. Pathetic.

Naturally the mutants he tortured want to finish him after he goes night-night, but they turn their hatred towards Quicksilver and make it clear they will get even for what he did to him one day. But that’s a story for another day as the comic ends.

Okay, review time.

Now art-wise I’ve seen better and it’s just not my style how the artist has drawn the series, but it’s still good enough for me to understand what’s going on. Plot-wise, it’s a good opening and doesn’t take forever like some other series that will remain nameless. On the minor characters, Hoffman is an affably evil douche who you find charming and want to throttle at the same time, Harrison is clearly shady but he’s big business so that comes with the territory, and it’s pretty clear Fatale, Abyss, and Reaper have a bone to pick with Quicksilver and will show up later as antagonists. The major characters interact with one another in an interesting manner, with Gambit and Polaris being rather close while no one really likes Quicksilver, but they do work well enough for a first mission with no real hiccups.

So I give both issues a 4 out of 5, as it is interesting but the artwork leaves a lot to be desired.


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Febuary 2014 Sugar Bits Update 2


Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics


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Febuary 2014 Sugar Bits Update 1


Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics


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Febuary 2014 Grim Tales Update 1


Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics