Friday, March 18, 2011

Posting Update

I'm trying to figure out the best way/time to post here. I tried for a very long time to have it be daily and that works well until life gets in the way. I was considering doing posts 5 days a week and that works except I've been getting very busy on the weekdays now. So for now I think I'm going to post 2-3 times a week and build up a surplus of extra posts and then eventually move back up to 5 days a week and on those whild and crazy times I might even have one week a month that's a full 7.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chronological X-Men - Secret Wars II/X-Men-Alpha Flight Part 2 Review

Secret Wars II (part 2)/X-Men & Alpha Flight

The Uncanny X-Men #196 – What Was That?!

The bulk of this issue revolves around Charles overhearing a random thought about one of his students plotting to murder someone. It’s a plot that has been used many times and I’m pretty much over it. I would say that there’s an interesting twist when it comes to the intended murder victim actually being Charles himself but I pretty much saw that coming by the second page. The three subplots that run through the story are more interesting. Andrea and Andreas von Strucker take their revenge on Ororo by shooting her and leaving her for dead in the wild – for me that was the weakest of the three subplots but it was still enjoyable. I liked Kurt going to Father Bowen to talk about his crisis of faith and Rachel giving in to her hunter/tracker ways from her future timeline could have been expanded on more but oh well. I get the feeling that this is one of those issues where the writer had no idea where they were going with the plot so they just did all of the things that came to mind.

The Uncanny X-Men #197 – To Save Arcade?!?

Another filler issue here but this one was kind of enjoyable. We make some progress in the Nimrod plot and we start to see the beginnings of the rift between Scott and Madelyne when he returns home to check on Charles who is now letting Magneto run the school. It’s not a rift per-say but considering the future events and plots that drive Madelyne’s character it’s pretty obvious that this is where the cracks start to form. The main plot about Piotr and Kitty getting taken by Arcade was fun, honestly I didn’t see the fact that the person taking ‘revenge’ on Arcade wasn’t Doctor Doom at all but really Miss Locke and that it was just their tradition of Miss Locke trying to murder Arcade for his birthday. We get the explanation that the last time the X-Men fought Doctor Doom it was really a Doom-bot but that wasn’t needed for the plot of either of these two stories. The one thing I’m not sure of is how did Arcade know about Zsaji? Does Arcade have some sort of device that can tap into the people in Murderworld’s minds and pull out their fears, or did Arcade somehow learn about what happened the first time the Beyonder surfaced?

The Uncanny X-Men #198 – Lifedeath – From The Heart Of Darkness

Ororo is left fighting for her life after being shot in the head two issues ago. I thought the first time they did Lifedeath it was over hyped and I still feel this way with the second part of it. However it is a nice conclusion to how Ororo’s storyline started when she basically wanted to die than live without her powers and now she’s on the brink of death and she’s fighting for her life because she wants to live. Retrospectively it’s a decent story but deep down I wish that Shani, the pregnant woman that Ororo helps and Mjnari, the head of Shani’s village that now must die because there’s no room for him and the baby were also figments of Ororo’s mind like the hallucinations she had of the X-Men and Forge. I think the entire time I was just assuming that they were since Ororo was having difficulty getting around but no where near enough difficulty considering she had just been shot in her head.

X-Men/Alpha Flight #1 – The Gift I
X-Men/Alpha Flight #2 – The Gift II

There’s a whole lot of characters here in this mini series and that makes me glad that each of the two issues were ‘giant-sixed.’ For the X-Men we’ve got: Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Rachel, Rogue, Wolverine, Shadowcat and Lockheed; Magik and Cypher (Doug) make a cameo which gives us two of the New Mutants; Scott and Madelyne are taking a flight with Carla Ballenger, Dr. Jeanne Chretien, Paul Domenic, Jaques Moreau, Sam Ross, Dr. Boyd Wilson and Nick Rodriguez and finally with Alpha Flight we have: Heather Hudson, Aurora/Jeanne-Marie, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird and Talisman. And none of that counts Loki, ‘Those who sit above in shadow,’ or the Snow Giants. It doesn’t really help either that basically everyone on Scott and Madelyne’s plane become different characters. The whole plot of the series is Loki trying to gain favor and is told he must do something that makes humanity better so he creates an area that elevates everyone to pretty much the status of ‘gods’ and gives them abilities based on their hearts desires. The only consequence is in order to do this all of the magic based beings are dying because Loki’s power is feeding off of them. There was one thing that really didn’t make sense to me and that was Piotr’s actions once he learned about this ‘new world’ killing off all of the magical people on Earth. I know that he’s from a very poor area of Russia and his family really had to struggle and that honestly he might not care too much about Snowbird or Shaman, but he still sides with the ‘new world’ knowing that it could very well mean the death of his sister (and other people he knows, interacts with and cares about.) The biggest reveal here is of course the fact that Madelyne is pregnant and with a boy; I do wish that we had the chance to see more of Rachel’s freak out over that. The scene at the end with Scott and Rachel is a nice touch but I really wanted just one little throw away scene with Rachel and Madelyne and Madelyne saying how much Rachel looks like she did ‘growing up.’

The Uncanny X-Men #196 – What Was That?!: C
The Uncanny X-Men #197 – To Save Arcade?!?: B
The Uncanny X-Men #198 – Lifedeath – From The Heart Of Darkness: B-
X-Men/Alpha Flight #1 – The Gift I: A
X-Men/Alpha Flight #2 – The Gift II: A

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Young Justice 108 Downtime Review

This new episode brings us a few new characters: Clayface, Black Manta, Lagoon Boy, Mera (Aquaman’s wife), Garth (the original Aqualad), a little cameo by Starro the Conqueror and we get Tula who is basically this incarnation’s version of Aquagirl. Batman and Aquaman are back. Obviously the main plot of this episode is all about Atlantis and how Aqualad is having a difficult time leading the Young Justice team because his heard is back home.

The little subplot with M’gann and Superboy back at the Justice Cave going about their daily lives was funny. I liked the idea of Superboy staring at the blank tv screen much more than M’gann’s romantic tension with Superboy. I also enjoyed that they showed us Bruce acting like a father figure to Dick who seems to be pushing himself harder than usual was a nice touch. Wally being at home with all of the other incarnations of the Flash was a nod to that character’s history but with all of the characters that are in this episode it’s a little hard to swallow this subplot.

I didn’t really care for all the ‘romantic’ stuff. Sure M’gann and Superboy have been building up for a while, but I really didn’t need the whole Mera being pregnant aspect to the story. Especially since she’s supposedly pregnant and it’s a big deal for there to finally be an heir and yet she’s right in the middle of a heated battle? Really? The whole Garth/Tula/Kaldur triangle didn’t need to be included at all. Especially considering this is the first time we’ve seen Tula and Garth and Kaldur hasn’t mentioned his feelings for Tula in any of the previous seven episodes.

You know that I’m not a fan of Artemis at all but it was odd that they revealed that she’s actually Artemis Crock so soon in the series. Much like the comic counterpart her mother is also Paula but she is a disabled Asian woman instead of her comic counter part. I’m not sure if her father will still be Sportsmaster, but considering she has the last name Crock (Sportsmaster’s real last name) instead of Brooks (her mother’s) I’m betting that’s not going to change. There were a few things that I wish they focused more on, like why/how her mother knows that Artemis is ‘Artemis’ – that reminds me a lot of the whole Arrowette thing. I really hate that the majority of Artemis’ plot is nothing more than retooled Cissie plots. I do like the idea that Bruce granted Artemis the scholarship and I’m willing to bet that it’s so Dick could keep tabs on her because Bruce doesn’t trust her.
Maybe if they cut out the ‘romantic’ stuff they could have had time for more than one scene with Wally at home, answered some of those questions about Artemis or even have shown us more than one throw away scene at the end of the episode revealing that Black Manta is also working for The Light.

Rating: B-

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Young Justice 107 Denial Review

Well now we have the ‘magic/supernatural’ episode that almost every genre show does and DC is a universe that is filled with many magical characters and we get quite a few of them introduced in this episode. First off we have Kent Nelson, none other than Doctor Fate who travels to New Orleans to visit Madame Xanadu. He asks Madame Zanadu to contact his wife and then quickly outs her as a charlatan but acknowledges that she has true magical potential – not odd considering her role in the DCU. Abra Kadabra kidnaps Doctor Fate and takes him to Klarion (bum bum bum – sorry.. old YJ comic joke) the Witch Boy who are after Doctor Fate’s helmet to basically take over the world.

Robin is MIA for this episode and that actually works because with the FOUR guest characters it is a little crowded, plus it helps to pair the team up differently which actually makes for more fun. I loved the bickering between Artemis and Wally but it does make me wish that they had gone with Cissie and Bart instead because I always had a soft spot for them and their relationship in YJ and Impulse. But I’ll take my fanservice where I can get it. I actually liked Aqualad, Miss Martian and Superboy grouping up, it made M’gann less annoying, but it only helped to make Aqualad more boring.

The idea of playing off of Wally not being able to accept that magic is real is a nice touch, but for it to come this soon in the series it seems a little too rushed for personal growth. I’m a little confused by why M’gann was so willing to accept and believe in the supernatural. I guess some belief can be suspended because of her being Martian and all, but I don’t know much about her character so who knows. Mars could be filled with supernatural beings.

Fate possessing Wally was good and the fact that he’s keeping the helmet until the right person comes along makes me think that maybe if they do decided to do a rotating cast of characters we might get a teenage Doctor Fate. The shelf with all of the masks/helmets of the people they’ve encountered in battle makes me think that once the traitor is outted that their mask if they have one (I’m looking at you little miss generic replacement for Arrowette) will go next to Fate’s helmet.

All in all, the episode was a big improvement over the last one. I just hope the show can keep up this upswing and momentum until there’s another blah episode.

Rating: B

Monday, March 14, 2011

Charmed Season 9 Issue 7 'The Heir Up There' Review

Next up we have the most recent issue of Charmed, and this one only about a week after it came out! We have another great play on the history of the show here by the return of Kyle Brody. Apparently since he died in 2004 he spent the next five years as a Whitelighter and eventually worked his way up to the status of Elder. That’s not the only new piece of information – we find out that the Elders altered Melinda in order to make her also ‘twice blessed’ just like Wyatt. While it’s never specifically said that Chris is also twice blessed given the fact that he also has orb-based powers it’s safe to assume that. But it would have been kind of funny if older Chris was still around just to see his inferiority complex when he finds out that Melinda also has her own prophecy just like Wyatt.

We get a more fleshed out back story for Leo – which considering this storyline appears to focus more on him than the previous two I’m sure we’ll be getting a lot more information as it progresses. It turns out that Leo’s reward for battling an evil Darklighter Rennek was to be the Charmed Ones’ Whitelighter. It’s a nice little piece of information but its hard to consider that keeping the Charmed Ones lives is a reward.

Neena is back and is slaughtering vampires – I’m going under the assumption that it is because they won’t get in line with her plan. The only exception appears to be the current Vampire Queen Lorna who knows Neena and at some point betrayed her. Neena also seems to have ties to Rennek because he knows that she also goes by Isabel (a character that appears in ‘To The Warren Born’ I just haven’t covered it yet) and Victoria and he’s one of the few people that actually knows who and what Neena is.

I want to be fair about this issue but there is something about it that just seems off. I don’t know if it’s because there’s a new storyline starting or if it’s just sort of boring. I think it will take at least another issue for me to get a better grasp on the overall tone of this story – it should pick up soon considering that this arc is also going to be 5 issues and we’re already one into it. So far this is my least favorite issue, but only time will tell if that changes once I getter a better grasp on the actual story.

Rating: C

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Charmed Season 9 Issue 6 'Morality Bites Back' Review

I went into this issue thinking that it’s going to be one of those things that all of the things that make it good are also the things that make it bad. Anyone who I’ve ever talked Charmed with knows that I absolutely cannot stand Phoebe  so the fact that this entire issue was going to be devoted to her came to bat with one strike already. The fact that this story is a continuation of the episode “Morality Bites” from season two was almost a slap in the face because of Prue existing in that potential future. Obviously things have changed, Paige now exists, and there are many more kids than just Melinda and obviously Phoebe isn’t on trial for the murder of Cal Greene. But lets be honest here, the second strike isn’t all of the extra kids or the fact that Paige exists – you know me… it’s all about the lack of Prue.

We don’t really get anybody new this time out – sure there’s the messenger Cherub but I really doubt that he’ll play a bigger role in the series. Cal Greene, and Nathaniel Pratt make their comic introductions – both of them were seen only in Morality Bites. Cal was the baseball player that Phoebe killed, and Nathaniel was the guy who kept walking his dog on the Halliwell’s yard and then in the future was the DA that prosecuted Phoebe. Finally after many mentions Elise Rothman finally makes her appearance in the comics and Mika makes her second appearance – but she looks different than the first time around. Nothing major, just younger than she first came off.

The good thing about this issue is that it sets a very specific timeline. Phoebe was executed in 2009, now even if you assume that given that she was publically outted as a witch she had a very speedy trial then Season 9 has to take place sometime between 2008 and February 26th 2009 because that’s the date the sisters travel to back in season two. Now when you think about  how Phoebe isn’t even in custody, let alone about to be executed then it’s safe to assume that these events happen in late 2008 or even January 2009.

I like that this issue did tie up some things. Phoebe killed Cal with her Empathy power by focusing all of Cal’s rage on himself. Like I said it already cleared up the timeframe. We find out that the friend that Cal murdered was actually Elise. I’m not too sure that I’m on board with this. Part of me wished that they played off of the ‘Power of Three’ and that in the future where Prue lived that the person Cal murdered was Paige and that it was shortly after Prue, Piper and Phoebe found out about her. They could have turned it into the reason for there being four Charmed Ones was because one of them was always destined to die.

I am interested to see where they’re going to go with the fact that Elise now knows that Phoebe (and at the very least I’m assuming Paige since she healed her) is a witch. How much did Phoebe tell Elise, did she leave it as just being a witch or did she tell her everything? Now that Elise knows are we going to see more of her having to cover for Phoebe at work or have we officially started the Elise Rothman Deathwatch Clock? All in all, it was a good issue – much better than I thought it was going to be.

Rating: A+