Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Jorge Molina, Matteo Buffagni
Published by: Marvel Comics
X-MEN GOLD #1
Written by: Marc Guggenheim
Art by: Ardian Syaf, Jay Leisten, Frank Martin, and Cory Petit
Published by: Marvel Comics
When I bought X-Men Gold #1 last Friday, I thought my review would be a simple one to write. But on Saturday, all hell broke loose when news about what artist Ardian Syaf included in the issue came to light.
If you haven’t heard the details, you can read all about it here.
There is no excuse for this. If he wishes to express his feelings like this, he should do it in his own comic. There is no way he can stay on the book past issue #2, and I won’t be surprised is Marvel fires him from the company for good.
What makes the situation even sadder is that his actions have overshadowed what was otherwise an enjoyable first issue. X-Men Gold #1 is a return to form for the children of the atom. These are the X-Men I remember fondly from decades ago. Writer Marc Guggenheim has the X-Men doing X-Men stuff again: playing baseball, working as a team, spending time as a family. I could go on and on, and all of it works!
I’m not saying X-Men Gold #1 is the greatest X-Men comic ever, but damn if it wasn’t fun seeing the X-Men act normal again. This issue had action, humor, and even some great one-on-one conversations. But with a roster that includes Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, and Storm, you really can’t go wrong.
The one thing I didn’t like in this comic, was Rachel Summers’ new codename of Prestige. There’s one panel that tries to explain it, but it wasn’t enough. Ever since she droppes Phoenix as her codename, it’s been downhill for Rachel. And why the heck does she have a cape? Maybe of this will be answered in future issues.
Anyway,s is X-Men Gold #1 is a solid debut for the new team, and one worth checking out if you haven’t followed the X-Men in a long time. I can only hope even better things are ahead.
X-Men Gold #1 score: B
X-MEN PRIME #1
Written by: Marc Guggenheim, Greg Pak, and Cullen Bunn
Art by: Ken Lashley, Ibraim Roberson, Leonard Kirk, Guillermo Ortego, Morry Hollowell, Frank D’Armata, Michael Garland, and Joe Caramagna
Published by: Marvel Comics
X-Men Prime #1 sees Storm recruit Kitty Pryde out of retirement to lead the ResurreXion for the X-Men. Along the way we check in on Lady Deathstrike who will star in the upcoming Weapon-X title.
Later in the issue, we run into Jubilee and a handful of students we’ll see more of in the upcoming Generation X book. And last, but not least, we see Jean Grey and the time-displaced original X-Men who will star in the upcoming X-Men Blue.
Writer Marc Guggenheim uses Kitty Pryde as our tour guide, one that old and new fans can relate to. Meanwhile Greg Pak, and Cullen Bunn handle the sections featuring the upcoming titles. But I’m happy to say the change between writers though, is pretty seamless.
Guggenheim writes Kitty as a still young character, but one that has seen too much battle and heartache too. But despite this, Kitty is still the hopeful person we all knod and love. And in this issue, Kitty knows what’s best for the X-Men, what exactly she needs to do to bring them back to being the X-Men we cared about.
The art in X-Men Prime is quite nice, with Ken Lashley taking home the gold. I’ve liked his work ever since he was on Excalibur in the early 1990’s, so it was nice to see him draw Kitty again. The other scenes fall to Ibraim Roberson and Leonard Kirk. The Lady Deathstrike scene is darker, and less detailed than the Kitty Pryde sequences, but it definitely fits the scene. And Lady Deathstrike looks just like Kelly Hu did in the film X2, right down to the pant suit.
Meanwhile, the segment with the time displaced X-Men, is brighter, more fun, and includes costumes. Not great costumes minds you, but at least they’re wearing some. This part of the issue also sees Jean Grey wondering why the boys are always so protective of her. A good question, considering she’s probably the most powerful out of all of them.
X-Men Prime #1 is exactly what you expected: An overpriced issue that previews the new upcoming X-Men books. However, X-Men Prime is also pretty damn good, and that is something I was not expecting.
All of the sudden I’m interested in the Weapon-X and Jean Grey books, and I can’t wait to see what kitty Pryde has in store for the children of the atom.
X-Men Prime #1 score: A-
Between 1991 and 1996, I never missed a single issue of Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Factor, and X-Force. I stuck with the X-Men family through the good and the bad. I even kept reading when the comics started plots that were never resolved.
