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Reivew of Mighty Avengers 11 (4.5 stars) March 28, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Yet another great issue for Mighty! The issue starts with another brief “past” scene between Doom and La Fey (anyone else think that Djurdjevic does the best Doom ever?) in which Doom learns to summon a demon army (great, now Doom is even more powerful!); he then time jumps to the present in which he uses said army. I have no idea what these demons are, but they seem to be made of a very viscous liquid, and are impervious to the Avengers attacks; anyway, they completely cover the Avengers (literally), and the Avengers wake up to find themselves held in magical constraints in one of Doom’s secret bunkers. Spider-Woman makes a rather funny reference to a past Avengers adventure (I won’t spoil it), but it did cause me to chuckle. So, after assessing their situation, the Avengers decide (from their rather awkward position) to question Doom. Here Doom showed his evil awesomeness in three ways: he threw some pretty harsh insults toward Carol (dude, when did he learn the art of insults?), he actually kept his entire plan to himself (revealed to us in thought bubble, ‘bout time Bendis finally learned how to use them!) instead of revealing it in a long, arrogant, stereotypical monologue, and we see that he did actually have time to form a master plan, despite the Avengers initial attack came as such a surprise (just shows he’s a quick thinker). All this said, I want Bendis to write Doom more often, he does it perfectly.

After this, things really take off, as Jessica uses some before unseen powers to break the magical bonds (I thought this was a Deus Ex Machina at first, but the ending of this issue suggests otherwise, I’ll touch on that in a sec). The Avengers finally take on Doom himself, while Carol goes to find Tony (this is where we finally connect to the end of last issue), Tony is indeed caught in the huge explosion, but Carol and Bob use their powers in unison to repair Tony’s armor before too much damage is done. Usually the whole “we’ll just use our powers to solve the problem” approach bugs me, but this one seemed to work for two reasons: one, this actually seemed to make sense, not like most times when it is used as a crutch, and two, it required both Bob’s and Carol’s abilities, so it thankfully wasn’t another moment of “we’ll just use Bob’s limitless power to solve everything and not come up with a good solution to our problem.” Finally, Carol leads Tony and Bob to Doom, where Sentry pulls a totally awesome move: he simply grabs Doom by the neck, and rips his face mask and chest armor off. Pwned! As awesome as Doom is, it was great to see his butt kicked like that. (That, and the Sentry just gained some cool points in my book, which, after his really whiny bout last issue, he really needed.)

We end with three rather interesting one page scenes. The first has Tony and Maria Hill discussing the victory and Doom’s arrest, this quickly leads to the note that it was lucky that Jessica was there to use her powers and free everyone. This ends with a suspicious look on Tony’s face before (speak of the devil!) we cut to Jessica and Natasha relaxing in a hot tub. Natasha questions Jessica about these seemingly new powers, and Jessica replies that her powers can adapt to the situation. When Natasha tells Jessica that this isn’t her file, Jessica gives the very Skrullish reply of “I’ll look into that.” This really does seem to hint that Jessica might be a Skrull (at least, that’s the vibe I got from it). If so, when was she replaced? I really don’t think a Skrull agent would have outed the invasion to Tony, so I’m thinking that she must have been replaced very recently, perhaps right after the symbiote attack, and right before the Avengers left for Latveria? The last page ends in the past with La Fey wondering where Doom is. I it seemed that this scene was trying to hint something, but I sure didn’t pick it up. I am sure, however, that we haven’t seen the last of Doom or La Fey, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they both become major players in Secret Invasion.

So overall, this is exactly what an Avengers issue should be. There was great team dynamics, awesome fight scenes, and plenty of drama and mystery. I know Mighty Avengers is heading into Secret Invasion next, and while I’m sure it will be insanely awesome, I also can’t wait to see where else Bendis takes this after SI, because I’m sure it will be great.

