Uncanny Avengers: Thor Drinks Lattes And Brainsnatching Fun

Uncanny Avengers #1 reminds me of one of those comics that reminds me of my childhood when my brother and I would pool together all of our super hero toys and make up our own groups. Is USAgent in the Justice League? Sure. Does the Avengers consist of Iron Man, Thor, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Savage Dragon? You betcha. What writer Rick Remender did in this issue was brought together that spirit of non-traditional team ups.

The Marvel Universe is still recovering from the whole Avengers/X-Men feud, and this book sets the stage for the two team’s first real joint partnership. Captain America and Thor are really giving Havok the hard sell on how much they respect him and Charles Xavier’s legacy, and how both sides need to put them past them. And unlike his brother Cyclops, Havok sees the value in working with non-mutantkind. The three get to team up for the first time to stop a lobotomized Avalanche.

The mutual admiration doesn’t extend to Scarlet Witch and Rogue, who will not forgive Wanda for intentionally almost eradicating the mutant population. This all takes place at Professor X’s grave site, which is something he would have never wanted to see. Before they can resolve their differences, Red Skull’s forces arrive to not only take them out but take the Professor’s corpse. Red Skull needs it for some diabolical plot to exterminate the mutant race.

Remender puts this together in a really fun, only in comics way. We have an awkward team up (that is surely to improve as the series go by as they grow personally), lots of big characters and a plot that is simply ridiculous, but in a good way. All the while, he finds a way to make the dialogue work. The only thing that came across kind of odd was the scene where Cap and Thor are talking about stepping out to get something to eat with Havok, and Thor talks about how much he likes lattes. Very silly yes, but it would work. I could totally see the character get into really weird human food like that.

The art is by John Cassaday is great as usual. This is definitely a fun book and I’m sure I’ll catch up with it once it comes out in trade format.

Advertisements

X-Factor #84

Let’s take a look back at X-Factor #82–the second part of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this came out twenty years ago. God I’m getting old.

As the second part of a crossover running through four different ongoing series, the pacing on this is kind of odd but its forgivable. In part one, Professor X has just been shot by Cable and is in grave condition at a hospital. X-Factor’s government liaison Valerie Cooper is trying to get a handle on his status, as he’s apparently been infected with some sort of techno virus that is turning him into a machine. I hope that Professor X is covered by his HMO; this sounds expensive.

As this is going on, X-Factor is investigating what had happened at the crime scene. X-Force–without their leader Cable, cause he apparently just tried to assassinate Professor X–is also there. The two groups tussle for obvious reasons, with X-Factor

There is one scene that sticks out now as being odd in retrospect involving Wolfsbane and Rictor making out with Shatterstar watching. At the time it makes sense, since they are former teammates after all. But in modern-day, Rictor and Shatterstar are a couple, and I’m sure it must be awkward watching your significant other making out with a wolf chick.

Art in this issue was by Jae Lee. I guess this was still early in his career, as his artwork really reminded me of Sam Keith, with the dark moodiness, use of negative space and odd cartoonishly rendered characters. But that’s a good thing, as I enjoy both Lee and Keith’s work.

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.

The Last Emperor’s Secret Wars

Good pal Pancuco from Action Figs & Things! shared this great clip of Philadelphia based rapper the Last Emperor’s track “Secret Wars”. Last Emp tears it up, describing what would happen if some of the greatest MC’s tussled with some of the best super heroes. Pay attention to the verse about KRS-ONE and Professor X where he just kills it. Check out some more tracks from Last Emperor here.

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.

Politics of Super Heroes

Today, like millions of others across the United States, I’m heading out to my local polling station for Election Day. What if super heroes could Let’s look at the political leanings of our favorite super heroes. Information about the labels used in this article are courtesy of the Pew Institute’s political typology study.

We’ll start our examination with Superman, the first super hero. Ultimately, he’s guided by what he feels is right and wrong, so I think he would be extremely moderate when it comes to the ballot. He always wants to do the right thing, so I can see him reading and making charts comparing the candidates. The main factor in his decision is if it is the right thing to do.

Batman is firmly on the conservative side of the political spectrum. His advanced interrogation techniques, warrant-less investigations and physicality would drive the ACLU nuts! Not to mention the fact that he likes spying on people for no reason (the whole Brother Eye story) and secretly collecting databases on his friends’ weaknesses (in case he ever has to, well, kill them), Batman is a firm believer in national security over personal rights. When he takes the mask off, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire industrialist, so obviously he would be pro-business. Not to mention that he inherited everything through investments, so I would imagine he’s happy with the way the capital gains taxes are as is.

