Thursday, August 2, 2012

All Star Western #10 Review

I keep telling myself that next week I'm going to go out and do my part to support the smaller creator owned books out there. The ones that explore different genres and show that not all comics have to be about fighting and people in capes.

But when I get  to my local store I see a wrack full of titles that I don't know anything about with moody, artistic covers. I reach a hand into my pocket and realize I only have $20(which is enough for maybe four/five titles). I wimp out and make a compromise, getting a mainstream title in a different genre.

It helps that All Star Western, by the writing team of Palmiotti and Gray, is just so good. #11 continues that streak.

Without giving away the plot completely, we are introduced to Jonah Hex's protege' and former lover the physically and emotionally scarred Tallulah. From there we are brought into the plot as Tallulah's beef with a local casino owner slowly draws in Hex, Dr. Arkham, The Court of Owls and a faction of the Followers of Kaine all at once in what is sure to be a massive western-style cluster****.

As much as I love that dusty, old bounty hunter Jonah Hex, I feel like this series wouldn't grab me quite as much if it was just Hex wandering across the pages growling and punching people. Thankfully Palmiotti and Gray provide a full, colorful cast that can bounce off the main character in interesting ways.

The twitchy, neurotic Dr. Arkham and Jonah Hex make a hilariously odd ball partnership and watching the morally ambivalent Hex play against the almost super hero-ly straight laced vigilantes Nighthawk and Cinnamon provides a lot  interesting interactions.

Moritat's art is fantastic as well, covering a flexible, almost cartoony style with a thin layer of dusty grittyness to give it that Old West feel. His faces are detailed and expressive as well, his action sequences thrilling.

All Star Western continues to be a solid book every week and I encourage everyone out there to pick up an issue and support it. This is my big non-superhero title because, as much as I want to encourage genre diversity, I'm probably not going to be picking the first issue of Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld.

Sorry. I knew how much all you guys were looking forward to that.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wonder Woman #11 Review

Hey guys, I'm going to try and keep this review short so let's just dig in and not do the whole opening spiel where I go,"Hey guys, yadda yadda...."

Oh wait, I think I'm doing it again.

Brian Azzarello(curse him and his hard to spell name!) and Clifford Chiang put out another great read with Wonder Woman #11. When it first came out I had read a little about the series online and I remember really liking some ideas, like Wonder Woman as a monster hunter, and not liking others.For example, Amazons sleeping with sailors to procreate and then murdering them.

Kinda dark. Hard to like the residents of Paradise Isle after that.

Anyway, just a few weeks ago my friend hooked me up with several issues and I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed them. So when I found myself in my local comic book store last week I was compelled to pick up the newest issue.

In this issue, Wonder Woman confronts Apollo and Artemis who have teamed up to abduct Zola and the unborn child of Zeus she's carrying. I'm  going to try and avoid spoilers for once so that's all you really need to know story wise.

I think it's enough, a concept so wonderfully simple that it manages to cut straight to the core of Wonder Woman without having to say a word. Surrounded by scheming gods and vicious monsters, Diana confronts them head on in a quest to protect an innocent life.

The side characters in this book are what really bring me in and help keep the story grounded. Azzarello writes the gods and goddesses of Olympus as a real life dysfunctional family, making the relationships between each character unique and interesting. Meanwhile, Clifford Chiang's character designs make them fascinating to look at. His action sequences are nothing to sneeze at either.

I could go on about everything I like about this series but I'll save that for another day. Wonder Woman #11 was a great read. Brian Azzarello is doing more than just pumping out good Wonder Woman comics. He is recreating the character's entire universe, setting a tone that will hopefully inspire other writers for years to come.

I'm a recent convert to the character. I've always liked the concept of her but whenever I picked up an issue it just wouldn't connect. What do fans of the old-school Wonder Woman think of Azarello's take on the character?

Friday, July 27, 2012

X-Factor #240 Review

With X-Factor #240, titled Run Layla Run as a refrence to the film by Tom Tykwer,  Peter David gives us another one-and-done story, this one shedding a little light on the character of Layla Miller. We see her personality, her powers, and her goals explored. That's good for me because Layla has been one of my least favorite characters in this title. She popped up in part of a cross-over that I didn't read and for awhile her defining characteristics were mysteriousness and the incredibly vague power of "knowing things." Both things which I found more annoying than intriguing.

This issue gives us a look at how exactly Layla's powers work, or more appropriately how they don't work. Once privy to knowledge of future events, Layla's "future sight" has been scewed and she is now being bombarded with potential futures.

As this is going on our hero races across town trying to save the life of a young girl and through her, the life of a friend.

 Neil Edwards is back for this issue, his pencils providing the necessary kinetic energy for this story to work. A lot of artists on a super hero book might not be able handle an issue as down to earth as this, where the main action is a foot race across town and none of the characters appear in costume. Edwards pulls it off with style though.

The issue uses color as a simple but effective means to convey time, with past sequences in black and white and future sequences tinted in red, blue, green, or yellow.

X-Factor continues to be an exciting an unconventional little corner of the Marvel universe. Can't wait for next issue.

What are other people thinking off X-Factor right now.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Earth 2 #3 Review

Welcome back to the Freeze Ray where I have some more comic book reviews for you. Why? Because my real life is empty and meaningless. Just kidding.

Kind of.

Lets pretend that embarassing personal revelation never happened and get moving shall we? Today we are starting with DC's Earth 2 by writer James Robinson and artist Nicola Scott.

This issue picks up right where last issue left off with Alan Scott's train exploding just as he's about to propose to his boyfriend Sam while, in Poland, Hawkgirl drops in on Jay Garrick a.k.a The Flash.

*SPOILER ALERT* Turns out Sam is dead, killed in the explosion. That's kind of awkward, considering DC made such a big deal about Alan Scott being their new gay character then killed off his love interest in page one of the next issue. So Sam may have died but he gets to live on as the inspiration for Alan's new life as a superhero, much like Bruce Wayne's parents. That must be very comforting.

I'm sure gay comic book readers will be totally cool with that and no one will call bullshit on it or anything.

To make a long story short Alan gets infused by the "energy of the earth" becoming the planets new champion Green Lantern. Much like Mercury did in the second issue, the Talking Green Fireball that gives Alan his powers offers some cryptc warnings about a great evil that is threatening the world and then prombtly dies(fizzles out).

In Poland, Hawkgirl decides to test the Flash's fighting skills, stomping his butt in the process. We see The New 52 version of Solomon Grundy make a devastating appearance at the end and that's the issue.