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

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Review of Superhero Movie (0 stars) March 28, 2008

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Overall rating: 0 out of 5 stars

I’ve never seen Epic Movie, nor any of the Scary Movies, and I have no desire to. But when I saw the trailer for this, I thought two things: one, it looks insanely funny, two, it will probably have several little “Easter egg” jokes that only comic books readers will get. Boy was I wrong. I watched this movie last night (one of the perks of working at a movie theatre) and I was utterly depressed. The movie completely lacked humor. It was pretty much the exact same story as the first Spider-Man movie, but with a different superhero and villain. There were a few jokes that made fun of some superhero movies (only Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Batman Begins), but those were few and far between, and for the most part, not that funny. The central focus of the movie was just a bunch of sex jokes. So the quick summary of the movie would be “Spider-Man, with tasteless sex jokes.” And not only was the making fun of actual superhero movies kept to an absolute minimum, there was absolutely no reference to comics at all, nor any of the “inside jokes” I was expecting. I’d be surprised if the writers of the script were smart enough to know what a comic book was, much less ever read one. So, to anyone like myself who expected a movie that could appreciate and make fun of some of the quirkiness of comics, prepare to be utterly disappointed. You’d be much more entertained (if I do say so myself) reading my own “Batman Meets Marvel,” or even better, the “Marvel/DC” parodies on YouTube (which aren’t mine, of course, and are insanely hilarious). Do NOT waste your money on this movie (I’m glad I didn’t), as it was written with a brain dead audience in mind; people that would laugh and say “Haha! They just made a joke about sex! Ha ha ha!” I can’t imagine that anyone with an IQ of over 42 could possibly enjoy this movie.

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Reivew of Thor 7 (4.5 stars) March 24, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Another insanely awesome issue for Thor! This issue picks up shortly after the last one left off; the Asgardians have found Thor in his weakened state, and are quickly rushing him into the heart of Asgard. Fandral seeks Falki who brings something that looks like a enchanted stone coffin, into which Thor plans to enter. Within, Thor can enter the “Odinsleep,” a state between life and death which will restore his strength, the only catch is that the amount of time this will take is unknown, and the “coffin” can only be opened from the inside. Right before Thor enters, he leaves Balder in charge. As the door shuts, the real surprise begins, as Donald Blake appears. The explanation is that since Thor is neither alive nor dead, Donald can now exist separate from him, similar to when Thor was in “the Void.”

Donald travels to New York, to meet someone who can help him find Jane Foster. It never shows who he meets, at first it sounded like Tony Stark (who else would be caught somewhere “without trousers”?), but then I realized that Stark knows who Donald Blake is, and that Asgard is in Oklahoma. Perhaps Wolverine? (Another likely trouser-less candidate.) The real question is, who is this Jane Foster, and why does Don think that she can help Thor? Perhaps she is the mortal that Sif was bonded to? If so, what would make Don realize this only after Thor had entered the Odinsleep? Seeing as this is only a two-part arc, I’m hoping we’ll find out next issue.

Meanwhile in the Odinsleep, Thor confronts his father’s ravens who question why Thor did not seek out Odin earlier. The ravens point Thor to a valley, in which Odin is locked in a seemingly eternal battle with Surtur. Odin slays Surtur, while sustaining heavy wounds himself, only to tell Thor that the wounds would be gone and Surtur would return come morning. Odin poses the same question to Thor as the ravens, and calls Thor’s answer an excuse. Odin then goes on to tell a story explaining why Thor’s actions are understandable. I know a bit about Norse mythology, but not too much, so I don’t know how much of Odin’s “origin story” is actual myth and how much is Straczynski, but not only is it a tragic story, it is also a beautiful one. Even if JMS pulled this whole thing from a mythology encyclopedia, it was a wonderfully written retelling, and if it was mostly his imagination, he is all the more a better writer in my book. Likewise, Djurdjevic’s art was perfect in its storytelling. As much as Coipel’s art is beautiful, Djurdjevic’s art is epic. I would really love to see these two take turns as Thor’s penciler. Odin’s entire story was insanely well drawn, I’d love to see Djurdjevic draw something like “Marvel Illustrated: Beowulf.” (Hint, hint Marvel! 😉 ) The issue ends with the end of Odin’s tale, so we will have to wait for Thor’s reaction and decisions next issue, and personally, I can’t wait!

