Spreaker Widget

Monday, November 27, 2017

Reading the X-Men: 2 Years+

Somehow for the second year in a row I completely miss the anniversary date of when I first started this reading project. The original date is November 11, 2015, but for whatever reason I manage to miss it by, like, 10 days every time. Whatever. It's been 2 YEARS since I started this thing! Here's the list now:
Uncanny X-Men (Volume 1) # -1, 1-32, 98-371
Uncanny X-Men (Volume 1) Annual # 3-18, 1995, 1996, 1997
Uncanny X-Men and Fantastic Four Annual 1998
Dazzler # 1-42
X-Men: First Class (Volume 1) # 1-8
X-Men: First Class (Volume 2) # 1-16
X-Men: First Class Special # 1
X-Men: First Class Giant-Size Special # 1
Avengers (Volume 1) # 47-49, 263, 298-300, 350-351, 368-369, 400-402
Avengers (Volume 1) Annual # 10
Giant Size X-Men # 1
Amazing Spider-Man (Volume 1) # 161-162, 311-313, 415, 420
Power Man # 57
Wolverine: Days of Future Past # 1-3
Marvel Team-Up # 100, 117-118, 135, 149-150
Marvel Team-Up Annual # 6
Spider-Woman # 37-38
Marvel Graphic Novel # 4-5, 12
New Mutants (Volume 1) # 1-100
New Mutants (Volume 1) Annual # 1-7
New Mutants Special Edition # 1
New Mutants Summer Special # 1
New Mutants: Truth or Death # 1-3
New Mutants Forever # 1-5
Magik # 1-4
Wolverine (Volume 1) # 1-4
Secret Wars (Volume 1) # 1-12
Marvel Fanfare (Volume 1) # 4
Marvel Fanfare (Volume 2) # 2, 4-6
Kitty Pryde and Wolverine # 1-6
Iceman (Volume 1) # 1-4
Nightcrawler (Volume 1) # 1-4
Beauty and the Beast # 1-4
X-Men/Alpha Flight # 1-2
Firestar # 1-4
Wolverine/Nick Fury: Scorpio Connection
Wolverine/Nick Fury: Scorpio Rising
Secret Wars II # 1-9
Heroes For Hope Starring X-Men # 1
Fantastic Four (Volume 1) # 286, 312, 322-324, 414-416
Fantastic Four (Volume 1) Annual # 23
X-Factor (Volume 1) # -1-149
X-Factor (Volume 1) Annual # 1-9
X-Factor: Prisoner of Love # 1
Spider-Man and X-Factor: Shadowgames # 1-3
X-Factor Forever # 1-5
Alpha Flight (Volume 1) # 1-2, 33-34, 53, 61, 87-90
Alpha Flight: In the Beginning # -1
Longshot # 1-6
Web of Spider-Man # 47-48
Web of Spider-Man Annual # 2
Thor (Volume 1) # 373-374, 378, 427-428
Power Pack # 27, 35, 42-44
Daredevil (Volume 1) # 238, 252
Spider-Man vs Wolverine # 1
Fallen Angels # 1-8
X-Men vs Avengers # 1-4
Fantastic Four vs X-Men # 1-4
Incredible Hulk (Volume 1) # 336-337, 340, 390-391, 444-445, 454-455
Captain America (Volume 1) # 339
Excalibur Special Edition # 1
Excalibur (Volume 1) # -1-125
Excalibur (Volume 1) Annual # 1-2
Excalibur: XX Crossing
Excalibur: Air Apparent
Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem
Excalibur: Weird War III
Wolverine (Volume 2) # -1-144
Wolverine (Volume 2) Annual 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999
Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown # 1-4
Wolverine: Jungle Adventure
Wolverine/Punisher: Damaging Evidence # 1-3
Wolverine: Rahne of Terra
Wolverine: Blood Lust
Wolverine: Inner Fury
Wolverine: Killing
Wolverine: Evolution
Wolverine: Doombringer
Wolverine: Knight of Terra
Wolverine/Gambit: Victims # 1-4
X-Men Origins: Wolverine # 1
Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine # 1-6
Wolverine: First Class # 1-7
Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness
X-Terminators # 1-4
Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger # 4
Spectacular Spider-Man (Volume 1) # 146-148
What If… (Volume 2) #6, 77-78
