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Posts tagged “Wolverine

Last Weeks Pulls 6/22/22

I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no interest in DC‘s Dark Crisis or any of the repackaged 5G that they’re trying to roll out here. They’ve largely made the DCU so unrecognizable to me that it’s off-putting and, the stories just aren’t that interesting.

Still, I wanted to check out the Young Justice story they were doing. Young Justice is one of those titles that I really enjoyed back in The day, because it was just… Fun. It was just interesting. Peter David had been getting increasingly spicy and ideological and a little preachy in his writing around that time, and to see him approach Young Justice with straightforward adventure, centered around teen sidekicks that were actually… Well, teens! It was refreshing. One of the strengths of Young Justice is of course the youth of the cast. DC has a tendency to want to age up kid characters as soon as possible, and it always backfires. Tim Drake Robin, Connor Kent’s Superboy, heck even Jonathan Kent’s Superboy… They’re all more interesting when they’re 12 or 14. Once you bump that up to 19, they’re just another cape lost in the crowd. Young Justice leaned into the fact that these kids were kids, and The title was genuinely fun. I know they’re trying to rope us in with nostalgia, but fun was what I was still hoping for.
 
I don’t feel like I got that here. We get classic costumes, and a lot of member berries, but it’s permeated by the general angst of the DC right now. That is perhaps a complicated way of saying this just wasn’t what I wanted from this title are these characters. And these versions of these characters feel strangely out of place when you drop them in next to the 5G characters… The young Justice cast is really from another time… A time that DC has decided it’s best moved past.

Speaking of something else that was nostalgia bait, they released a new issue of New Fantastic Four. That’s that strange 90s team up between Grey Hawk, ghost rider, wolverine and Spider-Man. I don’t know where these gimmicks are coming from …I don’t know who’s green lighting the stuff… But on the other hand, I’m obviously encouraging them because I keep buying it. It’s an interesting revisit to that era… I’ve always wanted to read more Grey Hulk, so this definitely scratches that itch. It’s also a nice demon based story, kind of in line with what we’re seeing in the current ghost rider run. A bunch of people being mind controlled by some demonic thing and attacking everything in sight. Come to think of it, it almost feels a little bit like what we’re seeing in Worlds Finest as well. In any event, it’s an interesting little story, although I almost wish I’d been a one shot. We get a to be continued… And I’m not sure if this is going to have the legs to go multiple issues or to keep my interest that long. We’ll see what happens.
 
A big surprise for me this month was the Perry White book. Much like New FF. I have NO idea who’s idea was to put this out… A collection of stories featuring the editor in chief of the daily planet… with some hijinks involving Jimmy Olsen as well. But you know what, this was delightful. Way more interesting that had any right to be. We got a team up with Wildcat… charmingly titled “old guys talking in bars”, we get some reprints here and there – I’ve only read about Perry’s super cigars, I’ve never actually seen them. Good to see Curt Swan reprinted and to finally experiences classic story upfront. Not sure how they got away with it actually, considering the anti-smoking sentiment we have in 2022!
No, but seriously, the book is just fun. I’m shocked at how much fun I had with this… But perhaps I shouldn’t be. After all, I’ve always said that one of the great strings of the Superman comics is in fact the supporting cast.

Likewise, Worlds Finest also continues to bring the fun, and man this book is getting crowded. Do you know how we were talking about supporting casts? Worlds finest is increasingly supporting cast. It almost feels like that first run of Batman Superman – Public Enemies with Ed McGuinness drawing… Where Superman and Batman are public enemy number one. All sorts of other superheroes crowding in the edges… it’s a very similar take… and it’s good. I actually really enjoy this version of Supergirl, heck, I enjoy both his version of Supergirl AND Robin! They are extremely well done and complement the main characters very well, and have so much fun chemestry.
This issue is still just a beat down issue, we’re in the middle of the devil controlling other superheroes to take down Superman and Batman. There’s a little more to it, but you get the jest… Now go read the book. I’m absolutely buying this in trade when it comes out. This is one of those stories that needs to be collected… Although I must say, the once a month format isn’t bothering me on this nearly as much as it is Spider-Man.

Of course that’s probably because Spider-Man still a convoluted mess and I don’t know what’s going on. There’s a sort of Spidey saves the day resolution for this issue, and another one of those sort of bread crumbs drops… “What’s going on here?“. Black cat swings by to see Mary Jane for some reason and it’s weird, it’s almost like she’s surprised to see the daughter. “Hmmmm. Cute kid.” You know, that’s remarkably cryptic. Impressively so considering it’s simplicity. 
 
