A Busy Week

Yet again I am struck with more work at my real-life job, leaving me no time to work on this website dealy.

However, I have been writing a lot recently (as you may have read from months ago, I am a striving writer), so I’m happy with how everything is turning out thus far.

What I have also been working on – unfortunately – is organizing comics. Working has strained me from the physical task of “putting away” things. (Oh, let’s just admit I’m lazy.) Either way, this is what I have to deal with today:

Comics!

If you look real closely, you may notice X-Men Legacy #250, as well as some old trades I haven’t sorted through since re-reading them. But yes, that implies it has been more than a month since my last organization. (There’s probably 70+ comics there.) So alas!

One thing I would love to show you folks is the GORGEOUS work Marko Djurdjevic did on New Mutants #27 this week. I absolutely fell in love with this cover, as it’s probably one of my favourites of his now. I love the simple backgrounds and the brutality of Sugar Man. It is, quite simply, an excellent cover.

New Mutants 27 Sugar Man

Maybe I’ll start posting writing tips again soon. . . Hmm.

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Classic Comic Friday: The Infinity Gauntlet

The first Friday of each month, I will review a classic comic from my own personal collection. Due to Canada Day falling on a Friday and my work schedule being hectic, pardon the week lateness of this review.

My last Classic Comic Friday was the graphic novel, X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. I had a lot of fun reviewing such a great book, that I really wanted to do something else that I enjoyed reading. But I also wanted that something else to be a major storyline. The only logical conclusion in my mind was the brilliantly written story, The Infinity Gauntlet by writer Jim Starlin, and artists George Pérez and Ron Lim in 1991.

Admittedly, as a child I overlooked this six-issue mini series due to the fact that I was still a kid focusing only on X-Men. Looking back on it now, I wouldn’t have had any idea who or what Thanos or Adam Warlock were. In fact, I can guarantee you, the immensity of showing the Celestials, the Watcher, Eternity, Eon, etc, would not had even impacted me the way it did later in my life.

Didn’t this mini series just kick your butt though?! Nothing could have prepared me for the immensity of this story. This was the first time I, and presumably you, feared for the Marvel Universe. I mean, what could stop Thanos?!

The Infinity Gauntlet

The Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 (July – December, 1991)
Jim Starlin (writer), George Pérez & Ron Lim (pencils, covers), Josef Rubinstein, Tom Christopher & Bruce Solotoff (inks), Max Scheele, Ian Laughlin & Evelyn Stein (colours), Jack Morelli (letterer). $2.50 each

After gaining the six Soul Gems in The Thanos Quest mini series, finally Thanos places them in the Gauntlet to control the universe. And quite literally, he does control the universe. With the Gauntlet, Thanos first tries to impress the entity of Death – the being responsible for allowing Thanos to gain the Soul Gems. However, Death refutes him leaving Thanos to wonder what the price is of becoming a god. With the devil Mephisto at Thanos’ side, Mephisto convinces Thanos to prove himself worthy to Death by using his power for evil. (As if he wasn’t going to do that already.)

From there, with the snap of his fingers, Thanos wipes out half of the universe’s population. On Earth, the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. try to figure out what has caused such a catastrophic disappearance. Glimpses of the Skrull worlds and Asgard show readers that this is not only an Earth event. Not until the Silver Surfer asks for aid by Dr. Strange does everyone understand the gravity of what is about to occur.

Meanwhile, still unable to gain the respect and love from mistress Death, Thanos wipes out a series of planets – sending shock waves to Earth, destroying countries, flooding continents, and knocking Earth off of its orbit from the sun. Earth begins its plunge into a new ice age. It also destroys the Rainbow Bridge, stranding Odin and other gods gathered there from fighting Thanos.

Revitalizing himself from the Soul Gem, Adam Warlock finds Dr. Strange and summons Earth’s strongest and remaining heroes to give Thanos the fight of their lives – and what a blast that is! Not only does it feature Earth’s mightiest heroes getting the beat down by Thanos, but it also features some jaw-dropping moments. Wolverine’s defeat, Cyclops’, Nova’s, and Thor’s death, Iron Man’s beheading – what a terrifying experience for readers.

The Infinity Gauntlet Thanos

After their defeat, the universes mightiest entities take on Thanos, including Love, Hate, Eon, Galactus and Chronos. After their monumental defeat, Thanos takes on Eternity itself. Eternity’s defeat and Thanos’ assimilation as the ultimate cosmic entity only becomes his downfall. Leaving his physical body, Thanos then becomes the embodiment of the entire universe. Unfortunately for Thanos, it becomes his ultimate downfall.