What If… X-Men: Age of Apocalypse
Spellbound # 1-6
Ghost Rider (Volume 2) # 9, 26-27, 29, 67-68
Punisher War Journal # 6-7
Punisher (Volume 3) # 11-12
Marvel Comics Presents (Volume 1) # 10-17, 51-53, 72-108
X-Men: Spotlight on Starjammers #1-2
X-Men: True Friends #1-3
New Warriors (Volume 1) # 31, 45-46
New Warriors (Volume 1) Annual # 1
X-Force (Volume 1) # -1-97
X-Force (Volume 1) Annual # 1-3, 1999
X-Force and Cable Annual 1995, 1996, 1997
X-Force and Champions Annual 1998
X-Men (Volume 1) # -1-91
X-Men (Volume 1) Annual # 1-3, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999
Spider-Man # 16, 72, 84
Cable: Blood and Metal # 1-2
Stryfe’s Strike File # 1
X-Men: Odd Men Out #1
X-Men Unlimited (Volume 1) # 1-24
Cable (Volume 1) # -1-70
Cable (Volume 1) Annual 1999
Cable and Machine Man Annual 1998
Sabretooth # 1-4
Gambit (Volume 1) # 1-4
Deadpool: Circle Chase # 1-4
Avenger West Coast # 101
Deadpool (Volume 1) # 1-4
Blaze # 4-6
Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme # 69
Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix # 1-4
Bishop # 1-4
Generation X (Volume 1) # -1-58
Generation X (Volume 1) 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Generation X Holiday Special # 1
Rogue (Volume 1) # 1-4
X-Men Chronicles # 1-2
Tales From the Age of Apocalypse: Sinister Bloodlines
X-Man # -1-55
X-Man Annual 1996, 1997
X-Man and Incredible Hulk Annual 1998
Tales From the Age of Apocalypse # 1
Blink # 1-4
X-Men: Alpha
Generation Next # 1-4
Astonishing X-Men (Volume 1) # 1-4
X-Calibre # 1-4
Gambit and the X-Ternals # 1-4
Weapon X (Volume 1) # 1-4
Amazing X-Men (Volume 1) # 1-4
Factor X # 1-4
Age of Apocalypse: The Chosen
X-Universe # 1-2
X-Men: Omega
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse One-Shot # 1
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse # 1-6
X-Men Prime
Starjammers (Volume 1) # 1-4
Storm (Volume 1) # 1-4
X-Men: Book of the Askani
Askani’son # 1-4
Spider-Man Team-Up # 1, 5
Sabretooth Special # 1
Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix # 1-4
X-Men/Brood: Day of Wrath # 1-2
X-Men/Clandestine # 1-2
Archangel # 1
XSE # 1-4
Onslaught: X-Men
Green Goblin # 12
Iron Man (Volume 1) # 332
Onslaught: Marvel Universe
Onslaught Epilogue
Road To Onslaught
Sabretooth and Mystique # 1-4
Pryde and Wisdom # 1-3
Rise of Apocalypse # 1-4
Black Knight: Exodus # 1
Beast # 1-3
Logan: Shadow Society
Marvel Holiday Special 1996
Maverick: In the Shadow of Death
Venom: Tooth and Claw # 1-3
Maverick # 1-12
Magneto (Volume 1) # 1-4
Deadpool (Volume 2) # -1, 0-3
Marvel Valentine Special # 1
Juggernaut # 1
Domino (Volume 1) # 1-3
Imperial Guard # 1-3
Psylocke and Archangel: Crimson Dawn # 1-4
Daydreamers # 1-3
Kitty Pryde: Agent of SHIELD # 1-3
Gambit (Volume 2) # 1-4
Machine Man and Bastion Annual 1998
X-Men and Dr. Doom Annual 1998
Gambit (Volume 3) # 0.5, 1-5
X-Men: The Magneto War # 1
Magneto Rex # 1-3
Weapon X: First Class # 1-3
X-Men Origins: Colossus
X-Men Origins: Jean Grey
X-Men Origins: Beast
X-Men Origins: Sabretooth
X-Men Origins: Iceman
X-Men Origins: Cyclops
X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler
Exiles (Volume 1) # 60-61
Champions (Volume 1) # 1
X-Men and Micronauts # 1-4
X-Men Forever (Volume 2) # 1-12
X-Men 2099 # 1-9
Mutant X # 1-15
Mutant X Annual 1999
Warlock # 1
Bishop: XSE # 1-3
X-Men: Children of the Atom # 1-2