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Where things stand….. March 22, 2008

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Well, last week when I said I’d have comments for two weeks straight, I figured in the review for New Avengers 39, which I still haven’t gotten. (Durn Marvel subs!) So, I figured that this would be a good time to have a “wrap up” post for the past two weeks by just taking a quick look at where I think things stand in the Marvel Universe.

Fantastic Four: The Millar/Hitch team isn’t quite as insanely awesome as I thought it would be, but it is still good so far, and early in the run, so I still have very high hopes for this team. I also think that despite their legit appearance, the Earth Trust is a sinister group.

Silver Surfer: The last we saw of him was in the Silver Surfer: In Thy Name mini, and he is apparently going to play a big role in an upcoming arc of Nova, so I will likely pick that up (just for that arc). However, I still really think he deserves his own ongoing! So, next time you write another One More Day protest letter to Marvel, be sure to include as a side note that you want an ongoing Silver Surfer! (I know I will! 😉 )

Amazing Spider-Man: …..still hasn’t gone back. 😦 (It is going to take awhile of course for them to undo their mistake, and I realize this, I’ve just never been patient. 😉 ) I won’t lie though, I’ve read through a few of the recent issues, and some of them aren’t bad, but even if they were insanely awesome, the marriage was one of my favorite parts of the series, and it will never feel the same without it. They can keep this retconned “Brand New World” if they want, just bring back the marriage. They don’t even have to restore the previous marriage, just have them get married again! (Okay, getting off my soapbox now.)

Mighty Avengers: Looking at some other people’s reactions, it seemed that most people enjoyed the last issue more than I (though I still thought it was a good issue, just not the best), and more people it seems are going to give this series a second chance and/or jump on the boat. Good! I’m loving this series right now, and I think it has enormous potential. So until the Sentry goes crazy and causes Mighty Avengers Disassembled, Make Mine Mighty! 😉

Captain America: Brubaker is a genius. ‘Nuff said.

New Avengers: As mentioned earlier, I still don’t have the new issue. The last few issues have been good as single issues, but overall the story is a little slow, obviously once we hit Secret Invasion the story will pick up, but if I didn’t know that, this title might have been in danger of being dropped. I’ll wait and see. (Besides, as mentioned above, Mighty is better.) Edit: I just found out that right before NA39 was supposed to be released, its publication date was pushed back two weeks, so it will now come out this Wednesday. I should have a review for it sometime this week.

Avengers: The Initiative: I’m still catching up, and am currently on issue 9, and so far this series is awesome! It could easily be the best ongoing that Marvel is putting out! (That’s right: Thor and Captain America have a rival!) As soon as I finished 9, I was sad that I didn’t pick up 10 while at my LCS last time, now I have to wait another week and a half! Garg! I’m glad that I didn’t pick up this series sooner, because I couldn’t imagine having to wait a month for issue 10! (And now I feel like an old school Marvel mag for ending every sentence with an exclamation point! Next thing you know, I’ll be advertising for the M.M.M.S.!)

Uncanny X-Men: Brubaker’s genius isn’t quite apparent here, but the storyline is still interesting, and I’m going to continue it. Besides, issue 500 is surely going to do something insanely awesome, so I can’t wait to see what happens!

Daredevil: See description for Captain America.

Thor: I still haven’t got issue 7, but so far this series has been great, and is definitely one of Marvel’s top titles. J. Michael Straczynski is a godsend for Thor (pun totally intended), and I hope he continues to write this for a very long time, as Thor has become one of my favorite characters.

The Twelve: While not as good as Thor, this series is certainly intriguing; JMS really knows how to spin a good yarn. I still think Electro is going to play a huge part in the future, and he may in fact be the Blue Blade’s killer. As always we’ll wait and see…..