Full disclosure. I miss the days when Nightwing was the best kept secret in comics. Chuck Dixon really had interesting directions to take Dick in, and when the comic got popular it felt like it mainstreamed a little bit more. More editorial dictates and control over the direction it went… It was never quite the same. I have to say, this issue feels a lot like the old Nightwing series… I’m really enjoying watching his relationship with Barbara start to takeoff again. This is something that I see them exploring both here and in Batgirls, and I’m really up for it. There’s not an enormus amount of Nightwing shenanigans going on here though… It’s a fairly simple straightforward story. I picked a good issue to try out with a contained narrative. This area of the Haven is seeing increased crime, and the police are using it as a excuse to hassle the locals. Of course the police force anywhere near Gotham is going to be corrupt, and it turns out these guys are using the crimewave as an excuse to step up patrols and triple the amount of cops in the area. They point out, quite correctly actually, that if there’s increased crime in the area, you need a increased police presence… But Nightwing replies, asking if making these kids feel like criminals is gonna make them feel safe…
 
And this is where the problems begin.
 
The thing is, we had a lot of these kind of stories in both Nightwing and the Batman titles back when Nightwing was a new title. However, this sort of thing takes on a different context in 2002 then it did back in 1997. After the better part of a decade with politicians on a certain side of the aisle demonizing cops, saying they’re all bad, saying they’re all bullies, and suggesting that any sort of increase patrols is just racism… seeing it portrayed here, it’s not nearly as palatable. These can’t be read as just caricatures of villains… The writer is trying to make a political statement here. It’s one that bothers me too, because it’s misinformed, and it’s incorrect. When the corrupt police chief says an increased police presence in high crime areas is going to make people safer… He’s right. And the hero tries to suggest that he isn’t. This is how Giuliani cleaned up New York. This is something that a lot of the poor want in their neighborhoods. Something I definitely want in mine.

Now, of course these bad cops take it a step further, hassling kids playing basketball in broad daylight at noon on a Sunday or something…, But I still feel a suggestion that all police activity is harassment, all cops are bad, and that if they just left it all alone, everything will be all right… After all it’s probably the cops causing all the trouble anyhow! It’s a drag too, because I was really liking this book… Until I got smacked in the face with a large baseball bat labeled “the message“.

On the other hand, there’s absolutely no message in Elvira… Other than cleavage is good.
We take a trip to the overlook hotel this time around, although the names have been changed to protect the innocent… From legal action.
I know I keep saying this, but it’s a ridiculously self-aware book. The best part of it being, Jack Torrance keep speaking in Jack Nicholson quotes. There’s a lot of Batman quotes here, along with the occasional “You can’t handle the truth!“ At one point he confronts Elvira with a “did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?“ To which she responds “you wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!“ It’s all insanely glorious. There’s a couple of pokes at Kubrick‘s directing style as well, the use of banner slides to tell you which day it is… That sort of thing, and even an acknowledgment of the recent Dr. Sleep film. But the part that’s truly horrifying is when you see what’s written on Jack’s typewriter instead of “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy“. It’s genuinely good stuff, and we can see by the end of this book, that is leading her into her next film… Alien. Once again, I can’t wait.

The thing that is so charming here is that it’s really the best possible venue for the character. Elvira has always been fundamentally a horror host, so dropping her into these movies… It’s really just an extended version of the things that a lot of posts like Zacharly would do, green screening themselves into the movie. Elvira is taking this to a whole new extreme, but it fits. It gives her a chance to be a character, while still retaining her identity as a host.

If you’re a fan of the current ninja Punisher run, You may want to check out Punisher war journal. It’s a nice self-contained story, but it’s a side quest. Definitely something that they’re doing in another book so that they don’t interrupt the flow of the main story going on in the main book. Or journal still evokes a desire for gunplay, and I have to admit, while this is a Punisher story… It’s a Punisher story largely without firearms. There’s a few, but I have to admit I miss them. Then again, props on them for at least giving us a scene or two of ninjas with guns. I understand cinematicly why you never see them using firearms in the movies, but realistically, just like any good spy I would assume a ninja would use any weapon at his disposal… That includes firearms. I think at the end of the day, this is still gonna go down as just one of those “weird“ periods in the Punisher’s history, much like the mobbed up ponytail storyline, or the Demon Hunter one… Marvel’s just not sure what to do with him right now because he’s a little too politically incorrect, but at the same time a little bit too popular to just rest the character. I’d still prefer all of this is the side quest, and alternate universe whatever sort of thing, but I’m still enjoying the ride a lot more than I expected to, so I’m sticking with this.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Logan