For a grand total of...(drums rolling)...1934! I'm actually disappointed. That amounts to 739 days of reading, averaging 2.6 comics per day. And I also fell short of my goal/prediction to get to Grant Morrison's New X-Men run by the end of year 2. Heck, I'm not even into Chris Claremont's first return to the main X-books. 

Anywho, let's break it down:

Annuals: 74
Graphic Novels: 22
One-Shots: 40
Issues From Minis: 286
Number of Minis: 71
Issues From Ongoing Series: 1512
Ongoing Series Started: 23
Ongoing Series Finished: 6 (Which includes Dazzler, Excalibur, Maverick, New Mutants, X-Factor, and X-Men: First Class)
How many X-Men comics I have left to read: 

- I may have made this comment on previous round-ups, but Wolverine graphic novels tend to suck. Hard. Can't wait till the glut of Wolvie minis in the mid-2000s.

- Excalibur ended nicely. X-Factor didn't.
- Excalibur kept the majority of its original line-up on and off until the end. Rachel Summers being the lone exception.
- X-Factor obviously didn't, since the original line-up was the original five X-Men. But the line-up after the change in X-Factor #71 changed often, leaving only Polaris and Havok as major players until the end. The last 20 or so issues of that pretty much ended the series being a team book anyway and focused on a strange ensemble cast of heroes, villains, and whatever else. I have no idea what they were thinking by the end of that series.
- Holy crap, do I love Joe Casey's Cable. I've said before possibly that he's my favorite comic writer, and I came to his stuff through his first major comics work in Cable. But finally getting to finish it, wow what a great series. And Jose Landronn was a fantastic pairing with Casey. Wish they'd done more together.
- Then Marvel had to mess Cable up so they could get Rob Liefeld on it to take it to the new millenium for all of, like, five issue.
- X-Men 2099, when I first read it in high school I loved it. I'm not so much into it now as I was then, but I have to give John Francis Moore a ton of credit for 1) not miring it in X-continuity and 2) barely making it a team book. The 'team' is hardly ever together, splitting up into various personal missions. And the 'dream' that this era of X-Men expounded on ad nauseum is given lip service by a Professor Xavier-type leader but then dropped pretty quick when he has a change of heart/personality. I appreciate that.
- Maverick was a lot of fun, helped by art by rising star Jimmy Cheung. I liked the black ops mutant tales, and the down ending to the series. Better than I thought it would be.
- Mutant X is...interesting. I can't call it good, but Howard Mackie set up the premise and then fairly quickly started dismantling it which has been fun. It seems like it wants to be a darker comic than it is. Cary Nord's art has been great to watch develop after his Daredevil run from around this era.
- Mackie has never been a writer that I've enjoyed. Of course, I still will never be able to get past his hand in the "Spider-Clone Saga", but that's neither hear nor there. He is like Terry Kavanagh from this time period - when he's good it's decent enough stories, but when he's bad I loathe it. I'm reading Mackie's Astonishing X-Men mini that set up the "The Twelve" storyline and it is ATROCIOUS. It's up there with that terrible issue of Cable Jeph Loeb wrote in the Onslaught crossover. *brrr* that Cable issue still gives me nightmares.
- I'm supposed to be starting the Bishop ongoing soon. He had a ton of minis during this era, all written by John Ostrander. I enjoyed them more than I figured I would, but it's weird Marvel didn't hire Ostrander to do the ongoing for them.
- I can't tell you how much I hate 'psionic powers' now. Such vague BS. And so boring and overused. It became the Wolverine of powers in the mid to late 90s.
- Alan Davis replaced the outgoing Steve Seagle and Joe Kelly around this time on Uncanny and Adjectiveless X-Men (that should totally be a comic). The art has certainly been pretty, but it's clear Davis was just painting by numbers when it came to the writing. And those numbers were certainly supplied by the editorial team. When this stuff was coming out was when I was just starting to understand the business and behind-the-scenes stuff of comics. I was ticked when Kelly and Seagle left, and felt like Davis' run had no heart to it. Almost two decades later and I still feel the same as to the quality. There is no heart to this time of the X-Men's history, and the emotional aspect of X-Men is what made X-Men, um, the X-Men. It was slavish to the continuity in totally uninteresting ways (The Twelve) and brought back characters just for the sake of having them on the team.
- Aw, man, and they ruined Marrow. They made her 'pretty,' and gave her some control over her bones so that she could make herself prettier. And as a result she became nice and compliant and sucky. They took away every bit of aggravating personality Joe Kelly had instilled in her and she never was the same again.
- Generation X kept plugging along, never realizing its potential but never really becoming a bad comic either. Under Larry Hama and then Jay Faerber, it stayed a fun and mostly light-hearted comic.
- I can't wait until X-Man is over. I understand it supposedly became readible when Warren Ellis and Steven Grant took over, but I don't like this character and I don't like this comic and I want it to end.
-Eh, I don't have much else to write about. This isn't and interesting time for the X-Men barring a short run or two. Maybe at the half year point I'll have gotten into Morrison's run finally. Oh, and then Chuck Austen's run that made me stop buying X-Men for years and years to come. Boy I'll have plenty to say then.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


I'd be remiss if I didn't post the newest Black Panther trailer, burning eyes out across the world from the heat of its awesomeness. So in less than a week's time I get a New Mutants trailer AND a Black Panther trailer? Give me Cable and Domino in a Deadpool 2 trailer and I'm done.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Reading the X-Men: Changes

That's probably a little heavier sounding of a title than I mean for it to be. I was stuck for a good title. That's what came out, alas.

In one fell swoop, I have now completed two long-standing X-Men titles: X-Factor and Excalibur. That brings the count of completed ongoings to four (New Mutants and Dazzler being the others - I still haven't gotten around to Alpha Flight volumes 1 or 2, nor finishing Maverick and apparently didn't know Bishop: The Last X-Man was meant to have been started). New Mutants was a core title, as was X-Factor. To a degree, Excalibur was, or at least it was moreso than Alpha Flight or Deadpool.

The three expatriates from the X-Men - Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Colossus - mosey on back to the X-Men proper. Kitty and Kurt hadn't been official X-Men since their injuries during Mutant Massacre. Colossus hadn't been since he joined Magneto during Fatal Attractions after his sister Illyana's death. Wolfsbane moved on with Douglock to the Warlock comic when Marvel launched their strange M-Tech line of comics, Captain Britain and Meggan don't do much for a while, Pete Wisdom will join up with X-Force once Warren Ellis comes in for his strange editor-authorship of three of the X-titles, and Rachel is still lost in the time stream.

Over in X-Factor, Havok died. That's where that left off. Huh. Forge returns to the background of the X-books, as does Madrox, no idea what happens to Shard the living hologram but Bishop has a series coming up so may there(?), and the other people from her future kind of disappear as well. Polaris also seemingly returns to the background along with Strong Guy and Valerie Cooper. I sure as hell forgot what happened to Wildchild.

X-Factor is replaced with Mutant X, wherein Havok is not actually dead but is thrust into a gothic What If-type world. Which makes me wonder if this was the first time Marvel ever had an ongoing set in another universe. I mean besides What If... which was a new universe every issue. Interesting.

Excalibur is replaced with...well...Gambit's first ongoing I guess. The expansion of the X-line in the 90s was one of consistent bloat, but at least it happened gradually. Once we get to the Jemas-Quesada era it's like force feeding feed to geese. Seriously, on my X-Men reading map-list-thing I'm on page 43 of 130 pages and I've read the majority of the X-Men comics from 1963 to 1998 now. Post 2000, there's a LOT of effing X-Men in my future.

"Havok! Nooooo! They'll make a terrible and complete unconnected TV series out of your next comic if you die!"
I'll get my thoughts on X-Factor out of the way first. It wasn't my fave ending. First off it ended on #149. They couldn't hold out to make it end at an even 150? Weird. Then, the only real way you knew it ended was because an announcement in the letters column stated that if you had a subscription to X-Factor, then the remaining issues you had left coming to you would be replaced with X-Men issues. No announcement of Mutant X, no 'thank you's', nothing. And then the issue is about Havok trying to pull what was left of any version of the team together to make a new X-Factor. Ish. See, X-Factor had long since dissapated. For the past 25 or 30 issues of this comic, it has jumped between the few members of the government X-Factor team barely holding it together, then Havok's Brotherhood team, and then the three time-jumping mutants from Shard and Bishop's timeline. It was a strange comic there at the end. And I don't feel like the end fully represented anything about any incarnation of this series. On that end, after 149 issues, 9 annuals, and a graphic novel the final issue was a disappointment.

