Magik #1-4

magik-4The Magik mini-series has a simple purpose: it’s to flesh out what happened to poor Illyana Rasputin when she was pulled into the other dimension known as limbo.

In story-line, Illyana was missing for only seconds. But while in Limbo, she experienced the events of several years of her life. She was a small child at the beginning of the story but returned as a teenager. What had happened was the evil  sorcerer Belasco pulled her into his dimension in an attempt to make her his dark apprentice. Fortunately for Illyana, that dimension’s version of Storm (who is an elderly sorceress in this reality) and Kitty Pryde attempt to keep her safe from Belasco. The villain’s plan is to use her teleportation powers so he can leave limbo and conquer the Marvel Universe.

And as much as Storm and Kitty want to save Illyana from Belasco, it is up to the young girl to save herself. There is an extra element of difficulty, as if Belasco dies, his soul will wind up possessing Illyana’s body.

Magik is a lot of fun. The story is filled with swords and sorcery, and it makes it pretty different from a lot of the Marvel comics at the time. It’s kind of like the X-Men are hanging out in the He-Man or Thundercats universes. While this isn’t “required reading”, it’s worth reading.

It was written by Chris Claremont, who pretty much did most everything involving any X-Men related character during that time. The art is fine; it’s by John Buscema and Ron Frenz, but what makes it sticks out is all the detailing that inker Tom Palmer put into it. There are all kinds of Easter eggs hidden in the pages that don’t affect the plot, but add nice touches.

Black Goliath #4

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This might seem like a random thing to read. I picked this up at the last New York Comic Con because of the Jack Kirby cover. Sometimes it is acceptable to judge a book buy it’s cover.

As a character, it seems to me that Black Goliath has spent most of his existence flying under the radar. I guess it’s my own lack of knowledge, but I mostly know of him from his death in Civil War. This made me wonder: why is Black Goliath such a forgotten character in the Marvel pantheon? If MODOK can be a top tier character, surely he can as well.

The story is fairly upfront. This issue is a two parter, feeding into the next one. Chris Claremont’s plot is very direct. Tony Stark has lost possession of some sort of gadget but won’t tell Goliath what it is. The giant super hero’s day only gets worse; he teams up with the LAPD to stop Stilt Man, who pretty much kicks his ass. To make things worse this embarrassed in front of his girlfriend Celia. The issue ends with Black Goliath and Celia getting mysteriously teleported away.

I guess now I know why Black Goliath is so forgotten. He’s literally an imitation of the various Hank Pym personas over the years. I guess in his case, his death was his most relevant moment of his existence.

X-Factor #66: A Really Bad Day

There is a lot of stuff going on in this issue. If there was ever a day where the X-Factor should have stayed in bed, this would be it.

The team’s headquarters is a sentient floating battleship, literally named Ship. Before it was X-Factors mobile base of operation it belonged to Apocalypse. He’s deployed a squad of his minions to not only attack X-Factor, but to infect the ship with a virus that makes Ship lose control of itself and start attacking Manhattan. X-Factor are trying to get Ship back under control while other Marvel characters are helping evacuate people from Ship’s path. What’s remarkable to me is how everyone is so understanding of Ship being out of control. Ship eventually decides that the only way it can get back under control is to commit suicide, which no one in X-Factor is happy about.

As this Ship story unfolds, Apocalypse’s plan to abduct Cyclops’ son Nathan is revealed. It turns out destroying their headquarters was an elaborate distraction. The story leads to the first appearance of the Askani Clan from the future, as a woman member has been sent from the future to protect the baby. People from the future travelling back in time to protect a child was a huge theme in 1991, between this plot and Terminator 2.

The issue is interesting from a creative standpoint, as it was written by the combined efforts of Whilce Portacio, Jim Lee and Chris Claremont, with art from Portacio. It’s like a meeting of the minds of the X-creators in this issue. The backup feature is called Apocalypse Manifesto, with profiles of the powers and dangers of Beast and Iceman from Apocalypse’s perspective. These were written by Fabian Nicieza.

New Hugh Jackman As Wolverine Picture

July 26, 2013 cannot come out soon enough. Twentieth Century Fox released this official image of the next installment of the Wolverine spin-offs from their X-Men series of films. Hugh Jackman is back as everyone’s favorite Canadian bad-ass in next summer’s The Wolverine.

This sequel borrows a lot of its story from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine mini series from 1982, so expect lots of samurais, ninja and organized crime set in Japan. And for good measure, Silver Samurai and Viper are going to be thrown in.

 

Ms. Marvel #9

Let’s look at an old issue of Ms. Marvel today! The ninth issue of Carol Danvers’ series introduces us to Deathbird, who plays a bigger role in the Shi’ar royal family. But lets look at her debut.

Poor Carol just has an awful time in this issue. She bails out of a date after finding out that there was an explosion and fire at her apartment. Unfortunately for her, Deathbird has been sent out by MODOK to take her out. Obviously, Ms. Marvel survives because she is awesome.

Carol finds out that someone had ransacked her apartment in order to find some top-secret documents she had. And who wouldn’t want those?

There’s something she’s forgetting about…oh that’s right, she has a day job as editor of Woman magazine, the Marvel Universe’s leading pro-woman publication. We get introduced to her version of Mad Men’s Miss Blankenship–an associate editor–who winds up dealing with some yuppie girl who J. Jonah Jameson promised a job at Woman. Wow, he’s kind of an ass to everyone.

The issue ends with Carol being caught in the crossfires of an AIM civil war, with one side being led by MODOK and Deathbird. What’s interesting about this issue is that writer Chris Claremont introduces us to Deathbird, who plays a significant role in his extended run on Uncanny X-Men. You also get a really cool cover by Dave Cockrum too.