I'v been finding Earth 2 interesting but a little dissapointing. Individually the art and the writing are both very good but they just don't seem to be meshing together that well and as a result the comic feels very stiff to me.

Nicola Scott's style reminds me a little of Ivan Reis. It's what I consider ideal "superhero art" staying true to the very western/classical concept of the idealized superhero body while maintaining a certain sleekness and avoiding figures that are ridiculously muscular. The introduction of Solomon Grundy  and the scenes between Hawkgirl and the Flash stick out in my mind, filled with lots of dynamic engery and characters that are beautiful to look at...OK, maybe less so with Grundy

My point is her style puts the hero front and center at all times but Robinson's scripts give little for her characters to do. Lots of dialogue is crammed into small ballons but the art doesn't follow the beats of the conversation and the characters expressions don't do much to emphasis the weight of the words.

There were also a couple embarassing cases where it looks like the letterist accidentaly dropped a word. This isn't uncommon but at one point we have Jay Garrick incredulously repreating the phrase,"Trust you?! Trust you?!" which no one in in the comic has actually said. Did an entire conversation go missing or something?

The series is just three issues in so far so there's more than enough time for the creative team to get a good rythm going. The good still out weighs the bad in my opinion and the characters, the designs, and the concepts are all intriguing enough to keep me reading.

What did you guys think about this issue? Feel free to post your thoughts below. Also, this isn't hugely relevant but I am loving the new Hawkgirl. Anybody else?

Monday, July 16, 2012

X-Factor # 239 Review

Next up in my review roster is another X-title. X-Factor #239, written by Peter David with art by Paul Davidson.

Having very much enjoyed the previous three issues of X-Factor, I found this one a little disappointing in comparison. The main plot involves Banshee(with a little help from Havoc) trying to clear her name because last issue three people showed up dead in Ireland, apparently killed by Banshee's signature sonic scream.
Turns out the culprit is a real live(undead?) Banshee called The Morrigan, trying to lure Theresa out and kill her for "pretending to be a banshee."

The books A-plot is wrapped up pretty quickly as Banshee takes out her namesake's familiar and Havoc drops a lighthouse on her head. Both the conflict and the resolution felt a bit unsatisfying, the villain set up poorly, given some brief characterization and then killed off by the end of two issues.  

Lilith, a character I know nothing about, pops up at the end to give a cryptic warning about future threats and then flies off.

I've only been reading X-Factor for the last four issues so perhaps Peter David is tapping into some back story here that would have lent the story greater depth if I read it. As it was I thought this issue's main plot fell a bit flat.

I did, however, enjoy the sub-plots set up in this issue. Back at X-Factor's headquarters Strong Guy tries to spark and unlikely relationship with M.

Strong Guy and M. A Pairing so weird I can't help but love it.

Davidson's art is a major reason this issue falls short of a fun, self contained one shot. His pencils have a very scratchy feel that makes some panels look great while others seem cramped and distorted. The few action scenes just don't have enough punch to them and moments that are meant to have emotional weight feel sterile.

This issues got X-Factor's signature snappy dialogue and a couple good moments but I'm eager for the storyline to find it's way back to the other characters.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ultimate Comics X-Men #14 Review

I’ve been away for awhile…again. Let’s blame it on computer problems and not on me being lazy or distracted or anything. Minor update: earlier today I also got my wisdom teeth pulled so I’m writing this review with a mouth full of bloody gauze and a head full of Vicodin, but I won’t let that stop me! The Freeze Ray will continue to uh…fire? Freeze things?

Never mind.

Today were are taking a look at the recently released Ultimate Comics X-Men #14 by star writer Brian Wood(of Northlanders and DMZ) and artist Paco Medina. If I had to describe Ultimate X-Men #14 in one word it would have to be: brooding.
Yeah, Ultimate X-Men #14 is really, really brooding. Most of the issue is set up, dominated by Kitty Pryde’s internal monologue as she explains the current situation to the reader. Basically America is ****ed-up. Reed Richards has turned evil and bombed Washington DC, New York is in ruins, and Stryker’s Nimrod Sentinels have carved out a big chunk of the South Western United States for themselves, launching a campaign of hate and violence against Mutants. Most of this exciting stuff happened in issues of other series and is simply told to us rather than shown in any interesting way, but that’s how it goes in big event comics. You make the best of what you can fit in a single issue.
Kitty Pryde and her band of mutant rebels are road tripping their way into the heart of Striker’s territory in an attempt to take him out and cripple the anti-mutant forces.
Besides all the set up and exposition-ing not much happens in this issue except for Kitty getting groped by some rednecks at a militia checkpoint.

Yeah…and then the comic takes a brief stop in kinda/maybe/pseudo rape territory. And that’s always a fun place to be.  On an intellectual level I can appreciate the nudge toward realism. These are four teenage kids traveling alone in a very hostile environment and the scene afterward between Kitty and James Hudson is very touching. On the other hand…this scene was not fun to read and made the entire comic not fun to read. Especially because, when I start thinking about it the whole scene doesn’t seem all that necessary.
When the guard gets fresh I find myself wondering why Kitty doesn’t just break his jaw. I don’t feel any tension when a gun gets pointed at her head because this is a character who can phase through bullets. She can turn super dense and break his hand. Maybe she’s protecting her friends in the car but then I actually think about who’s in that car. Jimmy Hudson, who’s got a healing factor, Iceman who has survived gunshot wounds in his ice form several times, and Rogue who I’m pretty sure is still cranked-up on Juggernaut powers. Every single one of theses characters is bullet proof.

There are no Nimrod Sentinels hanging around. Why exactly can't they just blow through these guys?

Using my awesome powers of logic, I can deduce that they’re trying to keep a low profile because if they power up and beat the snot out of these guys they’re going to make a scene and have Nimrod Sentinels chasing them all the Way to the Gulf of Mexico. But if that’s the situation than it should have been explained that way instead of Kitty just saying,” We’re going to save the fight for later.” Or whatever it is she said.

The whole thing is especially pointless because the rednecks just end up catching up to them at the end of the issue and forcing a confrontation anyway.

Everything aside, Brain Wood is a good writer and I bet he’s got an interesting resolution up his sleeve. Even if he doesn’t I have a feeling that once the plot actually gets going this will just be the necessary slow issue in an otherwise exciting run. There is a lot of stuff going on that I like. I like the new, take charge Kitty Pryde and I like that Jimmy Hudson is getting set up to be more than just a blonde version of Wolverine.
Paco Medina’s art is a bit darker and much stronger than it was just two issues ago, telling the story succinctly and delivering smooth, unique character designs on each page. It also helps that there’s some digital work involved in the coloring, giving the images a great feeling of modernity that is vital in any Ultimate book.