Captain America is the ultimate populist hero, so like Superman, he would be a moderate independent. He would never publicly endorse a candidate. Cap feels that feels that he is the self-appointed guardian of the American dream, so he would vote against anyone who threatened that. At times he might skew a little liberal economically; he’s a product of the New Deal you know! Captain America is also a strong advocate in civil liberties, as his defense of them was a big part of the Civil War event. For more insight into his political beliefs, look no further than Captain America #250, where he mulls running for president.

If you’re looking for a super progressive/liberal type super hero, look no further than Mr. Fantastic. One of the–if not the–world’s foremost scientists, he would absolutely go nuts listening to someone argue why creationism must be included in education. In the current Future Foundation book, he’s empowered a global task force of the world’s greatest minds to fix problems before they get out of hand. He’s an advocate of being a world citizen and thinking globally.

His Fantastic Four teammate the Thing is a bit more conservative than him. Thing takes pride in being a self-made man. What would annoy a 500 pound rock monster of a man? High taxes and ridiculous government spending. You try explaining to him why his tax dollars are needed to build a bridge to nowhere!

So what would everyone’s favorite Green Lantern political type be? Obviously Hal Jordan is too busy with his super hero business and personal life to vote. I would bet money that he probably isn’t even registered to vote. Well, he was registered to vote at one point, but that was probably so he could hit on some girl who worked in the city election office. At least that’s what post Green Lantern: Reborn wants us to think.

Meanwhile, Hal’s BFF Green Arrow is a well-known super liberal super hero. He is a strong advocate for pretty much all of the traditional liberal causes (just remember the Hard Traveling Heroes stories if you don’t believe me).  If he were a real person, he would probably pal around with other progressive billionaires like George Soros and Warren Buffet.

Hawkman is Green Arrow’s longtime political counterpoint in the Justice League. This winged super hero has been portrayed as being a super conservative over the years. He proudly supports the death penalty, is socially conservative and believes that people themselves are accountable for their personal success. No soup for you unless you work for it!

I think that it is universally accepted that Professor X is a card-carrying liberal. He’s a civil rights icon and a strong advocate against discrimination. He would be the first in line to stand up for Affirmative Action.

But Charles Xavier can never run for office, and it’s not because he’s a mutant. It’s because of his immigration scandal. You know the one I’m talking about; look to the right.He brought Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler into the country 36 years ago with student visas–and they’re still here! Plus, bringing a known criminal illegally into the country in Wolverine?

Lex Luthor seems to skew towards being a staunch conservative. I’m not saying that staunch conservatives are super villains; just look at the facts. Aside from wanting to get rid of Superman and occasional thoughts of world domination, Luthor has been one hell of a business man. The DCU is dominated by LexCorp and its various subsidiaries, and as its owner/CEO, Lex would totally support any candidate who championed less government regulation over the business and finance sectors.

So what kind of political views would the Punisher have? Anarchistic tendencies aside, its anyone’s guess. He would agree to a certain extent with libertarians that the government is too large and ineffective, and that people should have more control over their lives. That works for him; he thinks the legal system is corrupt and spends his days hunting down criminals. Plus they don’t believe in gun control, and the right to carry a concealed Uzi or M-16 is something that is near and dear to his heart. But as soon as they start saying that things like drugs and prostitution shouldn’t considered crimes anymore, you lose him.

Spider-Man’s whole “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra leads me to believe that he would be pretty mad about the country’s current financial boondoggle. Spidey would agree with the Occupy Wall Street crowd’s view that many big businesses have been abusing their financial power. He would probably skew liberal on many social issues, especially education. As a product of New York’s public schools, and later a teacher there, he sees the importance of having a well run public school system.

Iron Man’s family has made its fortune as a military contractor and through inheritance and investment. Fiscally and defense, he is very conservative. But in some ways, he’s also very liberal. The employees at Stark Enterprises are treated extremely well. He’s a big supporter of global welfare and the environment, even if it’s against his business interests. Plus, championing the Super Hero Registration Act to create a new government agency to administer super heroes nationwide only gives the federal government more power. I don’t think you can pigeonhole Tony Stark to a certain ideology.