Covering the Wolverine

by Matt

Wolverine has graced a ton of covers and here are my Top Ten Best Wolverine covers and my Top Ten Worst Wolverine covers. It was difficult to really pinpoint which ones I loved but it was not difficult at all in picking the worst ones. They were quite a few stinkers in there. Does one of your favorites make my list? Or does it land in the worst list? Snikt on!


#1) WOLVERINE #1 (1st Limited Series)
Nothing says Wolverine the way this cover says it. Frank Miller really captured the essence of Wolverine with this single cover. Wolverine is smart, cocky, brash and bad-ass! All in one cover.

#2) UNCANNY X-MEN #212
This was the first time we saw Wolverine battle Sabretooth and this cover shows us that Wolverine can be hurt. This was before he took hits all the time. He was smarter than, he didn't fight unless he had too. Barry Windsor-Smith really knew how to show a hurt Wolverine. His art is in two of my picks and was almost chosen a third time with Uncanny X-Men #205.

Barry Windsor-Smith's epic Weapon X is one of the best Wolverine stories. One of the best parts of his story is that it was presented in Marvel Comics Presents in short 8-page increments. This way we get more cool covers. This was the best of the bunch and showed how painful it was for Wolverine when he was transformed into Weapon X.

#4) UNCANNY X-MEN #251
Marc Silvestri is one of my favorite artists and one of my favorite Wolverine artists but it seemed like he didn't draw that many outstanding covers featuring Wolverine. This was my favorite that he drew, I loved the way he is in shadows. You don't have to show the gore, my mind can make it all up.

I remember picking up this issue only because of the cover. I had no interest in Captain America and my small allowance only allowed a few cheaper comics. This was a big annual and I had to get it. I loved the clash of the shield and the claws, the sparks and the impact. And as a kid, deep down inside I had always wanted to know if Wolverine's claws could cut Cap's shield.

#6) UNCANNY X-MEN #394
This was Joe Casey's first issue of his run on Uncanny and I couldn't believe my eyes. Would he really change the status quo and make Jean and Logan a couple? This cover showed how wild Jean could be with Wolverine and I secretly hoped this would be a permanent thing.

#7) ORIGIN #2
It sure looks like it is very painful when Wolverine pops his claws. I love this cover because you can feel the claws. The blood, the way the skin protrudes, it didn't look very pleasant.

I never noticed that Wolverine would have sharp teeth as well as his claws until I saw this cover. McFarland really shows how wild and feral Wolverine can be.

#9) WOLVERINE #79 (1st series)
It was shocking enough to me that Wolverine would have bone claws. I didn't even think that they could break off! I imagine that it would be extremely painful and this cover shows the shock and anguish.

This cover just makes me laugh. I thought it was a joke (and so did my dad when he saw it today) that Marvel would publish it. I hated it at first but Cassaday really nailed the look on his face. This might have been the first time I have seen Wolverine terrified!

And now the TOP TEN WORST WOLVERINE COVERS for your viewing pleasure!

RRRRR Matey! What is this exactly? A pirate? What is up with the earring? With his healing factor is that even possible? Is he coming to eat my steaks with those knives?

This is what happens when Wolverine is full of hot air. His head is square and his body is like the Michelin Man! I get it, this is a Transformers series and maybe Wolverine is transforming into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

What is wrong with his head? Why is it sticking out so far and is his wrist broken? If Wolverine was not on the title, I would have thought it was someone else!

It looks like Wolverine is holding butter knives between his fingers. C'mon, you know I am right. You've done the same thing! I admit it. We have had a fat Wolverine, now we have a skinny one!

Goatee Wolverine. So glad that didn't stick. Ultimate Wolverine was cool at this time and that is why regular Wolverine looks JUST like him. And why are there chains hanging from the top of the comic? For a 25 cent issue, Marvel could have done a better job but maybe they were trying to get all those people that were picking up Ultimate X-Men.

Wolverine's arms are WAY too big here. They are larger than his canuckle-head! And his arms look like fifty pound stuffed Braunschweiger, with the plastic still on it since it is so shiny!

#7 WEAPON X #1
Mousse was not invented in the Age of Apocalypse. I liked that Wolverine only had one hand but I hated his mane. He looked like a cross between a lion and a hyena. This cover really showed how horrible it looked.

#8) WOLVERINE #59 (1st Series)
Steven Segal should have been cast as Wolverine! He also had a ponytail (it was revealed in the comic). Was he pudgy as well?