Movie bannerUnpopular opinion; I didn’t enjoy Logan all that 161429461_62f2ffmuch.  It’s absolutely not the best of the X-Men films.  Now mind you, it’s not that this is a bad film per se, what I found myself not liking, was what happened to these characters then I have known and loved for decades.  But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back to the beginning.
Logan is the story of Wolverine in his later years as he tries to get the first new mutant born in 20 years across the border and to safety.  Spoilers from here on out.
First and foremost, Logan is not designed to be a blockbuster.  It’s not designed to be a summer tent pole  movie – in fact it’s not really even designed to be a superhero movie.  This is an old grind house film.  There is a heavy Tarantino influence on it, cowboy pants and generic south-western settings, gritty violence along with a loner in a bullet ridden car – indeed all its missing is a scene in A darkened coffee house/family restaurant.  Something 70s style, with rocks on the wall and waitresses in uniform (I waited all two hours for that and was shocked it didn’t happen). Logan is an old man logan-trailer-700x300now…although Hugh Jackman still manages to be the most stunningly beautiful “old” man I can imagine.  Professor Xavier is still alive as well, but suffering from a brain disease – it’s never quite spelled-out if it’s Alzheimer’s or a variation of that, but he is certainly deteriorating.  It’s a sad state to see Professor X in, and it feeds into the core of my old issues with the character. I need to like Professor X. I need to look up to him.  One of my main problems with the X-Men first class films is that James McAvoy is Professor X is terribly unpleasant, and unfortunately, Patrick Stewart professorxseems to be channeling a lot of that here.  It’s more forgivable though, because it seems to be a result of his deterioration.  The old optimistic, wise Professor X still manages to emerge from time to time and I’m reminded just how perfect Stewart has always been in this role.

Indeed, the fact that this was an X-Men movie with Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman starring once again, was what got me up to the theatre.  It was not Wolverine that got me to this movie – I’ve never been a fan of the character. It was not the comic book hype – at this point there are so many comic book films out I can actually afford to be selective, and thumbnail_25475it certainly was not the R rating.
I appreciate the fact that they were able to do whatever they wanted with the higher rating, but just because you can do a thing does not follow that you necessarily must.  The hyper violence that we are treated to is necessary, and actually has been missing a lot of times.  We get a glimpse more of it in the R rated cut of The Wolverine (the previous film), but in Logan they really cut loose, showing exactly the kind of damage Wolverines claws and rage can inflict.  I think it also allows them to get away with far more using the young child Laura, or as you’re more familiar in the comics – X-23.  The scenes of her violence and devastation are very likely too disturbing to have ever managed a PG-13 rating.  The soulless killing and lack of ukq4oslwnhj85aqbfucuconscience that we see in her, may well have pushed this closer to an NC-17. Quite frankly, this is why Wolverine needed an R rating.  Not just so that they would have an excuse to use the word “fuck” repeatedly.
This is one of those things that bugs me, that most of the uses of the word are unnecessary and when you pull out the F bomb too often, it loses its power.  Every instance where it is preceded by the word “the” would’ve been better substituted with “hell”. It fits the speech pattern we’ve seen in the character previously.  Professor X should never be using that word, it makes him look less intelligent (This is not an argument about whether intelligent people use adult language. It’s a statement about appearance – and film is ALL about appearance) .  However the temptation, now that they have license to do so, appears to be just too strong and it’s a disappointment to me (particularly since its only the heroes that ever use the word! deadpool-appearanceDid anyone else catch that?) It fits in Deadpool, which was always conceived as a blue comedy. For my money however, it detracts in Logan.
We knew that this was the final outing for both Jackman and Stewart, and about halfway through I started to get that vibe – the one that tells you somebody, if not everybody, is about to die.  It makes sense, as a way to punctuate both of their tenures in these films, but in both cases the deaths felt anticlimactic.  In Professor X’s case, it’s downright ignoble.  His death in X-Men three was far more satisfying (and is there some unwritten rule that the third film in an X-franchise HAS to be depressing?), but at least here.  He was able to have that one perfect day before the end.  Wolverine’s demise is marginally better, it’s certainly more heroic. Nevertheless, for some reason it just doesn’t feel as spectacular and over the top as I would’ve liked.  I understand it though, and it was a good decision to end the film this way.  The last scene where we closed tight on his grave marker is brilliant, and it reminds us that we are still in the X-Men universe.41a6d3ec563f014eb3eec98ff2a8f206

This film is a hard call for me, because while I enjoy the violence that we’ve finally gotten (and truthfully waited for so long), we also have to deal with the more depressing scenes of the film they go along with that.  I don’t like the implication that the X-Men were wiped out by Professor X, that everyone is dead under such terrible circumstances. I don’t like the lonely end Xavier comes to – he deserves better than that. They all do. The film certainly has resolution, but it’s not the sort of resolution that leaves you feeling like everything is going to be okay, that all these characters are going to be safe and sound. It’s dirty, messy. It doesn’t feel like it belongs in a superhero movie.

But then again, like I said at the beginning, this – is not a superhero film.