I let the groping scene take over this review because it really kind of took over the comic for me. Maybe I’m reading too much into it?

So to wrap everything up I want to say that Ultimate Comics X-Men #14 is a good read and I’m looking forward to the next exciting chapter in a series that has always had a special place in my comic book stash.

- Oh…also Johnny Storm gets abducted protecting the Morlock kids back in New York! I kind of like the idea of having the Human Torch hanging out in an X-Men book so I hope this isn’t just an easy way to get him out of the spotlight and replace him with Nomi, who feels a lot like the Ultimate Universe version of Zee from DMZ.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if that phone call wasn’t quite what it seemed, what with all that suspicious static…
And now, I’m done. Review…complete. You may return to your lives citizens.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

JLX-Avengers Amalgamated!!

Let's take a trip back in time shall we? Does anyone here remember a little something that popped up in the 90's called Amalgam Comics? I do.
Is there any event more shallow and gimmicky in the history of American comic books? Probably, but I don't remember it. For one month every writer at DC and Marvel  would stop whatever storyline they were working on and write a one-shot where two characters from each company would be combined. For example Spider-man and Superboy become... Spider-boy!

I distinctly remember sitting down to write out my birthday list, still a small child in the 1990s. I asked my parents for an Amalgam toy which would include two separate Spiderman and Superboy action figures that could be taken apart and reassembled to create a single, fully functioning Spider-Boy action figure(along with small, dejected pile of dismembered plastic limbs).
I gave the list to my father and he asked," ....Is this a real thing? Does this toy exist?"
At which point I realized, No, it didn't actually. But it should have.

The idea of Amalgam was so cheesy I just naturally assumed, even as a child, that there was a toy to go along with it.After all, every time Batman put on his Aqua-Bat armor in the animated series a new toy came out.

Okay, so when I was a kid the stuff was like crack to me and I squandered my allowance on books like Super Soldier, Bruce Wayne: Agent of Shield and JLX. But looking back, it's so obvious it was a gimmick. Many modern writers struggle to keep their series from getting strangled in a single character's tangled mess of back story and continuity. Amalgam forced writers to combine two incredibly complex histories into one over the course of a single issue, all while following a standard super hero plot through from start to finish(find the lost city of Atlantis, fight the super villian, save the day ect). It's too much to handle in a normal series much less one or two issues.

Still, when I was digging through one of the many piles of comics I own, I pulled out an issue of JLX and was surprised to see it was co-written by Mark Waid. The guy who wrote, among many many other things, Kingdom Come, The Flash, Daredevil and Irredeemable.

Someday, once I have bought all the trades and actually finished the series I will write a long post on just why exactly I love Irredeemable so very much but that day will have to wait.

Waid is probably one of my top favorite comic book writers, maybe even my number one. He creates comics that I just LOVE to read. Even the books he puts out that I don't think are the greatest are still just solid, well done comics.
Waid gets superheroes. He knows how to make them fun, exciting, relatable and inspiring all at the same time.

So I decided to dig in and give the issue a try. It actually wasn't too bad. JLX combines the X-Men with a couple Justice League extras like The Ray, The Creeper, Fire and Aquaman. The plot isn't anything groundbreaking but it is kind of interesting. A group of Mutants break away from their jobs as a big time super hero team as a sort of political statement and decide to go looking for Atlantis, the original birthplace of the mutant race.
Instead of getting lost in it's own non-existent back story the issue does a pretty good job of grabbing a concept and letting it lead the story. Waid gives us a team of characters that are heroes at their core but each one is still weighed down by the emotional burdens of a life on the run, constantly persecuted and hunted and dealing with it in their own way. The adventure ends in disappointment as JLX finds Atlantis abandoned after centuries at the bottom of the Atlantic. But there is a glimpse of silver lining, the shared experience bringing the group of misfits closer together as a team.

Behold the power of teamwork!

Howard Porter does the art for this issue. It's definitely in 90's style but I can see it fitting in to a modern comic with just a few tweaks. Maybe tone down the eyebrows on Aquamariner.I'm not sure what Porter is working on now but I hope he's still around.

What my point? I guess I just wanted to say yeah, Amalgam was a gimmick. But I it was a fun long as I don't go into my comic book shop next week and find Daredevil has been put on hold for a month so Marvel can bring back Blades and Bullets.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DC Presents: Challengers of the Unknown-

Ah, now this is a fun one. An anthology for some of DC's lesser known heroes is a great idea and I hope DC Presents sticks around.
The Challengers are such a classy, old-school concept. They're more a group of adventurers than they are a super-hero team, exploring ancient ruins, fighting living statues and recovering lost artifacts.

That's pretty much the gist of this issue, actually. The team check out their new home base on Challenger Mountain for awhile before jetting off to recover an ancient artifact buried in lost ruins which, of course, just happen to be guarded by living statues! But an old enemy may just drop in while they're out...

Challengers of the Unknown is done in what feels like a very classic style. Instead of using heavy close ups and superhero style action scenes this issue reads more like a 1950's serial adventure or an old issue of Fantastic Four.  Instead of focusing on one or two individuals, most panels are devoted to group shots and the characters fill the upper half of the panel with back and forth dialogue. It makes things feel pretty cluttered at times but it's also kind of refreshing. A lot of modern superhero comics feel like they are divided into just two parts.

The part where characters talk to each(usually set in a base).
The part where characters punch each other(usually set in a street).

Using this style we get to see the Challengers travel, explore, and solve problems which should be the focus with a team of science adventurers.

The issue has weak spots of course. Like I said before many of the panels feel a little cramped and the characters could use some fleshing out. I found myself having serious trouble remembering which one was which and there are couple scenes where I'm almost sure the artist drew in some random extra person by mistake. Just a small box with each characters name thrown in somewhere on the first two pages would have been enough.
Overall, though, a good issue and a very fun read!

Monday, May 28, 2012

X-Factor #236 Review

X-Factor # 236 review

On to the good comics! X-Factor #236 is written by Peter David with pencils by Leonard Kirk. In it Jamie Madrox is investigating a group of superhero wannabes who keep getting killed. Pretty good story idea on it's own, however most of the issue is taken up by one big long fight scene between Shatterstar and some guy named Scattershot.

I am totally okay with this.

Hey, It's a really well done fight scene! Kirk does a great job of showing off Shatterstar's ninja warrior skills as he squares off against a much larger, much more heavily armed opponent. And, forgive me, but I just love how outrageously 90's Scattershot is. Huge guns? Check. Ponytail? Check. Weird eye marks? Check. Superfluous chest belts? Check.