"Uh, THE END."
Excalibur came a lot further to what one would hope a series could end like. It even comes with a cover by series creator Alan Davis. And it ends on a sort of good number to end a series on at 125. This was the era when Marvel would have a special issue for every 25th issue of a given title, making them double-sized and 'special.' Hell, they celebrated 35th anniversaries like that was a meaningful number. I remember them even doing 12th issue celebrations like "Look! We made it an entire year with this series without cancellation! But it's canceled next month, sorry."

So Meggan and Captain Britain at long last get married after quite a long courtship honestly. Just a few years after Cyclops and Jean Grey, though they were on and off since the 60s. Or clones. Or cosmic demigods. Or time travelers. Or alternate world enemies. Or...

And looking like Kitty and Piotr will be on the same endless track.
So Meggan and Captain Britain at long last get married. Writer Ben Raab uses this opportunity (much like Stan and Jack did way back when) to bring in a bevy of characters from across the, well, multiverse in this case. Old teammates, supporting cast who'd left, characters from other books, and probably a Marvel creator or two (though I admit I really wasn't looking for them - shame on me) appear. Some plot bows are tied, others are untied and then re-tied. There's some great meta jokes, especially the last page where Roma and Merlyn question how the other could allow Excalibur to end when there is still evil afoot and prophecies and what not. This was a fun, lighthearted issue harkening back to the original tone under Chris Claremont and Davis in a great homage to their style. I came to appreciate Raab's run on this book more than I thought I would. This was a really good finale to 125 issues, two annuals, and something like six graphic novels or one-shots.

So there we have it. Overall I'd say X-Factor was my favorite series of the two. I absolutely love the original five X-Men era all the way till the end. Peter David's run was wonderful and made me realize how great the lower tier X-characters could be under the right creative team. He'd come back to those characters later on in another X-Factor series that went almost as long as the original series.

Excalibur had great runs under Claremont and Davis (twice for him). Warren Ellis had an interesting run that was nowhere near as cynical or dark as I'd expected. I think my reading of the AoA series X-Calibre shaded my approach to his run. Ellis' Pete Wisdom character was a fun addition, even with the creepy relationship he had with Kitty (she was meant to still be a teenage here, but Ellis wasn't aware of that at the time thinking she was college age - blame the editors).  There has never been a real reunion of these characters despite there being a couple more series under this title. Claremont even helmed some of those. Most recently it's looking like there will be a reunion in the X-Men Gold annual complete with Alan Davis cover homaging the very first issue of Excalibur. And Meggan is carrying a baby! Whoo-hoo! Baby Britain!


Incredible that we live in such a geeky age where every A, B, C, and in some cases Z level comics and super-heroes are getting shows and movies. My all time favorite series (it's true, go listen to volume 1, issue 6 of this very podcast!) is actually happening as a movie. H.O.L.Y.C.R.A.P. Here is the scary-as-fudge trailer for The New Mutants!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Lance Russell - 91

I went to a Comics Expo in Memphis two summers ago where I got to meet Joe Casey, Kyle Baker, Cullen Bunn and some others. Jerry Lawler was there with his Batmobile from the old Adam West TV show. Near him was a little, older gentleman with a big smile on his face. Of all the people I met that day - heroes and inspirations alike - none were as sweet and kind as Lance Russell.

He was the voice of Memphis wrestling. When the insanity hit - as it often did in Memphis-style wrestling - his was the voice of calm reason. Almost comically so when contrasted with the fireballs, celebrities, monsters, and riots that took place in the Mid-South Coliseum every Monday night.

Often unheralded even in his own field, Lance Russell is one of the greatest wrestling announcers there ever was. All of the greats still alive today would agree with that. While 91 is a heck of along and full life, it's made sadder that he passed away just a few days after his own daughter's death. Heartbreak is that poweful.

I know he's rejoined his daughter now. Just like I know he's calling the greatest matches Heaven can book. Rest in piece, Lance Russell.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dr. Doom deserves better

Noah Hawley, showrunner for FX's excellent X-Men show Legion, let it be known at the currently happening San Diego Comic-Con that he was working on a Doctor Doom movie for Fox.

Now, Hawley is doing some great work and I would be totally on board with this, HOWEVER...

Fox has the rights to the greatest comic book villain ever created. So great was/is Doom that one of the greatest movie villains ever created was very much inspired by Doom.

'Bout to be a party on the Death Star and/or Castle Doom.
And what hath Fox wrought with their licensing power? This:

And this:

So forgive my lack of faith in Fox, despite Deadpool, Logan, Legion and the promises of The Gifted and New Mutants, but fool me twice...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reading the X-Men: A year and a half+

19+ months later...

I started my X-Men reading project on November 11, 2015. I like to periodically look at my running tab of everything I've read. I figured every 6 months is a good time span between tallies. 