With a thrilling conclusion which threw readers through the ringer of emotions and excitement, The Infinity Gauntlet not only proved to be a worth company-wide crossover, but it literally goes back to the age-old adage, “With great power comes great responsibility.” But that’s not all.

Jim Starlin did not just write this story just to get a message across. He did not write it about “whomever wields this glove.” We’ve seen that before. It is about something so much more that most writers should look at this series as a benchmark. It set up something incredibly fearful in the Marvel Universe. It created the ultimate weapon that absolutely nothing can defeat. To top it all of, it got into the hands of comic books greatest nihilist.

However, it’s still more than just that.

What Starlin made was an incredible, adventurous story. It disrupted the status quo, built great suspense and a climax not even recent story arcs could hold a candle to. Within six comics, The Infinity Gauntlet did more than what most novels could accomplish. The only kicker is that The Infinity Gauntlet is one of those stories that goes under the radar due because it deals with space.

If only more people actually read what happened in Marvel space rather than what just happens on Earth. But I digress.

To be also considered is the fantastic work both Pérez and Lim put into this story. The incredible depth and detail put into the six issues outshines many artists today. My favourite page in the entire series is Thanos’ triumph over Eternity (shown below) as it represents the absolute vastness of the Gauntlet’s power. Although a simple drawing, the concept is immaculate and is skewed within the entire series. The art is nothing-less than magnificent. The versatility of these artists to create practically every Marvel character shows immaculate artistry.

Although the ending itself arguably made the rest of the Marvel Universe “forget” what happened (yeah, there’s always a catch), The Infinity Gauntlet shows us what it’s like to be a god for six issues. I’m afraid that I loved every minute of it.

Grade: 9.5/10

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So until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Next month, I’ll be reverting back to single issues for Classic Comic Friday. Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

The Infinity Gauntlet Thanos Eternity

Wednesday’s Reviews: Uncanny X-Fear Itself

In case you thought we were all done with Fear Itself, it only ramps up in Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #1. Not to mention, it has one gorgeous cover.

Fear Itself Uncanny X-Force

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #1 of 3
Rob Williams (writer), Simone Bianchi (pencils, inks, cover), Simone Peruzzi (colours, cover), Joe Sabino (letters). $2.99

What can Fear Itself bring to one of the most ruthless teams in the Marvel U?

Up to now, Rick Remender has developed this covert-ops X-team into a tight family. Through his series, we’ve seen some pretty interesting things when it comes to our heroes and their emotions – especially with Deadpool. With Rob Williams’ take on the team in Fear Itself, those emotions carry over, building up into one fear-invoking story.

And what’s best is this Fear Itself story has not changed at all how the team operates with Remender’s run the book. There are a ton of moments where I worried about the team and how they would react to particular events. Since Remender wrote UXF as a family, I can only think of them as such – doing things father says and questioning the consequences later. Those types of moments are building in this story. It leads to some action-packed moments with the team, but also doesn’t answer many real questions to what X-Force is doing in Fear Itself. It’s just a lot of teasing at this point. Also, Kick-Ass anyone?

I do welcome Bianchi’s art to the book. It’s rough, brutal, and tied in with Peruzzi’s colours, it makes for a nice gritty comic – exactly what UXF is. I love Bianchi’s work on the teams faces with their surroundings. I love escarpments! As for faces, they’re great looking in detail – especially with Psylocke and Deadpool. But despite the faces, Bianchi does falter on a few places. Body parts are drastically larger or disproportionate than they should be. Psylocke’s breasts are literally all over the place, while a particular full-page spread shows Wolverine much wider than ever. What I found interesting with Peruzzi’s colours is the use of white-space during some action scenes. While battles are usually fast-paced, these single coloured or simply non-coloured backgrounds really add some effect to the action.

A dysfunctional family at best, I cannot fathom what else will come to X-Force in the next two issues ahead. But I’m very excited to see how it will look.

Grade: 7/10

But on to that cover: Look how badass everyone is. The expression Psylocke is making, an “as if” during a mushroom cloud? Love it. Archangel’s wings fraying? Awesome. Wolverine, Fantomex and Deadpool slowly exploding? Brilliant. This is probably one of the coolest UXF covers made (And they’ve all been great, thus far!)

And don’t forget to check out UncannyDerek on Facebook and Twitter!

So until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Green Lantern vs. X-Men First Class

I’ve finally caught up watching both Green Lantern and X-Men First Class movies. Both have been doing very well at the box office, but both have been reviewed very differently via their critics. GL is sitting at 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, while XMFC is sitting at a comfortable 87%. Given that both movies came out weeks between one another, I figured it would be a good idea to ask myself, and you, “Which one is better?”

