Sunday, October 30, 2011

Comic Book news, Week of October 24, 2011

Presenting my take on the some of the comic books released this week. I didn't really pick up that many comic-books this week, but I have to ay that three particular books stood out. The first is the much anticipated Wolverine and the X-Men - which is a part of the on-going Regenesis series that follows the closing of Uncanny X-Men with issue #544 (Sep 1963 to Oct 2011).

Dead after almost 48 years. You'd think that Marvel would have at least let it hit year 50. My personal guess is that the new Uncanny X-Men comic book which will chronicle Cyclops' X-Men and their attempts at global conquest, will eventually revert back to issue #545 when the time is right (Which is a tactic that both Marvel and DC have used several times in the past with Wonder Woman's reboot being the most recent if I'm right.)

The other two nice comics I picked up this week were Ultimates (Book 4) #3; and Vampire: The Marvel Undead # 1 - which is basically the Marvel Universe encyclopedia chronicling this time just the vampire nation.

Wolverine and the X-Men's 1st issue was written by Jason Aaron and penciled by Chris Bachalo. I have to say that I did indeed enjoy the first issue of Wolverine as headmaster of the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning. Let's pause here to note that the school shows a decidedly larger student population than what the X-Men brought from Utopia, but they haven't discussed the school's full composition and charter yet.

Among the highlights of Wolverine and the X-Men #1 were:
  • Professor Charles Xavier congratulating, bestowing his blessings, admitting his surprise and generally offering Headmaster Logan his condolences because Logan is about to become dirt poor once the new - really cool looking - mansion (That's Shi-Argets blown up again. It's nice to know where the founder of the X-Men stands. I wonder if he will be showing up in Cyclops' X-Men. And if he does, will he offer the same support. Personally I hope he won't. I also like the "free-agent" feel that Professor Xavier now has. There's no way that he'll be working toward the fulfillment of his dream which means maybe there will be another group of X-Men somewhere out there (Fingers crossed), or maybe he'll end up with X-Factor. 
  • The new cast. Of the new teaching staff, only Husk, Iceman, Headmistress Shadowcat, Iceman, Rachel Grey, Toad - seriously Logan, give him a bed, that's all he wants (It's unbecomingly elitist of the X-Men to mistreat Toad) - and Vice Principal Beast have made an appearance. Rogue, Frenzy, Gambit, Cannonball and, the one I'm most waiting for, Chamber have yet to make an appearance. There are three new major characters, the socially adjusted Broodling; Kid Gladiator (An arrogant lout who's being punished for destroying half the Shi-Ar Royal City) - son of THE Gladiator (Whom Cannonball once silenced); and Warbird, not to be confused with Deathbird, Kid Gladiator's seemingly reluctant bodyguard.  Rounding things up, Beast left an inter-dimensional door open and now the school has a Bamf - think of Nightcrawler reduced to around three feet tall and as menacing as a Gremlin, then add around fifty more teleporting around. 
  • The imminent destruction of the school - again - which may, or may not, be because of the new Hellfire club.
  • The "Things to come" spread at the end of the comic book which shows:
    • Professor Xavier's wheelchair
    • Kitty Pryde in a hospital bed with tiny X-Men entering her through her blood stream.
    • A plethora of alien incursions
    • A zombie
    • AND! The Pheonix - not Rachel Grey (So far)
What bothers me the most about this comic book is that is tells a story that I do believe I've read before. I've seen this gathering of kids under a Headmaster and a Headmistress that had Xavier's blessing in a school that eventually ended up closed and filled with a few dead students. This was in Massachusetts where Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters was transferred under the leadership of Banshee and the White Queen. This was in 1994. The comic was called Generation X. Some of these students actually lived to be X-Men. Some did not. 

The comparison between the two cannot be helped because, despite the fact that Generation X was created by Scott Lobdell, it was drawn by the same artist that now does Wolverine and the X-Men, Chris Bachalo. Personally, this does not bode well for the series given Generation X's closure in 2001 75 issues later.

Photo courtesy of
The next two comic books of note include Marvel's Ultimates Book 4, number 3. The 1st two issues of the third book of the Ultimates showed the Ultimates and their European Union allies getting beat back by an alien (?) group of genetic supremacists called the Children of Tomorrow who literally harvest the genetic and technological strengths of their enemies and literally evolving to counter them. These new opponents of the Ultimates are building a mega city that's spreading through Europe and the Ultimates have not been able to stop them from spreading. Already the European Union has lost ALL of it's super-soldiers under the leadership of Captain Britain and issue 2 showed these aliens destroying ALL of the Asgardians. Now only Thor remains and he dons the armor he used all the way back in Book 1 that has been kept and upgraded by Tony Stark. But after a failed offensive attempt involving all SHIELD's helicarriers and Nuclear missiles, Thor takes his leave from Iron Man and goes seemingly to his death alone against the alien horde.

Where is Captain America?

Last up is a reference book that is a must have for all Vampire lovers out there: The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Vampire edition. The book talks about the Marvel Universe's staple Vampires and Vampire hunters including Dracula (Updated), Lilith, the recently deceased Xarus, Blade, the Van Helsings and the Harkers. The handbook also discusses the history and conditions of Marvel's latest vampires: Spitfire and Jubilee of the X-Men. The handbook also provides a look into the weirdest vampire.... alive (kinda)... Bessie, AKA Hellcow. 

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