Giant Size X-Men #1
Uncanny X-Men #1-29, 94-338
Uncanny X-Men Annual #3-18, 1995, 1996
Amazing Spider-Man #161-162, 311-313, 415
Power Man and Iron Fist #57
Wolverine: Days of Future Past #1-3
Marvel Team-Up #100, 117-118, 135, 149-150
Marvel Team-Up Annual #6
Dazzler #1-42
Spider-Woman #37-38
Avengers #47-49, 263, 298-300, 350-351, 368-369, 400-402 
Avengers Annual #10
Marvel Graphic Novel #4, 5, 12
Magik: Storm and Illyana #1-4
Wolverine (Vol. 1) #1-4
New Mutants #1-100
New Mutants Annual #1-7
New Mutants Special Edition #1
New Mutants Summer Special #1
Secret War #1-12
Marvel Fanfare #4, 55
Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1-6
Iceman #1-4
Nightcrawler #1-4
Beauty and the Beast #1-4
Firestar #1-4
Secret Wars II #1-9
X-Men/Alpha Flight #1-2
Wolverine and Nick Fury: Scorpio Connection
Wolverine and Nick Fury: Scorpio Rising
Heroes For Hope Starring the X-Men #1
Fantastic Four #286, 312, 322-324, 414-416
Fantastic Four Annual #23
X-Factor (Vol. 1) #1-127
X-Factor (Vol. 1) Annual #1-9
X-Factor: Prisoner of Love
Alpha Flight (Vol. 1) #1-2, 33-34, 53, 61, 87-90
Longshot #1-6
Web of Spider-Man #47-48
Web of Spider-Man Annual #2
Thor (Vol. 1) #373-374, 378, 427-429
Power Pack #27, 35, 42-44
Daredevil (Vol. 1) #238, 252, 262-264
Spider-Man vs Wolverine
Fallen Angels #1-8
X-Men vs Avengers #1-4
Fantastic Four vs X-Men #1-4
Incredible Hulk (Vol. 2) # 336-337, 340, 390-392, 444-445
Captain America (Vol. 1) #339
Excalibur (Vol. 1) #1-102
Excalibur (Vol. 1) Annual #1-2
Excalibur Special Edition #1
Excalibur: Air Apparent
Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem
Excalibur: Weird War III
X-Men and Micronauts #1-4
Wolverine (Vol. 2) #1-106
Wolverine (Vol. 2) Annual 1995
X-Terminators #1-4
Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #4
Spectacular Spider-Man #146-148
What If (Vol. 2) #6
Spellbound #1-6
Ghost Rider (Vol. 2) #9, 26-27, 29, 67-68
Punisher War Journal (Vol. 1) #6-7
Marvel Comics Presents (Vol. 1) #51-53, 72-108
Wolverine and Havok: Meltdown #1-4
Wolverine: Jungle Adventure
Wolverine and the Punisher: Damaging Evidence #1-3
X-Men: Spotlight On Starjammers #1-2
Wolverine: Rahne of Terra
X-Men: True Friends #1-3
Wolverine: Blood Lust
New Warriors (Vol. 1) #31, 45-46
New Warriors (Vol. 1) Annual #1
X-Force (Vol. 1) #1-61
X-Force (Vol. 1) Annual #1-3
X-Force and Cable Annual 1995
X-Men (Vol. 1) #1-57
X-Men (Vol. 1) Annual #1-3, 1995
Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #16, 72
Wolverine: Inner Fury
Cable: Blood and Metal #1-2
X-Men: First Class (Vol. 1) #1-8
X-Men: First Class (Vol. 2) #1-16
X-Men: First Class Special #1
X-Men: First Class Giant-Size Special #1
Stryfe's Strike File #1
Spider-Man and X-Factor: Shadowgames #1-3
X-Factor Forever #1-5
X-Men Unlimited (Vol. 1) #1-12
X-Men: Odd Men Out #1
Wolverine: Killing
Wolverine: Evilution
Wolverine: Doombringer
Sabretooth #1-4
Gambit (Vol. 1) #1-4
Deadpool: Circle Chase #1-4
Avengers West Coast #101
Deadpool (Vol. 1) #1-4
Blaze #4-6
Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #69
Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1-4
Bishop (Vol. 1) #1-4
Rogue (Vol. 1) #1-4
Blink #1-4
Cable (Vol. 1) #1-36
Generation X (Vol. 1) #1-21
Generation X (Vol. 1) Annual 1995
X-Men Chronicles #1-2
Tales From the Age of Apocalypse #1-2
X-Men Alpha
Generation Next #1-4
Astonishing X-Men #1-4
X-Calibre #1-4
Gambit and the X-Ternals #1-4
Weapon X #1-4
Amazing X-Men #1-4
Factor X #1-4
X-Man #-1, 1-20
X-Man Annual 1996
Age of Apocalypse: The Chosen
X-Universe #1-2
X-Men Omega
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse One-Shot
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #1-6
X-Men Prime
Wolverine: Knight of Terra
Starjammers #1-4
Storm #1-4
X-Men: Books of Askani
Askani'son #1-4
Wolverine & Gambit: Victims #1-4
Spider-Man Team-Up #1
Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1-4
X-Men/Brood: Day of Wrath #1-2
X-Men/Clandestine #1-2
Archangel #1
XSE #1-4
Onslaught: X-Men
Onslaught: Marvel Universe
Green Goblin #12
Punisher (Vol. 3) #11
Iron Man (Vol. 1) #332
Onslaught Epilogue
Road To Onslaught
Sabretooth and Mystique #1-4
Marvel Fanfare (Vol. 2) #4-5
Pryde and Wisdom #1-3
Exiles (Vol. 1) #60-61
What If... (Vol. 2) #77-78
What If...X-Men: Age of Apocalypse
Champions (Vol. 1) #1
Wolverine: First Class #1-7
New Mutants Forever #1-5
X-Men Forever (Vol. 1) #1-12
Weapon X: First Class #1-3
Sabretooth Special

So, put it all in a spreadsheet (you know, X-Cel, ha...) and I am now at 1475 X-Men comics after a year and a half. More than I expected. Now to break it down:

 - In terms of X-Men related ongoing series, I've started (from #1) seventeen. Only three of those have ended during my reading time: DazzlerNew Mutants, X-Men: First Class (second volume).
- I've read 53 annuals connected to those ongoings.
- I've read seventeen graphic novels. Ten of those starred Wolverine.
- I've read 23 one-shot comics. Some of those were bookend issues for crossovers, but I counted them as single title comics.
- I've read 57 separate mini series (ranging from 2 issues long to 12). Eight either starred Wolverine or he doubled with someone else (Kitty Pryde, Gambit, Punisher, Havok). Three were about Cable. Two about Sabretooth. Two for Bishop. Two for Gambit. Shockingly only two for Deadpool, but that is going to change when I get to, what? 2007 or 2008?
     - 30 of these minis were about one person or two people. The rest were groups or ensembles. 18          were one person, 12 were duos. Of the singles, 13 starred men, The five women with spotlight            minis were Magik, Rogue, Storm, Blink, and Firestar. For the duos, nine minis co-starred women        with one of those having two women for their stars (X-Men: True Friends with Phoenix (Rachel)        and Kitty).
     - Up until this point, only one of the original five X-Men has had their own mini series: Iceman.          Four of the 'new' X-Men from Claremont's era (including Kitty in this group) have had minis, and      one New Mutant (Magik).
     - Marvel seems to go through time periods where they put out a bunch of X-minis around the same      time, then take a break for a few years. The mid-80s had stuff like Iceman, Firestar, X-Men vs            Avengers, etc. Then the mid-90s had Gambit, Bishop, Rogue, Sabretooth, etc. Another round will        come up in the early-00s with Cyclops, Chamber, Iceman again, some others. Then Wolverine            gets, like, fifty minis after that.
- I've now read 10 major crossovers. I'm not including the crossovers that occurred in annuals like Kings of Pain or Evolutionary War. The next crossover coming my way is Operation: Zero Tolerance for 1997 which will be the last time the X-line crossovers all or most of the titles until Messiah CompleX in 2007. I know there are little crossovers between the titles like Dream's End or Magneto War, but I'm meaning the classic X-crossover that involved nearly everybody and every book. 

Some (completely random) thoughts:
- It amazes me the art choices Marvel made during the mid 90s. Carlos Pacheco and Bryan Hitch were regular fill in artists quite a bit. They were both on the upward slope to their prime, but still pretty damn amazing and energetic artists, yet Marvel couldn't have given them something besides minis and fill in issues? I know Pacheco got Excalibur and eventually X-Men, but Hitch took off for greener pastures eventually. There were several really good fill ins during this time that deserved better.

- Nobody writes a 'quiet issue after a crossover' better than Scott Lobdell. He nailed it every time. 

- The crossovers got darker and darker. The main difference, however, between the dark Age of Apocalypse and the dark Onslaught was that AoA was fun, inventive, and full of energy. Onslaught was none of that.

- Warren Ellis took over Excalibur during this time and the roots of his later super-hero themes and concepts were evident here. Government conspiracies, secret evil projects, shady organizations, chain smoking jerks with hearts of gold, etc. What was more interesting was his character work and humor. I didn't care for all of his takes (Meggan in particular seemed off), but I thought he wrote a great Kitty. That being despite the face he evidently thought she was older than she was supposed to be and put her in an adult relationship. He still nailed her personality. Moira was fun, Nightcrawler was fun. I particularly liked the fact he was saddled with the Britannic nonsense that they had turned Captain Britain into, and Ellis quietly ignored it over the course of his run until he simply had Cap put on his old uniform and that was that.

- He also wrote several minis during this time. I was most fond of Starjammers. That was a great space opera book, and smartly written.

- Magneto pulling Wolverine's adamantium out of his body was still impressive and shocking. I enjoyed the vulnerable take on Wolverine. Buuuuuuut then they decided to devolve him and remove his nose. A friend of mine actually gave me an action figure of this Wolvie for my birthday once. It had 'real' hair on its forearms. Bizarre.

- Jeph Loeb's comics were a breeze to read. I don't know if it was less overwrought narration boxes or dialogue that didn't simply explain the plot, but his books tended to go a lot quicker. 

- I can't find anything yet that's entertaining about X-Man. 

- Cannonball joined the X-Men during this time, which was a long time coming. But then he just simply forgot that he was any good at anything. He went from leading the most violent and proactive of the X-teams to an anxious rookie immediately. He was never starry-eyed around the X-Men when he was a New Mutant, so I don't like that take here. Joe Kelly on X-Men is coming soon, and I love his version of Sam. 

- Professor X was taken out of the line for a few years at the conclusion of Onslaught. It was a welcome dismissal. 

- Mark Waid became an X-Men writer! And then quit after 5 and a half issues. 

- I loved his storyline with Dark Beast (from the AoA universe) kidnapping regular Beast and taking his place on the X-Men disguised as regular Beast. I mean, the obvious plothole was Jean or Psylocke picking up on it immediately, but they covered by saying that Onslaught was masking his identity. It could've had some legs, but they wrapped this angle up way too quick for it to become fun. 

- The XSE mini series was surprisingly good. I know John Ostrander is a damn good writer, but I wasn't enthused to read it. It turned out to be a good character piece for Bishop and his sister Shard.

- Sabretooth as a rehab patient living in the mansion under Professor X's care was one of my favorite storylines of this time period. And it effected so much to come: Archangel getting his old wings back, Psylocke and the Crimson Dawn stuff, Boom Boom taking a harder edge, Professor X failing and failing, Wolvie devolving, Jubilee realizing she needed to leave the X-Men to train with Generation X, all of the drama with Gambit and Rogue. I mean, it touched everything. It was wrapped up violently and grimly and was very satisfying...

- ...but then they added him as a forced member of X-Factor (ala Suicide Squad). And thus began Marvel's insistence on making Sabretooth a pseudo good guy and X-Men member. It persists to this day, and I've always hated it. Sabretooth is a murderous, vicious animal. He's done horrible, unforgivable things and I've disliked every attempt to turn him into a hero. Imagine if Spider-Man and Green Goblin had to team up. Imagine if Batman and Joker were on the Justice League together. Some villains should never be anything other than villains, and Sabretooth is a prime example. 