I love that David has  Madrox stomp on the ground to create duplicates of himself instead of having them just appear. It's a minor thing but little details like that add a bit of spice to a characters powers and it makes me happy that someone remembers.

 There is not a whole lot for me to say except that this issue is solid. David writes Madrox as witty, the Lord Defender as a glorious tool bag and manages to keep the banter between Shatterstar and Scattershot going for most of the issue without getting stale.
Kirk's art stlye reminds me a bit of Stuart Imonnen's. The characters are all drawn lean and in a way that allows for lots of dynamic movement but without losing any detail in the process either. Everyone has a unique look that makes them instantly distinguishable and the backgrounds aren't short changed either.

I guess the plot is that Scattershot is from Mojoworld and someone is killing the pseudo heroes but honestly, I didn't read any of the previous issues so I can't tell for sure which plot elements are important and which ones aren't. All I know is that this issue was FUN and I plan to pick up the next as soon as possible.

Ultimate Comics X-Men #12 Review

Just got four new comics so that I could read them and post reviews for all you guys. I did it because I'm such a nice guy and not because I wanted comic books. I swear. It was all for you. A friend suggested that, instead of picking up Ultimate X-Men I should pick up X-Factor, because one sucked and the other was good. Thanks to the power of compromise I got them both.


Ultimate Comics X-men #12 is written by Nick Spencer, with pencils by Paco Medina. The best way to describe this comic is...frustrating. This comic is very frustrating to me. For one, It has absolutely nothing to do with the previous issue. Oh what's that? Riot at Camp Angel? Colossus murders somebody? Nimrod Sentinels take over the entire Southwestern United States?! You want to hear about that story?

Too bad.

This issue begins with Alex Summers, apparently holed up in a mental institution. Do you want to know how he got there?

Too bad.

 However we do know that he is apparently being advised by the ghost of his dead brother, Scott a.k.a Cyclops. That might have something to do with people thinking he is crazy. Then a mysterious man in a suit shows up, draining the life out of everybody who tries to stop him from freeing Alex. This mysterious man then turns Alex over to Layla Miller who apparently is the head of Roxxon Industries. 

Layla talks to her executives about acquiring the M-Serum, a super-soldier serum recently acquired by Nick Fury that creates artificial mutants. Layla and the suit guy have some dialogue where they talk about mysterious things like, "The White Hot Room" and "The Fourth" without really explaining their significance. None of which help me understand what is happening in the comic book I am currently reading.

In the end it is revealed that the mysterious man in a suit is...Mr. Sinister. Back from the dead for the second time.

So yeah. Frustrating. Spencer sets up several plot points that look like they will make up the next arc however he does so in a very vague and unclear way. Not to mention the fact that half the plot threads from the last arc haven't even been resolved yet! The villains motives remain unclear to the point where I wouldn't be sure that they were villains if one of them wasn't named MR SINISTER.

The writing and art in this book are both solid, however it feels unbelievably short. I put it down feeling unfulfilled. Trapped in an existential quandary, I felt shallow and empty, wondering what meaning or purpose my small life could have?

Then I remembered that I had three more comics to read. Instantly I felt better.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Inspired by The Ray

My last post I mentioned reading The Ray #4. It got me thinking about a lot of comic book stuff. Bear in mind this isn't a review, it's more of an editorial. As I type I've got a basic idea of what I want to say but I'm not really sure where this is going to go. So I'm just going to roll with it and I hope you will too.

Apparently, the new Ray is a Korean-American named Lucien Gates? Okay. I liked Ray Terrill but I can get behind DC adding a little diversity to the line-up, especially after Ryan Choi got the axe so that Ray Palmer could be the Atom again. I read an interview once where someone explained the need to attach minority characters to "Classic" titles. Like so.



I apologize for not being able to find the interview but the explanation given was that new characters simply don't last in the mainstream market. There are a few success stories but most of the time any title that doesn't star a character made in the 1950's has a very difficult time finding an audience. And y'know something about comic book characters made in the 1950's? Most of them are white guys.

White People: Saving the world since forever!

So the best way for a minority character of any kind to make it long term is if they are attached to one of the legacy titles.

Anyway, as I was looking around the internet for more info on the new Ray, I learned that DC also killed off Helena Bertinelli recently so the role of Huntress could be taken over by Helena Wayne. I can't help but scratch my head at DC's decision to off a character who has been around for more than 20 years and developed a strong fan base of her own just so they can replace her with a character that hasn't been seen since the Silver Age.
Now, I was never into the Huntress character and honestly, I'm not convinced she's really gone because-

a) If a character dies off-panel in a comic book there is a pretty good chance another writer will come along later and say it was "faked."
b) She was replaced by an alternate universe version of herself. In comic books that's doesn't necessarily count as being dead. I guess it's more like getting "rebooted."

But still, the decision seems weird. I'm a little worried the Ray #5 will come out and we're going to find Ray Terrill dead in a ditch somewhere. This got me thinking about what other characters have disappeared since the New 52.

Kyle Rayner, one of my personal favorites, is still ring-slinging in the New Guardians but Wally West is MIA. I loved both Connor Hawke(Green Arrow II) and Mia Dearden(Speedy II) but they don't appear to exist anymore. Neither do the two Batgirls, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain.
During high school when I first started buying comics myself, I got really into the Teen Titans. It was during the period right after Infinite Crisis when Ravager and Kid Devil were both on the team. Then the book got really bad...and stayed that way until the New 52 happened. Now I guess Kid Devil is dead.

I want you to know that the last thing I want to do is complain about the New 52. DC wanted to reinvigorate itself and you know what? It worked. There are a ton of great books out there right now! New readers are apparently finding their way into the comic book stores and DC is selling more copies than it has in years.
This isn't meant to be a rant where I come in rant and say,"Geoff Johns is trying to kill my childhood!!"
This is just what I was thinking about today.      