My love affair with the X-Men came to an end with the Onslaught saga, turning Charles Xavier into Onslaught was just too much for me. Anyways, over the next twenty-one years, I have occasionally checked in on the mutants to see what they’re up to, but I never went back to collecting the X-Men books full-time. That however, may change soon.
Over the next couple of months, Marvel is relaunching most of the X-Men books. starting with a one-shot called X-Men Prime. After that, there will be two main X-Men titles: X-Men Gold & X-Men Blue. Later on they will be joined by Generation X, Cable, and I believe a couple of solo books.
Marvel is the king of relaunching titles, but I don’t believe starting with new #1 issues is enough anymore. The company needs to give me a reason to stick with the books, and I have a couple of ideas on how I would achieve that:
5. Stable Rosters
One of my favorite things about the early nineties X-Men were the rosters. For a few years they stayed constant, so if you wanted to read about Storm, you knew she was in Uncanny. If you were a Boom Boom fan, you went to X-Force.
My suggestion for the new books is keep the rosters they’ve announced for at least a year. This will give the readers a chance to know the characters, and see how they interact with each other on missions, and at home.
4. Solid Creative Teams
When I started reading comics about 30 years ago, writers and artists stayed on a series for a long time. When someone left a book early, it was big news because it just didn’t happen often. Sometime in the late 1990’s, but especially in the 2000’s, long runs by creative teams became a rarity.
For the new X-Men books, Marvel needs to make sure the creative teams stay on their series for more than one story arc. I can not explain how mad I get when an artist stays on a book for only 4-6 issues.
3. Bring Back the Humor
Long time X-Men fans will tell you that one of the coolest things about the team was when they were between missions. During those rare occasions you’d see them playing baseball, football, cooking together, having a picnic by the lake, or just hanging out at Harry’s. These quieter times usually led to some funny moments.
I miss reading those kind of moments, but it would be nice if the new comics brought back some of the fun and humor. It doesn’t need to be slapstick comedy, just a few lighter sequences would be nice.
I’m an old school comic book fan, so superheroes in costumes are a must for me. The leather look brought on by the movies and the Grant Morrison era was awful. Plain and simple: The X-Men need costumes. But they can’t be just any costumes, they need a good design too.
From what little I’ve seen of the new X-Men books, the costumes are iffy at best. Angel and teenage Cyclops have arguably the worst costumes in my opinion. The design doesn’t work on teenage characters, they look like their wearing hand me downs from their predecessors.
Look, I’m not saying they need to go back to the Jim Lee designed suits from 1991, or even the yellow and blue suits with the X on the belt. Marvel just needs to find an artist who can design 2017 costumes for the teams.
1. Four Books is Enough
When the X-Men line was at its best, it contained four main books: Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Factor, and X-Force. There were other monthly series of course, Wolverine and Excalibur for instance. But the core books were limited to four titles.
If I were in charge of the upcoming relaunch, I would go back to four main books: Uncanny, New Mutants Academy, X-Factor, and Exiles. Uncanny would be the flagship book. In other words, what happens in Uncanny would dictate what happens in the other books. If any major crossovers take place, they should start an end in Uncanny X-Men.
New Mutants Academy would see former members return to the school to teach and train the next generation of heroes. And after a year or so, you could graduate the team, and introduce another roster to keep the Marvel suits happy.
X-Factor would be based in what is currently the Alpha Flight space station. The new X-Factor would feature some of the smartest characters in the X-Men universe, like Beast, and Forge. Their team would deal with space invasions and the like.
And finally, Exiles will feature a clandestine team of X-Men. This group will di what other X-Men can’t or wont. I would put Psylocke in charge of the Exiles, and she would be joined by Archangel, Colossus, Aurora, Wolfsbane, and Sunfire.
So those are my suggestions for Marvel, and a little bit of what I would do if I was in charge of the X-Men line. For now, all I can do is hope the new X-Men series will brang back the essence of the classic X-Men runs.
By 2029, mutants are an endangered species. There hasn’t been a new mutant born for many years. Those who are left, live in hiding. One of them is Logan (Hugh Jackman), who now goes by his birth name James Howlett and is working as a limousine driver in Texas.
The years haven’t been kind to old Wolvy, and his healing factor doesn’t work as fast as it used to.
Logan lives just across the Mexico border, and because old habits die-hard, he’s keeping a secret: He’s hiding Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is now in his nineties and has been classified by the government as a “weapon of mass destruction.” This is fue to Charles’ diminishing mental state having made him unable to control his powers.