#9) WOLVERINE #6 (2nd Series)
Wolverine himself looks okay here but the way he is leering at Nightcrawler here. And is Kurt naked? Maybe Wolverine is making Kurt dance for some beer? Maybe Kurt owes Wolverine too many cases of beer and is paying it off with a lap dance?

Again, the goatee just doesn't work. Wolverine also looks like a teenager. I almost didn't pick this series up because of the crappy cover.
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Wolverine Plot Generator

by Brandon
Wolverine is one of those characters fans just love to hate. For better or worse, Wolverine really is one of those characters that seems to just be everywhere. Many people like to slack off on the character in public while they secretly opine for him behind closed doors. There's no denying the character is just slightly overused in the Marvel Universe. But hey, why not? The character can move a book like hotcakes. There's definitely a market out there for stories involving the ol' knucklehead. There are only so many ways you can write Wolverine stories and yet they keep coming. There are commonalities between Wolverine stories. Many of the stories are rife with cliches. Some are just downright pitiful in their formulaic mechanics. But never fear! You too can write the most mundane Wolverine story to ever grace a Guardians of the Galaxy issue! With this hand-dandy Wolverine Plot generator you can have Wolverine riding on his motorcycle in no time trading fisticuffs with Sabertooth or some other villain.

The Protagonist...
There is really only one type of protagonists in Wolverine stories; Wolverine. The thing any hack has to sort out is whether Wolverine will be in costume or in his civvies. If you go with a costume, the decision then lies in what type of costume. Do you go for the brown and red? How about the blue and yellow? Maybe the X-Force black and gray? Whichever one you go with, it's sure to impress any Hand ninjas or Marauders you met up with in your story. If you decide to go the civilian clothing route, please, please, please make sure he's a white shirt, bluejeans, and a leather jackets. A hat is optional, but no other clothes need apply.

The Antagonist(s)...
Wolverine has many, many antagonists you can choose from. With a population of over 6.6 Billion people on the planet, Wolverine could spar with just about anyone! And let's face it, this is a comic book! Anyone could be a villain! A guy pops off to Logan in a bar? FIGHT! A super-villain trashing a meeting of a Japanese crime lord's family who has contacted Wolverine as a favor to a trouble Asian woman who needs the tender strong arm of a mutant because she has a death contract out on her based on a meeting Wolverine had with a visiting Buddhist holy monk thirty years before? FIGHT!Cyclops getting him a piece of ass with White Queen? FIGHT! With Wolverine, anyone can be a potential threat. However, provided are a list of villains you may want to choose from...

- Sabertooth: An oldie but goodie. Lots of folks will be familiar with this guy, but think of all the rad/dated dialogue you could write that you and others have already read a million times. The possibilities are limitless in its limitlessness! Again!

- Magneto: Oh yeah. Who wouldn't want to write the Master of Magnetism? Wolverine has ripped this guys head off before. But that was a clone. Or something. An evil spirit? Dammit, I can't remember. He was something, but dude, regardless of evil doppelgangers or junked out mutants, they should totally have a rematch!

- The Hand/Ninjas: Wolverine fighting ninjas never gets old. Sure, it gets a bit boring. And yes, the eastern mysticism and witticisms do get a bit strained, but come on, it's ninjas! And Wolverine! How freaking awesome is that?

- Cyber: This is the poor man's Terminator... or is it the Terminator's poor man? Either way, this guy has a major mad-on for Wolverine. Like Sabertooth, you don't even need a reason for these two to fight, but adding in Daken or some ancient sword couldn't hurt.

The Setting...
Wolverine is a proverbial Renaissance Man when it comes to settings. From to the tropical to weird, the wild to the tame, from Space to the N-Zone, Wolverine is such an adaptive character to any environment. He's like a rabbit, but not. Because rabbits are wusses. Wolverine is not. Just FYI. Here are just a few places you can throw Wolverine;

- Road Trip: It never hurts to start a Wolverine story off with the main man riding on his motorcycle. Whether it be through a forest or city, it's just so refreshing to see riding his bike, the wind whipping through his claws.

- The Savage Land: The jungles of the Savage Land are wild and savage. The Savage Land is like, um, a metaphor for how wild and savage Wolverine is. I think. Wolverine is a savage beast. Savage! The Savage land is a land of savage beasts. The savagery unleashed by any savagely set story in the Savage Land would be so savage that Wolverine would have to unleash a savage rage!

- Bar/Truck Stop: Wolverine isn't your typical pansy. He doesn't go frat housing with your typical fraternity lowlifes who enjoy paying for each others company with Daddy's trust fund while they create memories whilst singing Jimmy Buffet's back catalog. No, Wolverine likes to go to the seediest bar or truck stop as only the great true north strong and free can provide. If Wolverine isn't picking up lot lizards, he's at least got to be busting heads over some local yokel's ignorant attitudes towards "muties." If you want to add extra spice to the scene, have Juggernaut or Sabertooh bust into the bar. From there, these scenes should just write themselves.

- San Francisco: This whole move to San Fransisco during the Manifest Destiny "non-event event story" has been lackluster. Wolverine just needs to spice up the town a little. Sure, he's already had his obligatory "I'm taking over an ancient order of kung fu hooligans while getting a cool new shamanistic mentor to teach me the true ways to become the Karate Kid" story with the Wolverine: Manifest Destiny miniseries. But what we need more of is a second "I'm taking over an ancient order of kung fu hooligans while getting a cool new shamanistic mentor to teach me the true ways to become the Karate Kid" story. Then, to really make sure the reader get the point, it is highly necessary that Marvel push for a third "I'm taking over an ancient order of kung fu hooligans while getting a cool new shamanistic mentor to teach me the true ways to become the Karate Kid" story.m That would so rock!

- Weapon-X Installation: When all else fails at the laptop, your blank word processing page mocking your every attempt to squeeze adamantium out of the keys, there is one place where any Wolverine writer can go to find the El Dorado of all Wolverine stories; Weapon X! While the Russians and Americans were building nuclear weapons and launch facilities, the Canadians were wisely spending their time building bunkers to test cool things out on soon-to-be-cool comic book characters. I mean, there have only been 1,326.5 stories dealing with Wolverine going on a vision quest of sorts to one of these fabled facilities where, alas, his innocence was lost. Shed no tears for this, though. Wolverine should simply show, kick some ass, and then swear to never return to any Weapon X facility again. For at least two issues. Maybe three. Check the current solicitations before you promise anything.

The Goal
Wolverine is a busy man. I mean, shit, brutha' shows up in at least fourteen titles a month at a minimum. You have to have goals and objectives to get around that much. Wolverine doesn't strike me as the kind of hero who keeps an updated schedule on his Blackberry, so he has to have a purpose before he gets entangled with the Heroes for Hire this week or Quasar and the Cosmic Rollers next week. Here are some goals that should help Wolverine ease through your story like a hot claw through butter;

- Do it for Jean!: Wolverine should always be pining for his lost redheaded love. This gives him a sense of purpose. A nice flashback of the two coyly flirting in the Danger Room should suffice. Anything that follows such a scene is golden. If Logan thinks that he can make up something to his dead crush, then he'll do it with gusto! There's only one girl Wolverine ever loved, and that was so many years ago. And though he'll never get her out of his heart. She never really loved him back. ... Chrsit! I'm sorry. I just totally channeled Meat Loaf there. Forgive me.

- Save the World!: Nothing quite gets at a superheroes goat like threatening the peace and security of the world. Ending all creation is a motivating activity. Villains threaten to do this all the time, but few can actually pull it off. Someone would have to flood New York or create an alternate world where Charles Xavier is killed and Apocalypse takes over. It would have to be some serious shit to get Wolverine good and pissed off, but it could happen.

- Save Canada!: I wish Canadians could feel a sense of ultra-nationalism. Say what you will about right-wing conservative wackos, but they really do know how to take nationalistic pride to a whole new level of crazy. Wouldn't it be great to read the ultimate patriotic comic book for Canadian nationalism? I would love to see Wolverine wrap himself in a Canadian flag to hold off the bleeding wounds that cover his body as he lashes out at the last of Canada's many enemies. It's time for Wolverine to take his rightful spot alongside Celine Dion as the champion for Canadian values. That's a Wolverine story worth telling!

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Spring Break Reading, Part 3 - Oldies

by Brandon

Two days late and many, many dollars short, the third and final installment of Spring Break Reading comes to a grinding halt. I read over one hundred issues during my spring break last week. It definitely put a dent in my reading stack, but I still have a log way to go. In this final installment, I'll astonish and astound you with reviews of Doom patrol, Queen & Country, Justice League, Suicide Squad, The Spirit, and Grendel. And guess what? I think I loved nearly everything I read while I was camping. That was awesome!

Doom Patrol #'s 26-50
Ever since DC announced Kieth Giffen would be starting a new Doom Patrol series, I got the urge to go back an re-read Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, probably the undisputed high point for this property. In fact, every time a new reboot of this title has been announced since the Vertigo run, I have gone back to these original issues. What can I say? Part of me lives in the past. When you read these issues, you really do get a sense of how gutsy DC was when they let Morrison go off the deep end with these characters. Doom Patrol had always been billed as being the world's strangest heroes, but they had often come off as being the most mundane, especially in the 1980s. Morrison gave the Doom Patrol a purpose by embracing the weird. The characters were so great, especially Crazy Jane and Danny the Street. Cliff Steele always remains the emotional heart for the team, but Morrison was able to give the character a voice beyond being good ol' stable Cliff. This comic book is not for the passive reader. Morrison challenges you with each absurd turn. There is more psychedelic super-heroics in these pages than you could probably shake some LSD at. The art was just as appropriately trippy as the writing was. If you haven't given this title a spin, what are you waiting for? Just think of the X-Men on mind boggling drugs and you'll be getting close. Chin-chin.

Queen & Country Definitive Edition Volume 1
I'm a huge fan of the television show 24. Or should I say I was a huge fan? While the past two seasons have been less than entertaining, many Q&C fans have told me I should try this book out to scratch my counter-terrorism itch. I found a copy of this definitive edition dirt cheap on Amazon a couple of months ago and it was worth every penny. I sat down under a tree Friday afternoon with a few beers and this book. The afternoon just breezed away. Everything just seemed to meld together perfectly. I'm not terribly familiar with Greg Rucka, but this book just blew me away. He was able to mix savvy dialogue with great action without all the clumsiness that plagues many counter-terrorism shows and books. The language never gets bogged down in procedural or technical matters, but it never once feels dumbed down or trite.

Justice League International #'s 7-25
I've expressed my childhood (and adulthood, for that matter) love of the Giffen and DeMatteis Justice League era books. They just mix action and comedy so well. These comic books were fun. As a kid, I probably never owned more than five issues at a time due to my restrictive $2 a week allowance. I traded these issues out like hotcakes for new issues every chance I got. Now that I'm an adult who can actually afford to buy and keep these issues, I've made it my goal to go back and get some of the issues I traded away back in those fabled days of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Justice League just happens to be one of those titles. These titles are just fun to read. I can guarantee at least a couple laugh out loud moments in every issue, and many more chuckles. These guys knew how to keep a joke rolling without it becoming forced or overdrawn. The interaction between the characters is just golden and definitely make the book. The bad guys are pathetic, but in a lovable way. God, I hate the term bromance, but I'll be damned if it doesn't aptly describe the unique and hilarious friendship between Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. It makes you wonder what the hell crawled up Dan Didio's ass to make him dislike these characters so much. I know many people love the buff, flawless, iconic heroes to populate their Justice League books, but give me Beetle and Booster nyuk-nyuking it up while Martian Manhunter just sighs any day of the week.

Suicide Squad #'s 11-15
This was another book from the same era in DC history as Justice League and it is equally as good. I believe Doug recommended this series to me and I am eternally grateful to him for doing so. Unlike Justice League, there's only a smidgen of humor here, but the real story with this comic book is villains doing bad things. Sure, Captain Boomerang's costume is less than stellar, but the book reads like a frantic action movie. As a reader, you find yourself rooting for the bad guys to kill people. You don't often see that in comic books. Heroes are supposed to kick the crap out of the bad guys before they get too carried away. Just ask a Superman fan. B-O-R-I-N-G! The amoral area of the DC universe is so much more interesting than the white bread, might-makes-right side of that company. Ostrander is one of those writers who is never lauded as being a superstar comic book writer, but he has quietly become one of my favorite writers. Like Justice League of the same era, this book doesn't have to use the best and brightest of the DC Universe to pack some punch. I look forward to completing my collection and reading the remaining issues.

The Spirit #'s 6-10
I've been trying to purge the memory of the awful Spirit movie by going to the source, the original Eisner comics. After reading the first ten issues of the Kitchen Sink reprints from the 1980s, I have to confess that my mission has been accomplished. I started reading some of the older Spirit strips back in June when I picked up the Best Of collection from DC. I never thought in a million years that I would enjoy a golden age comic book. I always assumed golden books were all cheesy and lacked any depth. And guess what? The Spirit is cheesy. However, reading these issues just proves what treasure Will Eisner was to comic books. Eisner manages to capture the gritty side of life with glee. There are so many great characters that populate these issues that it's hard to pick a favorite. Commissioner Dolan stands out as a solid funny man, his Barney Fife to the Spirit's Andy Griffith. The art is crisp and clean, but always evocative. Eisner tried some pretty wild styles out, especially the dream sequence from the "Pool's Toadstool Facial Cream" story where Spirit imagines a future where he has to marry Ellen. Put through the modern viewing lens, Ebony White stands out like sore thumb throughout every story. But outside of the exaggerated minstrel art and dialogue, he actually is treated with respect by all the characters in the story. Just be advised of the existence of this character if you decide to go poking around in the Spirit's past. Kitchen Sink did such a wonderful job with these reprints and they are definitely worth seeking out if you don't feeling paying the exaggerated price for the hardcovers DC offers.

Grendel: Black, White, & Red TPB
Though I like all the Grendel books I've read thus far and the various takes on the character, my favorite version of the character is still the first devil, Hunter Rose. I found this trade at a used bookstore for a reasonable price and picked up for some nice, bloody reading last week. The stories were all solid, but what really amazed me about this book wasn't the writing, but the artists. Represented in the pages are some of comic book's finest artists. Off the top of my head, I remember seeing art from Tim Sale, Mike Allred, Guy Davis, Tim Bradstreet, David Mack, Duncan Fegredo, and Chris Sprouse. The simple color pallet works well for this character. Matt Wagner knows how to write a good tale of criminal minds. Probably my favorite story here was "Devil's Vagary" with art from Dean Motter. The idea of having Grendel lead a type of criminal board meeting was simply delicious and creepy to read. The stories in this book are short. They are also very powerful. I think I got a better sense for Hunter Rose out of these short stories than I have from anything else I have read. Grendel remains one of the better indie character in comic books and I hope Mr. Wagner stays true to his word and brings more tales of the devil quite soon.
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Shout Outs! and Scream Ats! IV

by Matt

I told you I would be back sooner than later! Welcome to my fourth “Shout Out/Scream At!” column! With this column I will be taking a look at what makes me a happy fanboy (Shout Outs!) and what frustrates me (Scream Ats!) within the comic industry. Today I will be covering Young Liars, Atomika, recent Marvel Omnibus hardcovers. Can I give a Scream At and a Shout Out for the same topic? How about two topics? Read on and find out!

SHOUT OUT! Cloak and Dagger part of Dark X-Men
I love Cloak and Dagger and I am happy that they are getting some recognition. I never have liked them as mutants but at least Marvel is doing something with them. Back in the 90's I remember that I hoped and hoped that they would be part of Cyclop's new team. Matt Fraction, in a recent interview said "Norman appeals to their sense of duty and offers to expunge their records and give them a fresh start if they join this team. He really appeals to their sense of wanting to help others and not wanting to run. He understands they're runaways above all else and offers them a home and fresh start." It does seem strange to me that they fought with Captain America in the Civil War so that they do not have to sign with the government and yet, they are signing with Norman Osborn. I wonder what changed?

SCREAM AT! No new Cloak and Dagger series
I am happy that Cloak and Dagger are coming back but what is happening with the Cloak And Dagger series by D’Orazio, Flores and Warren? This was announced ages ago and I was looking forward to it. Rich Johnston did report recently that "with Cloak and Dagger joining the X-books as regular team characters, that their mini-series, in the works for a year, has been shelved for 2009." BOOO! I think I would rather have Cloak and Dagger unassociated with the X-titles but I will take what little I can get.

I about died when I saw this solicited in the recent Previews. I gave up on this series and I was glad that I kept this in my pull list at Mailordercomics. I will have to re-read the series, I remember liking it so I will for sure get this. Hopefully the remaining four issues will come out at a decent frequency.

SCREAM AT! Young Liars Canceled!
Dave Lapham announced the other day that his Vertigo crime series Young Liars has been canceled with issue #18, which comes out in August. I am totally bummed. Young Liars was one brainscrew after another. Just when you thought you knew what was going on, Dave changes gears and heads in another direction. Lapham does here what he does great in Stray Bullets. No matter how awful these characters are, no matter how shady or how stupid they are, I love them. I hope Vertigo allows him to tie up as many loose ends as he can. Hopefully he will return to Stray Bullets but I am not hold my breath since he took Young Liars so he can make ends meet. Thanks Dave for such a wonderful and twisted ride!

SHOUT OUT! X-Men Forever
I like Chris Claremont and I am still a fan of his work. I don't think his current work is as strong as his past but I still enjoy his work. I admit it, I liked a lot of X-Treme X-Men so I am thrilled that he is returning to the X-Men. I am more happy that he gets his own series that is not tied to any continuity. I have always wanted to see what he would do next with the X-men when he was first fired off the X-Men and now I have my chance. I am really looking forward to this, I am not looking for anything mind blowing, I am just prepared to have some fun reading it.

SCREAM AT! X-Men Forever
What I am not happy about with this new X-Men title is the price. I was going to pick up this title but with the $3.99 price I am passing. More than likely I will just wait for trade. Which makes me sad, if this book was priced at $2.99 I would not even hesitate. I will pick up one or two books at $3.99 but this is stretching my dollar a little too thin. This sucks.

SCREAM AT! Marvel's Late Omnibus's
I am a sucker for the Beyonder and I was pumped for the Secret Wars II Omnibus. I ordered it in October 2008 and it was supposed to come out 2/4/09. I don't have it. I ordered the Captain Britain Omnibus in November of 2008 and it was supposed to come out on March 25th. I don't have it either. Secret Wars II comes out in just a few weeks on (hopefully) May 13th and the Captain Britain Omnibus is supposed to come out on June 17th. I paid good money for these books and I want my Beyonder Jerry Curl now! What is taking Marvel so long to make them? I would assume that it would be easy to print 1 or 2 copies of the Secret Wars II Omnibus since I am sure I am one of the few who bought a copy. C'mon, Make Mine Marvel!

Don't get me wrong folks. I still love comics and I am very lucky that I can still afford to read them. Well, for the time being anyway!
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X-Centric: March Madness ...with Mutants

by the General

Have you all heard of a little title called X-Men? Apparently, they are this group of people born with mutant powers who have sworn to protect a world that fears and hates them. I think they are going to be popular one day, so I thought I'd start a monthly column dedicated to reviewing titles starring them. If you are interested in finding out more about these little known characters, read on!

But, before I get into the actual reviews, I thought that, like Doug, I'd give you a little information about my comic collecting habits. I, like a lot of the other contributors on this blog, buy my comics through an online mail order comic site. The upside of this is that I save a good deal of money... the downside is that I don't get my comics until the start of the following month. So, you might notice that the comics I'll be talking about today are all from March. Because of this, I'm not going to be too concerned about **Spoiler Warnings** because, frankly, if you haven't read these comics by now, they probably aren't that important to you.

Also, as you might imagine (given the title of this article), I mainly collect X-titles. I'd probably estimate that 90% of the monthly titles I collect are Marvel titles. Of which at least 75% of those star a cast of merry mutants. Also, since I'm a cheapskate, I usually only collect team books. I mean, why would you want to spend $2.99 to read a book about just Wolverine, when you could spend that same $2.99 and read a book about Wolverine and a bunch of other random characters? Simple Character Quantity Economics.

Finally, instead of reviewing individual titles, I thought I'd try lumping a bunch of titles together so that instead I could focus on talking about larger themes and storylines within those titles. But, enough about me... on to the comics!

The Messiah War Begins!
Discussed: Life and Times of Lucas Bishop #2, Cable #12, X-Force#13, Messiah War Special #1 and Cable #13

I'm pretty sure that, based on the characters involved in this crossover event, that the titular "Messiah" is actually Rob Liefeld. I mean, how else can you explain that nearly every major character he created for Marvel is here? Cable, Domino, Stryfe and even Deadpool. It's like a reunion of the original X-Force cast. And, as if those characters don't keep the Badass Factor™ high enough, they've also thrown in Wolverine, X-23, Bishop, Archangel, Proudstar and the Vanisher... Ok, so maybe not all the characters are badasses.

And, what gets this many Hardcore™ characters together? Fighting over a little girl.

Actually, I've been honestly enjoying the build up to this storyline. But, while I'm enjoying it overall so far, I do have to admit that the execution has been a bit rocky. While most of the issues are holding up their part of the deal (and I'm even a little surprised to be enjoying Life and Times of Lucas Bishop), the Cable issues have been pretty clunky so far. But, I think that the art has mainly been to blame. Ariel Olivetti draws a mean flexing bicep, but his storytelling is often awkward to say the least.

"Y'think?" This is the sort of storytelling that bugs me in Cable. Stryfe and Bishop have teamed up to track down Cable and the Messiah child. And, how do they do that? A walk on the beach, as near as I can tell.

As far as X-Force goes, I think its easily the strongest part of this event. That said, I really hope that they didn't kill of Boom-Boom (see, no spoiler warnings, punks!) like it appears they did. It would be the first time that Kyle and Yost's tendency to kill-off second and third stringers would have really peeved me off... if for no other reason than it would nix my often fantasized about Nextwave Reunion.

Finally, does anyone else think that one of the things they are building to is X-Force splitting off, so that Cyclops no longer leads them?

X-Meeeennnnn iiinnnnn Spaaaaaaace!
Discussed: X-Men: Kingbreaker #4 and War of the Kings #1 & #2

If there's one thing that the Bad Genious' resident Soul-Hole and Ellis-Whore, Dan, hates; it's Space. And, when it comes to the idea of the X-Men in space, I tend to agree with him. I fall into that rare minority that was never really a fan of the Phoenix Saga because so much of it involved the X-Men in space... fighting aliens. Bleh.

That said, (and here's where I show off exactly how big of a hypocrite I can be) I actually have been enjoying the ongoing Vulcan vs. Havok in space storyline that's been running for several years now. Pretty much from the point that Brubaker kicked it off, I've been consistently entertained. And while it's rarely been Great (with a capital "G"), its at least usually Good.

Furthermore, after an exciting finale to Kingbreaker, I'm excited to see the storylines scope expand to become entwined with the Inhuman's own ongoing saga. Bring on the Shi'ar/Kree war! Now, it has to be said that some of the BGers are grousing about the slow start to War of the Kings, but honestly the slow first issue didn't bother me much. Instead, what has me scratching my head is Polaris and Crystal suddenly being all buddy-buddy.

Now, I could be missing somehere, so correct me if I'm wrong: Polaris is Quicksilver's half-sister. But, this is a fairly sketchy relationship that was only established a couple years ago, and hasn't exactly been filled with cheerful family reunions. Crystal is married to Quicksilver... or at least they used to be married, but aren't any more... since Crystal is now getting married to Ronan the Accuser. But, now Polaris is hanging out with Crystal before her wedding, and they are all BFF?!

Oh, and speaking of Ronan. I actually felt sorry for him in the scene with the flowers. Saddest Accuser Ever.

Old New Mutants
Discussed: X-Infernus #4 and Young X-Men #12

You know what else Dan hates? Magic! So, I'm sure he was digging the finale of X-Infernus which was filled with all sorts of magic... not to mention Magik.

These two books are odd ducks, because on one hand they are both trying to resolve their respective storylines, but at the same time they were also just trying to get their ducks in a row for the return of the original New Mutants in their own title next month. In both regards, I think they were capable, but not exceptional.

Frankly, this transition leaves me feeling a little odd. Because, on one hand, I'm eager to see the original New Mutants all return to a monthly title. But, on the other hand, after following the new New Mutant New X-Men Young X-Men through a string of titles, I'm a little worried that those characters are just going to be put out to pasture and forgotten about. Luckily, a lot of the latest generation of X-Men have already shifted to other titles (X-23, Elxir, the Cuckoos, Armor, Pixie and even Dust), and this final issue of Young X-Men ends with "and the adventure continues" sort of finale, so my hopes are high that we'll continue to see them from time to time.

In which case, bring on the old New Mutants!

Discussed: X-Men Legacy #222 and Uncanny X-Men #507

The X-Universe seems to be missing its center these days. Not only is Astonishing X-Men not shipping regularly (and feeling inconsequential when it does ship); but the events taking place on the fringes of the X-Universe are routinely more interesting than what's going on in the two main titles.

Generally, even if it doesn't feel particularly relevant, X-Men Legacy can be trusted to deliver a solid story mining the depths of X-continuity. But, for the last couple months that doesn't seem to be the case since its gotten bogged down in a silly storyline featuring Danger (because we were all itching for her return) and a group of Shi'Ar junk salvagers. And, zzzzzzz....

Oh, wait, sorry, dozed off there. Anyhow, moving on.