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jean Grey:Default Love Interest

As one of my first posts I talked about all the reasons I think Cyclops is awesome but it's virtually impossible to talk about Scott Summers without talking about his super heroic-other half, Jean Grey (sometimes Marvel Girl, sometimes Phoenix). Both characters have been with the X-Men since the very beginning, when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were still pumping out superheroes in 1963 and their individual histories are so deeply entangled it's almost impossible to talk about one without talking about the other. This little number has been in my archive for awhile and I figured it was time to polish it up and trot it out. Please bear in mind that it is purely about personal opinion. This is important because...
            I don't like Jean Grey that much. Now I know she's got some fans and probably some haters as well but I don't fall into either camp. She's just not interesting to me  and she never has been. I've seen her in comics, in the movies, and in multiple television series. Each time I just pass right over her. Her stories typically eat up large portions of screen time yet always fail to grab me or make me care in the least bit about what happens to her.
            The only thing that keeps me from jumping full force into the "Jean Grey Haters" pool is this...I don't think it's really her fault. There are a number of reasons for this and I'll go into them below.
            See, Jean is your pretty standard, generic protagonist. First I want to lay something out. While she may be boring it is not because she's "too good" okay? Common misconception. She doesn't need a hardcore 90's style makeover to make her more "edgy" and modern. After all, the modern version of Emma Frost is really just a slightly bitchier version of Jean Grey and I find her even less interesting than the character she replaced. Jean Grey is boring because she has no personality, no defining character traits that separate her or make her unique from the rest of the team. A lot of people say Cyclops is boring but at least "uptight dick" gives you something to work with, you know? Unlikable as some readers may find him Cyclops has a personality that can be bounced off other characters to create tension or humor.
Wolverine's got a tortured past and a temper problem. Gambit has a tortured past but he's charming and roguish, Nightcrawler is fun loving and adventurous, Beast is smart but he's got the whole covered in blue fur thing working against him. Jean Grey has nothing. I tried to come up with a list to describe Jean Grey's personality and it goes like this:

1. Nice to people.
2. has Red Hair
3. Is a girl.

See? I think # 3 really sums it up, though. I've read and watched interviews with Stan Lee where he's talking about how he created the X-Men and when Marvel Girl comes up says he'd forget the character’s name or what her powers were when he had to write her. She was added in because it was decided that the team needed a woman on it to fill out the roster. She was just your stock female character armed with the bland, inoffensive personality most 1950's female characters were saddled  with. Jean Grey was just "The Team Girl." Now comics at this time were aimed at a much younger audience made up mostly of boys. Most characters, especially female, were pretty one-note so Jean's circumstance weren't particularly remarkable. However, the medium as a whole matured slowly over the years, the X-Men in particular. The characters and subject matter became more complicated, the storylines more structured as the audience they were marketed towards got older...but Jean Grey stayed the same. In the past she had a hint of the feisty, flirtatious contrast to her then boyfriend Scott's more uptight and withdrawn personality, but as time has gone by other characters have come into the field who have filled that role and did it better than she did. Rogue, Psylocke, and Emma Frost spring to mind.

            Now, some may argue and say," Maybe she started out like that but what about Phoenix?" See Chris Claremont was the man who first redefined the X-Men in the 1970's, overhauling the roster and playing with the themes after the books popularity had been steadily flagging for several years. He reinvigorated the series and many of the storylines that he introduced make up the backbone of what fans consider X-Men canon. Under Claremont, Jean Grey became "The Phoenix," gaining a significant power boost and a new costume to go with her name. Over time the "Phoenix Force" proved to be a potentially malevolent and destructive entity, a personality separate from Jean Grey's. This created tension in the character as she struggled to restrain the violent impulses of the cosmic being living inside her mind. At the same time the famous love triangle was introduced between Jean Grey, Wolverine, and Cyclops, cranking up the tension in her personal life. Later on Jean got brainwashed, became evil, killed an entire planet, died and then came back to life. These are the acts that have come to define the character of Jean Grey in modern comics and other adaptations.
            That’s pretty dramatic right? Lots of emotion and intrigue in those storylines. So maybe Jean Grey isn't boring after all right?

           Nope. Don't get me wrong, those storylines are awesome...but Jean Grey as a character is still boring. I think Jean Grey is a character that stuff happens to. People fall in love with her. Evil cosmic beings take over her body. People she loves get killed. Things happen to her and she reacts and it's good for a couple storylines but in the end the issue gets resolved and then there's nothing left for the character to fall back on. She is affected and influenced by the stories of those around her but she has no core of her own. She's just there, hanging around the X-Mansion. Being pretty.
            Why do you think the same "stuff" keeps happening to her? She keeps losing the Phoenix Force, she keeps getting it back. She keeps dying. She's been bouncing back and forth between Cyclops and Wolverine for the last three decades, never really figuring out who she "truly loves" despite marrying and having a kid with one half of the love triangle(one third?) ages ago. The character has been stuck on repeat ever since the Dark Phoenix Saga in 1970. Writers can't figure out how to tell new stories with the Jean so they either rehash the same ones...or just KILL HER. I've watched her in the X-Men movies, I've watched her in X-Men The Animate Series, X-Men Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-Men. In each example I can't for the life of me care about the characters struggles or conflicts because I've seen this story a hundred times before! I know how it ends.
            Now it looks like Marvel is gearing up for a return of Jean Grey, after leaving her dead for a surprisingly long time. Despite this rant and my generally low opinion of the current X-Men titles I'm actually kind of excited for this. Maybe this will be the year someone finally writes a story that makes me care about Jean Grey. The lady just needs someone who really cares about her, y' know? :)
After all, I've always been of the opinion that any character can be interesting in the hands of a talented writer. Any character that is...except for Longshot.
Longshot can never be cool.

 So what do you guys think? What are your opinions of Jean Grey? Have I enraged anyone with my completely inaccurate analysis of the character?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Marvel's The Avengers: Reviewed

A day late and a dollar short. I had intended to see this movie at its release on Friday night so I could have a review as soon as possible. Because, why would anyone read a review of a movie everyone has seen already? But I got sick and had to put it off till Sunday evening, returning home and passing out in bed immediately. But, better late then never, right?

This multi-franchise monolith made new box office records last  weekend. According to the New York Times it made $200.3 million in North America alone.

So...yeah, people seem to think it's a pretty good movie. I think it's pretty good too. Speaking as a red blooded, American male, I like me some explosions and I like me some awesome fight scenes.  The Avengers has these things in spades. To it's credit it also has a coherent plot and some very good writing. I was a little unsure about the movie, even up to the point where I sat my butt down in the theater with a bag of popcorn. I just couldn't see four different franchises being meshed together into one film effectively.

But they did.

Don't get me wrong, the movie starts out on wobbly feet and for the first twenty minutes or so I couldn't decide if I thought it was going to flop or not.
First the movie has to do all the standard blockbuster stuff, establish the threat, introduce all the characters, get them together ect. ect. But once the movie gets all that out of the way it really picks up speed.

Naturally, every character gets their own fight scene, but in addition every character gets a moment that is all about them. We get to see who Thor is, what he's about and more importantly why he's trying to save the world. This is a big deal if you want anyone other than fanboys like me to watch the movie. These scenes are all well written, though it was kind of annoying that all these "character moments" are set up in one big block so that by the time we get to Black Widow it's staring to feel a little corny. But then we get back into the swing of things. The film does a good job of putting it's heroes in situations that challenge them, cranking up the tension by highlighting their vulnerabilities and pointing out that they are not invincible.
And of course,the movie ends with a massive action sequence that can only be described as pure,unfiltered awesome.