Well, as soon as I get and read New Avengers 39 and Thor 7, I’ll be sure to post a review, so check back here often! And please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

My Reactions to LOST Season Four, Episode Eight: Meet Kevin Johnson March 21, 2008

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Not since “Flashes Before Your Eyes” of season three has there been an episode like this: a question is asked, then answered all in one episode. I must say, it does make for a satisfying episode (all of the mini-mysteries of LOST are what make it fun, but it can sometimes be annoying when done in excess) even if not the most “mess-with-your-mind” as we often get from this show. This wasn’t quite how I would have guessed that Michael got onto the freighter, but it does make perfect sense. In fact, it was quite well done, because now we will not have to see very much of Walt, as everything has been resolved on his part. Nothing against Walt as a character, but if only three months in terms of the show has gone by and Walt has magically aged from 10 to 14, well, it would take some fairly heavy explaining to make up for that. (Ah! The limitations of making a TV show not in real time! 😉 ) As for the “two endings” of this episode, I’m curious how Ben’s plan will work now that the Captain knows about his spy. Did Ben intend for this to happen? (Everything that happens always seems to be a part of his plan!) If not, are the goals of the freighter people really to kill everyone on the Island? As always, time will tell. As for the deaths of Rousseau and Carl, I must say, about 10 seconds before Carl died, I thought “Holy crap! I think Carl’s gonna die!” Don’t know why I thought that, but I did, and then it happened. Weird. As for Rousseau, that was certainly unexpected, though we know almost everything we need to about her, so why not kill her off? (That seems to be the LOST motto: tell ‘em everything they need to know about the character, and then kill them off!) The big question is who the assassin was, was it one of the freighter people, or was it one of Ben’s people? If it was one of Ben’s people, killing off Carl is semi-understandable, but why Rousseau? And finally, a bit off topic, what is this temple that has been mentioned several times now? On the map, it had a Dharma logo on it, so it was likely associated with the Dharma Initiative and not the “hostiles.” I really have no idea what it could be, the true home of Jacob? The lair of the monster? The location of the secrets of the Island? The “big magic box”? Who knows? I’m just calling it right now, that the temple will be insanely important in the future.

Well, LOST is going on hiatus, and so, of course, my reactions must too. The next episode airs on April 24th, so be sure to watch it, then check here on the 25th for more of my comments, theories, and random babblings! (Oh yeah, and please leave comments!)

-LOTRKing

Review of Cartographer by E.S. Posthumus (5 stars) March 20, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Other Random Stuff, SSTuff.
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Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

That’s right, I’m actually reviewing something other than a comic, and based on my rating, you can probably see why. For anyone not familiar with E.S. Posthumus, please read their Wikipedia article. (I was going to give a brief history of them, but then realized I would be saying almost everything that Wikipedia says.) Now, on to the review:

E.S. Posthumus has worked their magic once again with their second album; Cartographer is definitely superior to its predecessor (which was still genius of course). Cartographer is a 2 CD collection with each CD being unique and being able to stand alone as a single album, yet at the same time, each CD is a good reflection of the other. The first CD, while quite different from Unearthed (their first album), is a unique blend of many different ethnic orchestral sounds, with lyrics sung by the beautiful (both in appearance and sound) Luna Sans. The lyrics were written by the Vonlichten brothers (the founders of E.S. Posthumus) in a Latin-derivative language that they created especially for this album. In order, these songs tell the story of the inhabitants of the island of Numa, a fictional ancient civilization, their rise as a civilization, their exploration of the world, and their eventual fall. Listening to this CD, it is hard not to be swept away in the spirit of exploration, and to see what they may have seen. It is truly beautiful music.

The second CD is much more akin to Unearthed, and is a remix of every song on the first CD, along with two bonus tracks. It follows the same cinematic orchestral tone of Unearthed, but at the same time it creates its own new tone. It would likely be easy to tell the difference between an Unearthed song and a Cartographer song. Cartographer “Peri Reis Remixes” makes use of a grand choir with almost every track, and does not have any of Luna Sans vocals. To me, this CD seems another adaptation of the story of Numa, even if it is in a different order, and while it may sound very different from the first CD, the same spirit of exploration, hope, and adventure is present. Together, these two CDs form one of the greatest albums that I have listened to, and one that has quickly become one of my favorites. My favorite songs from this album include: Oraanu, Mosane, and Marunae (along with their remixes). This album is worth every penny, and is definitely a great buy. It can be purchased at CD Baby. Music samples are available at the Cartographer website. This is an album that definitely deserves looking into!