- Speaking of Generation X. Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo launched during this time once of my favorite X-titles. But here is an example of a book never quite reaching its full potential. There were moments of greatness here and there, but it never added up to what I'd hoped it would be when I was first reading this as a kid/teen. However, the characters were fabulous. 
     - Jubilee has long been a favorite of mine, and she really became well-rounded in this title.                    Lobdell was always a writer that seemed to get her. 
     - Monet (M) came from this, and she's been a mainstay for years. 
     - Cannonball's younger sister Paige (Husk) was a well thought out character with an interesting               and kind of gross power to shed her skin like a snake with a new form underneath that she could         change at will. So she could turn to rock or poisonous vapor or metal. 
     - Skin and Synch were awesome and then killed off panel by future writers who suck. Skin was             just to fill the role of sacrifice to plot. Synch's death was handled a little better at the end of the           series, but that's a character who should have been a mainstay and even a leader at some point.             His power was pretty cool as well. He had a rainbow colored aura that could imitate the powers           of anyone in close proximity. Kind of like a hippie Mimic. The idea was that may he could                   eventually learn to keep those powers permanently and perhaps one day become the first                     omnipotent mutant. So Warren Ellis killed him and he hasn't come back since.
     - Mondo was a chunk Samoan, laid back and chill to a fault. But then he was traitor working with           Black Tom Cassidy and that was stupid. 
     - Penance was a unique design with razor sharp, ruby colored skin. She and M (and their brother          Emplate, the group's arch-nemeis) had a complicated back story. I don't think Penance even                exists anymore. 
I mean, damn. Just look at that.
     - Then there was Chamber. A Brit whose psionic fire power (or whatever) blew his chest, neck, mouth, and jaw completely out of his body. What's left is a chamber of energy residing in his upper torso that just flows and circles around what's left of his body. I don't think there was as iconic of a design for an X-Man since Nightcrawler or Warlock. So of course in Marvel's     infinite wisdom, they had his powers taken away and his body restored to normal after M-Day in the mid-00s. Someone finally had the intelligence there to realize what a great character and design Chamber was and turned him back into what he should've stayed as. 

And that.

- I decided during this time to go back and start reading from the very beginning of X-Men. Those early Stan Lee and Jack Kirby issues weren't the easiest things to get through. It started picking up once Roy Thomas came along and he added some continuing stories, but it was still rough reading at times. I'm looking forward to Neal Adams coming along soon,

- The Mimic not only was a member for a bit, but actually leader of the X-Men? I never really knew that. He wasn't a very good one, which seemed to be the point. His story arc was pretty well done. I found myself getting into it once it picked up steam and thoroughly enjoyed the issues where he fought the Super Adaptoid and ended up losing his powers. 

- I also got into the First Class books which took place in between continuity in those early X-Men issues. Jeff Parker's run (mostly along with Roger Cruz) on these comics were a blast. A lot of humor, and more adventuring rather than dour fights. Parker is a great writer whom I wish would find his way back to Marvel soon. 

- Surprisingly I found myself liking Wolverine: First Class even more than the X-Men one. Fred Van Lente is another favorite writer of mine. He managed to tap into some really entertaining Wolvie stories while keeping them light and funny with the addition of Kitty. It almost is as much Kitty's book as it is Logan's.

- I also took in some of the, I don't know, sideways continuity books? New Mutants Forever, X-Factor Forever, and X-Men Forever. The idea was that these were continuations of what Chris Claremont or Louise Simonson WOULD have done had their runs kept going. So had Claremont not left after X-Men #3 with Jim Lee, these stories were what he had planned. The X-Men ones were more an ongoing that ended up making two series. The NM and X-Factor ones were minis. 

- I can't say I was especially enthused by the New Mutants Forever series. The stuff with turning Doug into a Red Skull was really weird, and I don't know if Doug ever even used his powers. Dani and Rahne were taken out of the story in the first issue and not used the rest of it. Sunspot and Warlock were meant to be with the Fallen Angels at this time, but Claremont just had them partying in Brazil. And setting the story in Nova Roma, the Roman city hidden in the Amazon rain forrest, wasn't exactly what I'd want from a nostalgia NM story. It wasn't bad, just not what I'd hoped for. Claremont was doing some interesting things for Warlock that made me think they might have continued the series past five issues, but that never happened. 

- Claremont's X-Men Forever is a bit more interesting. I'm only twelve issues in at the moment. He split Cyclops and Jean up in the very beginning of it, then ultimately let Cyclops go home to Alaska. I was very happy with that. He also killed Wolverine, had Storm betray the team and a young Ororo appear, and, yes, had Sabretooth join. Dammit. Despite that, it's been pretty good. A lot of this doesn't exactly line up with the direction Claremont has said he wanted to go in the past had he not left the books, but whatever.

- Simonson's X-Factor Forever was a joy to read. Of all of these series, this one felt like it picked up right where she left it. The family dynamic is fully there, as are the relationships Iceman, Archangel, and Beast had made outside of the team that later writers let fall apart. Apocalypse was also a major part of the story, and I've always liked Simonson's take on him a lot better. He's always more consistent in his goals. Dan Panosian did the art, which was pretty stylish and much more attractive that when he was more of a Liefeld clone in the early 90s. I wish he'd do more these days. 

- I think back-reading all of this has slowed my progress down through the main part of my reading map. I had predicted back in December that by the end of 2017 I'd be at Morrison's run. I'm thinking nope. I don't even want to try to predict where I'll be. 

- What's to come? Operation: Zero Tolerance, and several more ongoings as Maverick, Gambit, Bishop, and Deadpool all get their own series. The Joe Kelly run of Deadpool - which was such an important part of the character - is one of my favorites of all time. Excalibur and X-Factor are eventually cancelled, but Mutant X takes X-Factor's place.

- Lots of creative shake-ups as Scott Lobdell leaves the line. James Robinson does Generation X for a bit before Larry Hama takes over, and Hama leaves Wolverine. Robinson also has a short Cable run before handing off to my favorite comics writer Joe Casey. Ellis leaves Excalibur but will return for a fun Wolverine story. John Francis Moore gets X-Force for a really good. Then Kelly and Steve Seagle take on the main two X-books before getting so ticked at editorial that they both quit at the same time. That was a fun year. 