Were there flaws? Sure. For the first half of the movie Loki felt a little off to me. The great thing about Loki is that he is one of those smart villains. So when he just sort of shows up and starts blasting people it seemed very out of character and kind of cartoonishly evil. But this is explained later on and eventually Loki gets a chance to really let his trickster side shine.
Likewise, Black Widow didn't really connect with me. I'm sure Scarlet Johansson is a talented actress but I don't think she plays a very convincing hard ass. As the character loosens up a little, though, the actress actually seems like she starts to have fun with the role so that by the end I warmed up to the character.
The villains could be more fleshed out. Why do they want to conquer Earth?Are they bugs or robots? What is they're species called again?

Still, considering the obstacles standing in it's way The Avengers movie gets way more right than it gets wrong. The movie is a whole lot of fun and well worth the price of admission.If you haven't see it already, you should go. If you have seen it then you should tell me what you thought in the comments section below.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Fox Sister Review

 Well, that didn't take nearly as much time as I thought it would. Read through the archive of The Fox Sister and I'm ready to post my response/ review.

First though, plot summary. Fox Sister is a fantasy/horror story set in South Korea during the Korean War. It's main character? Yun Hee, a local girl who watched her family die at the hands of the Kuhimo. A Kuhimo is a sort of demonic fox from Korean folklore that likes to kill people and then steals their bodies. Now Yun Hee is grown up and out for revenge, hunting down the demon that is wreaking havoc disguised as her older sister.

The Fox Sister is a good comic. Christina Strains dialogue is sparse and to the point, relying mostly on the art to tell the story...and the art is very good. It's expressive and colorful and does a great job of setting the right tone for the right sequence.

I love the concept of the villain, an old world fairytale stalking just around the edges of a modern world. It's very urban fantasy, a genre that doesn't get a lot of play in America. The Kumiho is a blend of classic monster movie villain, femme fatale and serial killer.

So the Fox Sister is a good comic. Very professional work.The next question is, do I like it  personally?
 .....ehhhhh. I can't help but feel like the series could be sped up a bit. Maybe it's just the whole web comic format, where I can plow through an entire archive in a single night...but we're about 51 pages in to the story and I don't feel like a whole lot has actually happened. The central conflict is the main character vs the Kumiho, right? So far though, the main character hasn't even realized that she's in the same town as her target.

In the middle of the Kumiho/ Yun Hee conflict there is this guy Alex, an American soldier stationed in Korea. He's trying to endear himself to Yun Hee and she rebuffs him because that's kind of her deal. Meanwhile we see the Kuhimo lurking at the edges. Why is she hanging around Alex so much? I don't know yet. Okay, I can guess that she wants to kill him and eat his liver, but if Yun Hee just blew into town yesterday why hasn't the Kumiho already turned this guy into kibble and bits? If this is actually an important plot point it should have come up by now.

This is just my knee jerk reaction. I don't read a lot of manga or horror comics and maybe they have a slower burn than I'm used to. Maybe if I bought a physical copy I would feel different about the pacing. But right now I'm looking at that page count and it seems like after 51 pages there should be a bit more pay off.

     The comic will probably have a lot more appeal for fans of manga. If it sounds like your kind of thing then check it out. And if it doesn't... then hell, check it out anyway. The web is great because it allows series that would have a hard time breaking into the mainstream, which is dominated by dudes in capes, to find an audience and diversify the field . I'm going to hang around for a couple weeks and see if the Fox Sister changes my mind.  

Find the comic here see what you think.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sexy Times in Game of Thrones

I'm back kids. I know...long time no post, right? At least it feels that way. It's been a busy two weeks for me recently. I'm still trying to gauge how much of my personal life I want to share on here since I also want the Freeze Ray to appear at least semi professional so I'm not really going to get into what I've been doing. Anyway it's not like it's amazing stuff. Nice stuff, maybe but nice doesn't always make for interesting posts...anyway I figure I owe you guys something.

Wrapped up disc five of Game of Thrones last night, finishing off season one. It was a birthday gift from my father. Great series and I'm eager to jump into the second season. But I'm not going to dig in and do a full on review this time around. When I got it in my head to do the Freeze Ray I knew I wanted to do something more issue focused than just straight up reviews, something to (hopefully) give my blog it's own stamp. Otherwise I just fade into the background noise of the internet.

