Over 10,000!

What, 10,000?

That’s right! Yesterday was the day when UncannyDerek.com reached over 10,000 views. For being open for only 14 months, I had no idea that so many people would have been interested in this site.

To celebrate, let’s all dance like Pocoyo.

Pocoyo

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

Thanks again for all of your support! And keep on Space Truckin’!

Ah, what the heck. Let’s watch some Stormtroopers dance, too.

Stormtroopers

Wednesday’s Reviews: Part 1 – X-Men, X-Men, and X-Men

Interestingly enough, I fell ill again. Luckily, I am much better than I was yesterday – well enough to get reviews up this week, too!

But get this: There were so many comics this week, I have to split them up into two different posts! So this post will involve just some X-Men comics that came out. I’ll also be avoiding New Mutants #22 due to the fact that I already am doing another X-review in the next post.

So for now, here is X-Men Legacy, Uncanny X-Men, and just plain ‘ol X-Men.

The next post shall feature X-Men: To Serve and Protect, The Avengers, and the final issue to Fantastic Four, #588.

X-Men Legacy

X-Men Legacy #245
Mike Carey (writer), Clay Mann (pencils), Jay Leisten (inker), Brian Reber (colours), Cory Petit (letters), Leinil Yu & Marte Gracia (cover). $2.99

And so chapter one of the Age of X begins, and boy, do we get some action here. In fact, three quarters of the book is really introducing characters and placing them in context of the story. We see Rogue, or “Legacy” or “Reaper” – depends on who is speaking to her – as an executioner to injured mutants. Cannonball orders Cyclops around. Legion helps forge the shield around the base. Danger runs the jail. . . Well, I guess not everyone is doing something different than their Earth-616 counterpart.

But what where the story really shines is post-battle. Wolverine – powerless – runs the bar. We see Psylocke, Iceman, Colossus, Gambit, and many others chatting about the battle and giving some back story involving how they got to where they are. Some involving the Phoenix destroying Albany, and others involving the Mutant Liberation Front.

Rogue, or Legacy, or Reaper, eventually finds a downed soldier who fought the mutants and turns out to be a mutant herself named “Katherine Pryde.” She is held in the jail by Danger, amongst many other psychic mutants. One being a unconscious Charles Xavier.

Although skeptical with the first issue, slowing seeing things unfold really adds intrigue to the pacing of the story. Not to mention seeing mutants use their powers for other means rather than what we’ve been used too really adds a neat spin on things. The second chapter in New Mutants #22 definitely throws a lot more into the story and changes focus for Rogue to be the main character – as she has been with Carey being the main writer.

Clay Mann’s artwork certainly shone in this issue as a particular scene involving Legion’s “Force Warriors” really wowed me. He perfectly gave them an appearance of hierarchy, but down-to-earth people.

A good first chapter with a bit too much fighting and little story to want readers to hang on. However, once you pick up chapter two in New Mutants #22, you’ll not want to stop reading.

Grade: 6/10

Uncanny X-Men

Uncanny X-men #533
Matt Fraction & Kieron Gillen (writers), Greg Land (pencils), Jay Leisten (inker), Justin Ponsor (colours), Joe Caramagna (letters), Greg Land & Justin Ponsor (cover). $3.99

Two major stories continue in the fourth installment of Quarantine. Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde fight Sebastian Shaw, while the X-Men off of Utopia, managed by Angel, try to snuff out the Sublime corporation who is now trying to sell off the X-Gene like a drug to rich people. – Yes, suddenly is “cool” to be a mutant – especially if you’re rich, for some reason.

Meanwhile, Sebastian beats up Emma Frost, making her run away (for a good reason, I’m sure), leaving Fantomex and Kitty Pryde to remain with Shaw.

Regardless, Angel’s X-Men crash the party which leads Sublime to hand out doses of Wolverine and Deadpool to everyone in the audience – leaving the X-Men greatly outnumbered. Cyclops, now aware of Sublime’s intentions, decides it’s time for the X-Men to break quarantine and fight back.

Although finally finding its place for pacing, the story is still a bit jumbled up. For example, the Shaw story could easily have been concluded already and is being stretched out for god-knows-what-reason. Secondly, I cannot figure out why people would want to be mutants. I think Fraction tried to justify it with Sublime’s “X-Men” looking cool saving people – but so what? The story seems forced by this means.

And I’m done talking about Greg Land. I’ve seen all of these faces in the book before. There’s nothing new here with his static characters. One particular panel had me literally laughing out loud. If you accused him of tracing Emma Frost before, then in this panel, he did it with a rabbit.

