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Fox pictures have a number of exciting movies coming out this year, spanning a number of different audiences.
Guest moderator Ralph Garman introduced the first movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Director Dean DeBlois and surprisingly Jay Baruchel (voice of Hiccup) took to the stage. After showing a completed first five minutes of the movie (which looked fantastic by the way) DeBlois elaborated that this second film of what is to be a trilogy takes place five years after the first movie, showing how our characters and the village have both grown and learned to make living with dragons part of their daily lives. “We also see that Stoick (Hiccup’s father) has changed from seeing his son as an embarrassment, to becoming an overly proud dad that has high hopes for his son. Hiccup can’t deal with these aspirations.” And we’ll be introduced to a new villain, Drago Bludvist, and how he plans to put a permanent wedge between the humans and dragons. How to Train your Dragon is coming to theatres June 13th.
Following next, Ralph Garman introduced the cast of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to the stage. Director Matt Reeves, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, and Andy Serkis. “This movie follows years after the virus is released from the first movie and humans are extinct, or that they are thought to be,” says Matt. “We see that Caesar now is the leader of his tribe, and he has a family; a wife, one teenage son and a new baby.”
As it later introduced into the film that humans are still alive, it creates a conflict between the two species and inside Caesar himself. “Caesar is an ape, but he also had a human dad,” explained the director. “And he knows how it is to lose someone you love, so he’s empathetic to the survivors. He has to walk a fine line between his feelings and keeping his tribe together. And we see how there was a possibility that two could have lived together, but of course we all know what happens. That’s not a surprise.”
After watching the short movie clip they show us and listening to the discussion of the internal struggles on both the important parties of the movie, it’s difficult to decide who you want to root for. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be seeing theatres this July 11th.
Based off the widely popular young adult book by the same name, Maze Runner is what I see as a futuristic Lord of the Flies. This movie adapted by James Dashner’s book has all the makings of the next Hunger Games, by which I mean futuristic technology set in a forest setting, and the murder of teenagers. The movie does have some exciting action shots for those who like to run and fight, thrown in with a lot of CGI.
Presenting the movie were the director Wes Ball, author James Dashner, actor Will Poulter, and actor Dylan O’Brien (made famous by the series Teen Wolf). The author confessed that for his book a number of influences were the book Ender’s Game, the book Lord of the Flies, the show Lost, and his fear of mazes. “Remember in the Shining with the maze scene? Mazes creep me out. If you’ve ever been in a corn maze then you know.” The anticipated Maze Runner will be out September 19th of this year.
Moderator Ralph Garman introduced a last minute addition into the screening lineup. Coming out this fall is a spy movie called Secret Service. Its notable actors are Colin Firth (famous for many things including his portrayal of Mister Darcy in a BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) and Samuel L. Jackson who will be playing the villain in this movie. Its setting is somewhere in the U.K., and the premise is that it deals with an organization that is funded by private investors as to not be hampered by politics and bureaucracy. The action sequences appear to be a faster paced Avengers, and technology stolen by Spykids. Still a work in progress.
And finally, what the Arena seemed to be waiting the most for, Ralph Garman introduced X-Men: Days of Future Past. The extended trailer and snippet of the movie looked beautiful and action packed. Unfortunately as a last minute change up, director Bryan Singer didn’t show (for reasons I’m sure we all know), but in his stead we had writer Simon Kinberg. He elaborated on things in the movie spanning from the politics in the 70’s, art styles of the bleak future and bright past, and as well as the convoluted concept of time travel. “Even though in the original comic that the movie is based off of they had Kitty go back in time, we decided that Wolverine worked better. James Cameron really helped us with the idea of time travel and how it scientifically would work, so you’ll see a lot of that in the film.”
In part of his final words, Simon Kinberg also added that he hopes this movie will make up for the failures of the 3rd X-Men movie, which was based off of the Dark Phoenix comic arc. X-Men: Days of Future Past will be out May 23rd; Not soon enough.
Marvel have released their solicitations for December, including a lot of odd decimal placements, an apparent return for Peter Parker, the finale of Scarlet Spider, and a whole load of other stuff. Here’s a few bulletpoints about what you can look out for over Christmas:
If you want the full set of solicitations rather than this cherry-picking of the bigger details, head to CBR.
It looks as though Peter Parker is returning, as is the Amazing Spider-Man brand as a whole. Five issues will be out this month, lavvelled 700.1, 700.2, and so on. A number of creators are involved on this book: David Morrell and Klaus Janson on the first two issues, followed by Joe Casey, Kevin Grevioux, Jen Van Meter, Tim Green, Tim Seeley, Emma Rios, Clay Chapman, Javier Rodriguez, Brian Reed, Lee Weeks and Sean Chen. Phew!
Kathryn Immonen is returning to comics once more, and reuniting with her Hellcat collaborator David LaFuente for a new one-off story. They’re in charge of Avengers Assemble Annual – one of three annuals out this month – which promises the debut of
Zamira! She’s Meryl Streep with a vengeance!
There is also a Hulk annual, as well as a Thunderbolts annual.
Brian Michael Bendis is bringing X-23 into the cast of All-New X-Men, which basically spoils one element of Avengers Arena. It looks like she has a new costume. Elsewhere in the Bendis World, Kevin Maguire’s issue of Guardians of the Galaxy comes out this month.
Wolverine Origins II starts, with Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert handling the five-issue miniseries. The first cover will have an acetate cover variant.
After 25 issues Scarlet Spider is ending in December, with Chris Yost and David Baldeon the team for this final issue. Ryan Stegman provides a cover for the issue.
Inhumanity starts, followed by a number of ridiculous tie-in issues like Mighty Avengers 4.INH and so on. This issue will be by Matt Fraction and Oliver Coipel, seemingly leading us towards Inhuman the ongoing series in 2014.
Avengers Assemble brings in co-writer Warren Ellis for a new story arc, working alongside Kelly Sue DeConnick. Art will be by Matteo Buffagni. And yes, it’ll be Avengers Assemble 22.INH.
No sign of an X-Factor relaunch this month, although it turns out that Brian Wood is the creator who’ll be trying to fix the almost conclusively broken Monet, following a dreadful last few months of X-Factor for the character. Monet will be joining the team in X-Men, with Terry Dodson on art.
If anyone CAN sort her out, it’s Brian Wood! Fingers crossed.
TweetInterviewing Neal Adams over at the New Statesman in the run up to this month’s London Super Comic Con, we chatted about his legendary role in providing greater creator rights for all within the comics industry, his own start in comics, and pushing comics in a more “relevant” direction. So while I recommend going ahead [...]
Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel’s relaunch of X-Men with Jubilee, Storm, Rogue, Rachel Grey, Kitty Pryde and the other one has been moved back slightly, from April to May. The new publication date will be May 29th. This is due to a bereavement, and Brian Wood has posted regarding the decision to hold off on the first issue’s release:
Obviously this is a very personal matter. Pushing the launch back is the best option out of all that was discussed. An uninterrupted creative run is better than random fill-ins, and in a couple months when we’re past it no one will remember the delays and the work will be forever.
Battle of the Atom, the 2013 X-Men event crossover, will see All-New X-Men, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine & the X-Men tell a story in which the current X-Men have to deal with past versions of themselves – and, uh, also future versions of themselves.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to be reading each new issue of the storyline and offering a running commentary on them. Not reviews, particularly – these are more like a series of thoughts which are brought up by each issue.
There will be spoilers below! Although, really, you’re not going to understand what I’m talking about unless you’ve read the issue first.
Battle of the Atom #1 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Frank Cho, Marte Gracia, and Joe Caramagna.
Cover by Art Adams
Additional pages by Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger
X-Men Crossovers are a staple of the franchise. Since the books split into multiple teams and characters way back when, crossovers have made for some of the more inspired and entertaining X-Men stories Marvel have put out. From Inferno to X-Cutioner’s Song and modern crossovers like Messiah Complex, events have served to define the X-Men franchise over the years. Unlike, say, the Avengers, who have mostly been defined by the creator tackling them, the X-Men are more defined by a clear history of ‘big’ storylines.
(Mainly because most X-Men stories are written by the same creator - Chris Claremont)
This has meant that every year Marvel attempt to continue their winning streak with some new ‘big’ storylines for readers. But unusually, we’re currently riding in from a recent string of smaller scale, less successful event stories – Necrosha, Second Coming and Schism all struggled to work on their own merits, and had to be supported by superior tie-in books. Battle of the Atom doesn’t have that luxury, and instead has to bring an entire storyline together – featuring some disparate groups of characters – within the central storyline.
That’s a big ask, especially when you look at just how terrible a job Infinity is doing at making sense without having 2-3 tie-in books assisting the main storyline. On the basis of the first issue, it looks like the X-Office have decided to pare things right down to the basic points. Battle of the Atom #1 doesn’t even bother with Brian Wood’s team of X-Men – this is an introduction purely to Brian Michael Bendis’ X-Men teams, with Kitty Pryde and the All-New X-Men taking the main focus.
Cyclops’ Uncanny X-Men show up too, although strangely there’s almost no conflict whatsoever between the two teams. They get along just fine, are friendly and playful with one another, and nobody calls anybody a jerk. It’s almost disappointing how little real conflict we’ve gotten since Schism ended and the X-Men split into different groups, especially when it means Kitty Pryde hasn’t been able to rant at anybody for months now.
When the final page brings in the Future X-Men, thus putting three generations of X-Men into play… again, there’s no conflict! It’s all very cordial indeed. Very friendly. No tension or sense that this might be epic.
Yet whilst it’s fun for long-term fans to read an X-Men event and see everybody fighting and angry, Bendis’ X-Men run has really been about returning ‘friendliness’ to the mutants. The characters have all dialled back a notch, settled back into themselves, and been allowed to show off just why they were popular to begin with. No more screaming and shouting and melodrama for the time being – Bendis has focused on the basic traits of the characters and reassumed them to fit 2013.
For new readers, this has made for an excellent inroduction to the characters and world of the X-Men, because we get to see their appeal right there on the page… rather than have to remember what the characters once were. That’s the success and failure of this opening issue – the characters are revived and upbeat… but at the same time, they’re also disengaged from a sense of danger. There’s no threat.
The last page revealing the Future X-Men doesn’t feel ominous either, although maybe that’s because it’s been talked about so endlessly in interviews and solicitations. Really, the main shock comes when you see what the Future X-Men team are WEARING, because lordy if that isn’t some of the worst costume designing since Polaris. The team are in beige, for the most part, with shawls and hoods and bland designs dominating them as a group.
They look absolutely terrible. It’s also worth noting that, in keeping with the goal of making everything simple for new readers, not one of the characters is new. These are all existing characters. There’s no Cable or Bishop or Shard appearing for the first time here. These are established characters, or the children of established characters, aged and changed very slightly.
For all that this is billed as a major event, there’s no sign that the writers want to shock or stun readers with revelations. It instead feels very low-key, simple, and one-note in the opening issue. So really, it’s an issue which completely introduces the key idea of Bendis’ X-Men – that the characters are enjoying themselves for the first time in years, despite everything else that’s happening to them. They’re individuals again rather than a minority group working together on their cause.
At the same time the character-driven writing means that the storyline feels a little linear, and a little too easy. Nothing in the opening issue suggests any reason why the entire crossover couldn’t just see various X-Men sitting in their breakfast room, discussing their differences over coffee.
And that’s probably why Marvel decided, after reading the issue, to release both Battle of the Atom AND All New X-Men #16 on the same day. There’s only one scene in this opening issue, midway through the story, which has any real sense of drama to it – and then the story skips ahead in time so it doesn’t have to resolve or address that drama quite yet.
But! All-New X-Men #16 DOES address it. And picks the story up considerably, in fact. So on that note – more to come..
Battle of the Atom, the 2013 X-Men event crossover, will see All-New X-Men, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine & the X-Men tell a story in which the current X-Men have to deal with past versions of themselves – and, uh, also future versions of themselves.
Over the next few months, I’ll be tracking the story with each issue and keeping score on how well the storyline is going.
There will be spoilers below! Although, really, you’re not going to understand what I’m talking about unless you’ve read the issue first.
All New X-Men #16 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Marte Gracia, and Cory Petit
Boy oh boy, telekinesis was just MADE for Brian Michael Bendis, wasn’t it? This second chapter of the crossover features a bounty of telekinetic double-talk, allowing the writer to offer second and third takes on each situation as they occur in the story.
It’s also a step up from the first chapter, which was designed mainly to get people up to speed on the All-New and Uncanny X-Men teams. Here we finally get to see a wider section of the X-Men in action, as more and more teams start to pile up on each other. But, if there’s any artist able to handle twenty-thirty people in a scene, it’s Stuart Immonen. Immonen steals the issue with his work, giving each character a ‘pop’ from their background, assisted by some careful and bold inking from Wade Von Grawbadger.
Von Grawbadger’s work with Immonen doesn’t get talked enough as much as it should, really – although Immonen’s pencilling is fantastic, it’s Von Grawbadger who gives the characters that feeling of satisfying chunkiness – they feel solid and bounce off each page. He gives them chunky outlines when he needs them to take the foreground and thins down the aspect for characters like Iceman – establishing the different body types and mannerisms of the characters. He’s a perfect fit for the X-Men.
And what a lot of X-Men there are in this issue! This time we have a brief check-in with Cyclops and his Uncanny team, whilst most of the issue focuses in on a three-team drama in which several characters pick an individual side. The main set-piece here is a telekinetic sequence taken fairly shamelessly straight from the pages of Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run, as a lengthy discussion and fight are then replayed from a telepathic aspect.
At first it seems like there’s a single discussion going on until Bendis rewinds and replays the scene from Jean Grey’s perspective – revealing that the whole time she’s been telepathically talking to other people in the room, changing the context of the sequence entirely. Whedon held onto this surprise for a few issues, but Bendis establishes and switches the sequence almost immediately. It’s a faster-pace and allows to create a quick, useful conflict between the characters without having to resort to a one-dimensional fight sequence.
It’s pretty obvious that Bendis has been hankering to do this sort of thing for a while, as his All-New X-Men prior to this issue has been full of telepathic tics and quirks. When writing quickfire dialogue, Bendis is hampered by the fact his characters can only say so many words on a panel, within their one motion. Removing that obstacle by writing out thoughts means he can fill each page with as much text as he likes, coating each sequence with side-commentary and exposition.
This is a dream come true for him, you can tell. Luckily the creative team also have the advantage of a few well-planned surprises. The future X-Men team contains one of them, although it’s not quite the surprise you might think it to be. If I can go into an extended analysis of aging, you can see that the Future X-Men team are all around 40 years older than the present day team. With that in mind, the reveal of Jean is not one which returns the version last seen in the hands of Morrison/Pak. Rather, this is the teenage version of Jean, if she stays in the present and ages normally.
Jean’s unveiling is a clever twist for the story, but it also serves to hide what is possibly a more important thing – there’s no future version of Cyclops or Angel amongst the Future X-Men team. Jean is just a distraction from the fact that Bendis has something in mind for his Uncanny X-Men team, and it’s the biggest hook of the issue.
We do check in on that team here, as they recover from Cyclops’ death-experience in the prologue. Interestingly, the story hasn’t bothered to identify any of these characters aside from Cyclops himself. The book relies on readers already knowing who all the new characters are, and that Emma Frost is now wearing the generic suit which Chris Bachalo gives every female character. After finally nailing down one trailing part of time travel – Marvel have by now changed the rules of time travel every year for the past fifty years – that team gets a motivation for their next few issues.
That’s a canny trick, isn’t it? Last issue defined the motivation for the team, but Bendis cut away from the scene before actually telling that to the reader. Instead he pops the aftermath scene into this new issue, therefore quickly giving readers a one-issue wait before confirming that, yes, they are all now worried about the new development from before.
Speaking of how efficiently the issue manages to bring in the other books – Rachel Grey has a very brief, but massively substantial, appearance. She runs in after the fight and does EXACTLY what the reader wants her to, and rounds on the new Xorn. Brian Wood’s X-Men have still not appeared as a team, but they are now set up through Rachel’s one-panel outburst and a single dialogue-free reaction panel from Storm. Two words from Jean, and suddenly the next issue has a purpose as well. That’s a remarkably effective use of a page!
That’s what comes across most strongly in the issue. It’s quick and economical. We still haven’t had much beyond Brian Michael Bendis setting up the pieces of the story… but it FEELS like a lot more than that. There’s an effective use of panel-time here which Avengers readers will look upon enviously. Having telepaths present in each issue means Bendis can write overextended thought bubbles for characters – but it also means he can no longer waste the characters’ time. He can’t have character lie to each other, because there are now four or five telepaths around who will call that out.
With the story so far stuck in a room filled with X-Men (there’s still no sign of a villain, unless you count the DJ who makes a TOTALLY UNCALLED FOR dig at Dazzler’s career), the narrative finally has had to force itself forwards, creating some dramatic momentum for Brian Wood to dig into as we head to chapter 3 of the crossover.
The variant cover for issue #8 of Avengers Vs X-Men has been unveiled today by Marvel. One of the seventeen, anyway. Drawn by Adam Kubert, the cover shows those most heroic of characters, the Phoenix Five, standing around doing nothing much of any import. In a heroic manner! As you can see, Namor’s trousers have been lowered even further than before, while Cyclops holds onto the broken weaponry of the evil Avengers. The burning city behind them is that of Wakanda, the consistently-dubious home of Black Panther, where the Avengers are currently hiding out.
In a villainous manner.
How can we tell that they’re heroic and the Avengers are evil? Firstly, because the X-Men are super-duper and the Avengers are totes rubbish. But also, it’s because Cyclops has got his hands on Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, which can only be held by somebody who is worthy and noble. Presumably Thor lost the right to wield the thing after he used his God Powers to villainously punch a young boy in the stomach this week.
Marvel Now! was always going to claim some victims before relaunching, and now it’s made revealed (through that most sneaky of revealers, the solicitations listing) that nine of their current books will die in order for Marvel Now! to live.
Those nine titles are: Captain America, Fantastic Four, FF, Incredible Hulk, Invincible Iron Man, New Mutants, The Mighty Thor, Uncanny X-Men and X-Men Legacy.
This isn’t completely surprising in every case, because Brian Michael Bendis already said that Uncanny would end and several of the other books were winding up long-standing runs with big name creators. Matt Fraction was already set to leave Invincible Iron Man, while Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brubaker were both already known to be leaving the Fantastic Four titles and Captain America, respectively.
What does this mean for the characters? Well, Captain America, Thor and X-Men Legacy’s Rogue are all in a team together anyway, while Iron Man will surely find a place in one of the Avengers titles. But what of the Fantastic Four? They’ve completely dropped off the map, apparently, and the World’s Greatest Superhero Family look set to pack up their bags for a one-way trip to the one place they’ve never been before: comic-book limbo.
It’s interesting to note that most of these books were handled by the ‘Architects’ of Marvel, and that some low-selling titles like the beloved Journey Into Mystery have survived this new purge. Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man also escapes the destruction, so that much-teased ‘big change’ in issue #700 isn’t going to see the book cancelled, thankfully.
Three X-Men books are chopped, including flagship Uncanny X-Men. Which is a massive surprise, because most were predicting that the pointless titles – adjectiveless X-Men and Astonishing X-Men – would be the two to go. New Mutants was expected to go, and does. But it’s still surprising to see just how big a change Marvel seem to be making. What new books are going to replace these ones, which surely were the backbone of the Marvel Universe?
Well look, news is flying out the internet like four and twenty blackbirds from a regal pie. Following USA Today’s teaser images showing Matt Fraction on Fantastic Four come two more images, this time teasing what look to be Captain America NOW and X-Men NOW.
iFanboy have the Captain America teaser image, which places Rick Remender and John Romita Jr on the title this November. This is, of course, coming as Ed Brubaker starts to cycle away from Marvel and towards more creator-owned work, as his long run on Cap ends later this year. Some sites are suggesting this teaser is actually for Winter Soldier, but it’s unlikely that Brubaker would leave Marvel completely, and so suddenly. This will be the Captain America relaunch.
Spurrier’s image on MTV Geek, meanwhile, looks to be playing off X-Men Legacy, the Mike Carey/Christos Gage book which has a terrible title. If Marvel were looking to calm down their X-Output, then it’d be an excellent idea for them to replace the cancelled Legacy with something else. Rumours still abound that Brian Wood’s excellent run on the current adjectiveless X-Men may be coming to an end already, which would seem to be the best place for this creative team – if true.
Spurrier will be joined on this book, whatever it is, by artist Tan Eng Huat, and will likely string together some incredible adjectives before we even make it past the first panel. Very exciting news for X-Men fans, because Spurrier’s X-Club miniseries was brilliant.
Any minute now, Heidi is going to post a teaser image with ‘TIDY’ on it. I can feel it in my bones. Stay steady, Pixie-fans!
Stuart Immonen’s artwork is one of the key selling points to, well, anything he is involved with, and All-New X-Men #1 is no exception. The premise of the book is that the original five members of the X-Men – Angel, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman and Beast – have come to the present for some reason (no, there’s no sign of other founding X-Men Shortpack and Sage at this point in time). They are in the present, and they are… in the present. And Stuart Immonen is drawing it! So now you know the premise of the series in its entirety.
The regardless point being, Marvel have released some of Immonen’s pencils for the first issue of the series, written by Brian Michael Bendis. And unsurprisingly, they’re spiffing, corking, and several other 1960s adjectives.
The first page shows us the Jean Grey school, Wolverine’s semi-creepy tribute to his friend’s dead wife, who is now 16 and about to stare him right back in the face. But before he has time to sleep with her and freak us all out, it looks like the team are going to first endure some face-time with Beast. Which is probably going to be especially weird for Beast. You can also see a few students running round in the background, which reveals that Pixie has moved to Westchester along with the others. Yep, Utopia is doomed. Toad is also busy, uh, washing a tree. Cyclops Jr will probably blast him in the face in a moment or two.
The third page revealed shows Beast talking to the younger X-Men, who look like the Famous Five. Look at Jean’s adorable haircut! Shame she’s about a year away from murdering billions of people, isn’t it? If young Beast is scared now, just wait till he hears about the repeated genocides his older self has been enjoying over the past few years. And let’s not even get started on Trish Trilby! Ominous times are ahead for you, McCoy. This appears to be page 20 of the first issue, so lord only knows what the first 17 pages are going to be made up of.
And as a final note, here’s the interconnected cover for the first two issues, which sees all your favourite X-Men scowling at you.
Here are a few of my favourite things…. Marvel, aware that I demand delight at least once a month, have started releasing ‘X-Men 50th Anniversary’ variant covers for several of their books. The X-Men have – yes – been around for 50 years as of 2013, with Stan Lee’s original vision now old enough to start having a midlife crisis and buy a new car. X-Men fans: prepare to explode in glee!
First up is Chris Bachalo reuniting with Generation X (gleee!!) for the cover to All-New X-Men #6:
Skin! Synch! Oh, the memories. Shame Husk isn’t wearing her glasses, but WOW how much does this remind that Banshee was The Greatest? Right? Faith and begorrah, come back soon!
The second released cover is Clay Mann’s variant for X-Factor #250, which features every member of the team there has ever been. Founders Jean and Cyclops rub shoulders with Rusty, Skids and Boom Boom (gleeee!!), while newcomers like Monet and Layla Miller somehow manage to cram themselves in there too.
Who will appear next? I am literally stamping my feet with anticipation. Gleee!!
TweetMarvel’s solicitations for May are sneaking out, but the first thing that caught my attention – Amanda Conner providing art for Marvel, in the form of this variant cover for issue #2 of Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel‘s adjectiveless X-Men series. Whew! Long sentence. We get a look at all the team being all classy [...]
TweetHello and welcome! We are starting a weekly art thingy and have -rather thoughtfully- set it for Friday, that interminable day where the weekend is within touching distance and yet you still have to be at work. Hence, pretty and cool stuff that will help tide you over- forget words, just feast your eyes. This [...]
TweetFriday is art day! Friday is also the harbinger of the weekend, but who cares about that? Instead, take a look at all the pretty pictures I gathered for you from the shady, cob-webby corners of the Internet you dare not venture… (I can’t say more) FF by Mike Allred (you HAVE to click on this to [...]
Hi everyone and Merry, Merry, Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy Holiday Seasons from the JolliestSith ever to slide down as many chimneys as Santa on Christmas Night.....Darth Santa Bill!!!!!!!! Well I don't know if I will get another post out until the holiday season is over or not, so I want to wish everyone a wonderbar holiday time of year thing!!!!!!
Now I have to share a clip from one my favorite Songs and Holiday Specials ever, I bet you have already seen it and can guess the name of it. Check it out:
Now for a couple of reviews of two awesome Graphic Novels I just recently finished!!!!!!!!!
Wolverine: First Class - The Rookie by Fred Van Lente, Andrea DiVito and SalvaEspin -Well let me just get this off my chest. This Graphic Novel was awesome and I blew through it so fast I read it a second time. This GN collects Wolverine: First Class issues #1 - 4 and includes Wolverine's first appearance from way back in Hulk #181 when comics cost a whole 25 cents. Wolverine is one of my all time favorite comic book heroes and in this GN teams him up with one of the newest and youngest X-Men KiityPryde. The GN begins with their first meeting and adventure and leads onto other stories in which they take on the likes of Sabretooth, The High Evolutionary, the Man-Beast amongst others. This GN is really well written and not just about punching out the bad guys and fighting with your partner. The stories have depth, action and make you think. In short this is how Graphic Novels should be done. Thumbs up!!!!!!!
Lions, Tigers and Bears Volume 2 by Mike Bullock, Jack Lawrence, Paul Gutierrez and Bob Pedroza - This my friends is a Graphic Novel that was alot of fun to read. I reviewed Volume 1 on April 23, 2008, but you don't necessarily have to read Volume 1 to enjoy Volume 2. To see my review of Volume 1 Click Here. This Graphic Novel is about a boy named Joey and his friend Courtney. It is also about the stuffed animals they own that come to life whenever children are in danger from evil beasties. Joey owns some stuffed animals called the Night Pride which consists of Pallo - The Leader of the Pack (an African Lion), Venus – Guardian of the Pride (a Bengal Tiger), Minerva – Huntress of the Shadows (a Black Panther) and Aries – Warrior of the Night (a Siberian Tiger). The Night Pride are the elite protectors of "The Stuffed Animal Kingdom" a land where all stuffed animals are real. In this volume King Bear is betrayed by his brother to the evil beasties and not only is the Stuffed Animal Kingdom at risk, but all children in our world. For you see once the beasties are in control and the stuffed animal protectors conquered, the beasties will be coming for the children in the real world. Check out this really well done GN for a really exciting story that you will devour and be finished reading before you know it. Great stuff!!!!!!!!
Today's second Ypulse Youth Advisory Board review comes from Michael Hayball for dystopian fiction Renegade X.
As always, you can communicate directly with any member of the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board by emailing them at youthadvisoryboard at ... Read the rest of this post
SLJ represent! Though I could not attend this year’s KidLitCon (the annual conference of children’s and YA bloggers) many others did and they have all posted links to their recaps of the event here. So while I could not be present, fellow SLJ blogger Liz Burns of Tea Cozy showed up and has a fabulous encapsulation of that which went on. Lest you label me a lazy lou, I did at least participate in a presentation on apps. Yes, doing my best Max Headroom imitation (ask you parents, kids) I joined Mary Ann Scheuer and pink haired Paula Wiley. It went, oddly enough, off without a hitch. Attendees may have noticed my gigantic floating head (we Skyped) would occasionally dip down so that I seemed to be doing my best Kilroy imitation. This was because the talk happened during my lunch and I wanted to nosh on some surreptitious grapes as it occurred. You may read Mary Ann’s recap here and Paula’s here, lest you fail to believe a single word I say.
Speaking of Penderwicks, the discussions fly fast and fierce over at Heavy Medal. To my infinite delight, both Jonathan AND Nina are Penderwick fans. Wow! For the record, I agree with their thoughts on Amelia Lost as well. That book has a better chance at something Newberyish than any other nonfiction this year. This could well be The Year of Amelias (Jenni Holm has an Amelia book of her own, after all).
Heads up, America! According to an article in The Guardian, “The debt-laden businesses behind some of the biggest names in childrens’ TV and books are selling off some of the nation’s best-loved characters.” Personally, I figure the Brits can keep their Peppa Pig. It’s Bagpuss I want. Or The Clangers. I grew up watching Pinwheel on Nickelodeon so I’ve an affection for these. Any word on the current state of King Rollo?
Aw yeah. Authors talking smack about authors. Granted it’s living authors talking about dead authors (dead authors talking about living authors is a different ballgame entirely) but it’ll stand. Two dude who write for kids break down J.M. Barrie, The Yearling, etc. and then end with unanimous praise for what I may consider the world’s most perfect children’s book. Go check ‘em out.
You may have witnessed some out of control hyperbole about Marvel’s recently announced Avengers Vs. X-Men. My personal favorite, courtesy of Newsarma’s recap:
Pre-taped words from all five writers. “There’s never been an Avengers vs. X-Men super-blowout, so it’s like, we have to do it,” Bendis says.
Never been one? Seems like I own copies of something answering that description…
1987: The X-Men Vs. The Avengers
2012: Avengers Vs. X-Men
1987: The Russians want to ambush Magneto and kill him. The Avengers want to capture Magneto and put him on trial. The X-Men want to protect Magneto. A lot of fighting ensues.
2012: As I’m interpreting the hype, the Phoenix Force is returning and everybody is assuming some character introduced in the X-Men since I stopped reading it called “Hope” is going to be the host for said Phoenix Force. The Avengers want to lay hands on Hope, possibly to do something drastic. The X-Men want to protect her. Fighting ensues. It’s probably more nuanced than that, but the initial premises aren’t that far off.
Now maybe Brian doesn’t think The X-Men Vs. The Avengers qualifies as a “super-blowout.” (Or maybe someone from marketing fed him that line.) In the interests of documenting what has gone before vs. current hype, let’s take a look at the original The X-Men Vs. The Avengers mini-series.
The original mini-series goes back to 1987, so your Avengers team is Captain America, Thor, Captain Marvel, Black Knight and Dr. Druid. Your X-Men are Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Havok and Magneto. Your first 3 issues are written by Roger Stern with art by Marc Silvestri and Josef Rubinstein. The last issue of the 4-issue series is co-plotted by Jim Shooter and Tom DeFalco with breakdowns by Keith Pollard and finishes by Rubinstein (and a few assistants). Perhaps Jim Shooter will tell the story of that last issue on his blog?
This story takes place during the first period where Magneto has reformed and joined the X-Men. In Uncanny X-Men #200, Magneto was tried before the World Court and then disappeared from the court room.
An asteroid splits in two and crashes to Earth. One half will hit in the U.S. and one in Cambodia. As the Avengers clear up the meteor shower, they discover the asteroid is actually part of Asteroid M, Magneto’s old orbital HQ. The U.S. government leaks this to the Russians. The Russians are (justifiably) angry with Magneto for sinking one of their submarines (killing the crew) and creating a volcano in and destroying one of their cities. They want to lure Magneto to the wreckage of the second fragment and kill him in an ambush.
The Avengers get wind of this and decide, while nobody would shed many tears at the thought of Magneto getting killed, it’s a better idea to grab him themselves and make him finish standing trial. (If he gets executed then, eh… ok.) Magneto is looking for some tech from his old satellite, so we set up a three-conflict.
As if the title weren’t enough of a clue, X-Men: Schism spotlights a pivotal moment in X-Men history: a rift in ideology from its two biggest guns--Cyclops and Wolverine. In the wake of a mutant extinction-level event, perennial team leader and wet blanket, Cyclops, rallies the X-Men to an island dubbed “Utopia” in order to establish a sense of community. His plan, however, doesn’t account for any villain who might want to wipe out mutantkind in one fell swoop and who possesses enough skill to hit a target the size of a giant island. And that’s exactly what happens in Schism.
As danger looms, Cyclops sends the usual heavy-hitters across the globe to stop various enemies, leaving the island’s defense up to him, Wolverine, and the latest batch of young mutants who came to Uptopia to train to be X-Men. Therein lies the issue: Cyclops declares the new recruits fit for battle, while Wolverine declares the very idea to be ludicrous. Writer Jason Aaron presents both sides of the argument with equal footing, but it’s still difficult to take Wolverine’s position seriously. This is Wolverine, after all—the hot-tempered Canuck with the beserker rage and fangs; he’s the runt who’s always spoiling for a fight. Yet, here he tells Cyclops that maybe the better idea is to evacuate the island, because someone needs to think of the children. Really, it’s all an excuse to get Cyclops and Wolverine to clash, and Schism definitely delivers. This isn’t a shoving match or a harsh exchange of words soon mended by standing against a common enemy (although there are plenty of verbal barbs, especially on the subject of Jean Grey). No, here are two classic X-Men at each other’s throats. It’s an extended, bloody fight that ends a friendship and divides an entire race.
If that weren’t reason enough to get fans in the ring, the chapters are each illustrated by marquee names: Alan Davis, Frank Cho, Adam Kubert, Carlos Pacheo, Billy Tan, and Daniel Acuña. Cho’s depiction of Wolverine is reminiscent of the mid-to-late 1980s (before the films influenced his look). He’s hunched, hairy, and his perpetual scowl leaves grooves in his face that even his healing factor cannot fix. Acuna’s pages are stylized and flashy (if not a little stiff), while Davis does what Davis does best, which is everything.
The hardcover collection is oversized, giving readers an opportunity to sit front-row at a title bout, and with artists of this caliber it’s very much worth this grand scale. Two variant covers, a promotional pinup, and a team roster by Frank Cho (from pencils to finished page) comprise the supplemental material. It’s a package that gives fans a believable answer to “Who would win in a fight..?” and X-Men: Schism certainly lives up to its title.
In a recent interview with Seventeen, Jennifer Lawrence had this to say about being healthy in mind and body:
Seventeen:You've said girls should embrace their curves. Why did you think it important to make that statement?
Jennifer Lawrence:When I was playing Mystique in X-Men, I remember thinking, If I'm going to be naked in paint in front of the entire world, I'm going to look like a woman. I'm going to have curves and have boobs and have a butt. Because girls are going to look at that, and if I look like a scarecrow, they are going to think, Oh, that's normal. It's not normal. I'm just so sick of these young girls with diets. I remember when I was 13 and it was cool to pretend to have an eating disorder because there were rumors that Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie were anorexic. I thought it was crazy. I went home and told my mom, "Nobody's eating bread--I just had to finish everyone's burgers." I think it's really important for girls to have people to look up to and feel good about themselves.
I agree with Jennifer: It is very important for kids and teens to have good role models, and to have healthy eating habits. Encourage your friends and family members to eat right, and lead by example. Try to eat fresh food in every color of the rainbow, every day. It's easy and fun to do. Hint: Incorporate fruits and veggies into your meals and snacks!
I'm typing this as I eat my dinner -- farfalle (bowtie) pasta and brown rice mixed with tomato sauce and green peas. Yum!
It's The Wandering Library Ninja Bill. I 've been walking in the waste lands and dry and dark places. Fighting evil wherever it rears it's ugly head. It's mighty strange living in the shadow lands, but good reads always pull me through. So let's see what's on this dish today?
Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole - Imagine if in the real world people started to exhibit strange powers and magical abilities. This is what I hope is the start of a great series about how things would play out. In this world created by Myke Cole some of humanity has started to develop magical powers. Some people are born and exhibit these abilities early in life while others are well into their adulthood when they exhibit magical powers. In this world, very much like ours, when this starts to happen governments around the globe try to control these individuals for their own agendas. In the United States people who manifest magical gifts are either incorporated into the military or kept under constant supervision. Those who try to run, termed Selfers, are hunted down by the military and "handled." Some powers are considered okay by the government, while other are not. Some of the "good" powers are: Physiomancer (the power to heal) but if used to harm it is called Rending and prohibited, Pyromancer (the ability to generate fire and control in many ways), Aeromancer (ability to control storms and lightning, also can use wind currents to fly), Hydromancer (ability to generate and control water) and others I will leave you to find out about. Those that are prohibited and individuals exhibiting them "supposedly" helped or taken down are: Elementist (the ability to make fire, water, earth, etc. self aware and act on the person's behalf without taking away from the user's focus), Necromancy (the ability to control the dead), Portamancy (the ability to open and close gates to different locations and dimension), Whispering (the ability to control animal life) and also many others that you can find out about if you read the book.
This story focuses on Lieutenant Oscar Britton part of the SOC (Supernatural Operations Corps). The SOC is made up of servicemen without magical powers and those with to serve The United States Government. One of there duties is to hunt done Selfers and capture users of outlawed magics. It is during one of these missions that Britton manifest the ability of Portamancy. He runs because he does not understand what has happened to him and is just plain scared. He is pursued by the SOC under the command of the mysterious Aeromancer known only as Harlequin.
He is caught and taken to an Operations Area in another dimension known as "The Source" (it seems to be the place where magic originates and has broken through to our dimension to endow certain individuals with different powers). This is all top secret and all knowledge of it kept under raps by the military and government. The Operations Area is used for multiple purposes. One is to wage a war in The Source with the indigenous populat
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Marvel seem to be on another one of their ‘every day a new tease’ stints that they periodically enjoy throwing at the internet. This time, their intention seems to be to convince the world that they’re going to chuck the X-Men into a parallel world and reboot them.
The new teaser image, which we’ll get to in just a second, could be related to this idea. After yesterday suggesting a parallel world might be introduced to the X-Men during Act 2 of ‘Avengers Vs X-Men’, things have escalated with this second teaser, which is so enigmatic as to be hair-rippingly infuriating. Like someone from a Matrix film – worse, like someone from one of the sequels. Right, second’s up, so let’s take a look at the teaser.
This could be a mere retelling of the origin for the X-Men – but Marvel just did that, with an excellent Dennis Hopeless/Jamie McKelvie ‘Season One’ graphic novel earlier this year. And why would Marvel release a teaser suggesting the X-Men are going to be rebooted into a parallel universe so soon into the start of AvX? That would seem to give away their big event storyline before it’s halfway through. This teaser couldn’t be more annoying if it had sunglasses and a trenchcoat on it and kept going on and on about The One, you guys.
If this is neither a reboot nor a retelling, what else could be going on here? Well, um, maybe it’s a story where Brian Michael Bendis finally leaps onto the X-Men franchise and writes a story where it’s revealed that Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel et al weren’t really the first X-Men Xavier tried to recruit. He actually started off by creating a black ops team who fought nazis!
…it might look like these incredible designs by Matthew Humphreys, an artist currently at Hasbro Studios. Click on image above to seen the full line up. Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d be developing at least one Marvel property as a Disney hand drawn film… Dr. Strange, Sub Mariner, The Silver Surfer…