So lets talk about an issue that jumped right out at me when I popped in the first disk...Sexual Content.I know Game of Thrones is HBO so nudity and sexy times are pretty much par for the course.That's kind of what I want to talk about. Most of you probably already know this but HBO is a private service. You have to pay to watch HBO shows on your television, unlike broadcast television which is paid for by advertisers but delivered to the public for free. Since it's not public, HBO shows aren't under the same content restrictions as most television and aren't as heavily censored. Recently HBO has done a great job of working this into it's brand identity. HBO is known for two things. Smart, well written television and blatant sexual content. I'm not saying that this is some terrible thing, that HBO is eroding American values or anything. Sex and intelligent television aren't mutually exclusive. But one does automatically lead to the other either, which is the connection I think HBOs marketing department and a whole lot of art majors want to make. I'm biased, I know, and I'm pretty prudish on a lot of subjects but don't worry this won't be long rant about how the show needs to change in order to appeal only to me.I just want to explore this issue and talk about how I feel on it.  At best I find myself tuning out most of the adult scenes and at worst I skip right through them. I just don't see what they contribute to the story. We live in an age of laptops and wireless internet. If I wanted porn I could watch porn. I didn't pay over twenty dollars for a full season of Game of Thrones because I wanted to watch twenty minutes of nude shots and fake boning. I bought Game of Thrones because I wanted a good story. The gratuitous scenes just take me out of the narrative and make me roll my eyes, no matter how hot Lena Headey or Emilia Clark are.
    I'm not saying sex can't contribute to a story. Romance is a major part of every story and even if  we choose to acknowledge it or not someone's sex life can have something to say about their character or personality. Let's contrast the sex scenes in Game of Thrones with those in another HBO series I'm watching at the moment called The Wire just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. I'm going just off the top of my head but most of the sex scenes in the Wire involve a certain Detective Jimmy McNaulty, a few of Lieutenant Daniels and his girlfriend who works as a prosecutor in the DA's office, one of Detective Kima Griggs and her lesbian lover and a few spread out all around, usually between gangsters and either a hooker or a stripper. The sense with Mcnaulty help give us a sense of his character. They show us that Jimmy may be a good detective but he's pretty much incapable of being responsible in any other aspect of his life. He's an alcholic, he cheats on his wife, he's borderline neglectful of his kids, and all he really wants to do is prove he's smarter than everyone else. Throughout the course of the series Mcnaulty goes through a character arc where we see him hit his lowest point and then slowly try to change and work his way back up. Any scene where he scores is usually just a one night stand where he humps away at some woman like a horny goat. The scene with Detective Daniels and the prosecutor is part of a fairly well developed relationship and the scene between Kima and her lover is part of a subplot where we see Kima having second thoughts about adopting a child with her current girlfriend. Eventually, due to Mcnaulty's bad influence, she cheats on her girlfriend with another woman and the relationship falls apart.
    In Game of Thrones the only really plot relevant relationships I can think of are between Daenerys Targeryan and Kal Droga and between Circe Lannister and her brother. Both are kind of weird because one involves Daenerys being, as I interpreted it, raped by her arranged husband and eventually "learning to enjoy it" and falling in love with him. The other is about incest. Still the scenes with Daenerys and Droga help establish her journey as she slowly realizes her own potential and becomes a more intelligent and proactive leader through her husbands position, eventually taking over for him after his death. Meanwhile Circe's Lannister's plot to kill her husband, King Robert, and put her bastard son on the throne provide the major conflict for most of the series. There are a few other examples of sex being integrated well into the storyline but for the most the series just inserts nameless naked prostitutes into the background of a scene while two main characters talk about the actual plot.
    I noticed that while the first two episodes delivered the sex and nude scenes hot and heavy, after that the series pulled back a bit and seemed to just be trying to hit it's adult content quota. Part of it is the whole marketing thing. Smart and edgy is HBO's brand label. It's how they differentiate themselves from their competitors and so every show they put out has to conform to that HBO brand. Otherwise, I guess people will get confused and think that since there are no boobs they're not actually watching HBO and start changing the channel.
    The other side, of course, is the book. I've never read any of the George R.R Martins books that this series was based on but I understand that the sexual content was a major selling point in that series as well. Some people love that kind of thing. Personally I'll be sticking with the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.

I have a little more to say but I'll leave it for another post. As always I'd love to hear what you guys thought of the article or of the series. Do you think the sex adds to your viewing pleasure or detracts from it?       

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why Cyclops is Awesome and No One Else Realizes It: Part 2

Welcome back, readers. Sorry for the delay. This is the sequel to a post/fan rant I made last week about why I think the character Scott Summers(a.k.a Cyclops) is awesome and totally doesn't get the respect he deserves. I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath so I'll dive right in.
I feel like Cyclops has a lot of potential that writers don't bother to tap into. What follows is something my older brother pointed out to me once a few years ago time that I thought was very interesting. He said that every time Marvel releases an issue retelling the Cyclops' origin story it starts basically the same way.(Okay this doesn't actually happen in the issue below. I just wanted an excuse to use that cover.)
What happens is young Mr. Summers' powers manifest and one morning he starts shooting optic blasts every time he opens his eyes. Instantly Professor Xavier is right there with a pair of sunglasses conveniently designed to cancel out the negative effects of Scott's powers despite the fact that Scott only just developed powers. There's no way Mr. Baldy McWheelchair should be able to know exactly what Scott’s powers are, much less that they’ll be broken. But he just happens to have a pair of sunglasses made with the one substance on the planet that can cancel out optic blasts. Oh hey, problem solved!
            As I kid I always imagined there was some kind of gap between the two events. A period in which a young Scott Summers had to learn to live blind, trying to conceal the fact that he was a mutant. That story can’t be told though, because if writers did that then Scott might actually get a personality that’s deeper than “stiff necked asshole.”   
Let’s talk about another thing that annoys me. I would say that Scott's defining trait is loyalty: both to the X-Men and Charles Xavier. Maybe I’m a nerd but I also thought that loyalty was kind of an admirable trait. I feel like it gives a character purpose and direction. This might be why I like the X-Men so much, because they are one of the few superhero groups in comics who actually have a purpose beyond dressing up in spandex and smacking people around. They’re fighting for mutant/ human coexistence.
 I say this to explain why I'm always a little annoyed when Scott's portrayed as a nothing but a kiss-ass to Xavier. The movies are particularly bad with this. Wouldn't you be loyal to someone who basically gave you your eyesight back?
            Consider this too. Scott was an orphan. He watched his parents die in a plane crash at a very young age. He spent most of his life believing that his younger brother Alex had died thanks to a burning parachute. Now there may be some conflicting evidence for this but I always thought Scott grew up in an orphanage. Not a fun, friendly Annie kind of orphanage.
The kind of orphanage that's run by a guy named Mr. Sinister. Not a warm, pleasant childhood you know? Then Charles Xavier shows up and offers Scott a safe home at the Xavier Institute. Of course Scott would be devoted to the guy. Of course he would take the X-Men so seriously. The school is his home and the team is about the closest thing to family he's ever had. Writers rarely try to exploring anything like this and instead go running straight back to the same Cyclops/Jean/ Logan thing that's been chasing itself in circles for the last three decades. Scott gets dialed down to this bland milquetoast character so Logan gets to play the brooding bad-ass and seem so very much cooler by comparison.  
            Now some of you may point out that in the last few years Cyclops has really fought his way up to the top spot on the X-Men thanks to writers like Grant Morrison, Joss Whedon, and Matt Fraction. He's the leader of Utopia, he's got a new girlfriend in the villainess turned hero Emma Frost, and writers are constantly showing off his awesome tactical skills. And it's true that Scott has really turned around recently...just not in a direction I'm sure I like…more on that later though.   