- Meanwhile Carlos Pacheco becomes a regular artist on X-Men, and Chris Bachalo takes over Uncanny. Terry Dodson eventually finds his way to Gen X. Jose Ladronn takes on Cable for some Kirby-ish awesomeness. Adam Pollina stays on X-Force for a bit before Jimmy Cheung gets it. Leinil Yu begins his work on Wolverine, and Steve Skroce takes on Gambit before he changes movie history with his work on The Matrix

So, this was long. I've been working on this article for two weeks now. Hope I didn't bore you too much.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wrecent Wrasslin' Wrap-Up

I've had the good fortune to attend not one, but TWO wrasslin' shows lately. NXT brought their live event show (house show to those not working in WWE) near me so I got to scratch one off my wrasslin' bucket list. I also went to a local wrasslin' promotion called RSWF (Real South Wrestling Federation) in Memphis. Five bucks, a couple of hours on a Saturday night, and some indy wrasslin' as raw and dirty as it could be.

The guy in red was called Mario and came out to Super Mario Bros. music.
The Duchess Ayzali. The announcer claimed she was from the UK, but I heard her jaw with some fans and her accent was dubious. Or, rather, nonexistent. 

Kayla Lynn vs the Duchess was easily the match of the night. These two broke out at least five moves I've legit never seen before. Very impressed.

And weirdly there is (terribly shaky) video footage of the match! Which was apparently shot directly over my shoulder.

Pure Power.

Pure Power chokelsamming the heel commentator, despite being heels themselves. It was welcome, though.
#DIY (pre-breakup). Ciampa was trying on Nikki Cross's jacket.
Not sure what Sanity was pointing at.
Hey, I actually caught a wrestling move without it being blurry AF.
"Cien" Almas
Hideo Itami (pre-heel turn) vs Almas
Aleister Black somehow talked WWE into the Raven-type entrance where he gets plenty of rest before his match.
Black vs Cezar Bononi
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
The main star I wanted to see, ASUKA!
Asuka and Ruby Riot celebrating their tag victory.
nXt champion Bobby Roode, easily the most over person of the night. 
His entrance, even at a live event, was incredible GLORIOUS.
Roode vs recent Smackdown debutee "Perfect Ten" Tye Dillinger. 

Great, long match with Roode standing tall at the end.
But wait...Roode still wants to beat Dillinger down!
But of course, got to leave the fans on a good note and Dillinger runs Roode off and celebrates with the fans. Great night and a great show.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Reading the X-Men: Onslaught (again)

Ok, so what had happened was Lobdell wanted this big cosmic entity, but when the big white entities adorned Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld with four properties that would one day make Marvel billions (ok, except Fantastic Four) the call was made to change Lobdell's plans. Thus were the seeds planted for X-stories by editorial fiat rather than creators.

Bobby Harras and Lobdell hashed the shiz out and decided to turn this unseen threat that had been pounding the X-folks in their various titles for a year+. Oh, and that's 9 ongoing series at this point. What was going to be a completely new creation became a 'whodunnit' that turned out to be a traitor to the X-Men: Professor Charles Xavier.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reading the X-Men: Age of...Onslaught, I guess...

Ok, I see I need to get back to doing some of that writing stuff on here. Yes, I ended Part One of my Age of Apocalypse columns on a cliffhanger that I'm sure all of you (ooo...ooo...ooo (that's an echo because no one is reading this)) were dying to find out what happens next. I will get to the rest of the AoA parts soon because life finally threw a curve ball and chilled out for a brief minute. The podcast is on our usual sabbatical after wrapping up the giant-sized 13th issue, so there is a little down time for the moment.

I wanna talk about Onslaught. After all, you can't spell 'Onslaught' without 'Laugh? Tons!'
Why so serious?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lazy Post (but, hey, trailers!)

Haven't posted in a while. Figured I'd get something done today, so here's a bunch of trailers and cool videos!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Podcast shout-out

Our loyal listener Twinkie has launched his own wrasslin' podcast along with his co-host Corey Smelser - Not Quite Ringside! (love that title) Go check it out and let 'em know what you think:

Listen to "Not Quite Ringside" on Spreaker.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Jimmy Eat World in Pensacola, FL

On the evening of February 28, 2017, I had the privilege of seeing one of my favorite bands, Jimmy Eat World, live at the Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola, FL. Opening for them was an eccentric band call AJJ, hailing from Phoenix, AZ, like Jimmy Eat World.

AJJ was a talented group of musicians with the energy of three Kindergarten classes. They were a great band to hype up the crowd for the headliner. It was a smart choice for Jimmy Eat World to bring them along. Being that hey are also from Phoenix it makes me happy to see the guys supporting other locals bands.

Over a year ago I got the chance to see another one of my favorite bands, Mae, at the same location. For my own enjoyment I decided to write down (type in Notes on my iPhone) the set list so I could create and listen to a playlist with the same order of songs enabling me to relive the concert at my leisure. I decided to do the same thing at this concert.

Below is a screenshot of my actual playlist and the order of songs played by Jimmy Eat World on that night in February. They played for nearly two hours, playing 24 songs. From what I've seen and read in press for this tour, Jimmy Eat World is mixing up the set list for each tour date. Therefore each set for each venue would be different. What that also means is that this playlist, this set list could be unique in song selection. For me, a total music geek and sold-out Jimmy Eat World fan, that makes this list of songs special.

On a side note, it was interesting for me to observe the stage after AJJ had finished playing. One their gear was moved off of the stage, all that remained was a drum set, keyboard, four boom stands with mics, and four digital pedalboards - no amps, no cabs, no tangled cables... the stage was very bare. I was so curious to see a band like Jimmy Eat World with no amps on the stage. Turns out the guys have switched recently to running their guitars through AXE Effects, elminating the need for amps and cabs, and enabling them to create an individual set of effects for every song that they play. It was amazing to see this system at work and I was very impressed with how great it sounded. As an all-analog guitar player myself, I've been very much anti-digital for over a decade. But this AXE system has got my interest peaked. Here a video that interviews two members of the band and explains how their AXE Effects system works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5joX1ar0Ohk. -B