Logan is hoping to buy a boat so he and Charles can live on the sea without causing any harm to those around them. Everything changes the day Logan is approached by a mysterious woman offering him $50,000 to transport a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to the U.S./Canadian border.
As unknown government forces begin closing in on Laura, Logan, and Professor X. It then becomes clear to Logan, the he still has one more fight ahead of him.
“Logan” is the third solo Wolverine movie, and the second directed by James Mangold. This film is quite simply, one of the best comic book movies ever made.
“Logan” is a character-driven story, a drama rather an a full on action movie. Don’t get me wrong: there is plenty of violence in this movie. James Mangold delivers the Wolverine berserker rage you’ve been dying to see for 17 years. Two minutes into “Logan” and you know this is not like the other X-Men movies.
This is the most realistic X-Men movie by far, and in my opinion, the best X-Men movie so far. “Logan” is one film that even non-comic readers will enjoy. Heck, you’ll enjoy this movie even if you haven’t seen the other X-Men movies.
Hugh Jackman is finally given the chance to flex his acting muscle in an X-Men film, and the actor rises to the occasion. He captured the physical and emotional wear that this character has accumulated over his life. Some of my favorite moments were when Logan realizes he needs glasses to read, when he takes care of Charles, and when he tries to teach X-23 right from wrong.
Speaking of X-23, Dafne Keen, makes Laura/X-23 a memorable character despite the fact she’s mostly a silent character. But she’s able to do plenty of acting with her eyes, and with her mannerisms. Where Keen really excels is in the action scenes. Holy cow, she was awesome in those sequences.
But the show stealer was Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier. This is easily his best performance as professor X, one that allowed Stewart to be funny, vulnerable and heartbreaking. For me one of the best scenes in the movie is the dinner scene at the farm-house. It was such a simple scene, and yet, it seemed like Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman were just two old friends sharing memories over a home cooked meal.
For the most part I loved everything about “Logan.” However, I do have one complaint about the movie: X-24 was a pointless villain. I get that the movie needed someone for Logan to go against, but the filmmakers could have created another Lady Deathstrike, or another mutant from the X-universe. They could even have brought back Sabretooth. For me going with X-24 seemed like a lazy move.
Regardless of my one complaint, “Logan” is one hell of a film. This is the Wolverine movie that fans have been begging for, and it has everything you could hope for. “Logan” is also the perfect send off for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Never in a million years did I think an X-Men movie would bring me to tears, but I have to admit “Logan” did just that.
“Logan” final score: A
As you’ve probably seen in the news, “X-Men: Apocalypse is not faring too well at the box office, state side at least. Critics hated the movie and fans seem divided too.
But as I said in my review: there was a lot of good in “X-Men Apocalypse.” But like most people, there were also things I could not overlook like the way they used (or didn’t use) Psylocke. One problem in “X-Men: Apocalypse” I forgot to mention was Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.
If you follow my movie reviews then you know I love me some Jennifer Lawrence. But in “X-Men: Apocalypse” it was clear to me she didn’t want to be there. Not only was she barely in her blue form, but Lawrence just looked bored most of the time.
My thinking is I know you want to move on from the X-Men series, but you’re still getting paid to do a job, be a professional, have some respect for the source material, and put on the blue paint.
Anywho, last week director Bryan Singer suggested Mystique as a potential X-Men Spinoff, in other words, a movie featuring the shape-changing anti-hero could be in the works. There’s definitely potential there, and I have a couple of ideas on how Fox can pull it off:
Back in the 1990’s, Forge, a former weapons contractor whose mutant powers were his brilliant engineering skills, was added to the X-Factor team that at the time was working for the government.
When Forge became team leader, he was joined by Polaris, Valerie Cooper, and several new recruits including: Sabretooth, Shard, Wild Child, and of course… Mystique.
My movie version of X-Factor would ignore Forge and some of the other members, and would instead make Mystique the team leader. She would be joined by Quicksilver, Nightcrawler, and X-23. This X-Factor would still work for the government, and the team’s liaison would be Valerie Copper played by Diane Kruger.
In 2003 the creative team of Brian K. Vaughan and Jorge Lucas gave Mystique her first ever solo book, and it had an intriguing premise: Professor X turns Mystique into his own secret agent.
The book went something like this: Mystique has used her powers to go against the X-Men in their battle for mutant-human coexistence for years, but in this complicated world, Mystique begins to find the battle lines are no longer so clear. In exchange for protection, Mystique reluctantly agrees to work for Charles Xavier. But instead of being invited to join the X-Men, Mystique is asked to participate in politically sensitive operations as a secret agent. Can this former mutant-rights terrorist be trusted?