X-Men Origins Cover 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: War issue #2

    Just a quick one today. I finshed this review shortly after the issue came out but it's been tucked away on my laptop for almost a month now. I bought and read the second issue of Dark Horses' Star Wars series Knights of the Old Republic: War written by John Jackson Miller. I didn't pick up the first issue or any issues of the previous series. However that wasn't much of a problem because this issue does a good job of laying out the situation,who the characters are and what their motivations might be. This a major plus for the series because I've read countless first issues where I still had no idea what the hell was going on by the time I reached the back cover.
    The very first page opens up with a shot of Mandalorians wielding lightsabers... a sight that instantly turned me off to the comic. I know the urge to create Mandalorian Jedi lurks deep in the heart of every fan boy. Trust me, I get it. It's a combination of the two coolest things in the Star Wars universe...lightsabers and Mandalorian armor. But I'm a solid believer in the idea that what really, really makes the Mandalorians so cool is the fact that they're not Jedi. They have no Force powers, no lightsabers. They're just normal men and women armed with some cool armor, a warriors code,  and an iron will...and that's enough to make them a match for any Jedi. So when I saw the "Mandalorian Knights" jetpacking onto a battlefield swinging their lightsabers around I groaned.
    But, you know what? By the end of the issue Miller had sold me on the Mandalorian Knights. First off, they aren't really Mandalorians at all. Instead they are a small cadre of rogue Jedi who joined the War on the Mandalorians side. They adopted the code and armor of the Mandalorians, fighting beside them against the Republic...but they're not trusted or accepted within the army. They're tolarated by the common soldiers because the higher ups order them too and because they can see the tactical advantage of having their own Jedi but that's about as far as it goes.
    This makes sense to me and eases my fears that Miller is just some fanboy running wild...but the thing that really seals the deal is the leader of the Mandalorian Knights, a former Master named Dorjander Kace.
    What makes me love this guy is not as much his dialogue as it is the way he's drawn. He's got this look and presence to him that just perfectly encapsulates the Mandalorian Knights and their philosophy. He wears Neo Crusader armor, but his long blonde hippie hair hint at his past as a Jedi. He gives off this impression of charisma and menace, like you'd find in a cult leader or a radical political idealist.
     This series looks like it has the making of a really good villian in Kace, someone to serve as a foil for the  hero Zayne Carrick, an idealistic Jedi padawan who takes his vow of pacifism more seriously than most Jedi Master's do. Not every villain can be a Darth Vader ripoff and there's nothing that says you have to "Fall to the Dark Side" to become a bad guy in Star Wars. An intriguing villain challenges the hero, both physically and ethically. He offers a contrast to the heroes personality and ideals.
    The issue also features a gorgeous cover by Benjamin Carre'. As with all modern comics, though the better the cover art the worse the interior art. I actually like parts of Andrea Muti's pencils. He gives the armor, weapons, and background an interesting style. Bodies are a little awkward and action hard to follow in some places but overall it is clear and effective. Faces, however, are the artists biggest weakness.
    It says a lot when an issue would be vastly improved if every character was drawn wearing a helmet.
    Overall, a decent, interesting book. I don't have the funds to read ANY series regularly at the moment and even if I did I'm not sure I would pick this one up when so many supposedly great series are floating around out there...but if this review interested you go pick up the latest issue. #3 is probably out by now.

So what did you guys think? Anybody else read this issue and want to share their opinions?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why Cyclops is Amazing and No One Else Realizes It.

That’s right my favorite super hero is Cyclops, Marvel Comics original X-Man. See? My technique works. Right now I’m sure some of you are thinking,” Oh, Lord. This guy is some tasteless dick.” 
We’re not going to get into how true or not true that statement may be.
Instead I want to clarify that while I love the idea of the character, I love his powers and I love his personality…I hate how he is written. Compared to many of the X-Men’s more vibrant cast members a lot of people see Cyclops as kind of…bland. Some people loathe him, seeing him as the uptight, brown nosing hall monitor of the Xavier Institute. To me the problem is that this view is so pervasive that even the writers see the character this way. In their minds Scott is “the boring member” of the X-Men and so he is written to be boring (or uptight and douche).
            The version of Cyclops I like isn’t in the comic books, the movies or any of the tv adaptations. The cool, confident, ass kicking version of Cyclops seems to only exist in my head. He’s an image that I built from brief moments, inferences, at least one visit to the Cyclops character history page on Wikipedia and a whole lot of personal projection.
            That’s right, projection. I like the character because I see myself in him. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that I force parts of myself onto him

Uhh… in a…nonsexual kind of way. Naturally.

This kind of projection isn’t unusual in escapist or entertainment fiction like comics, novels, or movies. It’s pretty much a staple in any long running series with children or young adults intended as part of the audience (example: Harry Potter ). It exists to some extent in every action or romance movie you've seen and every video game you’ve ever played.
I was introduced to the character of Cyclops via the Saturday morning cartoon show X-Men: The Animated Series when I was just a young lad growing up in that totally awesome time period we call the 1990’s. Not only did Cyclops have the coolest powers in the entire show (he’s got LASER! EYES!), his character had an extra hook that resonated with me for some reason. Like many of the X-Men Cyclops’ powers had an unfortunate side effect that he could angst about. He couldn’t turn them off and had to wear a protective visor in order to suppress his abilities. Without these he could not risk interacting with others for fear of injuring them.
            So let’s just acknowledge the obvious and slightly embarrassing part here. Yes, as you can probably guess by the fact that I’m writing a blog about comic books…I wasn’t the most popular kid in high school. I could use the term Loner but I don’t like it because it makes it sound like I was all intense and brooding instead of the awkward and tightly wound nerd child that I really was.
He was like me but his powers also gave him a free out. Cyclops was isolated but it was because he wanted to protect people around him and not because he had shitty interpersonal skills. Basically I felt like Cyclops was me…but cooler.
            Of course, I’m not saying projection is the only reason we like or relate to a character. Sometimes we read or watch a character and there’s just something about them that we respect.
 I don’t feel as if I have anything in common with Indiana Jones but I like the character anyway. It probably has something to do with his excellent taste in hats.
Yeah.It's the hat.
Now it could just be because his powers aren’t all that much of a hindrance-

(“Oh No! I am doomed to wear a pair or really cool sunglasses forever. My life is ruined!!”)

-but there’s something I like about the fact that you almost never catch Cyclops complaining about his abilities. He’s a busy guy with a lot of responsibilities and he realizes that things could be worse. He’d rather spend time fixing the Black Bird or making the world safe for Mutant/Human coexistence than complain about something he can’t change. I respect that. It’s kind of a refreshing contrast when you’ve got a team as steeped in angst as the X-Men.

Both of my brothers watched X-Men: TAS at around the same time I did. My little brother, over bearing, melodramatic loudmouth that he is, instantly loved Wolverine and ran about the house slashing people with his fingers. My older brother's favorite was Gambit the suave, good humored ex-thief.
 I've always thought the way we identify and relate to fictional characters is interesting because I think it says a little about who we are. It’s a two way mirror that shows the things we like or respect in a person or what we wish we could be, 

 There is still a lot more I have to say but according to the Journalism and Media Communications introductory course I took my Freshman year: blog posts should be short and sweet. I don't want to scare any one off too soon. But rest assured I'll have another article up soon, this one describing what exactly it is I see in the character. Something I didn't get to yet.
So come back soon! 

I got the images of Cyclops and Indiana Jones from: