Friday Fights#21: House of Magneto vs. House of Vader

vaders-vs-magnetosIt’s time for some villainous family feuding! What would happen if Magneto and kids tussled with Darth Vader and his own set of twins? The two sides have a pretty elaborate and expanded family tree but we’re focusing on Magneto, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch going up against Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.

What you get with both families is a lot of dysfunctional relationships. Both the Vaders and the House of M have a lot of similarities. Both of them are headed by a father with some serious emotional issues, who have really strained (at best) relations with their children. After all, they have tried to kill them several times over the years! Luke and Leia are more stable than Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; unfortunately the Skywalker twins accidentally made out! On the mutant side of things, it’s not much better as the twins are always trying to gain their father’s acceptance, even though they consider him to be a threat to the universe!

Ultimately both groups would have to coexist among themselves. The battle isn’t a matter of the Force vs. magnetism; it’s once Scarlet Witch uses her reality warping to take out her Jedi combatants. And after that, Magneto will take his kids to McDonalds for a Happy Meal.

Friday Fights #16: Gandalf vs. Magneto

gandalf-vs-magnetoThis week’s Friday Fights was inspired by an episode of The Colbert Report. Ian McKellen was a guess this week, and Stephen Colbert asked him a question designed to drive fanboys and fangirls into heated debate: who would win in a fight…Gandalf or Magneto. McKellen’s answer was that the wizard would be left standing tall. But would that happen?

Let’s look at their similarities. Neither of them are known for their physical abilities or fighting prowess. Instead, the two rely on their otherworldly powers. Gandalf is a master wizard, and in Magneto’s case, he was born with the mutant power to control magnetism. This fight would be won and lost on the battle of wizardry and magnetism.

Magneto has battled many a wizard n his day, but Gandalf never encountered something like Magneto. Not to mention, the evil mutant is a lot more sinister in what he would do in a fight.

WINNER: Magneto. He would use his magnetism powers to extract the iron in Gandalf’s blood, making it go night-night for the white wizard.

Uncanny X-Men #5-9

 

I read the second collected volume of the new Uncanny X-Men and it didn’t really do anything for me. It felt like it was just another X-Men adventure. Cyclops’ team is off to Tabula Rasa, some super evolved civilization from the future that has popped up in Montana, and in turn have to save its inhabitants from certain disaster.

It was like something we’ve seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation a million times over. But writer Kieron Gillen did a few things of note  in these issues. He plants some seeds for the Avengers/X-Men feud/crossover, mostly showing the tense relationship that Cyclops and Captain America have as leaders of their respective groups.

Magneto and Psylocke don’t agree about anything philosophically, but there is an underlying respect. Magneto is the only one in this group that knows that Psylocke has been going out on more, um, violent and extreme missions as part of Wolverine’s secret X-Force. There’s also a bit of a weird connection between Namor and Hope Summers, and there is a lot of flirting going on. Things get awkward after poor Namor alludes to having sex with a crayfish-like alien queen and Hope seems both disgusted and jealous as a result. Super weird. I really don’t know what they were getting at and it was just uncomfortable all around.

So how would I rate this? I’ll give this a thumbs in the middle; it’s recommended only for completists or super fans of Gillen.

X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men

It’s always amazing what you find when you clean up. I recently unearthed my VHS copy of the 1989 X-Men animated series pilot Pryde of the X-Men. When I rediscovered I owned this, I did the only natural thing: watched it.

I really liked the 1990s X-Men cartoon, but this was much better as far as animation and voice acting was concerned. The plot is pretty straight forward; Professor X has recruited Kitty Pryde to join the academy and unfortunately she winds up being a distraction that lets Magneto steal the mutant finding computer Cerebro. This really upsets Wolverine, who for some reason has an Australian accent. It’s up to the X-Men to stop Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

As a longtime Dazzler fan, I was super happy to see her in this cartoon. They actually did a good job introducing all the primary X-Men and most of the villains, even finding a way to stick in Kitty’s dragon pet/friend Lockheed into the story. Ultimately, this pilot didn’t get picked up. But it was adapted by Konami into an arcade game that is pretty sweet.