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Reivew of Captain America 36 (4.5 stars) March 19, 2008

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Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Once again Brubaker has shown his genius. This issue starts out with a great fight between Cap and the Serpent Squad. Not too much to comment on in way of the fight, except to say that it was very well drawn by Guice and also well written. I also liked James’ first use of his knife (in fact, earlier in the issue when I saw it on his belt, I wondered if he would use it anytime soon. I wonder if Guice may have made it obvious in that particular panel to bring attention to it. Whether accidental or purposeful, it was a great job on his part.) Some die hard Cap fans may not have liked the use of his gun in this issue, but I thought it was appropriately used; James didn’t kill anyone, and he used it as a defense after much hand to hand fighting. It seemed to me something that a cop would do in a similar situation.

Black Widow attempts to come and save James, but she comes just as the fight ends (but just in time to save him from falling out a window!) I also have to give kudos to Guice and Perkins for this part; I literally had to count pages to see where one artist stopped and the other took over, the transition was just that smooth (once I figured it out, I could see some minor differences in style, but I would have never guessed the exact page just by eyeing the art).

In the “villain-centric” section of this issue, we learn that Red Skull and Co have indeed found out that Sharon is pregnant with Steve’s child (and it hints that they may also learn something we don’t know) and they discover the existence of the New Cap, and it is very likely that they have figured out who it is. (At least, the Red Skull claims to have figured out who it is.)

Next, James does what Steve would do, and tries to motivate the protesting crowd to abandon their violence and go home (he may not have succeeded, but this scene of James actually trying to do the moral thing may have sealed for me the assurance that James is perfect for Cap’s mantle). The crowd’s reaction to this new Captain America is not what I expected. Instead of shock and disbelief, they are indifferent and are mad at “some random guy” for putting on a Cap costume. I do like the news clip though; it really seemed to make this story seem real world, as that is how it would probably happen.

For some reason I really enjoyed the final scene between Natalia and James, especially the look on James’ face in the last panel. Perkins did a great job as James’ facial expression tells the whole story in one panel, no dialogue or thought bubbles needed. As for the final page reveal? One word: clone. That’s right, I think part of the Skull’s plan to “kill America” includes cloning the original Captain America and turning him evil. Seriously, how much would it cut into the heart of this country to see its most beloved hero committing acts of terrorism? Really the perfect plan if you ask me.

So overall an action packed issue with a great story. The little seeds of the Red Skull’s plan (or rather, Brubaker’s plan) are beginning to blossom, and I can’t wait to see where Brubaker takes this next. I have yet to be bored when reading an issue of Captain America, and all of the subtle hints littered throughout the pages have my mind theorizing and analyzing almost as much as LOST. In fact, maybe they should hire him as a writer….. 😉

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-LOTRKing

Reivew of Fantastic Four 555 (4 stars) March 18, 2008

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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

While this was a great issue, I gotta start out with a gripe, the cover is extremely misleading. Not only does the cover show a huge mass of people leaving Earth, it also bears the headline: “Exodus from Planet Earth!”, with these two things together, one would logically expect an exodus from Earth. Nope, in fact, I’m beginning to think we may not see one at all. I realize that covers are rarely accurate, but they do at least give some preview of the inside. Take Mighty Avengers 9 for example, the cover shows several of the Avengers unconscious on the ground and Doom holding Spider-Woman by the throat, while we can’t expect this exact scene, we should expect some sort of fight between the Avengers and Doom. So in the FF’s case, maybe we wouldn’t have seen a huge mass of people leaving Earth, but maybe at least a preparation to leave Earth, or something. So while this was a great issue, it wasn’t what I expected. It’s kind of like going to what is advertised as a horror movie, but is in reality a romance movie. It might be a great romance movie, but you expected to be scared not “aww”ed. So that said, perhaps I should say just what made this such a great issue.