If it wasn’t for the art, this book would have scored at least a five.

Grade: 3/10

X-Men

X-Men #8
Victor Gischler (writer), Chris Bachalo (pencils, colours), Tim Townsend, Wayne Faucher, Jaime Mendoza & Al Vey (inkers), Joe Caramagna (letters), Terry & Rachel Dodson (cover). $3.99

Spinning from Spider-Man’s earlier issues for the storyline “Shed,” the X-Men team up with the wallcrawler to figure out why people have gone missing into New York’s sewers. By now, they’ve discovered it involves lizards, but of what design? Spider-Man suggests Kurt Connors’ but no one really has any answers. When a few children go missing, the team figures it has something to do with being loners and losers at school. Discovering their social networking sites, they find the children have one thing in common: they’ve been talking to someone and told to meet up at a certain location. Luckily with Wolverine already out in the field, he goes in to watch one kid get kidnapped by a lizard. Unfortunately he gets beat up and the kid is taken away – for research.

If there is one thing that drives this story, it’s Chris Bachalo. He, hands-down, draws the best Wolverine. The final few pages with Wolverine fighting the lizards is probably some of the best action I’ve seen him in all-year (minus Uncanny X-Force). His exaggeration with Spider-Man’s eyes also draw great attention and sets moods. Bachalo is flawless with his storytelling through art and is great at showing expressions.

Although not much progress is given through this issue from Gischler, the new X-Men series has a lot of promise as it picks up tons of steam – especially with Bachalo at the artistic helm.

Grade: 7/10

Wednesday’s Reviews: Uncanny X-Force, Generation Hope, Wolverine, Jubilee and “I Told Ya So!”

Now that I’m feeling 90% better, I can refocus on reviews again.

But first, I want to say how excited I am for an upcoming Marvel maxi-event. As I suggested in an earlier post, Alpha Flight would be back. Turns out I was right! What’s even better is that the Chaos War duo, Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, are at the helm of this eight-issue series. Given the two are some of Marvel’s best writers, I am beyond excited to see how this series turns out. I clearly have foresight. Watch out during election time.

But on to the reviews!

Uncanny X-Force

Uncanny X-Force #5
Rick Remender (writer), Esad Ribic (pencils, cover), John Lucas (inker), Matt Wilson (colours), Cory Petit (letters). $3.99

Just when the triumphant ending of the last-issue could not make Uncanny X-Force any better of a comic, Remender continues his brilliant run with a brand-new arc featuring Fantomex. (And arguably, given the last issue, anyone could’ve seen this coming – and it’s awesome). In a nutshell, the X-Force team are trying to gather themselves post last issues events. The team gathers without Fantomex in Warren’s bunker to find out that Deadpool has called a meeting to discover Deadpool actually has feelings – and remorseful ones at that! Already Deadpool has been seen as an entirely different character in X-Force with hardly any humour coming from him at all. It’s also great when Wolverine recognizes that he’s being “pulled in all directions” when he complains he doesn’t have much time for meetings.

Meanwhile, early in the story, we learn Fantomex is growing a world. However, due to last issue’s events, he visits his “mother” in the French Alps when he is suddenly attacked by a cyborg Cyclops, Captain America, Elektra, and a few others! Barely escaping with EVA, they crash land only to be found by a particular cyborg who invokes “death.”

As previously stated, Remender’s run with Uncanny X-Force has been great so far. Necessary characterization push the stories boundaries to places where other writers seem to miss. However, I really want to speak about the art in this book – which really has carried the stories. Changing artists, Esad Ribic takes the helm of X-Force and really slams this comic home. One thing I usually dislike about changing artists is how the styles change so drastically between books. Ribic’s artwork, while on its own level, still echoes that of Jerome Opena’s, making the book have a great art transition. Then, of course, John Lucas and Matt Wilson take over with inks and colours which add incredible depths to the many different locations they have to work with. From winter, to underground, to a burning building with a cyborg-Thing being lit by fire – the duo accent Ribic’s art flawlessly, taking the grey-white tones from the previous arc on to a different level.

Why are you still reading this? Read or re-read Uncanny X-Force!

Grade: 8/10

Generation Hope

Generation Hope #4
Kieron Gillen (writer), Salvador Espin & Scott Koblish (pencils, inks), Frank Martin (colours), Dave Sharpe (letters), Olivier Coipel & Chris Sotomayor (cover). $2.99

One may ask why I continuously review this book after the hell I’ve put it through. Well, it’s because of issues like this – where it defies everything I’ve said in the past and pushes forward with an excellent story. That’s right: Generation Hope #4 has an excellent story and brilliant artwork. And you know what? It could’ve have happened without the past three-issues.

Generation Hope #4 really excels at storytelling as there is very little action to drown in. The Five Lights make it to Utopia unscathed, but all are shocked about the events which transpired in Tokyo. Remorse and excitement fills the new mutants as they try to figure out their own paths. After landing, Wolverine and Theo get the scuffle they wished to have in prior issues, while the rest settle in. Kenji – the villain in the first three issues – is brought before Scott and Emma to decide his fate. After revealing his sorrow and Emma finding out that the Tokyo incident was truly and accident, they accept Kenji into the island. Meanwhile, Dr. Nemesis puts the other Four Lights in tests to figure out their powers and limitations. Teon becomes like a protective dog to Hope, Hope kisses Gabriel, and Kenji becomes unsure with the future.

Definitely taking a change of pace, the storyline revolves around how the Five Lights interact with one another. No longer are they showing off their powers as so much they are trying to find themselves. In doing so, we get to see how they are as people, rather than weapons. I’d also have to give credit to both artists and colourists for making this the prettiest book I’ve seen from Generation Hope. Mixing Western art with anime in particular panels literally put a smile on my face – particularly one with Gabriel and Dr. Nemesis.

I’m already set for the next issue as this one – despite the lack of action – has me pumped for more.

Grade: 7/10

Wolverine and Jubilee

Wolverine and Jubilee #2
Kathryn Immonen (writer), Phil Noto (pencils, inks, colours), Nathan Fairbairn & John Raunch (colours), Clayton Cowles (letters), Nimit Malavia (cover). $2.99

The Curse of the Mutants Aftermath continues as Jubilee was last seen in a shipping container with tons of dead bodies. Fortunately with Wolverine being at her side, he took her to Siberia – where the shipping container originated from. (Yes, the book just starts there.) Turns out, Wolverine recognized the shipping serial code and wants to believe Jubilee is innocent for the killings. He just can’t trust her yet. Due to Siberia’s constant overcast, Jubilee can go outside unharmed. Convenient!

Wolverine decides to take Jubilee out to fight her – for some “tough love,” and the two later settle in for the night at their hotel. The two are approached by the hotel’s owner and are told about how people and animals in the town are disappearing and the undead are walking. The two go to check out the area and Jubilee ends up fighting off a horde of zombie-esque creatures. Back at the hotel, Wolverine is then awoken to Jubilee kneeling at the door with the mysterious woman from the first issue grabbing on to her.

I want to love this issue, but I can’t due to the lack of intrigue. While I enjoy the Wolverine/Jubilee dynamics, I don’t really have a grasp to what is happening in Siberia until the last few pages. To top it off, the final page cliffhanger really was not so much of a shock as I don’t know who this woman is, nor do I necessarily care. I know she’s responsible for the massacre in the container, but I’m just not attached to the threat as of yet.

What saves the book is Noto’s great pencils. Seeing Jubilee in her X-uniform was very nostalgic for me and Noto’s great use of her costume when battling Wolverine certainly shone. I also have to comment on his work on faces as the large diversity in expressions gave a lot of character to the two as they are really the only ones in the book. The doom-and-gloom of Siberia’s landscape with colours and inks definitely held strong throughout the story. Days felt like nights with the longing forecast disallowing any positive moods to come from the town.

With a promising first issue and decent second one, Wolverine and Jubilee still have a lot of story to tell in two more issues.

Grade: 6/10

As for favourite covers, this week’s favourite totally goes to Carlo Pagulayan for Silver Surfer #1.

Silver Surfer

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

What a Wednesday!

This week was an extraordinary week for comics. Especially for me, given most of them were X-related titles.

X-Force, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men Legacy, New Mutants, and Chaos War: Alpha Flight were all on the docket for comics this week. One really screwed up with consistencies in the story, while the other one really disappointed me with art direction.

Unfortunately, they are the two major X-titles: Uncanny and Legacy.

X-Force #2

But first, let me say that X-Force has the best art and nostalgia for any comic I’ve read in a while. There was a particular scene with Archangel and Wolverine going through a secret base of Warren’s. The base is considered the hideout for X-Force, but also a back-up base in case Utopia was ever to fall.
The insides are what counts. Great halls show old pictures of the various X-teams over the decades, plus a room with old costumes, such as Havok’s 60’s-80’s attire, Sunfire’s original helmet, and enemies as statues, such as an eerily stuffed Brood warrior. Essentially, Warren built an X-Museum. It looks glorious. Art with Jerome Opena – win!

But on to the reviews. Both stories were not too bad, it is that I am at my breaking point for comic art and the various cross-over issues. Uncanny X-Men #530 was a comic book with porno. Greg Land’s art is by far, getting to be too much. He is a great artist, and I respect that. However, he has no respect for the characters as it is clearly official that every X-character can produce an O-face at will. The book was physically demeaning to practically every female X-character, while Cyclops and Angel look like they’re ripped out of a cover for a romance novel.

Legacy failed with consistency in story for me. Firstly, did Mr. Mike Carey not get the memo that Magneto has left Utopia? I understand that the previous plot had Magneto in it, and I gave it some grace in terms of letting it catch up with the rest of the stories. But now we’ve started anew again, and Magento’s still here. Then the same day when I pick up Uncanny, Anole is suffering with a massive disease and the flu, yet in Legacy, he’s playing baseball. Doesn’t Colossus want to know where Kitty is? I mean, in Uncanny, she’s off with Frost – but then again, there’s also a flu outbreak. It really cannot connect well, and it’s becoming frustrating.

I, of course, have not even decided to discuss the Generation Hope/X-Men/Vampire storyline at all because I’d be in a real mess then.

Uncanny X-Men #530

Uncanny X-Men #530

But for storyline in each – individually, they do some things very well. Uncanny’s run with Fraction, I believe, needs a breath of fresh air. I know Kieron Gillen is joining the bandwagon, so let’s hope we get some boot-up there. Uncanny’s story with the Sublime Corp creating the original X-Men lineup with test subjects seems very interesting to me. I mean, sure, it could easily be Mimic again, but mixing a “new” mutant team with the X-Men stranded on Utopia definitely leaves a great opening for new possibilities. On top of that, only a few mutants are left outside of Utopia – refused back in due to the sudden pandemic which is affected a lot of mutants. Even Wolverine somehow has caught it.

The X-Men outside of Utopia consist of Angel, Dazzler, Storm, Pixie and a few others – making it a different team with characters who have not necessarily been explored in a long-while. As for figuring out what the Sublime X-team will do to the outsider X-Men – it’ll be an interesting plot.

Unfortunately for Land’s art, I found it detracted a lot of the story. Most particular in the first few pages with Emma completely posing like she is in Playboy, with random angles from behind of just her butt. I find the art great, but also unacceptable. For shame, Land.

Grade: 5/10

X-Men Legacy #242

Here, Mike Carey shows the readers what the X-Men can do to help San Fransisco post-Second Coming. The city is damaged, so Cyclops sends the X-Men to help. Of all mutants, Random is included (which in itself is random). It’ll be interesting to see what he will play in the upcoming arc. Included are also Rogue, Danger, Magneto, Colossus, Psylocke, and the others listed below.

X-Men Legacy #242

In the story Hellion has new hands, and went with the group to help rebuild. However, he is upset with Hope as he feels like he lost his hands for nothing. I find his pain completely understandable, while also feeling his frustration. Yes, Carey has made me feel for Hellion. We’ll see how far that goes.

Another body to help was Omega Sentinel/Karima Shapandar – who is mainly the plot point of the story. Without ruining too much, just remember she was turned into a Omega Sentinel by Bastion during Operation: Zero Tolerance. Also keep in mind that Bastion was the reason for Second Coming and tried to kill Hope Summers.

Oh, and Hope Summers went along to help the city, too.

Epic.

As for art, Paul Davidson both penciled and inked the story, which I always find commendable for any artist to do. No longer are Rogue’s breasts a focal point in Legacy, and the art has been toned-down to normal levels. I do have some complaints with faces, as Hope seems to be a different girl in almost every panel. The final page shows Karima in action with zero expression. Whether intentional or not, I found it dry.

However, I love it when comics try and tackle issues which are usually ignored after a massive battle. And also one that isn’t Damage Control. Add in a BRILLIANT cover by Leinil Yu, and you’re set for a new arc.

Grade: 7/10

Also, check out at Weekly Comic Book Review, Roman Colombo’s reviews of the Messiah series, or what he would like to call, “Messianic X Cycle.” (Just go with it). The reviews are greatly in-depth, and I share a lot of the same views with him. So go over and check them out:
Messiah CompleX, Messiah War, and Second Coming.

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!