Pryde of the X-Men gets a pretty mixed response online for being light on both story and action, and for its weird hodge-podging of characters. So is it worth watching? I guess so, especially if you are an X-Men fan or you enjoy the Marvel/Sunbow style of animation from the 1980s.

Kicking It Old School With The X-Men Arcade Game

I remember seeing the X-Men arcade game in the movie theater as a kid and never got to play it. Nineteen years later, I now own it.

Well, not the original cabinet version of the downloadable one for X-Box . So how does this arcade game from 1992 hold up in the modern era? It’s a standard side scroller and the graphics are pretty much what you would expect from a game of that era, but it’s still a lot of fun.

The plot is simple and loosely based on the 1989 cartoon pilot X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men. Magneto has captured Kitty Pryde and Professor X, and it’s up to the X-Men to save them.  You get to pick from Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, and Dazzler to play with.

That’s right, Dazzler.

We all know that Dazzler is one of my favorite characters, but it is kind of alarming that she was included in the game. Dazzler was featured prominently in her post-disco duds in Uncanny X-Men in the late 1980s, but I’m surprised that she was in the game. By this point in the comics, she was largely forgotten. Craziness aside, I can accept this, since this is probably the only time that she will be featured prominently in a video game.

You lead the X-Men through several levels, beating up thousands of monsters, robots and Sentinels (a plot point that wasn’t resolved in this was how the mutant hunting robots fell under control of Magneto), and even the half man, half hank hybrid Bonebreaker from the Reavers! At the end of each level, you get to fight more distinguished X-villains like White Queen and Juggernaut, who inexplicably is firing a bazooka at you. Apparently he’s tired of being only taken as a super strong monster and wants to show off his marksmanship.

At the end of the game you rescue Kitty and Professor X and defeat Magneto, leaving him in Asteroid M to seemingly die as it explodes. I thought they were supposed to be the good guys!

The best part of this game is that you can play it with five of your friends, whether they are over at your place or you join an online session.  This game, like many arcade classics, is much more fun when playing with a group.

Download this game now. It’s a lot of fun, and the perfect way to start an evening of Big Bang Theory styled debauchery with your friends.

Looking for something to read at the beach?

I was asked to put together some recommended comics that are suitable for an adult audience.  Here is a list I put together, including four based on recent superhero movies and four that have nothing to do with super heroes.

If you went to the movie theater this summer, chances are you’ve seen that Hollywood has been making movies based on comic books! Comic books (or their more sophisticated cousin the graphic novel) are not just for kids. In fact, most comic books are written for adults! Not only that, but story wise there is much more to comics then just super heroes!

Here are some great books that were the basis for some of this summer’s biggest movies, as well as some of the most popular graphic novels on the shelves!

Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers
written by Rob Rodi
art by Esad Ribic

This cautionary tale shows family dynamics of the godlike brothers Loki and Thor from this summer’s blockbuster. Showing their lives infancy to adulthood, Loki is constantly reminded of his inferiority in comparison to his brother Thor, as well as not being able cope with the utter disdain his father Odin has for him. These strained relationships show give a glimpse on how a lifetime of sadness and self-doubt created a rift between the brothers.

We3
written by Grant Morrison
art by Frank Quitely

After three beloved pets are abducted and forced to become military weapons, all they want to do is return to their human families. When they find out they are going to be “decomissioned” (destroyed), they set out on a perilous journey to survive. Morrison created three extremely sympathetic characters, that remind you of your childhood pets. The book may have limited dialogue, but Quitely’s innovative page design and stunning artwork will fully capture your imagination.

Green Lantern/Green Arrow
written by Dennis O’Neil
art by Neal Adams

Green Lantern made his movie screen debut this summer, but this story from 1970 is his most compelling adventure. With his more socially conscious friend Green Arrow at his side, the typically space faring but somewhat naive Green Lantern goes on a cross-country journey of self exploration through Vietnam War-era America. Along the way, the pair encounter racism and bigotry, drug abuse, sexism and discrimination, and corruption; all subjects not typically shown in comics at that point.