It starts out with a flashback to Reed’s and Alyssa’s college days, in which Alyssa has an interesting “theory.” Jump several years later, and Reed is getting a tour of Nu-World, and many of its “new improvements.” Theory time. Notice how Mr. and Mrs. Castle never reference exactly what is causing the world to “die.” An “environment collapse” is mentioned, but not what kind of environment is collapsing. Likewise Alyssa says “We’ve got a clean slate here. A chance to start afresh and build a world with none of the vices that finished us.” Not once do they mention anything that will prevent global warming or any other type of climate change. They do however mention things like an enforced lack of weapons and violence in this “Nu-World,” leading me to think that the Earth Trust isn’t trying to save us from some global natural disaster, but rather from what they think are the problems of humanity. In other words, they sound like a bunch of “peace radicals” who want to shove their “appropriate” way of life down the throat of humanity. There likely will be some kind of “faux-disaster” to get humanity to leave Earth, because it will be in the name of the “greater good.”

Back at the Baxter Building, Reed is home for all of a few minutes before catching a wormhole to the other end of the universe to confirm what the Earth Trust are saying. (Anyone else think he looked insanely cool on the “wormhole motorcycle,” complete with science-y leather jacket?) We then cut to Johnny, late for a rehearsal of his new rock band (and apparently he’s lead singer, since when can Johnny sing?), before he runs into a diamond theft being committed by a green haired chick with super-strength. Well we all know what Johnny is like, and he thought she was pretty hot, so yeah….. Hey! Perfect time to cut to another scene! CAP (the aforementioned robotic enforcer of the zero weapon policy) breaks loose on our world, and wants to start his mission. Unfortunately for us there are plenty of weapons to be found on “Old School World.”

Overall, definitely a great plot. I can’t wait to see where Millar takes this. With any luck, this may finely re-attain the true status (as opposed to simply honorary) of the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Review of Mighty Avengers 10 (3.5 stars) March 17, 2008

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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This was a very fun issue, if you didn’t take it too seriously. It starts with the Sentry waking up in an alley and wondering where he is. He learns that he is in NYC, and runs into the “early Marvel” version of himself. (I use quotations because he really isn’t an early Marvel character, but he has been retconned to be. For those who are lost, don’t ask me to explain, it’s too complicated, just go read the first ten issues of New Avengers). These confusing circumstances lead him to think he has once again gone crazy, and he of course freaks out. It then cuts to Doom and Tony fighting for a while before they forge a truce to get back to the futu – I mean, back to the present. This fight scene, though brief, was quite well drawn on Bagley’s part, and is full of the fun explosions that have become a staple of Mighty Avengers issues. Just as Tony and Doom seem like they are going to work together, the Sentry shows up, beating on Doom, and wanting him to put the world right. Doom retaliates with magic, this furthers messes up Bob’s mind, and leads Doom to discover that Bob is crazy. (Anyone else think this is a very bad thing? Let me reiterate: Doom, one of the world’s most powerful villains, has learned that the world’s most powerful superhero is insane. I think he will definitely use this to his advantage one day. Maybe not in this arc, but it’s coming, mark my words.)

These three finally realize that the only time machine they can use is in the Baxter Building, and the only way to get to it without endangering the future is by having Bob get them there. (Why? ‘Cause everyone is going to forget the Sentry existed before he resurfaced in NA #1. This is one of the few examples where a retcon that has already happened is redressed in a good light. Kudos to you, Bendis!) So after another fun fight, this time between the Sentry and the early Marvel Thing, the three are able to return to the future, but as soon as they get there, Doom has vanished. Carol flies in trying to warn Tony and Bob of something, Bob flies to meet her, and Tony is caught in a huge splash page explosion. (See? I told you explosions were a staple of Mighty Avengers!) Is it just me, or does Bendis enjoy trying to kill Tony? Anyways, my predictions are that Doom was somehow able to send himself back a few minutes before Tony and Bob showed up, and that the explosion was magical, which is why Tony wasn’t able to sense it in time. How did Tony survive? I dunno, I guess we’ll just have to wait until next time.

So, as I said, a very fun issue, the throwbacks to the early 70s style of art and page setup were great for nostalgia (even if I wasn’t born then), and the in-house ads at the bottom of each page were funny. But, (a HUGE but) while these things were enjoyable, they bring a huge question into this issue: when did it take place? The art was reminiscent of the early 70s Marvel comics, but this issue clearly couldn’t have taken place in the 70s, that would acknowledge that most Marvel characters would be in their 50s and 60s by now. So I’m going to assume that since comics are always “silently retconning” their stories to be more modern, that this issue took place in the “early Marvel” time period when it would have to be in order for today’s comics to fit. This means that this issue probably took place in the middle to late 90s. Yes the internet was around then, but not wireless, which would explain why Tony’s armor could not connect. Likewise the other problem is everyone worrying that they will change the future. Clearly Bendis forgot to read Messiah Complex or McDuffie’s last arc of Fantastic Four, because any changes would simply create a new timeline or be corrected by the robustness of the current timeline. Oops. It is because of these two inherent continuity questions that I gave this 3.5 stars instead of 4. Otherwise, it was, as I have said twice now, a very fun issue.

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing

Reivew of Uncanny X-Men 496 (3 stars) March 15, 2008

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Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This issue wasn’t as good as last issue, though reading Brubaker’s Captain America and Daredevil leads me to believe that this may have simply been one of his “puzzle piece” issues. In other words, an issue where Brubaker sets up the little necessary plot points that will make for a spectacular ending when everything finally resolves. So, why this may not have been the most spectacular issue, I would still recommend getting it (especially if you picked up last issue) so that you can be “in-the-know” when Brubaker gives us his genius ending. So now that I’ve written an opening paragraph that usually sounds like my closing paragraph, I’ll delve into the actual issue and give you some of my opinions/theories.

We start by finding Hepzibah and Archangel at the same hippie party but right afterward we see two hippies sitting on the front porch and one of them says something mysterious: “not even when we were us, not even in the real.” Is he simply referring to before San Fran got “hippified,” or might he be referring to something else? If I had to guess, I’d say that maybe he and the girl are also mutants. This I think is likely one of Brubaker’s puzzle pieces. This same hippie goes on to meet the mysterious “goddess,” likely the source of S.F.’s travel back in time.

After a quick shot of Scott and Emma worrying their way to San Francisco, we meet back up with the boys in Russia. Piotr is mourning over a grave that I’m assuming belongs to his parents (I’ll warn ya now: I’m an X-Noob!) and Logan tries to comfort him in the way he knows best: taking him to the nearest bar. In the bar, they talk about old times for awhile, and then it is revealed that Kitty is dead. Oops. Apparently this spoils a plot point from Astonishing X-Men (which I don’t read), but I don’t blame Brubaker, it’s not his fault that AXM has only released 24 issues in the last four years. (I’m not joking, I got bored and looked up the release date of all 24 issues and it has indeed taken four years). When he first started scripting this issue months ago, Giant Size AXM (where I’m assuming the aforementioned plot point will be “revealed”) was probably likely “supposed” to be out by now. By the time he realized that this was actually going to be a spoiler, it was probably too late to change it.

We then cut back to Scott and Emma in S.F. They talk to some hippies and one of them mentions something called a “be-in.” I have no idea what this is, I’m assuming it is some kind of event, and I’m also guess that this is another puzzle piece. The last we see of Scott and Emma this issue is as they walk off, still hoping to find Warren and Hepzibah before it is “too late.”

We cut back to the bar where some local thugs are trying to get the money that they are owed from the bartender. This, of course, leads to a bar fight (started, of course, by Logan). The fight was well drawn (as was the whole issue, Choi is an insanely good artist) and very dynamic, though it wasn’t as fun to read, simply because we didn’t really know the story behind the fight. Yes, Logan was trying to protect the bartender, but why were they assaulting the bartender in the first place? Once again, I think this may be yet another puzzle piece, and that we haven’t seen the last of these goons. After the fight, Logan, Piotr, and Kurt decide to leave on the next train, but cutting to the final scene (in a government office in Moscow) we find that leaving may not be too easy for them. The government officials discover that Piotr is still alive and decide they can’t let him and his friends out of the country, and are happy that they will finally have some mutants to “play with.” This scene also had the great use of a puzzle piece from last issue, the tabloid that we saw in S.F. with Piotr and “Angelina Jolie” on the cover that I assumed was simply a humorous Easter Egg turns out to be an actually import plot point. Well, that’s Brubaker for you, and as always, I can’t wait too see what he does next!

Please leave comments!

-LOTRKing