Over in Fraction's Uncanny we are getting a certifiably mixed bag of nuts, and my opinions on the various storylines kicking around in it are equally mixed. The X-Club? Actually entertaining. Colossus' mourning Kitty's death? Tedious. The Sisterhood? I'm a little curious about that. Magneto's return? Too early, but still has my interest. One things for sure, I'll be happier when this title finds its illusive sea-legs again.

Occasionally, other people are right.
Discussed: X-Factor #41 and Captain Britain and the MI13 #11

X-Factor and Captain Britain are both titles that have small, loyal and (most noticably) vocal fan bases that are constantly raving about them. And, both are titles that I tend to run a little hot a cold to. That said, this month, their fans are right about both.

While Peter David's pleading that people "not ruin the surprises online" in the recap page sort of bugs me (because it smacks me of his usual grandstanding tactics), I have to admit that the title has been full of fun twists and turns. This is especially welcome since the last couple years of this title have been bogged down with clumsy crossovers and forced tie-ins to major events. It's nice to see this title slip back into form, and do what it does best.

Meanwhile, for whatever reason, this new Vampire storyline in Captain Britain is working for me. And, I continue to enjoy the way Cornell writes the characters. If I have one complaint, its that I still don't feel like Kirk's art matches the title's tone that well. It just strikes me as a little too bright... but maybe that's more an issue with the coloring. (Insert shrug here.)

This is the end, my friend
Discussed: Ultimate X-Men #100 and Ultimatum #3

Actually, if you are still reading this far into my ramblings, you are a masochist, and I should end things quickly to put you out of your misery. Much the same thing can be said about Ultimate X-Men. This title has been a trainwreck for some time now and I'm glad to see it end.

And, while my reaction to Ultimatum isn't as strong as Brandon's, its still going to give me the perfect jumping off point for this imprint. So, goodbye Ultimate Universe.

And, goodbye till next month, intrepid reader!
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Happy 1st Birthday Bad Genious!

by Matt

It has been one year since our blog debuted! Not bad for a bunch of random dorks with a blogger account!

In celebration of our first birthday, I asked the question "What would you wish for if you blew out the candle on our birthday cake?" for a Birthday Roundtable.

I got a variety of answers and Sarah was the quickest to respond.

Sarah: A ménage à trois with Gambit and Angel.

Matt: You will go on record for that. Sarah must have Remy and Warren on the mind to respond to fast!

Sarah: On a more serious note I'd wish that there was more good books like Fables to get me interested in comics again. Fables is pretty much all that I read nowadays I have no idea what is going on in the world of comics but nothing piques my interest.... but then maybe that's a good thing seeing how our double spare bed is piled high with comics so much so that we can't actually get in the room.

Matt: That should be every comic book fan's wish. More room to store our stuff!

Chris: I want the clusterf*ck that was/is One More Day/Brand New Day to be retconned out of existence.

Matt: Retcon a retcon? You should talk with the devil about that. Let us know how it goes.

Tim: I wish DC was doing more with the Universe that wasn't so incestuous.

Matt: Ah, Tim.

Brandon: My wish for the next year; somehow Marvel will find a way to keep the Ultimate Books relevant with as little bloodletting as possible.

Matt: I dropped most of the Ultimate line awhile ago. I just might drop Ultimate Spider-Man when it reboots. I would love to see if they did something to re-energize the line.

Doug: Well clearly, I would wish for Banshee to return to the land of the living.

The General: Matt signed in on Doug's account again.

Matt: Doug is wise and awesome. That is all.

Mr. Orange: I wish I had the time to read all the comics and trades I have.

Cindy: My wish would be similar. I would wish that I could finish school and afford/have time to read comics all at the same time. Someday...someday.

Matt: Totally! More money, more space and more time for comics!

I don't want to speak for anyone on the blog but I am certain I can guess a couple more wishes.

- Emma Frost leave Cyclops for good and for Jean Grey to return.
- IDW making trades that are cheaper.
- The last issue of Planetary to actually come out.
- Banshee to come back.
- More X-titles.
- Quasar to get his own series written by McKeever.
- No $3.99 books.
- A Banshee series written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Alan Davis.
- Superman to sing at bad guys more.
- The Dark Knight movie being good.
- A new Wolverine series. Preferably with Chamber as a sidekick.
- Did I mention Banshee? (this will be the last time they let me do a Roundtable!)

Happy 1st Birthday Bad Genious!

I am taking the rest of the day off.
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