Pride of Baghdad
written by Brian K. Vaughan
art by Niko Henrichon

Based on a true story, this graphic novel shows the life of four lions trying to survive their escape from a war-torn Baghdad Zoo in the early 2000. Much to the chagrin of the other animals, Zill feels that his pride can only survive by leaving the gutted zoo.  By humanizing all of the zoo animals, a story is an examination of the role off family and the cost of freedom.

FablesFables
written Bill Willingham
with various artists
Did you ever wonder what it would be like if your favorite fairy tale characters were real? Willingham explores this topic in the Fables series. The fairy tale characters you grow up with live amongst in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, dealing with real world situations like the nasty divorce of Snow White and Prince Charming due to his infidelity, the now human Big Bad Wolf trying to redeem himself for the transgressions of his youth, and even the strained father-and-son relationship of Gepetto and Pinocchio. Each part of the series is different in subject matter, falling into genres like crime, mystery, romance and even political suspense.

Magneto: Testament
written by Greg Pak
art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

As seen in  X-Men: First Class, the superhuman Magneto is a Holocaust survivor and this book tells the story of how he–then a teenager named Max Eisenhardt–loses his family and barely survives. All elements of super heroics are stripped from the character, leaving a compelling narrative. The art is moody and dark, creating a sense of drama and sorrow. The book also features a powerful short story by comics legends Neal Adams and Joe Kubert, chronicling the life of Auschwitz prisoner Dina Babbitt, whose artistic talents were exploited by Josef Mengele in exchange for him guaranteeing her and her mother’s safety.

Captain America
by Ed Brubaker
art by Steve Epting

This ongoing series chronicles the most recent adventures of Captain America, from the return of his long assumed dead sidekick, to him facing and overcoming his own mortality. Filled with espionage and mystery, as well as dealing with themes of personal loss and adapting to an ever-changing world, Brubaker creates an intriguing take on one of America’s most iconic characters.

The Walking Dead
by Robert Kirkman
art by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard

Zombies have taken the spot of vampires as America’s favorite supernatural creature. This series is less about monsters and horror, as it revolves around small town sheriff Rick Grimes and the community he protects, trying to find a way to survive in a post apocalyptic world. This has been adapted to a popular television series on AMC.

These and other great comics can be found at your friendly neighborhood comic book shop. Don’t know where you can find one? Go here or call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK. If you can’t find one, try your local library or one of the fine book retailers in your town or online.

McCartney and Titanium Man

I’ll admit it. I’m not a fan of the Beatles. Well, to clarify, I like the Beatles’ songs, but not the versions that they recorded. A while back, a friend of mine was going out of her way to try to attempt to convince me that I should like the Beatles (and their solo projects, which by the way, I do enjoy my Paul McCartney solo stuff) and introduced me to this song.

“Magneto and Titanium Man” is the B-side to the “Venus and Mars/Rock Show” single from 1975 by McCartney. When I first heard this, I was flabbergasted. He’s giving a shout out to two super villains.

There is an absurdness to the fact that this song exists, and it leads me to more questions. How did this song come about? Does McCartney have a secret love of comic books. Being that he grew up in England, why wasn’t this about Marvelman/Miracleman?

Sadly the internet doesn’t shed any light onto this, and unfortunately neither did VH1′s Behind the Music. Even Wikipedia, the greatest resource in the world, didn’t add anything substantial to the story, other then it was played while he was on tour with a backdrop projecting images of the characters on it.

What Wikipedia did add was this:

Following the group’s performance at the Los Angeles Forum in late 1975, Paul met backstage with Jack Kirby, the artist who co-created Magneto. Kirby presented McCartney with an original drawing of Magneto capturing the “band on the run”, Wings.

If this is true and really did happen, I would love to see a picture of this. I bet McCartney would be shooting out ‘kirby crackles’ out of his guitar.