The series only lasted 24 issues, but seeing Mystique as 007 somehow worked. This would be the perfect way to give the character a solo movie, and it leaves the door open for other mutants to make cameos. Show of hands:
Who wants a Deadpool cameo?
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I love Jennifer Lawrence, and I’m okay if she wants to come back to the role of Mystique. However, she has to commit to the blue paint, the shape shifting, and the fact she may not be onscreen much as herself.
But in case the actress does move on from he role, then the search for a new Mystique must begin soon. Here are a few options to keep in mind:
Arguably the sexiest woman on television today,Priyanka Chopra could give Mystique a brand new type of sexy. And if you’ve seen miss Chopra on “Quantico,” then you know she handles action extremely well.
A badass, and a slightly more mature Mystique, why the hell not?
Watc her her in “300” or even “Dredd,” and you know she can play deadly or sexy. And what can be said of her on “Game of Thrones that hasn’t been said already?
And finally, Why not go back to the original?
Rebecca Romijn hasn’t aged a day, and she brought so much to the role. She played Mystique like a sexy lizard, proud of her blueness.
Possible spoilers ahead!
A decade after the events of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” humanity remains divided on whether mutants are a threat, but some progress has been made after the public takedown of Magneto in 1973. Since then, Charles Xavier opened a school for mutants, and Mystique became a mythic hero for mutants all around the globe. Now, she frees oppressed mutants and dismantles anti-mutant movements from the shadows.
However, when an ancient power re-emerges after several millennia, enlisting the help of powerful mutants for the purpose of freeing mutantkind from the shackles of humanity, Mystique and Charles must join forces one more time. They can’t do it alone though, and will need help from the next generation of X-Men. But can Xavier’s students turn into soldiers in time to save the world?
Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Apocalypse” is more than a decent follow-up to the epic Days of Future Past, but Apocalypse is not a perfect film either. Or to put it another way: longtime fans of the comics will be satisfied, while more casual film goers will be left scratching their heads a few times.
I will say though that “X-Men: Apocalypse” has a ton of great moments, some of the best in the film series in fact. The scene with Magneto in the forest is one of the best sequences I’ve seen in movies this year. The opening scenes in ancient Egypt were better than anything in “Gods of Egypt.” And Xavier’s excitement when he sees Moira MacTaggert again is pure gold.
Some of the other highlights for me were Quicksilver (everything he did was great), Nightcrawler (“I’m blue!”), and the Cyclops tree scene. The biggest surprise in the film was Sophie Turner as Jean Grey.
You liked her right away and whenever she appeared on the screen, you couldn’t take your eyes of her. Sophie Turner stole the movie for me, and I’m pleased to say they finally got the character right, and I can’t wait to see what they do with her next. Perhaps this time they can do a certain Dark Saga some justice?
The biggest disappointments in “X-Men: Apocalypse” were my fellow Guatemalan Oscar Isaac buried under a mile of purple makeup. Issac wasn’t helped by the villain’s lackluster plan to rebuild the world. And he spent most of the movie recruiting mutants to his cause and not engaging the X-Men.
Instead, Apocalypse lets his horsemen do the fighting but, with the exception of Magneto, the horsemen of Apocalypse get very little screen time, they don’t even get memorable moments or action scenes. Anyone who watched the film’s trailers or tv spots will have seen everything these is to see from Olivia Munn’s Psylocke. Seriously, my all time favorite X-man, played by this nerd’s dream girl and that’s all I get?
Psylocke spoke in two scenes, two scenes!! And, she didn’t get any back story or any character development (same goes for Angel). Her powers are not explained, which if fine for a guy like me who knows Psylocke well from he comics, but many in the theatre were confused.
My guess (and my hope) is that a lot of Psylocke was left in the cutting room floor because the movie was running so long. And for the record: Olivia Munn was just fine, none of the problems were her fault.
At its core, there’s actually a good story in “X-Men: Apocalypse.” But all of the good stuff is drowned out by the lack of character development and less than stellar action scenes (compared to Days of Future Past).
And yet, “X-Men: Apocalypse” has a ton of stuff worth seeing, and I don’t believe it deserves the hate many critics are giving it. This was a solid addition to the film franchise, and its worth seeing in the theatre.
“”X-Men: Apocalypse” final score: 7.5