My Initial Take

I’m a huge X-fan, so it surprised a lot of people I knew who found out that I did not see it on opening night. Why? From the first announcements of the cast, I knew this was not going to be a normal X-Men movie. I mean, Azazel as an adult with Mystique as a child and friends to Xavier? Alex Summers with no Cyclops? Riptide? Really? What happened to Darwin? It was a confusing mess from the get-go in my already established X-Continuity mind. As the movie came closer, I figured the movie would end up being an action flick with the X-Men names attached to it.

With Green Lantern, I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I love corny movies, so a 27% was not going to sway my opinion on the movie. Most people seemed to dislike it because the plot was too simple. Well I loved the 80’s Transformers movie – and I argue that it’s way better than Bay’s recent romp of films. But looking at it, it’s a terrible movie done right. That was my expectation for Green Lantern after hearing the reviews from it come in.

Brace yourself for very minor spoilers ahead.

Green Lantern

GL stayed pretty close to the source material. Hal Jordan was a pilot whose father died when he was a boy. He’s arrogant and Abin Sur gives the ring to Hal. I don’t really have to go into full-detail about the movie, but in a nutshell, GL was superiorly closer to the source material than any X-Men movie thus far.

But I digress: Which movie is better?

Better at what though?

For me, Green Lantern nailed the origin story. Although there was not a lot of time spent on Oa (and I wish there was), viewers could get the gist of the story without having read a comic before. In fact, you could probably pick up a GL comic now (for the most part) and really get a good grasp on what is being told solely because the movie was that easy-going to its viewers.

The movie did fall flat on a lot of dialogue though. In a nutshell, it was Hal Jordan saying, “I’m not afraid. I won’t be afraid. I’m no longer afraid.” In fact, that was pretty much the bulk of the movie. It moved at a slow pace but ultimately came out triumphant in capturing what Green Lantern is. To top it all off, the effects were fantastic.

I loved the final battle scene with Parallax and really enjoyed the time spent on Oa. The scenes where Hal trained with Kilowog and Sinestro were spectacular. Actually, every scene with Sinestro was well done. My only beef was how Ryan Reynolds looked in the costume. It never really did look right – but it’s minuscule when you look at the grand scheme of effects used in the film.

Despite its PG-rated goodness, the film gave us a true portrayal of Hal Jordan. It just did it in a very basic, arguably too simplistic, of ways.

First Class received a PG-13 rating, and justifiably so. The violence is a lot more real, the language gets foul, and Emma Frost hardly wears any clothing. What it also gains is a more mature story. And no, I do not suggest PG-13 movies are better than PG ones. This is just my lazy segue into X-Men First Class.

Taking viewers to the 1960’s, we get a young Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr (or Max Eisenhardt, for you hardcore fans), Mystique, Havok, Banshee, Darwin, Angel, and various others mutants compiled into an intriguing and unique story about the Cuban Missile Crisis and who was really behind it all. And you know what? It works.

X-Men First Class

For a movie not about anything ever seen before in the X-Men comics, XMFC takes the characters we know and puts them into something entirely different. XMFC takes the undertone of prejudice for mutants and throws them directly into the time where the Western World was on the brink of war. With two major conflicting ideas, the movie forces us to ask about compassion and to justify violence. Indeed, both Xavier and Magneto are the catalysts to both ideals, but the viewer is indirectly asked to make the choice themselves. Green Lantern has none of these deep undertones to it. Any that are suggested in GL are blatantly told to you, (“Don’t be afraid” “Have courage”) while little is left to the imagination of what the movie is really about.

Does that make XMFC a better movie than GL? Of course not.

Another way to look at this is from what I mentioned before with GL. If you saw GL, you can pick up a comic and understand the character or what has happened in the comics rather easily. X-Men is a whole new ball game. There is no way one could read an X-Men comic after seeing the movie and try to compare the two. The only thing XMFC shared with the X-Men comic stories were the character names and some of their powers. Sebastian Shaw had a energy feeding ball of energy, while Darwin *spoiler* could not even keep himself alive for more than ten minutes of the movie. If you’ve read about Darwin, you know that killing him is practically impossible.

Final Thoughts

When comparing both GL and XMFC, GL succeeds tremendously to sticking with the source material, while XMFC did anything but. Quite literally, XMFC could have been any movie with any characters from any series of anything. However “X-Men” was tagged on to it, and thusly, it must be an X-Men movie, despite not being anything to do with X-Men, right? I don’t know.

I mean, with DC’s reboot around the corner, and X-Men already having multiple universes with Ultimate X-Men or Age of Apocalypse, should it matter if XMFC followed the story or not?

Is X-Men First Class a better movie than Green Lantern because it had a better story? Or is Green Lantern a better movie because it followed the source material?

What do you think?

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Keep on Space Truckin’!